Interview with Stephen Buynovsky of Void Soap, LLC

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Published on June 13, 2022 9:21:08 AM PDT June 13, 2022 9:21:08 AM PDTth, June 13, 2022 9:21:08 AM PDT

Stephen created Void Soap, LLC to fulfill the need for organic, eco-friendly soap that works without unhealthy dyes and fragrances. An idea that occurred to him while he was working at a large cosmetic company.

Check out Void Soap in our shop HERE

Carolyn Helms: So how did Void Soap, LLC come to be?

Stephen Buynovsky: I worked for a cosmetic company as a chemist for a number of years working for HSN and QVC. We made copycat formulas for everybody, so I know how products are made, and I saw all the unnecessary chemicals being used. So, I started making the products I liked, but without out the stuff that wasn’t good.

Fun Fact: It takes four months for a bar of Void Soap to cure.

The five original fragrances, from top left clockwise: Volcanic Detox, Lavendar Peppermint, Spice Run, Grapefruit Sunrise, and Lime & Pine. Photo courtesy of Stephen Buynovsky.

Carolyn: It was your frustration with the unnecessary ingredients -- fragrance and color -- behind your need to develop Void Soap?

Stephen: Yes, it was created by necessity. I have sensitive skin and my two-year-old child has sensitive skin -- with eczema breakouts from using a lot of the products on the market. I’ve been making soap for several years for family and friends, but just recently turned Void Soap into an LLC.

Carolyn: How did you come to the decision to form an LLC?

Stephen: I saw an opportunity when Covid-19 hit the masses. I know e-commerce went up like crazy so I thought I would hop on that wagon.

Carolyn: That is great that you’re providing a solution for people in need. Is Void your main focus right now?

Stephen: I actually have a day job, working in the analytical chemistry field. I do this (Void Soap) after I come home, after I pick my son up, after I give him dinner, then play with him, and put him to sleep, that’s when Void Soap work begins.

Carolyn: That’s quite a busy schedule! How do you see yourself growing?

Stephen: I do plan on increasing the brand a little bit. I’m increasing my batches. I just did a phone interview with someone in California; they are a contract manufacturing laboratory, and we are currently working with formulation.

NOTE: Stephen is currently working on a side project with a partner. Stay tuned for more info.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Buynovsky.

Carolyn: There is a lot of competition out there. What makes Void special or different?

Stephen: I kind of hit that little niche where I’m organic, and I’m plastic-free, I’m palm-free, I’m fragrance free, so that combination levels it out to maybe three other companies that are direct competition. But, going palm-free is becoming much more popular, and I am proudly palm free.

Carolyn: Can you explain “palm-free” to me?

Stephen: There are palm products like sodium palmitate and palm oil. It’s a very efficient crop to have and when places outside of the U.S., like Indonesia, for instance, do their farming, even if it is “sustainable palm” it’s not really a thing. There’s no way to do your due diligence across the world. It’s been known for quite some time that it is a massive deforester of the rainforest and unfortunately has led to the murder of indigenous people.

Carolyn: So, using palm isn’t unhealthy, but it’s an ethical issue.

Stephen: That’s correct. There’s nothing chemically wrong with the palm product. It’s actually a good product and a great crop. It’s just so popular that farmers expand to keep up demand and it’s often unregulated. They cut down tens of thousands of acres to do so.

For more information on palm products palm production read, 8 Things to Know About Palm Oil

Stephen: Fragrance is another big thing. Ninety percent of the world only cares about what soap smells like, or what it leaves your skin feeling like, not necessarily the ingredients. So, I try to make that possible with the least amount of ingredients possible. Hence “Void” soap, void of all the bad stuff.

Carolyn: So how do you get the fragrance without the chemicals?

Stephen: The scents come from essential oils and they’re organic.

WARNING: If you see a natural fragrance on your ingredient list, it is usually made up of several chemicals, some banned in the UK.

Carolyn: How have you been getting the word out, of Void Soap?

Stephen: The Reading Eagle featured me and there were a couple of other articles that went all the way down to Philadelphia, which I didn’t expect, and that’s pretty much what put me under water (as far as more business than I could handle).

Photo courtesy of Stephen Buynovsky.

Carolyn: A good problem to have!

Stephen: It’s been great, but it takes four weeks for a bar to cure cold process wise, and it’s tricky when you have to give customers the bad news that their process is delayed.

Fun Fact: Stephen sold close to 500 bars in less than 4 hours, thanks to the media exposure.

Read Berks County Retailer Fills A Skincare Need By, Donna Rovins

Carolyn: Do you have any help with the business?

Stephen: My wife is co-owner of Void Soaps, LLC and helps with branding, packaging, ordering ingredients, and negotiating pricing for organic oils, and more. We have a custom machine that stamps the logo onto the bars, and gives them their unique shape, she helps with this, also.

Fun fact: The fragrance in soap reenergizes with every use as you melt away the exposed layer underwater.

Stephen is content working with soap as his only retail product, mainly due to the fact that they’re easy to make plastic-free. He plans to launch two new soap products soon -- a bastille bar comparable to Clinique’s mild facial bar, and a seasonal bar using honey from a local bee apiary named Super Fat Bumblebee.

About the Author:Interview transcribed by Katherine Baker, and edited by Charlene Peters.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Buynovsky.