Infinite Soaps, Birmingham
The Maker: Christopher Funderburk
Christopher Funderburk has his teen acne to thank for the business he started as an adult. Well, that and a grandmother’s love.
While he was searching for a solution to his acne as a teen, Funderburk’s mother and grandmother steered him toward lye soaps. It worked.
It wasn’t until he came home on summer break from the University of Alabama in 2013 that his grandmother taught him the process of making lye soap.
She had grown up knowing how to make it. Soap-making was less artisan and more necessity for many who grew up in that generation.
The summer education proved to be invaluable.
“It kind of allowed me to not make as many errors,” he said. “There still were plenty of errors made because making soap, it can be really finicky at times.”
But Funderburk studied more about lye soaps and found ways to make them more accessible to today’s generation.
He would make samples and share with friends at college and soon he saw there was enough demand for what he was making that he could sell it. That’s when Infinite Soaps was born.
Funderburk learned to use plant-based oils to make all-natural soaps that are vegan, cruelty-free and sustainably sourced. His packaging is made from recycled materials.
The business has grown beyond those initial bars of soap to include liquid soaps and body washes, Dead Sea mineral salts, beard oils and other products.
Eucalyptus and Tea Tree is the most popular scent, but Funderburk likes to play with other fragrances as well, such as Ginger and Lime or Cinnamon and Mint.
“We try to be a little different and that’s worked really well for us,” Funderburk said.
When he’s not working his day job at Birmingham-based Shipt, Funderburk sells his products at the Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham and he currently has a pop-up shop in Avondale that is open Thursdays through Sundays. Infinite Soaps are also sold through Square One Goods in downtown Birmingham, Elements in Crestwood and The Retreat Day Spa in Crestwood.
Funderburk sells his products online and is pursuing a new way of reaching more customers in the future.
“We are looking to focus more on online sales and we’ve been recently throwing around the idea of a subscription model, so look for that in 2019,” he said.
The product: Artisan lye soaps and other skin and hair products.
Take home: The Birmingham Gift Box, which comes with two bars of soap, a bottle of body wash and a bottle of beard oil ($39.95).