Everyone loves a story of a comeback kid. Pass Christian Soap Company is one of those stories.
Founder Paula Lindsay has always been an entrepreneur, designing everything from swimsuits to websites. In 2001, Paula’s 14-year-old daughter wanted to buy expensive bath and body gift sets for all her friends to give as Christmas gifts. Paula had a better idea – handmade soap wrapped in attractive packaging. The gifts were a huge hit and before long, friends were placing orders.
The story progressed pretty quickly from there. Paula’s kitchen turned into a “soap factory.” She decided to name her company after the small Mississippi coastal town she called home – Pass Christian, MS. While her mother helped fill orders, Paula began looking for retail outlets to sell their products. Their first commercial client was the nationally recognized and award-winning Hillyer House in Ocean Springs, MS. However, it wasn’t long before Paula was setting her sights on the gift shop of the largest casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast – MGM’s The Beau Rivage.
She was told it would be impossible. Product reps had been trying to get their foot in the door at the Beau Rivage for years. But she didn’t let that deter her. Paula came armed with samples and a note for the casino buyers that read, “Try it. If you don’t like it, I won’t bother you.”
Her phone rang before she even made it home.
Obviously, Paula’s kitchen no longer had the capacity to meet the demand of the large orders Pass Christian Soap Company was now receiving. Plans were in the works to move into a new facility when the costliest and deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history slammed into the Gulf Coast – Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina decimated Pass Christian. Of the approximately 8,000 homes in the community, all but 500 were damaged or destroyed, including the Lindsay’s. After being dealt such a tremendous blow, most people would just give up. But Paula was more determined than ever to rebuild her company.
“When you imagine the worst and it really isn't that bad, well, it was that bad. We lost our home, our business and our community,” recalls Paula. “The first people to call us after the storm were the MGM/Mirage Group – owners of the Beau Rivage. They asked what they could do to help and I said, ‘Please don’t forget about us. Please promise that you will bring us back.”
Armed with a promise from her vendors that they would place orders once she got back on her feet, Paula and her family set up shop in Daphne, AL, while the Mississippi Gulf Coast worked to rebuild itself. It would be three years before The Pass Christian Soap Company returned to the town that serves as the company’s namesake.
Today, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is bouncing back. There are still visible scars that will fade over time, but will always serve as a reminder to those that lived through Hurricane Katrina. The Pass Christian
Soap Company has set up shop in a new soap making and retail facility in downtown Pass Christian and business is thriving. Their products are sold all over the country and have been featured twice by news anchor Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America. The company has been spotted on the pages of such notable publications as Coastal Living Magazine, M Lifestyles Magazine, Mississippi Magazine, and Travel Girl Magazine, as well as included in swag bags for nominees at the 2009 Grammys.
When you purchase a product from Pass Christian Soap Company, not only are you supporting a business that has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but you are buying American made. Their complete line of quality bath and body products are each made by hand in Pass Christian, using natural, locally sourced ingredients.