Kingsport comedian sells soap to help with Australia fires

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – What do soap and comedy have in common with the bush fires in Australia?

A guy from Kingsport who wants to help.

Hunter Roberts took some of his first steps into sobriety in search of a way to occupy his mind. He decided to try his hands at crafting, and his second attempt eventually led to open an online soap store – Clean & Sober Soap Co.

“I went from having never made soap in my life to owning a soap company a month and a half later and it’s been kind of an intense ride ever since,” he said. “It’s been great, it’s been absolutely fantastic, it’s been definitely a learn-as-I-go experience.”

Kingsport native Hunter Roberts is making soap to raise some funds for the Australia bush fires.

Roberts, a comedian, found a way to lace some humor into the endeavor too – his first limited edition soaps arrived with a cocktail theme.

He learned that he couldn’t fuel his budding soap empire full time, so he developed a new strategy of developing limited-edition releases about once a month.

“It helps me out tremendously because I’m on the road a lot as a comedian,” he said. “I make the limited edition batches and I sell them and I get to kind of take a break.”

Since then, he’s released several limited-edition soaps with different themes ranging from a pink, floral soap inspired by Taylor Swift to Thanksgiving soaps carrying scents of pecan pie and cranberry sauce.

After weeks of hearing about the bush fires in Australia, Roberts said he decided to see what he could do with his company to help.

“The world is on fire, literally, and people want to help, but people don’t know how to help, and that’s the conclusion I came to,” he said.

He created “Australia,” a bright, blue bar of soap with a concoction of eucalyptus, sandalwood, sunscreen and ocean air.

In less than a week, he’s made 30 pounds of soap and raised about $200. He said he intended to sell the soap for a week, but the popularity of the soap warranted a change of plan.

“I want to do something, I know it isn’t much, but it’s doing something, and doing something’s better than doing nothing,” Roberts said.

The soap, listed for $6 on his ETSY store, is still selling a week later, and Roberts said he’ll continue making it for now.

It’s not the first time he’s made a soap for charity – proceeds from his Taylor Swift soap went to help a friend diagnosed with cancer, and he used the money made from his Christmas soaps to benefit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

For him, that’s another facet that keeps him in the soap shop.

“It’s something that’s keeping my mind active when it usually would have been thinking about much more self-destructive things,” he said, sliding into his brand of humor. “Now it’s about trying to help people rather than destroying my own self.”

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