Outlook: Vicksburg resident turns boredom into business with Muddy River Soap Company

Published 4:00 am Sunday, March 12, 2023

The walls of the house had begun to close in on Cathy McArdle.

The Vicksburg resident had had surgery, and while at home recovering, she became bored.

With nothing to do, McArdle decided to “dabble” in soap making and now a hobby has morphed into a business — the Muddy River Soap Company.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Initially, McArdle said she made her soaps and bath bombs to give to family and friends and in doing so received rave reviews.

“My mother said, ‘I don’t know what you put in your soap, but my skin is clearer,’” McArdle said. “And I have a family friend in West Virginia who is an ex-Marine. He had served in the first Gulf War and since has been dealing with rashes and all kinds of different break outs on his body.”

It all seemed to clear up after McArdle sent him a bar of soap she made.

“He was telling me nothing worked even what the doctors were prescribing, so I researched good products that could calm inflammation and started testing out different soaps,” McArdle said.

It was then, McArdle thought, if she could make a soap that could help her ex-Marine friend with his skin issues, she could probably help others.

So, she, along with her husband, Andy, who helps when he is not working his day job, added soaps geared toward certain skin conditions to their growing product line. McArdle also makes a variety of soaps, bath bombs, candles and wax melts using a variety of fragrances and in different shapes.

Her most popular soap, she said, is made in the shape of the state of Mississippi, and her “biggest seller” of all the products are the wax melts.

“They are really really good. We have had some people say they are comparable to Yankee Candle,” she said.

Making soap is a long process, McArdle said. Using either cookie cutters or silicone molds, the ingredients are poured in and must set up sometimes for four weeks.

McArdle has been selling her Muddy River Soap Company products at the Levee Street Market for two years and will also make special orders.

She is currently working on building a website for her Muddy River Soap Company.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart