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Getting clean is good for the heart 

For people who want a locally crafted, synthetic-free, and natural herbal skin care product, Heart’s Desire Soap Co. has opened a new store in San Luis Obispo.

click to enlarge MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM :  Christine Lamprecht (left) and her mother Joanne Vega (right) recently opened their third soap store in downtown SLO. The soaps sold in the front of the store are made daily in the back area for all to see. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM : Christine Lamprecht (left) and her mother Joanne Vega (right) recently opened their third soap store in downtown SLO. The soaps sold in the front of the store are made daily in the back area for all to see.

The scents are not overwhelming—as with bath and body products in many other stores—and that’s because there are no artificial fragrances here. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what scents are coming through, but that’s part of the appeal. “Everybody has different sensory memories,” owner Joanne Vega Krever said. “The olfactory gland is the only one that goes directly to the brain and triggers different memories for every person.”

Vega Krever—who hates hyphenations—started making her soap and oil products in a solar and wind-powered yurt atop a ridge in the Santa Lucia mountains. She sold her products at local farmers’ markets for about seven years before opening doors on shops in Avila Beach and Pismo Beach. The soap is made daily in the store by Vega Krever’s daughter and master soap maker Christine Lamprecht.

After the soap is poured into a custom-sculpted silicon mold, it’s placed under a blanket to chill. Then the soap is aged for three to four weeks to allow for the water to evaporate out, which creates a longer-lasting and harder bar. The soap is then trimmed and prepped before being put on the shelves.

This past holiday season, they sold out of their Cocoa Merlot soap for a couple of hours and had to skip the aging process in order to get the product moving. Buyers were advised to keep the fresh bars in a linen closet for a month before using.

Hearts Desire Soap Co. also offers products geared toward men, including their Glacier and Granite soap bar, made from organic cocoa butter, peppermint, and powdered charcoal, which draws toxins out of pores.

“I have had guys from Cal Poly come out and say that because it makes them smell like chocolate—and chicks dig chocolate—it has upped their game a little bit,” Vega Krever said.

The wall of soap and body oil products draws customers toward their perfect match.

“Your personality will definitely trigger different essential oils,” Vega Krever said. “I’ve had people pick up a product and say that they enjoyed the scent, but when they read the label they were surprised that it is labeled for dogs.”

That’s because Hearts Desire Soap Co. also carries pet products. “Our products are not species specific,” Vega Krever said. “It is not going to make you bark or pee on trees—unless you do that already.” The pet products are used to repel fleas and ticks and are often used by people who enjoy the outdoors.

Heart’s Desire Soap Co. has locally crafted jewelry and apparel for sale as well, most of which comes from artists and crafters in Pismo and Grover Beach. “We try to do as much local and people-to-people as possible,” Vega Krever said. “I wanted something unique to us. Why sell what everybody else has? I’ve joked with my husband that I wanted to sell robes made out of yak fur.”

Other products include soap dishes made from recycled windows from San Francisco, lavender neck wraps made in Santa Margarita, backpacks, and scarves.In February, the shop will also be offering hair care products. They’re also working on providing oil and soap making classes.

Heart’s Desire Soap Co. is at 787 Higuera St.. Their e-mail address is and their phone number is 781-0501.

Fast fact

Giving to charities is a great way to make a difference in your community, but it’s also important to make an informed decision on where to donate your money. provides a charity rating and evaluation service, looking at IRS forms that state the amount of money being used for programs and administrative costs. If a charity spends 60 percent or greater on programs, it’s seen as satisfactory.

The San Luis Obispo Food Bank spends about 95 percent on programs that feed the hungry and for every dollar donated, it provides seven nutritious meals to people in need. You can donate through their website at or call them at 238-4664.

Intern Aleksandr Hewitt compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business and nonprofit news to

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