Olga Nedelea believes that soap and other skin care products should contain as few ingredients as possible.
“Commercial soaps are not even made the old way or real way,” said Nedelea, who is the owner of MION Artisan Soap Co. “Basically, commercial soaps are made by combining all kinds of chemicals and ingredients and not really cooking it like we do. We also are different because we use very high quality ingredients that are natural and organic.”
MION opened its second store on Oct. 22 at 78 S. 1st St. in downtown St. Charles. MION’s other store is in downtown Wheaton.
MION Artisan Soap Co. makes its own soap and other products such as body scrubs and bath bombs.
“I always was into natural products, so I tried doing something on my own,” said Nedelea, who owns the business with her husband.
MION is a family name – literally. Their son’s name is Matthew and her husband’s name is lulian.
The last two letters reference her first name and the couple’s last name.
“We made it a little personal,” she said.
Nedelea said she didn’t intend to open a business, but changed her mind after sharing the products with her friends.
“They thought it was so amazing and told me that I should try to start a business. So we did.”
Seven years ago, the couple started selling their products at farmers markets.
“And we’ve been growing since then,” Nedelea said.
The products are made at MION’s Wheaton store.
“We have a front area where people can see how we make soap and butter and oil and all that,” Nedelea said. “We want the customers to see how we really make it and it’s a cool process to watch.”
Nedelea is from Ukraine and her mom, brother and aunt still live there. But they are optimistic that the country will emerge victorious following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
“It’s hard,” she said. “But they are very strong. They tell us, ‘Don’t worry, we are fine. We’ll win. We’re ready to stand for our motherland until the end.’ ‘’
She has been living in the United States for 15 years. After opening their first store in Wheaton, they moved to Wheaton.
They opened the store in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit.
“Three weeks after we had the grand opening, we had to close the doors, but not for long,” Nedelea said. “A few days after we closed, we opened the doors for curbside pickup only. Honestly, we did really well because of the community support, tremendous support.”
Having sold their products at farmers markets in Kane County, the couple has built up a customer base in the area.
“It was making sense to put a store here,” Nedelea said. “And it’s not far from our Wheaton store, so we can be here as often as it is needed.”
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. More information about MION Artisan Soap Co. is available at its website, mionartisansoap.com.