CORBIN — “When I first saw the sign that said 'The Smelly Tub' I admit I was very intrigued and a bit confused,” said customer Camillia Howells. And the co-owners of the bath and body specialty shop say Howells isn’t the only one who is misled by the name.
The Smelly Tub is a locally owned bath and body boutique that offers a variety of products including body butters, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and salts located on Master Street in Corbin.
Co-Owners Rebecca Paul and Harris Stewart, both of Corbin, say customers who stop by the store tell them they weren’t really sure what it was. They are often told that people thought the store name was for a dog groomer. To this, Paul laughs and remarks the sign displays a girl in a bathtub.
Paul, the passion behind the soap, and Stewart, the encourager of the dream, balance out The Smelly Tub.
An insurance agent for eight years, Paul, who had dabbled in soap since her childhood, needed a break from the day to day routine, and at the encouragement of Stewart, The Smelly Tub opened its doors in April.
It was when she was staying with her mother, helping take care of her that her passion for soap and skincare progressed. She had soap products strung from one end of her mother's kitchen to the other she said.
Long before The Smelly Tub was born and product after product that set overflowing on her mother's kitchen counter, Paul told Stewart she had no idea why she kept creating soaps. Stewart insisted it was God’s plan.
Now, Paul calls soap her passion. She’s self-taught and spends weeks researching new creations for her products. Stewart said he’s watched her produce these products and said it’s physically exhausting the amount of passion and energy she puts into every minute of her dream, calling them artisan soaps.
“I love coming up with something that’s good for someone’s skin,” said Paul who could talk for hours about what can help with eczema and arthritis.
After seeing the name, Howells, who is now a repeat customer, knew that she had to check the place out immediately.
“When I went inside I was greeted by the nicest lady who showed me all of her products and helped me pick the perfect thing,” said Howells. “Being diabetic means I have extremely dry skin and her body pudding has to be one of the best moisturizers I've ever used. She runs specials all the time and her prices are wonderful. I am definitely a customer for life.”
Paul said it is the stories like Howells' that are so rewarding for her.
“It is rewarding just knowing that these products have helped someone's skin,” said Paul who added that sometimes she and Stewart feel like their Master Street location hurts the business. “We just want people to be able to try our products. It’s not about making a ton a money, we just want to change people’s skin.”
Paul and her sister are also in the process of writing a book about soap. She said this will entail her journey, trials and errors and starter recipes, although she’s not giving away all her secrets.
As for the name, she said she wrote a list of names that she liked, read them off to Stewart and that was the one he liked. Simple as that.