The story below was a feature on The Breck Connection
When Breckenridge local Rene Bartnick first started lathering lotion on her son Jackson when he was a baby, she paused for a moment to take a look at the ingredients and realized she couldn’t pronounce a single one. Determined to find a more organic alternative, she took matters into her own hands and started experimenting with a few homemade concoctions.
Once I found out this was something I could do on my own, it opened the door for lots of experimentation,” Bartnick said. “I realized it was almost like an art project. Working with different colors and scents… it allowed me to be very creative.”
After setting up a makeshift work space in her kitchen, Bartnick started dabbling in soaps, salves, lotions and lip balms. Friends and coworkers became guinea pigs as she handed out her new products to anyone that wanted to try them and in just a few short months the Breckenridge Soap Company was born
Bartnick will be the first to admit that creating the right line of products didn’t come without some serious trail and error, and she laughs when she recounts the time she actually had to lick her own soap to test if the ration of ingredients was right.
“I remember I had to look online to see how other people were making soap and one review said you had to lick the actual bar to see if it had the right amount of Lye,” Bartnick recalls. “It tasted horrible, so bitter that it almost burned my mouth. That’s when I realized I had to start over.”
Once things were dialed in, Bartnick set up a business account on Etsy and began selling her products alongside other established vendors. Her all-natural angle helped her to stand apart from other companies as she only uses organic ingredients that are mostly locally sourced.
When a co-worker approached her about creating a soap to help with his Eczema, Bartnick did her research and developed her now most popular selling soap, the Pine Tar Bar.
“I found that pine tar has been used for centuries for dry skin and when used in the right percentages it can really help with Eczema symptoms,” Bartnick said. “I used the needles from our Colroado Blue Spruce Christmas tree and when I ground them up and added them to the soap that became the exfoliating aspect. Hearing that it actually really works for people is such a great feeling.”
When she’s not using products straight out of her living room Bartnick enlists the help of local famers for ingredients like honey and goat’s milk. She infuses her own oils with herbs for color and fragrance and is proud to say that nothing in her line of products is chemically based.
“I would love to go bigger with this business,” Bartnick admits. “The idea of having these products be sold outside of just Breckenridge is really exciting.”
Those looking to get their hands on products from the Breckenridge Soap Company can find them at several Breckenridge retailers like Bboutique, Zoe’s Hair Salon and the Local Market. Not in Breckenridge? Well don’t fret because you can buy all of Bartnick’s products on her Etsy shop by visiting www.breckenridgesoapco.etsy.com