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Loomis woman’s health quest inspires business

By: Leah Rosasco, Loomis News Correspondent
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One Loomis woman’s quest to incorporate beneficial plant extracts into her life has resulted in a thriving home-based business. In 1999, Louise Dutton, of Loomis, was conducting research in the marketing department of a healthcare provider when she stumbled upon articles about the benefits of essential and plant oils. She said she was intrigued to learn a phytochemical in rosemary could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Dutton, who said she is not a pill taker and does not like to eat rosemary, wanted to find a way to conveniently get it into her system every day. “I said to myself, ‘Well, I bathe and I shampoo,’ and that’s when I thought of creating a line of products with essential oils and natural botanical plant oils,” Dutton said. These oils penetrate the skin and benefit the body, Dutton said. Dutton said she continued her research and began working on her own formulas for soap. Although her business Bella Soap Company attracted a following, Dutton said she stopped making her soaps in 2001. Eight years later Dutton received a phone call from someone who was looking for her soap. “She had purchased my soap and kept the wrapper in her bathroom cupboard for seven years,” Dutton said. “She just kept hoping for a comeback.” Dutton said she decided to start making the soap again, and today Bella Soap Company produces 5,000 bars of soap monthly and added a lotion and an anti-itch balm to its line of products. Dutton said she and her husband, Jim, keep up with demand by rising at 3:45 a.m. daily to make their bodycare products, which are now sold in stores in thirteen states, as well as in 47 cities and in California, including multiple locations in Loomis. Loomis Main Drug carries Bella Soap Company products. Owner JoAnn Takemoto said she’s happy to support a company that is based in Loomis. “It’s nice to be able to say that it’s made locally,” she said. According to Takemoto, people who have previously purchased Dutton’s products are quick to buy any new Bella Soap Company product she puts on the shelf. “They are more prone to try it just because they’re really happy with the first product that they used,” Takemoto said. Brenda Newsom, of Loomis, who is a member of Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin along with Dutton, said she tried the soap while she was undergoing breast cancer treatment. “I’ve always been sensitive to many, many products and I was having allergic reactions to everything I was using,” Newsom said. Newsom said it was important to use hormone-free, fragrance-free products during her treatment, so finding products that worked for her became even more difficult. “This was the only soap I could use,” Newsom said. “It’s just a really clean soap.” Now cancer-free, Newsom said she still uses the soap and that she plans to use it “for a long time.” According to Dutton, this kind of feedback makes her the happiest and she’s always amazed to hear about the impact her products have. “The thing I love is that our soap, as silly as it sounds, has changed people’s lives,” Dutton said. Dutton said she received emails from mothers relieved their children are no longer constantly scratching their eczema, and one from a woman who was able to stop using a topical steroid for her psoriasis. “One person even told me they are happy to shake hands now, whereas they used to be ashamed,” she said. “It’s just amazing to me.” For more information, call 652-7052, or go to buybellasoap.com. BELLA SOAP COMPANY What: Fragrance- and hormone-free soap, lotion, and anti-itch balm Who: Louise Dutton, of Loomis Available at: Main Drug Store, Rejuvinate Day Spa, Healing Secrets Information: 652-7052, buybellasoap.com