Who? What? When? Where? How - Community News - 02/12/10

Community News - 02/12/10
Lauren Carpenter

Who are you?

Maryclaire Mayes, Founder, Alabu, Inc. and Machanicville resident.

Whatis your business?

What stared out as a home-school chemistry experiment 10 years agoin our basement, is nowa business that employs and supports five familymembers.

We made goat-milk soap that day and I really loved the way it made my skin feel;we began sharing it with family and friends andthe accolades pouredin.

Today we are in all 50 states and around the world in countries such as Japan,Ireland, Hong Kong,Chile,Romania,Sweden and South Africa. We'rejust everywhere thanksto the internet. I even had a note onetime from a customerin Montana who was so thankful to get her repeat order. She said something about the ddog sleds were running slow, but the order finally got there. She was kidding... Ithink.

My son says we're on every continent except Antarctica. Mavbe some day.

Where can locals find your products?

That's easy. We're online at www.alabu.com or at (888) 509-7627 and in nine local health food stores including The Green Grocer in Clifton Park and Ballston Spa's Wild Thyme Whole Food and Tea Company. Our shop is also open right here on our farm every Monday from 9am-6pm.

When do you see your business expanding?

We would like to be producing to capacity. In 2009 we made about 20,000 bars of soap - We can make more. We also make all natural moisturizers and conditioners.

We have pins on our large maps in the office here showing where we are now in the country and in the world including, for example, Thompson Chemist in New York City. Thompson Chemist is a boutique drug store in SoHo that sells unique natural products. We need to pick up more stores like that - ones who carry premium products. We also are thinking about building a manufacturing facility some day - we're just not sure where it will be at this point. We still wrap each bar of soap ourselves.

Why do your soaps come with a guarantee?

We are proud of what we sell and 100 percent satisfaction is our goal. Details on our guarantee are on our Web site at www.alabu.com.

- Interview and photo by Lauren Carpenter