The hardworking daughter of a Cuban immigrant, living life by the wisdom of dedication and perseverance.
Close your eyes and imagine for a moment. You're home, you're tired and it's time to take a shower at the end of a long day of wrangling kids and trying to get work finished. Stepping in, the hot water falls to the floor and hits your toes. A plethora of tiny splashes drown out the sounds of the world beyond, and you reach for a bar of soap.
This soap - a bar with tones of translucent sandstone and honey oranges blended together - is the one you choose. When lathered, the soft airy bubbles soothe and cleanse. Notes of delicate wildflower rise in the air. Tension dissolves and the most relaxing moment of the day consumes you.
It sounds wonderful doesn't it?
Claudia Akers is a Copperopolis local and the woman behind the wonderful creations of Copper Soap Works. She is a bright and enigmatic personality to be around, driving all of her inner sunshine into the body care products of Copper Soap Works.
All of Claudia's products are chemical free and naturally-based with ingredients that are organic whenever possible. "I was inspired. We are chemical free living and I want to share that with others," says Claudia. She wants customers to trust that when they take something home, it's only bringing goodness within. Each product is perfect for those who worry about what they are putting on and in their bodies.
Luxurious soap bars are the gree of Claudia's work. Pouring the liquid mixtures into large rectangular molds, she slowly adds the colorful combinations which will determine the look of the final products. She never knows what color shades the soaps will bare until they solidify and come out of the molds. The process is pacific and brings happiness to her life; she hopes to transition into pursuing it full time, one sale at a time.
Harboring the phronesis and opportunity to begin a brand new passion career, Claudia decided to begin by making bath and body products out of her home studio in 2017. Since then, life has grown with the joys of imagining and creating new soap lines that add moments of relaxation and relief to her customers' days.
Prior to moving to Calaveras County six years ago, Claudia and her husband lived in the Bay Area. "I had a busy photography studio for about 20 years," she says, "We're not city people, so moving up here was a dream come true." When the couple relocated, Claudia decided it was time to retire from her photography career and try something new. "I had no idea what I was going to do creatively or career-wise."
Claudia began working at a Murphys tasting room, Lavender Ridge. The shop sells many locally made products, all christened with their signature lavender scent. Claudia saw opportunity before her and grew eager to commit the time to create her very own brand of handcrafted soaps. Now, products from Copper Soap Works accompany the other goods on those very shelves, as well as in shops and homes all over the Motherlode. Going from being inspired by the work of others to entering the market herself was a huge endeavor and has been such a fun journey.
Claudia still looks up to other creative souls in the local handmade bath and body market of the Motherlode. She aspires to continue reaching goals and broadening her market reach to cater to an ever-growing customer base. It's not easy to please everyone, but it sure seems like it from the outside when so much heart and hard work goes into creating goods meant to help, heal and harbor joy.
Much of her work ethic was instilled in her by the man who raised her. Claudia's dad passed away a two and a half years ago, but continues to guide her and inspire her in spirit. He was a Cuban immigrant who fled Cuba during Castro's regime in 1961. "Like so many Cubans, he came to this country with nothing but the clothes on his back and enough change in his pocket to make one phone call when he got here," Claudia explains, "He had to start his life all over again with nothing in a foreign country." She grew up knowing how hard he had to work in order to lead a good life. He was an example to her in so many ways, showing her that she would always be able to accomplish great things through belief and perseverance. "He taught me that no matter how hard things get or how tired I am, to be strong and NEVER give up. No obstacle is ever too big or too great and you can overcome anything that life throws your way." She is carried by his guidance every day.
Claudia has faced obstacles along the way, and thanks to the protective guidance of her dad she never had to face the same trials as he had. His story puts life into perspective and allows moments to feel trivial and happier - wrapped in a blanket of gratitude - in the moment.
Among the blunders of soap making, Claudia has some affable moments. Recently, "I was at the critical moment when you are combining your oils and your lye, when my stick blender broke. Snapped right in half," she says, "Every soaper's worst nightmare. Luckily quick thinking and trying REALLY hard not to panic saved the day!" Claudia used duct tape to mend the blender long enough to get through the batch at hand. "The soap turned out fine but I was seriously sweating it there!"
Along with soaps, Claudia's product line is diverse with bath bombs, bubbling bath truffles, bath salts, body butters and more. She is always looking to add new things that she knows will add a smile to a customer's day.
One of the newer products from Claudia's collection is her Whipped Body Butter. Here at The Bright Orange Poppy, we often test products before writing about them. Along with the new Wildflower bar soap, her Exfoliating Shower Lotion Bars and Whipped Body Butter were among the products tested.
The Whipped Body Butter is a wonderful post-shower experience. It melts as soon as it hits skin, into a deeply moisturizing oil that quickly and easily absorbs for a smooth and silky-soft finish. A little bit goes a long way too, which makes it easy on the skin and budget. Who can complain about that?
I found myself debating between the Whipped Body Butter and the Exfoliating Shower Lotion Bar each day. The Exfoliating Shower Lotion Bar, to put it bluntly, was a mystery from the start. This product is very unique and not sold by many brands out there. The bar is shaped and packaged like a soap, with the enticing benefits of the moisturizing lotion within. After unwrapping the bar from the packaging, the product grew more dubious, and I wasn't sure if I was using it right the first time around. Is it supposed to work like a soap? Or a lotion bar? It kept me on my toes.
With a beeswax base, the bar is not affected by the water itself in the shower. The heat of skin activates it, melting the top layer to expose exfoliating elements that layer upon skin and allow the bar to work its magic. It was off-putting in the beginning - something I discovered is how many first-time users feel about the experience. Yet, once it begins to melt and coat your skin, it's magical! Truly, it's a one-of-a-kind experience.
It's best to use the Exfoliating Shower Lotion Bar at the beginning of the shower, after washing your body and shaving, but before washing your hair so that the top layer of the bar has time to absorb into your skin and melt away the exfoliating layer. A base layer of moisture will remain throughout your shower and last all day or night for a soft, healing hydration. Don't be afraid of this product for its "different" look and feel. It's so worth it!
Claudia is working on improving the user experience of the Exfoliating Shower Lotion Bars by changing the product from a bar to multi-packs of small melt-ables that would last one to two uses. They will melt faster and be more malleable for massaging over natural body curves. We are very excited to see the results when the new product look launches!
Overall, each of these products has proved its worth for a luxurious and relaxing experience that melts away the stresses of the day. They're created through passion and heart, with you in mind.
You can find the amazing bath and body goods by Claudia Akers and Copper Soap Works on her website, at Lavender Ridge in Murphys and of course here in The BOP Shop. Follow Copper Soap Works on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with new product lines for every season!