The Wickedly Talented Ladies of Macabre Merch: Six Questions for the Beauty and Brains Behind the Killer Shop, Sudsy Sirens
I may be a horror-loving creepy girl, but I also am a girl who likes to pamper herself and take time for self care. At the end of a long hard day, I live for long hot baths, surrounded by an assortment of the yummiest and best smelling bath products I can find. While I could easily get my fix at a department store or beauty products chain, for me, nothing beats indulging in all-natural products that are handmade with love by someone who truly cares about me as a customer and the products she is selling. That’s why I’m obsessed with Sudsy Sirens, an Etsy shop run by the incredibly talented Stephanie Riden. Her bath products are heavenly, and they are perfect for ladies who want something unique and a little dark and twisted.
1. What was the inspiration for starting your own business and how did you get started?
I always wanted to be a business owner. I come from a long line of farmers and speakeasy owners from the prohibition days of the early 20th century. It’s in the blood to be on the outer edge and do my own thing. The idea to make and sell my own bath and beauty products came when I was in esthetician school. I was studying to be a restorative art specialist when I became pregnant with my twins and could no longer be around the chemicals used daily for that job. I was already a full fledged goth girl and obsessed with the macabre — so why not blend my love of bath and beauty products with it?
2. When and how did you fall in love with horror?
When I was 5 years old, I remember a time with my Dad. His birthday is on Halloween, so it was always a party and an event. He took me on my first trip to a Halloween store. It was called Justin Wizards Magic Shop, and it truly was magical for me. They had a wall of classic monster masks. My little eyes grew huge at the sight of these gloriously hideous creatures. I was instantly in love. It was like an adrenaline rush. When I got home, I took my Barbie, which came with green eyeshadow — the color for 1983, and I chucked the Barbie…because what I needed was the shadow. I spread the green powder all over my little face. I wanted to look like Frankenstein’s monster — and in my imagination, I was. I was obsessed from then on.
3. Where does inspiration for your products come from? What is your creative process like?
Literally everywhere! Music, movies, pop culture, classic horror is my favorite. Honestly, it’s what I call an infusion of knowledge. The ideas just rush into my head, and I have to write it down. I have scribbled notes everywhere. Then, once it’s a complete product in my head, a type of mania takes over — I just have to create whatever it is. It’s my life’s blood, to create.
4. What’s the best part about running your own business, and what’s the hardest part?
I get to make my own hours and set my own pace. I also get paid to make my own art, which is fan-freakin-tastic! The hardest part is it’s all on me to make sure I meet my own deadlines and stay relevant.
5. Tell me why you think it’s important for people to support small business? Is it especially important for people to support female-owned business (if so, why)?
Because you get something unique. When I would go on road trips in the 80s and 90s, everywhere I went was unique…the shops, the restaurants. They each had their own thing going on, and it was always original. I remember the huge corporate growth of the early 2000s here in California. All of the sudden, businesses were popping up in cookie cutter fashion. Nothing remarkable. Just the same thing in every town. No matter where I went here in California, I could always find a corporate owned, fluorescent light filled, life sucking, cookie cutter business. It lacked creativity, originality and soul.
Supporting small business is supporting the arts and self expression. It’s supporting the American dream. The idea that you can be anything you want. That you can pursue your dreams. As a woman it’s even more important. Because this is still a virtually new idea in our society, we as women business owners need to be seen and heard.
It shouldn’t be odd or groundbreaking. It should be the norm, because we have so many important things to contribute to society.
6. How can people follow/interact with you on social and purchase your products? And is there anything else you’d like to add or promote?
I would just like to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to be interviewed and share my art with the world. Please check our Instagram regularly for new products, and be sure to turn on the notifications on our profile so you don’t miss anything.