Suds in the city
A California couple operates their bath and body product business from Jenks.
After much online success, Shannon and Justin Prokop opened the Fortune Cookie Soap store in 2012 in Jenks.
When Shannon and Justin Prokop began making soap to give as Christmas gifts, they had no idea the hobby would lead to a bath and body product business with an international reach.
Started out of their small California apartment, their now Oklahoma-based venture, Fortune Cookie Soap, launched online in 2009 with a single product in six fragrances.
In July 2012, the Prokops — Shannon is social media and marketing director, and husband Justin is product photographer — opened a retail shop in downtown Jenks.
Today, Fortune Cookie Soap has nine employees and offers more than 98 fragrances and dozens of product lines. Its brightly colored products are seasonally rotated, and the owners like to feature pop-culture trends.
The product names are immediate evidence of the Prokops’ spirited company and senses of humor. Hand sanitizer is known as “OCD,” and top fragrances have names like “Unicorn Farts” and “In the Loop” for soap with fruit cereal aromas. “Kryptonite” is a glow-in-the-dark bar soap. An ice cream-shaped bath fizzy is called a “gelato.”
Their main product is, of course, the hand-formed fortune cookie-shaped soaps that come with paper fortunes and imaginative packaging options, such as Chinese take-out boxes. None of it would have been possible without the Internet and social media, they say.
“I love being able to constantly have one-on-one interactions with my customers through social media,” Shannon says. “Their input provides lots of variety, changes and tons of fun.” Most of the company’s product lines have been responses to customer and employee suggestions, and the company even creates periodic contests for customers to help write new fortunes for their soap.
So, how did a business that could be anywhere land in downtown Jenks?
The Prokops’ decision to relocate was largely due to Justin’s family ties, and, after predicting the downfall of the California housing bubble, they decided to relocate to the “land of opportunity,” Shannon says.
Calling on their Oklahoma family connections, they began to look for a space that could not only serve as a manufacturing and shipping warehouse, but also could offer retail opportunities. After doing business from a warehouse for a few years, they decided it was time to open a storefront.
“We had outgrown our little manufacturing area,” Shannon says. “We had never really done a retail spot and thought, ‘If we’re going to do this, we might as well open up a retail store.’”
They describe downtown Jenks as “quirky” and say it suits them well. While their cute storefront is full of their whimsical products, it only represents 1-2 percent of their total business.
More important is the opportunity this location offers for the Prokops to interact in person with their customers.
Shannon credits the Jenks Chamber of Commerce with sponsoring promotional events that bring new patrons to the area. She says she is encouraged by the fact that the Main Street commercial district is beginning to diversify beyond antiques to other types of creative and artistic businesses.
Fortune Cookie Soap’s success continues to grow; its 2,000-square-foot warehouse near the Jones Riverside Airport handles package sales and orders for its quarterly “Soap Box” subscription that provides customers samples of eight new products.