Southern Makers Series: Old Whaling Company, April Motley

Katie's Note: If you haven't smelled Old Whaling Company's soaps, you are missing out. They smell divine, and with scents like Magnolia, Indigo and Seaberry are reminiscent of springtime in Charleston. Along with a product line that includes bath bombs and roll-on fragrances, owner and founder April Motley has thoughtfully grown Old Whaling Company into a wonderful niche brand, deep-rooted in Charleston but blooming across the Southeast and beyond. 

1. How did you company begin?

Old Whaling Company was founded seven years ago in Charleston, South Carolina. We started out of our kitchen and really at the time we were just looking to survive. In the beginning, we didn’t have a mission, or a goal, or except to put food on our table for our kids and keep the roof over our head. We started selling soap in the Charleston City Market night market and the following year started in the daytime market. We never missed a day. That’s when our business really started to take off and we knew we had something special.

Seven years later we make soap as well as our other products out of our 6500sf manufacturing space in West Ashley, and have just opened our third retail location. We have over 350 wholesale accounts and 22 employees. Our products our still made by hand and made fresh every day.

2. How does coffee play a part in your day?

Coffee is how I start – and honestly end – my day. I have a coffee pot in every store and in our warehouse so I can make it fresh wherever I am. When I travel – I bring my coffee pot. Hotel coffee pots are a sad little thing. My love for coffee began when I was little. Both my parents drank coffee all day / night and it never affected them – I guess I inherited that. I started drinking coffee when I was around 12. In high school I was drinking it regularly and started my morning with a fresh cup. I didn’t realize there were “fancy” coffees in the world until my mid-twenties. I never sit down to do any work without a cup of hot coffee, even in the brutal summer heat. Iced coffee? Not for me. I always drink mine hot with milk.

3. Besides being based in the South, what else makes your business a Southern company?

I don’t know that I consider myself a southern maker. We live in the South but consider our brand to be more East Coast. However, the South brings plenty of inspiration for the way we do business. It’s the most hospitable place I’ve ever experienced, and we have done our best to infuse that into our brand. I always share with everyone considering joining our team that we are in the business of hospitality, and we want people to feel welcomed and comfortable in every interaction with us, whether it’s in person, on social media, or in an email. No matter how our business grows, humility, kindness and gratefulness will remain as much apart of our culture as it was from day one.

4. Anything else you'd like to share with us? 

Yes! Here's a recipe for a coffee scrub you can make at home. Also, a tsp of honey and ground coffee make a great lip scrub! 

Coffee Scrub:

¼ c. ground coffee 

½ c. brown sugar

1/3 c. sunflower oil ( most cost effective and non pore clogging oil)

Massage into skin and rinse away.  

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Coffee, Y’all shares everything we love about coffee in the South. Based in Charleston and the surrounding lowcountry, we showcase our fantastic culinary scene, our thriving King Bean community and of course, talk about all things coffee! We hope you enjoy it.

Katie Weinberger

King Bean Creative Director

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