BY REBECCA NIEMINEN SLOAN
When Heidi Goldberg was 26, she went into anaphylactic shock and nearly died.
“I was allergic to something I had eaten or used on my body,” she said. “I had a lot of health problems at that time. I was overweight, I was being treated for Crohn’s Disease, endometriosis, thyroid problems — you name it. My asthma doctor told me I’d be lucky to see age 30.”
Goldberg, now 37, never did figure out what caused her body to go into shock, but the episode prompted her to switch to a raw-food diet and only all-natural health and beauty products.
When she couldn’t find all-natural health and beauty products she liked, Goldberg, a licensed esthetician, started making her own, particularly soap.
“I began researching how to make soap for myself,” she said. “I have always been an artist, and always loved working with clay, so making soap seemed like another art form. From the very start, I loved the creative process.”
Although Goldberg admits her very first batch of soap was “truly awful,” it didn’t take her long to churn out a batch that was truly amazing.
“Pretty soon, I was making soap all of the time. I loved the science involved in it. I loved investigating how to combine ingredients for a desired result, and I loved using only all-natural ingredients that did great things for my skin,” she said.
What began as a kitchen experiment for Goldberg has grown into a burgeoning Liberty-based business called Bodygoodies.
Goldberg now has a store at 4501 Belmont Ave., and major retailer Whole Foods has picked up her product line.
“When I landed the deal with Whole Foods, I couldn’t keep up with the demand, so I am taking a short break with them and re-organizing my business. I plan to get back with Whole Foods within the year,” she said.
It’s no wonder Whole Foods took notice of Goldberg. She has spent the past 10 years perfecting her product and researching essential oils and plant extracts to create soaps that are gentle and luxurious.
Her Belmont Avenue shop is crammed with bars of soap that literally look good enough to eat. There are soaps of swirled chocolate-brown and golden vanilla, for example, that resemble chunks of fudge, and soaps of creamy, dreamy yellow that smell deliciously of lemon.
Other soaps are as fragrant as a field of fresh herbs, and when customers step into the shop, a pleasing wave of mint, lemon and lavender delights their senses.
“We make our soaps right here in the back of the shop, so it definitely smells good in here,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg is happy to have a wide and loyal following of locals, and she takes pride in helping them find the soap that is right for their skin.
“My soaps are plant- and vegetable-oil based. The only animal product I use is beeswax,” she said. “I bring my ideals and values into the quality of my products, and I love helping others and bringing customers completely natural, simple skin care.”
Goldberg said she is horrified by the harsh, synthetic ingredients in popular mainstream health and beauty products.
“Even a so-called ‘gentle’ soap is full of things I would never want to put on my skin,” she said. “I have soaps that can help with skin conditions such as eczema, acne and rosacea.”
Goldberg’s shop is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
She sells about 17 kinds of soaps in addition to solid lotions and serums.
Her soaps costs about $6 to $8 a bar and can be purchased at her store or online at http://www.bodygoodiesonline.com/shop/
For more information, call the shop at 234-855-0310.