Opening a store front in Downtown Texarkana didn't seem possible for Desiree Soco several years ago when she was a victim of domestic violence living in Louisiana. But a few short years later she's the proud owner of Desire's Sensual Soaps, located at 406 N. State Line Ave. in Texarkana, Ark.
Soap making was a personal mission that started in her kitchen as she tried to find solutions for the effect the local water was having on her skin.
"Texas water is totally different from water in Louisiana," she said. "It was breaking out mine and my daughter's skin so I started making soap and lotions at home. From there it was a snowball effect."
She found ideas on Pinterest for making soap and got both of her children involved. Both her son, 13-year old Tayton Aldridge and daughter, 10-year old Morgan Aldridge, are on the autism spectrum. She soon discovered that making soap helped with their sensory issues.
"I was trying to find something to stimulate their minds," she said.
Both kids are enthusiastic to help at the store. "Tay is the sales person. We're trying to get him speaking clearly and comfortable conversating so I stand back and let him talk to people," Desiree said. "Morgan has ADHD as well as autism so this helps keep her busy and gives her something to do."
Desire's Sensual Soaps interior is a nod to autism awarness. Puzzle pieces, a symbol of autism, are incorporated into the bright and cheerful decor around the shop.
"It has been an amazing experience. Especially helping Tay with his people skills. It helps my daughter because we use her energy to create something beautiful. I enjoy it because it helps them and it helps me too because now they enjoy taking baths," she said with a laugh.
The store has also been a revelation to Desiree about her own talents and potential.
"I wanted the store to be downtown because when I first arrived here I was one of the homeless down at Mission Texarkana. The first year I was here I was in hiding but I've been here two years now. I realized after 15 years of abuse I have no skills. I met my ex in high school. Coming from lawn chairs to our own place is amazing," she said.
The products in the store including the best seller 'Fluffy Stuff' a soft soap are made from all-natural products.
"The scents aren't overpowering," Desiree said.
Desire's Sensual Soaps is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.