White House guest room soaps made in Strasburg garage

By Ryan Cornell

STRASBURG — Future guests visiting the White House will soon be able to clean themselves up with a piece of Strasburg.

Soaps from Bratcher Sundries are sold in the gift shops of the White House, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, and will be added to the White House guest rooms next.

The soaps are handmade by Kristine Bratcher in a lab that takes up half of her Strasburg garage.

Bratcher had been enjoying a steady flow of customers buying her soaps through her Etsy.com site and local stores since she began making soap in the fall of 2012, but it wasn’t until a couple months ago that she was approached by someone from Guest Services Inc., which operates numerous Washington, D.C., gift shops and retail kiosks.

He asked her to make 500 English Rose soaps for their gift shops. She said she “whipped up those soaps as fast as [she] could,” and after several weeks of working through the day and night, completed the large order.

Last week, he told her that her next order would be for the guest rooms of the White House.

“Like where Beyonce and Jay Z are going to be?” she recalled asking him.

Yes, he replied, for friends of the president.

Bratcher said she hasn’t been told any other details yet, but said the soaps will be inscribed with “The White House” on them.

“I’m kind of wondering if Obama knows the guest room soaps are being made in a garage in Strasburg,” she said.

Bratcher’s soaps are sold locally at Walton & Smoot Pharmacy in Woodstock and Peoples Drug Store in Strasburg.

Peoples Drug Store Owner Michelle Rimel said she was first approached by Bratcher last spring, and now a few of her store shelves are filled with a variety of scented soaps, gift baskets and soap dishes.

She said the products, which are sold under consignment, make great specialty gifts.

“Whenever we move them, it just smells forever,” Rimel said. “It just smells so good.”

A list of Bratcher Sundries soaps, including different fragrances, additives and ingredients, can be found and purchased on her Etsy.com site. They sell from $4 to $6 each.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com