Looking for a natural alternative to the conventional soaps and skincare products found on most grocery store shelves? Yola Kryska, founder of Splash Soap Company, may have some alternatives in mind.

According to Kryska, she never intended for a hobby that began 10 years ago in Chicago to turn into a full-blown business. “When I was living in Chicago, I couldn’t really find products with good quality natural ingredients,” she said. Unable to find what she wanted on local store shelves, Yola started with her own research and began experimenting with soaps and bath bombs. “It was mostly trial and error for many years before I could even use my own products,” she remembers, but once she found a few winning combinations, everything began to take off. While Kryska began making soaps for herself and her family, the word about her products quickly spread through networks of friends, and before she knew it, her home soap-making had exploded into a company.

After visiting the Keys for years, Yola and her husband Art decided to relocate permanently in 2012. Once she began selling her products in the islands, the feedback from satisfied customers was, in her words, “magnificent.” While soaps and bath bombs were her earliest products and remain bestsellers, Kryska began using her customers’ input on products and ingredients they desired to expand her product line. Items like the company’s solid shampoo bars offer a long-lasting and travel-friendly approach to hair care without any plastic waste. A quick look on Splash Soap Company’s website (www.splashsoapcompany.com) reveals a full line of options from scrubs and deodorants to bug repellents.

Kryska soon found that her eco-friendly skincare company aligned well with an environmentally conscious (and largely sun-damaged) community. “We all forget that the skin is our biggest organ,” she said. In an increasingly crowded market of “natural” products, it can be difficult for an average consumer to discern between the “real” and “fake” ones, but when asked how she draws the line between ingredients she will or won’t use in her products, Yola leaves no gray area. “I always say, the fewer ingredients the better. Always look at the ingredients list and make sure you can pronounce everything on it. As soon as you come across a word and you don’t know what it is or you can’t pronounce it, you don’t want it anywhere near your skin.”

Although Splash Soap Company is no longer a spare-room project in Yola’s home, she is proud to say that her products are still manufactured at her warehouse in the Keys. With help from one other individual, she and her husband still produce the company’s products and run most of the business. “We had soap everywhere in our house, so we couldn’t do it at home any more, but we love to keep things small and family-based,” said Kryska. “That way we still have true control over our products, ingredients and vendors.”

Interested in trying Splash Soap Company’s products? Find them at Food for Thought, Paradise Produce, or Sweet Savannah’s in Marathon, Shell World in Key Largo, Native Colors Art Gallery in Key West, or at the Big Pine Key Flea Market every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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Alex Rickert
Hailing from Rhode Island, the Ocean State, Alex has always spent as much of his life as possible in and around the water. A dolphin trainer by profession, he still spends most of his free time diving, spearfishing, and JetSkiing. Once it gets too dark for those things, he can usually be found at the Marathon Community Theater, where he spends most nights still trying to figure out what the heck he is doing.