Magnolia Soap and Bath Company is officially open in Midtown Village, and owner Megan Snyder Bynum said she expects the store to be people's only necessary stop for bar soap, bath bombs, laundry soap and so much more.

Magnolia first started in 2016 after Bynum had her first child. Her daughter was severely allergic to any types of perfumes, soaps and artificially or chemically-based products.

"I had been operating several salons, and we were making our own natural sugars and scrubs. One day, I had the idea to bring them home and modify them for my daughter," Bynum said. "She loved them, and so I decided to come back full circle and start selling it all on its own."

She opened up her first store in New Albany, Mississippi, and has since expanded to over 25 stores throughout the southeast. Locations stretch all the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Destin, Florida.

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"I lived in Tuscaloosa for two years," Bynum said. "I knew that I wanted to revisit the area when I started Magnolia. And Midtown was such an amazing area when I lived there, so the choice was easy."

Everything in Magnolia Soap Co. is plant-based, meaning it has no harsh chemicals, preservatives or dye. The soaps still maintain their vibrant colors thanks to the mica, a pigment powder derived from plants.

All the soaps use various natural powders to get specific shades as well. Bynum gave an example with the vibrant pink soaps, and explained that the color comes from acai berries.

Bynum said that Magnolia's best seller is bar soap, which comes in 70 different smells, with laundry soap and bath bombs coming in a close second. She said the laundry soap is particularly special because it'd designed to replace fabric softener, bleach, detergent and a dryer sheet all with just two tablespoons per load. On top of that, the store offers a home selection with things like candles, wax melts and room sprays.

The soap can be customized with any scent in the store. Most soaps are scented with fragrance oils free of phthlate or paragons, which are used in many commercial fragrances and has been known to cause agitation or migraines.

"What I want is for someone to walk in to a store and be overwhelmed by the smell, but not in an uncomfortable way," she said. "And if you love a particular smell, you have ways to have your whole house bathed in that same smell."

At the front of the store sits several large displays of the store's 12 most popular scents, which are rotated out regularly every three months. Bynum said right now, some of the top scents include "Vanity," which is a more masculine scent with a touch of musk and vanilla, "Magnolia," which leans heavy into a floral smell and "Lady Luck" which infuses the smell of oatmeal milk and honey.

Magnolia brands itself on "experience-based visits," Bynum explained. She emphasized that at her stores, she wanted customers to do more than just come in and buy the product. Everything seen in the store is made on site, and customers can see the process in real time. Magnolia also hosts parties where guests can come make their own bath bombs and soaps.

Bynum said she hopes the store will have an official grand opening after the start of the new year, with lots of exciting activities and specials apparently planned for the event.

Right now, Magnolia Soap and Bath Company is open in Midtown Village every day, Monday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 2-6 p.m.

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