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By: Allison Kaplan | Posted: 03/14/2014
They had me at Lego-shaped soap in bright colors and sweet scents. Just $2.50 per bar. The YB Stinky label was an added delight.
I first encountered YB Urban’s soaps and lotions at Teeny Bee in St. Paul, and wanted to know more. The story behind the soap is as delightful as a kid wtih clean, sweet smelling feet.
Husband and wife team Chris Welan and Angie Esler-Whelan started asking themselves the question, YB Urban?, while living and working in Las Vegas. “Since we couldn’t think of a good reason, we packed up a trailer, and moved to the country to find a little more simplicity, and to us, a lot more freedom to pursue our creative interests,” says Esler-Whelan, a Duluth native.
The Welans and their two young kids live on a 10-acre hobby farm in Erin Prairie Wisconsin, just 45 minutes east of St. Paul. They grow as much of their own food as possible, and make their own cleaning products. Esler-Whelan also designs baby and children’s clothes under the label Breed. She sells at festivals, and to a few area boutiques, including Teeny Bee.
“After doing a couple of festivals with just my clothing, we realized we needed to add something less niche, that would appeal to a greater population of visitors,” Esler-Whelan says. “My husband really wanted to make soap and call it ‘YB Stinky,’ and lotion called ‘YB Dry,’ lip balm called ‘YB Chapped.” The line includes natural glycerin soaps with additives such as oatmeal or honey, and essential oils. “We love to get creative with our processes by embedding luffa into our soaps in the molding process, or wrapping them with colorful sheep’s wool.”
Gives new meaning to farm fresh. Shop the line at Teeny Bee, and check the website for other retailers, to order online, and for a schedule of upcoming festivals, events, and farmer’s markets.
Allison Kaplan is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s shopping and style editor. See bio
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