Vendor Feature: Simple and Sweet Soap Treasures That the Minnesota Iron Range Brings Home

kelly pelto

Simply Good-Smelling Bubbles

For Kelly Pelto, soap making wasn’t something she grew up with. It wasn’t something passed down over generations. There was no family business. There was just a fateful afternoon with a good friend. 

This friend had taken an old-fashioned soap making class and offered to show Kelly how soaps were made back in the 1800s. Kelly fell in love with it and began making her own soap as a fun hobby. She created bars that brought out the scents of the Minnesota Iron Range: lilac, lavender chaga, balsam, etc.

She loved the region, and it turned out she wasn’t alone. By creating scents inspired by the Iron Range, she gained a following of loyal customers that allowed her to turn her hobby into a business. That was a decade ago now, and her following has continued to grow.

The secret to her sweet-smelling success? “I keep things pretty simple,” she says. “I try to get the smells and scents of the outdoors.” She keeps her recipes simple, but luxurious. Kelly grows her own lavender, sage and rosemary in her garden to add to her soaps. 

Kelly wanted her soaps to tell the world who she is. “I love old, vintage. I love history, and I love family.” And that’s why each bar of Gramma’s Old Fashioned Bubbles incorporates a family photo from the past. “I use the photos to honor the family that was before me, and show a little creativeness, a little Minnesotaness.” 

After all, it was that quintessential Minnesotaness that launched her business in the first place. For anyone else with that kind of curiosity and desire to try something new, she offers this advice: “Just get out and do it.”

You can get more soaps of Kelly’s at Gramma’s Old Fashioned Bubbles in our Spring Awakening Box! 

Discover more of Kelly’s work at