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Madison Style: Selah Vie wants to help people pause and reflect

Madison Style: Selah Vie wants to help people pause and reflect

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Selah Vie serves coffee, tea and sells artisan soaps from a historic red brick building in Mount Horeb.

The gallery and gift shop is a culmination of Debbie Haglund’s artisan soap business and her desire to create a family business and support local artists.

Haglund named the store Selah Vie as an homage to the French expression “C’est la vie.”

“It combines the Hebrew word “Selah” meaning pause or reflect with “vie,” the French word for life,” she said. “My mission is that you find that moment to pause every day from your busy life.”

The soap shop and art gallery includes a small coffee and tea bar where Haglund currently serves teas, chai and coffee from small roaster Metropolis.

The journey to the store began in Haglund’s home kitchen, where she perfected the art of making cold process soaps. In 2013, she created Selah Vie Soapery and sold soaps at local stores and online at etsy.com.

“Making soap has become a passion to be able to create beautiful ‘art’ by using different swirling and experimenting with natural coloring,” she said. “They become a piece of art. The more you use it, the swirls change and you see new patterns.”

Selah Vie soaps, salt bars, balms and bath bombs are made with no dye colorants, sulfates, genetically modified organisms, parabens or phthalates. A line of laundry soap and felted dryer balls has been especially popular, Haglund said.

Selah Vie has become a family business with Haglund’s daughters working in the store and creating labels and marketing for the store. Her youngest daughter sews custom mesh “soap sacks” to help preserve the longevity of the soap; and her son builds soap dishes from recycled wood.

The Selah Vie boutique contains two rooms of art, jewelry and small gifts. Haglund hopes to add a full espresso bar, meeting rooms in a lower level and fill the building’s expansive porch with cafe tables and live music. A recent visit found “Hunger Games”-inspired jewelry by Sue Smith, nature photography by Mount Horeb photographer Dennis Jon and a variety of handmade knit scarves, crochet washcloths and pottery.

Have an idea for a local store we should feature? Email features@madison.com.

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