By David Dye
The Herald, Sharon, Pa.
WWR Summary (tl;dr) After realizing how much fun they were having creating their own products, Gia Hart-O’Brien suggested to her mom that they start their own business.
Most 14-year-olds are concerned with school or chores, but this wasn’t the case for Gillian Hart-O’Brien, who opened a store Friday afternoon in Hermitage.
The soap shop Maison de Savon — French for “House of Soap” — owned and operated by Gillian Hart-O’Brien and her mother Gia Hart, of Howland, Ohio, started in their basement about three years ago after Gillian wanted to have a “spa” birthday party with her friends.
Gillian’s mother, Gia Hart, suggested they make some soaps themselves, which led to the mother-daughter team looking up recipes and experimenting with different soaps.
“We really got into it, and it was a great way to bond with my mom,” Gillian said.
After realizing how much fun they were having creating their own products, Gia suggested they started their own business— a business that started in their basement before growing into a store in Howland, Ohio, and eventually the new store in Hermitage.
At school, Gillian said some of her classmates think it’s “crazy” to imagine someone their age already not just dealing with school but also helping to run a business— a sentiment sometimes shared by customers, who are surprised to see someone so young ringing them up at the cash register.
However, being in the business for a few years has turned the day-to-day challenges into a routine, Gillian said.
“I get of lot of “how do you do it” or “that’s crazy,”” she said. “I never thought I would be doing this at such a young age but it doesn’t seem that crazy.”
When it comes to managing the stores, Gillian said her mother usually handles the business side of things while Gillian works around her school schedule. However, both mother and daughter share the workload, whether it’s creating the products, helping customers or working on labels.