Freedom can be found in the amount of choices we are able to make. At a certain point in our lives some of us discover with faint of hearts that our backs are against the wall. However, its the first choice that ultimately sets us free—the decision to change.
I first met Shann, his wife Dana, and their two daughters while they were representing their small-business (ManSoap) as vendors at a local craft show. It’s always impressive to see a family working as a team, but what drew me in closer was their almost shy smiles and darting glances. It was as if they had a secret they really wanted to tell. When I curiously approached the ManSoap booth to inquire about their products, I was surprised at the contrast.
Shann greeted me confidently, while breathlessly answering all my questions. He knew everything about his craft like the back of his clean hands. It was their ethical, as well as methodical, approach to each of the items they produced that connected me to a feeling of certainty that I’ve never experienced with any other product on my shelf at home. Ultimately, the company was defined from a father’s search for a soap that his daughters could use on their skin that was all natural, of high quality, and something they themselves trusted.
Many of us with dry, sensitive, or acne prone skin understand that “all natural” is by virtue of nature, and the freedom to choose a product that upholds that truth is worth searching for. However, Shann’s search soon turned to research and he found himself creating his first batch of homemade, all-natural soap. Shortly after the first batch of soap was created they discovered a love for the craft and a gratitude for their discovery. Healthier looking skin radiated into the lives of their family and friends, as they demanded more of Shann’s soaps. Three months later, they were doing their first craft show.
There’s no machismo in the name ManSoap; in fact, it’s owned in majority by the women who stand so fondly by his side, but instead was the decision of one man to effect change, if only at first in his own life.
While spending an afternoon hanging out with Shann, I realized how challenging it would be to write just an article about a life that deserves a book. Shann’s numerous talents stem from the silent struggles of his youth where he acquired an emotional fortitude and held steadfast to the idea that a man can create his own freedom. There’s no machismo in the name ManSoap; in fact, it’s owned in majority by the women who stand so fondly by his side, but instead was the decision of one man to effect change, if only at first in his own life.
Just recently, Shann has taken on ManSoap full-time, leaving his steady tech day-job in pursuit of his passion. With an analytical mind, humble spirit, and an abundance of enthusiasm— it’s people like Shann that many of us Makers aspire to become. To flip the deck on the day job by making the choice to change paths, and having the courage to pursue a life of our own design.
ManSoap now has an expanded product line that can be found in eleven locations across the Ottawa and Gatineau area. Visit them on their website mansoap.co for more information. Come meet Shann and other Makers this Friday and Saturday from 11:30am-7pm at the Union Street Cafe (42 Crichton Avenue) for a Coffee Shop Pop-Up featuring coffee, snacks, and handmade goods.
For more from ManSoap, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @mansoapcompany