For Danielle Vincent, the path to a business started with a honeymoon and some well-timed sniffs.
After her wedding in December 2012, she and her husband, Russ, traveled to Paso Robles, Calif. While there, she stopped at a farm store and picked up two bars of handmade goat-milk soap.
Over the following weeks, every time Ms. Vincent—who did various jobs for Oprah Winfrey’s Oprah.com—was stressed or wanted to remember that trip, she took a sniff of the soap. Then, one day, she looked at the label on the package and was amazed that the $12 soap was made with just a few ingredients.
So, Ms. Vincent, now 45, and her husband, now 51, decided to try their hand at making soaps that smelled like the things they love, such as whiskey, campfires, leather and bacon. “When we realized that the components that went into handmade soap cost very little, we decided to combine our love of camping and adventure with this promising business idea: We could sell adventure-scented soaps,” she says.
In February 2013, Outlaw Soaps launched—and by that April was looking promising enough that Ms. Vincent quit her job. (Mr. Vincent continued his job in commercial-property management.) When the couple had a second, more-formal wedding in May 2013, they asked guests to contribute money toward soap supplies.