Visit Marina Cottage Soap Co. in Ocean Springs, and now in Bay St. Louis, for locally-made, natural skincare products for sensitive skin needs.
Vanessa Mueller, CEO, president, and creator of Marina Cottage Soap Co., began making the products in her home originally to help her daughter’s sensitive skin needs. It then turned into what their family needed and what friends and family requested her to make. She said some of their best ideas have come from customer skin needs and requests. Then stores began requesting her products.
“The greatest invention is when you’re trying to cure something yourself,” she said. “It was kind of amazing how many people that had eczema that kind of took a chance and it paid off. The community has been very very supportive of what we do.”
Their more than 100 products are made in their Ocean Springs location with everything from bubble bath to lotion to sunscreen and natural insect repellant. They also have a facial line and an antiaging line.
Now, their soap line is featured in their two stores as more than 300 retailers across the country. They opened their Ocean Springs shop seven years ago and opened a second location in Bay St. Louis in March 2019.
Mueller said what makes their products unique is the use of goat’s milk, which allows their soap to rinse clean from the skin without any buildup. This also helps their lotions absorb into the skin rather than sitting on top of the skin.
Beyond products for skin issues, one of their best selling products is the Gneaux More Gnaughty Gnats Natural Insect Repellant. She said they have won awards for this product, and it smells like a sugar cookie.
Mueller is a nurse by trade, working in emergency and trauma areas. She now uses her skills as a nurse to evaluate the skincare needs of those who come into her shop. She says she even has physicians that refer their patients to her for skin help.
“I’m still nursing, but in my own way,” she said. “We don’t just sell a product to you. We work with our families.
Mueller said that, beyond providing skincare products, they are “changing lives every day.” It may not seem like soaps or lotions could have that much of an impact, but when someone has a skin issue, other people notice it. She said that when people are able to get past these issues using her products and not feel embarrassed, it brings her “more joy than anything in the world.”
Marina Cottage Soap Co. is also involved with various local charities that they donate to on a regular basis. Mueller said it has been important for them to give back to the community in that way. “That’s what it’s all about,” she said.
With the opening of their new shop in Bay St. Louis, they have a number of plans for the 1700-square-foot warehouse space. They plan to build a stage and host live music, how-to classes, and even pop-up chef events. The plan is for this space to open by the end of April 2019.