Webster Groves shop owner mingles with the stars


Jean Scholtes said it was surreal to get the call inviting her to attend a pre-Emmy Awards celebrity gift lounge for charity, but she still isn’t sure how her business, Kind Soap Company, was chosen as one of the participants.

The event, hosted by GBK Productions, shone the spotlight on many businesses like Scholtes’ on Aug. 23.

“The charity this year is EMA, Environmental Media Association, so I think they were looking for a lot of ‘green’ type companies to come in and do this,” Scholtes said.

Kind Soap Company opened in 2008 when Scholtes chose to leave her job in art direction. She always liked the idea of natural skincare. She began to learn how to make products like soap, and soon received a certification in aromatherapy. In 2011, she opened her first store, then moved the shop to its current location off of Allen Ave. in 2013.

“My background is in art direction, so there came a point in my career where I wanted to go out on my own, have my own business and work for myself,” Scholtes said. “So I married two big interests of mine.”

She said since its opening, Kind Soap Company has had a “good, steady growth.”  The company sells its products to many stores around Missouri, including places like Whole Foods and Schnucks.

But now, Scholtes said that the gift lounge presented a great opportunity for her business.

“Everyone’s always hoping for that ‘Oprah effect’ where all she had to do was say she loved something, and it would blow up,” Scholtes said. “Celebrities reach such a broad range of people that you can’t really reach here without paying a lot of money.”

Of course, the most important question for someone attending an Emmys event is; who was Scholtes wearing? Stacie Swederska, the owner of another small business in Webster Groves, Paisley Boutique, styled three looks for Scholtes. Scholtes and Swederska both posted the looks on social media to let their customers decide.

Customers voted and Swederska dressed Scholtes in a flirty dress that was covered in lace, which she called “retro Hollywood.”

Scholtes knew she wanted Swederska to style her for the charity gift lounge after she got the invitation. Both Swederska and Scholtes are tightly knit with other small businesses in the area. The two met nearly two years ago, right after Swederska’s boutique first opened, and both women are involved in Webster’s trade organization.

Swederska calls the small businesses in Webster Groves a great team and said they all do a good job of promoting each other.

“All of the busness owners in Webster are very supportive of each other, so when we can, we help each other out,” Scholtes said.

She said with the reach that celebrities have, this opportunity can help get a small business like her’s out to a wider audience. But at the very least, Scholtes said, it was fun, it was good experience and it has brought her attention around St. Louis.

To see Scholtes’ pictures from attending the pre-Emmy gift lounge, check out Kind Soap Company’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/KINDsoap

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