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Our Story


Hi, I'm Mel, the founder of Knox Girl Soap. When I landed in Knoxville, TN in 2008 the idea that I would one day be running a successful business was laughable. I was a high school dropout who drank too much and barely made ends meet as a late night cook. I had so many dreams, but the challenges felt insurmountable and I lived in a state of hopelessness. 

As I settled into this scruffy little city, I discovered a community of people who celebrated the success of others and lifted each other up. With support from new friends, I was soon enrolled in evening college classes, eventually earning my bachelor's degree at 36 years old. (I also met my partner, got married, and had two amazing kiddos in that time.)

I re-entered the workforce with a job I loved, confident those days of struggle and failure were in the past. Then, without warning, I lost my job. Actually, I didn't just lose my job, I got fired. I can't fully explain the degree of shame, humiliation, and embarrassment I experienced. I wasn't sure how I would get through it, and I was sure I would never get over it.

I had been making soap as a hobby, so I decided to throw myself into building a business out of it. I perfected my formula night after night in my kitchen after the kids went to sleep. I packaged soap in the living room while we watched Frozen on repeat and the kiddos "helped." I began to see how my soap made people smile, how it brightened their day. Customers told me how good they felt using my products, and I knew I was on to something that mattered.

Treating yourself with love and respect is a way to affirm your worth. In a world telling you all the ways you're not enough, honoring yourself is a powerful act. Pausing to notice something pleasurable adds joy to your day. Life can feel very heavy at times, but a moment of reflection and joy can be the spark that momentarily lifts that heaviness, allowing you to see the beauty already around you. 

You're amazing and capable and worthy not in spite of your failings but because of them. The life I live today wouldn't exist without wrong turns, mistakes, and failures. Without moments of joy that brought me back from the darkness, I wouldn't have been able to follow my dreams. 

Find the joy in the mess, the beauty in the vulnerability, and the gifts in the imperfections. Treat yourself with love and care, then go out into this world full of other broken people and share your truth with others. Let's grow together. xo