Gift The Soap Rack

Julia Duke, owner of The Soap Rack.

The Soap Rack Offers Locally Made Natural Bar Soaps, Hand Soaps, Lotions and More

Luxury skincare meets environmental consciousness with a hint of science and a lot of fun at The Soap Rack.

By Avery Scott

Sometimes the best businesses start as hobbies.

This was the case for Julia Duke, who filled her own closet with soap before realizing she had the beginnings of a bona fide business.

I first discovered natural soap through a friend actually," Duke said. "I loved it so much I thought, ‘I wonder if I can make this myself?’"

Those looking to give their loved ones the gift of luxury skincare are sure to find something sensational at The Soap Rack, the fun and colorful soap shop based inside Downtown Akron's Northside Marketplace

In the beginning, Duke didn’t anticipate starting a business. Once she discovered her love for soapmaking, it quickly became a hobby for her. She eventually began making batch after batch, and soon had a large stock accumulating in her closet. 

"I did a lot of research and decided to give it a shot, and after that first batch I was hooked," Duke said. "There were so many different additives, colors and scents to choose from."

Looking to use her closet again, Duke decided to do her first craft show, and things bloomed from there.  In 2016, she founded The Soap Rack, which she currently owns and operates herself.

Born and raised in Akron, Duke is 39 years old.  She has a husband and 10-year-old twin boys, who she also homeschools. She enjoys gardening and traveling, and loves dogs - and soapmaking, of course. 

The Soap Rack offers customers natural soap and other products that promote healthy skin and are pleasing to all of the senses. With a wide array of fragrances, colors, and designs, there is something for everybody at The Soap Rack. 

Duke works to provide her customers with products they will find fun as well as functional. She offers a variety of colorful, vibrant bar soaps with detailed designs and original names, including: “Whoopsie Daisy,” “My Boyfriend’s Hoodie,” and “The Bee’s Knees.”

These products make great gifts for all kinds of occasions and, well, everyone need soap. Have a sense of humor? How about the "Til Death" Bar Soap for Valentine's Day? Under Til Death Bar Soap, the packaging says "I didn't realize it would take so long!"  

Beyond the clever packaging and attractive products, her research has paid off in that she is able to create products that look, smell and feel great while also protecting and nourishing the skin.

The Soap Rack uses ingredients that are phthalate free. Her products are 100% skin safe, and follow the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) suggested rates to protect sensitive skin from irritation.

Environmental friendliness is also an important principle for Duke.

I take the time to make my packaging as eco-friendly as possible," she said. "Anything that is shrink wrapped is wrapped with Biolefin, which is a fully biodegradable shrink-wrap."

Duke also uses rice paper bags for soap and reusable tins for lotion bars. To reduce her footprint even more, she reuses shipping and packing materials as much as possible.

If you or your loved ones could or would be interested in learning more about soap and skincare, or shopping with The Soap Rack, you can stop by her shop in Northside Marketplace and/or visit her website at 

The Soap Rack is now also selling at local boutiques near Akron, including: Thirty-Two 8 Inspired & Co. in Hartville, Uniquely Handmade for You in Wadsworth, Mapachas Boutique in Lakewood, and Artistic Roots in Napoleon.

Get updates from The Soap Rack on their instagram page.

(left) Images of The Soap Rack product line available in Northside Marketplace at 21 Furnace St. in Akron's Northside District. Photos by Julie Cajigas.

To reach content author Avery Scott,  email her here.

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