Diana Boyd is Mudder - the woman behind Mudder’s Soap. Mudder’s makes artisan, all-natural soap, facial and shaving products, shampoo, conditioner, bath and shower goodies and she sells them at select markets and online.
Mudder’s Soap is 100% Natural Artisan, made in her workshop, by hand, with all natural ingredients sourced, grown or foraged by Diana.
This soap is made without the use of artificial fragrances & dyes. It does not contain added preservatives or chemicals.
Like Diana, Mudder’s Soap is gentle and lovely, and at the same time gets the job done.
Diana is a mudder, or mommy, to a little boy, and is married to a man with allergies. That’s how the story of Mudder’s Soap began
Diana says, “My husband’s allergies meant that he could not use most types of products on the market. We’d read labels and avoid any type of fragrance, but still he’d react. Sometimes it was an anaphylactic reaction - very scary!”
Non-toxic soap that doesn’t aggravate sensitive skin was an essential for Diana’s family. A social psychologist and academic researcher by trade, Diana likes the rigor of research and enjoyed figuring the right soap composition and process by trial and error. She says, “I started making soap that made his skin happy!”
When their son came along, with a bit of eczema on his arms and potentially his papa’s allergy genes, Diana’s mission for a gentle soap that didn’t cause flare-ups became all the more important.
When people heard by word of mouth what she was making and why, they wanted to buy it. There was a small little niche market, and Mudder’s Soap was born.
Along with creating hypoallergenic products that helped her family be healthy, soap-making was a creative outlet for Diana.
She says, “Early on in my soap-making research I read how soap was made in the past. My family were farmers and lived close to the land, so learning about the role of the natural world - things like rose petals, and clay, and herbs and coal - was very exciting for me!
Still now, I LOVE experimenting and it’s amazing the range of pure colour and scent that comes from only natural elements to colour the soaps, and only essential oils for fragrance.”
Some of the botanicals - mint, rosemary, lavendar, and thyme - come from Diana’s greenhouse out back that she set up for the soaps. Others are found in nearby fields and forests, and she buys from local farmers and foragers as well.
Mudder’s Soap was a useful and creative outlet when it got started.
Then came March 2020 and the pandemic changed the way things happen. Diana says, “We were so new! We’d been to one market and then the province shut down. Meanwhile the ‘small niche market’ for our products exploded. SOAP landed on everyone’s radar. And at the same time, like so many others, my husband was laid off from his work.”
Mudder’s Soap was called into high gear. Diana’s research expertise, and ability to innovate met the demands of the day to serve Mudder’s Soap well.
Looking back, Diana says it happened quickly.
“We had gone through all the process of licensing and permits, and I was part of the soap makers guild but we needed to figure out how to sell online, how to ramp up production - and FAST.
“And we also really understood the need to keep Mudder’s Soap affordable - an everyday soap for everyday use at an everyday price - to keep families clean and healthy.
“We were able to do all that, and it really showed us who were as a company.”
The values of quality, affordability, and responsiveness show up in the products, and in the way Mudder operates. Also fun.
Diana says, “We create our products to meet the needs of people who use them. That’s how our 4oz speciality bars became mainstream. One of our customers explained that she had arthritis and found the smaller bar better to manage. We added that as a standard size and it’s a customer favourite.”
On the fun side is the naming of the products. Scented soaps have names like High Tide, Nanna’s Garden, I Dies At You and George Street Queen, and carry the theme through essential oil of lemon, rosemary, alder, cedar, mint and others. They celebrate the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador and bring a smile as well as lather to the use. The unscented soaps tell a different, but equally charming, story - with names like ‘What odds? Nothin’ be in it’ and Milk dem Goats.
Mudder’s Shower Steamers line was also developed in response to customer need. “Bath bombs are fun and popular, but people with skin sensitivities often can’t use them. Shower Steamers bring a bit of fun and luxury to the shower, as well as gorgeous and therapeutic scents. You just unwrap and place in the floor of the shower, with a bit of experimentation to find the sweet spot.”
Mudder has a solution for when those pieces are too little to hold as well. She says, “My aunt makes these sweet little sisal soap holders that you drop the end of bar slivers in, and it extends the lift of each bar, letting you use every last bit.
Mudder’s Soaps are wrapped in the same philosophy as the company - simple, practical and useful. The packaging is typically biodegradable and/or recyclable. That’s not to say things don’t get fancy when the situation calls for it.
“What better gift for a shower, than soap?”
Mudder’s does custom orders of soaps without chemicals for baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, sporting events and other special events. The principle of affordability shines through and scale makes an even better cost per item. The presentation packaging comes in the form of jute, raffia, flowers, and kraft paper boxes. Still simple and natural, but very special.
Diana laughs when asked about her next entrepreneurial step. She says, “I didn’t know I was an entrepreneur! I was a woman solving a problem for my family and loved making soap.”
She adds that it might be nice to have a little tiny spot where people can come in and buy soap. And that she always wants to keep making products that help people be clean, healthy and happy.