Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve shave balm and soap
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Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, Solon

This family-owned business makes organic skin-care products by hand, with a focus on sustainability and authenticity.

When Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve founder Ida Friedman Kasdan spent 2002 trying to solve her family’s eczema issue, she never envisioned she would be laying the groundwork for a family business.

Her research found that the recommended steroid creams on the market only worsened skin problems, so she began crafting her own using organic ingredients.

“She made a couple products in the kitchen on the stove with a pot and spoons,” says Sam Friedman, Ida’s son and brand director for Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve. “One was a soap bar, and one was an ointment that we called a salve. It completely cleared up the eczema, and, lo and behold, an idea was born.”

Today, more than 300 handmade products are crafted at the company’s facility in Solon. In addition to soaps and salves, the product lineup also includes dry hair shampoo, cuticle cream and deodorant in three different forms.

Some of Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve’s most popular products include its whipped squalane face and eye cream, a revitalizing mousse designed for sensitive skin and a candle filled with hand-poured lotion that, when lit, melts into a warm body oil for soothing all types of skin.

The Friedmans also craft their products using local ingredients, be it oats from Stutzman Farms in Millersburg or goat milk from Hiram’s Mackenzie Creamery.

“Real, organic skincare is very rare,” Friedman explains. “… The most important thing for us is to always buy direct and to ensure the quality of the thing you’re getting, whether it’s a makeup brush or hand-grown sea buckthorn.”

Friedman says any company decision that would not support the missions of sustainability and authenticity is not even a consideration.

“Most businesses tend to chase the dollar. … That’s just not what we do here,” he adds. “We are so true to our process of slow, handcrafted skincare … we’re hopefully [showing] other companies that there’s a value in sticking to that important set of core morals.”

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