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CARMEL, Ind. — Founded in 2013, Buff City Soap got its start when a Memphis firefighter named Brad Kellum took a look at the ingredients list on some of the store-bought soaps he had been using and didn’t like what he saw. So he started making his own soap out of his garage using plant-based ingredients free of harsh chemicals. 

That little operation turned into a multi-million-dollar business, and Buff City Soap now has locations across the United States including two on Indianapolis’ north side.

We popped into their west Carmel location at 9893 N. Michigan Road to check it out for ourselves. 

We’re scrubbing up and customizing our own bath products on this trip In Your Neighborhood.                 

At Buff City Soap, you’ll find a little bit of everything from soaps to lotions, oils, and lots and lots of bath bombs. All made using natural, plant-based ingredients. 

“I think people really just want to know exactly what they’re putting on the skin,” said district manager Gabrielle Sullivan. “And here at Buff City Soap, we’re making it right in front of you at our Makery Bar so you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin.” 

Not only do they make them right in front of you, but you can also customize your products. 

“Right now, we are going to make lavender Epsom salts,” Sullivan explained. “We’re going to add a bit of mica in here just to add some color… So, once we get that mica really good and mixed in, we are going to add some lavender fragrance as well as some lavender buds.” 

Another customer favorite is the laundry soap. 

“It’s a combination of citric acid washing powder and coconut oil soap and we are going to go ahead and customize our fragrance for this,” she said.

The laundry soap comes in one size, but Sullivan says she typically gets about 40 large loads from one container.

Photo credit: Buff City Soap Facebook page

“With that being said, with these we also do refills. So you can bring your container back in and get a dollar off just for a refill on your container,” she added.

Buff City Soap offers more than 30 different fragrances ranging from fruity to floral that you can mix and match.  

Looking for something more masculine? There’s a whole section dedicated to men’s scents like Commando and Ferocious Beast.  

“We also have some cleaner scents like A Shave and a Haircut and Aqua Spa… Patchouli Sandalwood…As well as beard balms, beard oils, moisturizer, and shave soaps,” Sullivan added.

There are also the current seasonal scents for fall, like Pumpkin Spice Latte, Fall For You, and Cinnamon Swirl.  

Photo credit: Buff City Soap Facebook page

Plus Buff City Soap offers local scents that are exclusive to each individual store.

“The name of [our local scents] are Full Moon and Desert Sun. So, [Desert Sun] is going to smell a little bit like sandalwood, vanilla, and oats,” said store manager Celina Stout. “And [Full Moon] is going to have more of a magnolia and clover scent.”

And for the kids, scents include Unicorn, Mermaid and Fruity Loopy. Plus, they can get in on the customizable fun. 

“If a kid comes in, we immediately offer them to let them decorate a bath bomb or bath truffle,” said Stout. “We will pull one out and they can paint it…they can scent it with whatever scent they love.” 

Photo credit: Buff City Soap Facebook page

Four Things You Need to Know About Buff City Soap:

  • Founded in 2013, Buff City Soap got its start when a firefighter named Brad Kellum decided to start making his own soaps out of his garage after discovering that his store-bought soaps were filled with chemicals and synthetic products. He set out to create natural, plant-based soaps free of chemicals.
  • Buff City Soap offers a wide variety of products from soaps, bath bombs, bath truffles, Epsom salts, laundry soap, shower oil, body butter, body oils, shave bars and more. Products are handmade daily and customers can even customize their own products right in the store.
  • One exciting thing that they offer are bath bomb making parties, where you can schedule a day for your group to make and decorate your own bath bombs in the store.  Those parties will start up again right after the holidays and all you have to do is call ahead up to two weeks in advance to set up a party. 
  • Speaking of the holidays, they also shared that Buff City Soap will be opening a new location in the Keystone/Clearwater area next to Nordstrom Rack. That location is set to open on Black Friday.  

For more information on Buff City Soap, check out the website by clicking here. For more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

While in west Carmel, check out these other popular local businesses: