Best Locally Made Soap, August 2008

When you walk into Soaptopia, a medley of fragrances envelops you: sage, spruce, Persian lemon, peppermint, rose, lavender, mint, eucalyptus, rosemary, bergamot—all emanating from the tiered racks of freshly made soaps. Then you see a modern steel-and-wood kitchen, where natural ingredients are mixed to produce the “100% junk-free” bars, which are wrapped in recycled paper. Owner Jolie Chitwood, who suffered from allergies, taught herself how to make soap. At her three-year-old Mar Vista store, there’s a discount for a purchase of several bars; five long-lasting varieties go for $25.