Hueco Valley Soaps & Lotions is a local business that’s been selling handmade and organic skincare products at the El Paso Downtown Artist & Farmers Market for the past seven years.
Elizabeth Dominguez is the owner of the business and she makes the products herself with the help of her grandson, Justice Hill, who also helps with sales and marketing.
Dominguez came to the borderland when she was 13 years old but she knew how to make handmade soaps since way before.
“I can’t remember since when, but I was old enough to be trusted to be next to the fire from the stove,” Dominguez said.
The business’ best-selling soap is Zen Tree, according to Dominguez and Hill. Composed of brewed green tea, olive oil, palm oil, lye, coconut oil, cocoa butter, honey, lemon grass, eucalyptus and other essential oils, this bar soap is an exfoliator and can be used daily.
Dominguez mentioned that while she may not know everything about soaps, she believes that human bodies do not need all the chemicals that are thrown in regular soap products on the market. That is what ultimately inspired her to sell the natural products that she had made many years ago.
The Gonzalez family went shopping at last Saturday’s Downtown farmers market, making a stop at Hueco Valley’s tent. They have been customers of Dominguez for about four years now.
“My father died of skin cancer and since then we decided to look for natural options. We found these products and we love them,” said customer Edward Gonzalez “My wife’s favorite is the cherry almond soap bar and for my son, we always buy the goat milk lotion.”
Hill and Dominguez believe that supporting other local vendors is important; they obtain their apple cider vinegar from GoSo Snacks, honey from Ceballos Honey, beeswax from NM Desert Farm Anthony, mesquite powder from Mesquite Willie’s and seasonal gift bags from Crafts by Carrie.
All these vendors are from El Paso and New Mexico.
Veronica Zuniga from El Paso was shopping with her daughter and husband for the first time at Hueco Valley Soaps & Lotions.
“My daughter has very dry skin and we want to give her the best products, all natural and chemical free,” Zuniga said. “These bar soaps seem pretty good; we will see if they work on our daughter’s skin.”
Hill was born and raised in El Paso and he has been in the business with his grandmother since she started the business. After some time, he decided to start contributing to his grandmother’s business by making his own natural candles.
“I wanted to make my own products to be part of the business, you know, not only to help with the sales but to create my own things,” Hill said.
His candles are made of soy wax with the same scents that Dominguez uses for the soap bars.
Hueco Valley Soaps & Lotions does not operate at an established physical location. Instead, it moves from farmers market to farmers market while also selling some of its products at certain local shops.
“We are looking to start an online store. My grandma does not want an establishment but online would be perfect,” Hill said.
The products they sell every weekend at farmers markets include soap bars for hair, shaving, body, face, liquid soaps for hands, goat milk body lotion, lip balms, natural deodorants, bath bombs, candles and dog shampoo.
Justin Rodriguez, a U.S. Army staff sergeant stationed at Fort Bliss has been a customer of Hueco Valley Soaps & Lotions for about six months. His girlfriend introduced him to the products and since then, he has kept coming back to buy them.
“I noticed that my skin was getting very dry and I wanted to stop using chemicals on my skin. When we are in training, it is way easier to bring a bar of soap than glass or plastic bottles,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez mentioned that one of his favorite products is the lavender bar soap. He uses it before going to sleep and he has noticed that it helps him to relax and sleep better, especially after a long day of training in the army.
Hueco Valley Soaps & Lotions post on Facebook their monthly calendar on when and where the business plans to set up shop.
Maria Ramos may be reached at [email protected]