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High school soap maker turns hobby into loving business
Soaps by Hailey 1
Sixteen-year-old Turlock Christian High School student Hailey Kellstrom turned her soap-making hobby into Soaps by Hailey, a business bubbling with soap bars, body scrubs, balms and bath teas, which she brings to the Turlock Certified Farmers' Market during their season and to Emporium in downtown Turlock. - photo by Photo Contributed

When 16-year-old Turlock Christian High School student Hailey Kellstrom made her first batch of cucumber melon soap three years ago, she admitted that it was horrible.

“It was very tiny and it barely had any lather, but it was still soap,” laughed Kellstrom.

Despite her failed first attempt at making soap, the young entrepreneur refused to give up. Now nearly 1,000 artisanal soap creations and over 70 different scents later, she has cultivated a successful business bubbling with soap bars, body scrubs, balms and bath teas: “Soaps by Hailey.”

“I’ve definitely grown a lot,” said Kellstrom. “A lot of people have to come to know who I am and they come back for my products.”

Kellstrom said that when it comes to her soap bars, one customer favorite is her vanilla latte soap, which is made using a suspension soap base that disperses used coffee grounds throughout the bar and a three-butter soap base comprised of mango butter, cocoa butter and Shea butter.

Another soap bar that customers cannot get enough of according to Kellstrom is her olive oil facial soap, which is made with a lemongrass essential oil, Aloe Vera, and an olive oil soap base.

“These are more like my own creation,” said Kellstrom. “I got inspired from another soap maker, but I made them my own way.”

Kellstrom said that she has also been experimenting with new soap-making recipes, one of which she just unveiled to customers as a watermelon bergamot soap bar.

“These are normally not seen on the shelves and that’s also kind of the reason why the soap I make is unique,” said Kellstrom. “I can mix different scents that people would really like to see and I make them really pretty by adding shimmer to them and sometimes exfoliating properties. There are all kinds of fun things I add to them.”

In addition to her soap bars, Kellstrom also makes three different balms, including original, citrus and “calming” scents, as well as a number of body scrubs, with scents ranging from lemon to grapefruit to coconut to pumpkin.

The favorite among the scrubs is the eucalyptus spearmint scrub that is made with sea salt, eucalyptus essential oil, a blend of Mediterranean oils and fresh spearmint leaves to add an exfoliating texture to the finished product.

“It’s not hard to get new, different things going,” said Kellstrom. “If a customer specifically asks for a scent they would like to see then I will buy it for them and find a way to incorporate it into what I make for all my customers.”

Kellstrom said that she has hopes to add lotion to her product offerings in the near future as she said that she recently signed up to take a lotion-making class at Modesto Junior College. She also plans to explore the possibility of creating her own body oils and face mists when she has more time.

During the farmers’ market off-season, customers can find Kellstrom’s products at Emporium at 228 E. Main St. in Turlock, where she just dropped off her latest batch of “Love Spell” citrus soap bars “that smell like love” just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

Additionally, the young soap-maker attends a number of different craft fairs throughout the year, including the upcoming California Women for AG event on Feb. 6 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. She also accepts orders made online through her Facebook page.

“The products are made with love,” said Kellstrom. “I love to make my products with love because that definitely matters. I am not a big company that’s constantly making products just so I can get money from it. It’s more like I’m helping customers and they’re helping me.”

For more information, visit or follow her on Instagram @soapsbyhailey.