Formerly homeless teen entrepreneur closes business to make soaps for people living in shelters

GIVING BACK: Donovan Smith

GIVING BACK: Donovan Smith

A FORMERLY homeless teen entrepreneur has closed his designer bath products business in order to focus entirely on making and donating soaps to people with nowhere to live.

Donovan Smith, 13, plans to make 600 soaps per month in order to give back to the shelters that helped him and his mum during a time when they would have been out on the streets.

“People helped us and now I want to help others,” Donovan told People. “It’s my way of saying thank you.”

Donovan and his mum, Casey Smith, fell onto hard times three years ago when Casey, a Navy veteran with a service-connected disability, couldn’t find work, and lost her housing in Georgia.

Donovan began producing soaps – both scented and unscented – formed into shapes ranging from realistic donuts, pies, hamburgers and ice cream cones to busts of Darth Vader – as well as traditional blocks.


TALENT: One of Donovan's creations

TALENT: One of Donovan’s creations

Word spread and neighbours began buying the soaps. Before long, Donovan turned his hobby into a business, Toil and Trouble Bath, and ran his own booth at a local crafts market.

At first, Donovan donated a portion of his profits to Henderson House, where he and Casey found their bearings. He also gave 310 soaps to the annual Project Stand Down & Hands Up, for Albuquerque veterans.

But the young soap maker still felt that he wasn’t doing enough.

Donovan, who served meals in a number of local shelters and used his own money to donate blankets, toothbrushes, combs, and diapers, kept asking what the shelters needed. The answer consistently came back: soap.

Rather than curtail his philanthropic efforts, Donovan shut down the business end of Toil and Trouble so he would have time to make and distribute the soap donations.


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