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Denali Dreams Soap Company Manufacturer of the Year

(Juneau, AK) — The State’s Made in Alaska program has named Denali Dreams Soap Company its Manufacturer of the Year for 2012. Denali Dreams Soap Company of Anchorage is a prime example of an Alaska business succeeding in a challenging economy.

Barbara Marsh and Janie Taylor started Denali Dreams in 1997. Growing up in Minnesota, Barb came to Alaska in 1978 with a work history that included cooking, which came in handy when she began making soap. Janie grew up in Northern California, and came to Alaska in 1983. The idea for the business began when Janie returned from visiting friends in New Zealand who introduced her to the art of soap making and shared the concept with friend Barb.

The first year, Denali Dreams successfully sold six varieties of soap and 1,600 bars. The business gradually grew to offer 30 varieties in 2012, and sold more than 60,000 bars. Quickly growing out of Barb’s kitchen, Denali Dreams moved its six employees and the operation to its current location on Spenard Road. As the company expanded, the owners involved their five children and those of the employees to learn and participate in all aspects of the business from operations to sales.

The Made in Alaska program identifies and promotes the purchase of products manufactured and/or crafted in Alaska, ranging from small gift items to large industrial products. Through program workshops, webinars, and collaboration with other organizations, the program provides educational training and basic marketing techniques to help business owners increase sales. The program is run by the Division of Economic Development (DED) within the State Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED). Products that meet program criteria are eligible to use the polar bear mother and cub logo.

"Denali Dreams Soap Company has held a Made in Alaska permit since their inception in 1997,” said Lorene Palmer, DED Director. “We have watched them grow and expand their product line, move to larger facilities, and hire Alaskans. They truly represent Made in Alaska with their 'can do' attitude.”

More information about the Made in Alaska program can be found online at www.madeinalaska.org. For additional information about other DED business development programs, please visit www.commerce.alaska.gov/ded/.

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