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Part laboratory, part storefront, The Naked Mermaid Soapery is making bath products fun again. Owner Tracy Gunn is the mastermind behind the shop, but the story behind her whimsical creations doesn’t have as cheerful of a beginning.
After working as an animal pharmaceutical rep, Gunn was laid off and left to provide for her two children with less than $100 in her bank account. Running out of a soap she purchased in Las Vegas and realizing she didn’t want to return to the corporate world, Gunn decided to invest $32 in soap-making supplies. Using just a Facebook page, the next five months were spent working out of her kitchen, making soaps for her friends, and eventually blossoming her at-home creations into a thriving business that she brought to Delray Beach.
Gunn opened The Naked Mermaid Soapery in August, selling soaps, sugar scrubs and bath bombs with an appropriate tropical feel. All products are made in-house with ingredients like coconut oil and sustainable palm oil. And while The Naked Mermaid Soapery serves as the storefront, Gunn manages a wholesale line with its production room located in the back. By May, her UR brand should be featured in more than 1,200 boutiques.
The name UR stems from the time Gunn and her older son spent at a single women’s shelter in the Bronx as she was launching her business venture. “While we were there, the director of the shelter would be talking to me, but when she would see someone come out of her room to head out for the day, she would stop them, touch them, hug them and say, ‘You are so perfect.’ ‘You are so amazing.’ ‘You are going to do great.’ ‘You can do anything you want to do.’ And that really stuck in my head,” Gunn says.
Today, her soaps are stamped with the UR logo paired with endearing, fun words to create affirmations like “UR Pretty,” “UR Sexy” and “UR Fearless.” Scents range from vanilla rose, to white tea and ginger, to cherry blossom.
When starting her company, Gunn especially wanted to hire women who have been in some sort of crisis, just as she had been. “[The women] come from everywhere—the police department, different organizations, battered women, women that have been in sex trafficking,” she says. By employing women to create the products, she hopes to make a difference in their lives.
While The Naked Mermaid Soapery is here to stay in Delray Beach, Gunn plans to open an even larger shop in Boca Raton. Her goal is to open up franchises along the coast of Florida while adding body butters and lotions to the mix. Plus, an all-natural line will be featured in health and wellness stores in the near future.
The Naked Mermaid Soapery; 271 NE Sixth Ave., Delray Beach / 561.403.5950 / urbathco.com
Handcrafted bath and body products await inside.