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“It’s for a tiny group of women…and not everyone will like it.”

by Cheryl Fork

An Intellectual Style Newsletter, with tips for living your best (real) life.


I am taking my company, FORK & MELON, in a new direction. You can check out the new website here. Today’s issue of Soap AF is my attempt to explain the reasoning behind the shift, and to give a hint of what is coming…

Dear Reader,

I’ve told versions of why I originally started FORK & MELON a myriad of times since its initial launch back in 2018, but I’ve never publicly shared the depth of what went into the decision. The “FULL WHY”. It wasn’t something I decided to do on a whim (as mentioned in my last issue, that’s not really my MO). Instead, it felt like I didn’t have a choice – like I had to. Being in a place in my career where I had enough experience under my belt to think I could (but not enough to know how hard it is to start something from scratch and thus be scared off), a lifelong interest in fashion/beauty/skincare, and a desire for things I use to be healthy and “clean” were all contributing factors to my clean soap brand’s founding. But at its core, the inception was largely the result of being shocked and grief-stricken over the events that happened to me during that time.

When I first sat down to write this announcement of sorts about FORK & MELON, the events surrounding its beginning started pouring out onto the page from me in a way I haven’t shared before.

But later that night it dawned on me: I’m not sure you’re here for all that right now? Ha. I feel like we’re already holding enough at any given moment.*

I want to protect the “enjoyable-ness” of this newsletter, so you always look forward to opening it. So with that in mind, I’ll spare you the emotional outpour for now, in favor of a much simpler recap of why I started FORK & MELON (for those of you who don’t already know):

I was looking to “detoxify” the products we were using in our home, largely driven by struggles my husband and I were having with fertility. Some of the products were easy to swap out for healthier versions – but I couldn’t find a hand soap that 1) was made with clean ingredients AND 2) came in a bottle that would look nice in my bathroom. I’ve always been aesthetically driven. The healthier hand soap selections at the time all seemed to be packaged in a variety of “granola”-type bottles you might find at Whole Foods. So I decided to create a beautiful (& refillable) soap bottle, that was filled with healthy, hydrating soap. In addition to a commitment to personal health and style, I also wanted to do better for the health of the planet and society (still do). That’s the basic gist.

Fast-forward more than 5.5 years later, and FORK & MELON is still in business. We’ve garnered press from impressive outlets including Forbes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, MyDomaine & others. Select boutique hotels across the country offer F&M products to their guests. Most importantly, we have a loyal customer base of people who love the products. All without taking outside investment and while keeping the integrity of our family-owned business.

But business conditions have dramatically changed from when I first started. The “clean beauty” movement has really taken off since F&M launched, which is great! But offering clean ingredients isn’t the differentiator it once was. FORK & MELON will always be committed to offering healthy hydrating formulas in a more sustainable way – but that is table stakes for us.

And, even though they’re the best (IMO), talking about our formulas all day can get quite…boring. At the end of the day, we’re talking about soap.** From the very beginning, my desire has been to “bring clean luxury to your daily routine without making it complicated.” It’s about how it makes your skin feel and how it makes you feel. Experiencing the subtle scent, and the peace of mind knowing it doesn’t come from sketchy synthetic fragrance ingredients.*** More ease in our overly complicated lives, please.

Another thing that bores me is constantly trying to sum up “my story” and talk about myself all day long. Soap AF, issue #8 (what you’re reading now) is my attempt to tell my story, in order to explain the provenance of the new direction the brand will be taking. And then hopefully we can all move on to the next thing.

After having my daughter, it took quite a while to start feeling like myself again****. This new version of myself that was the same me I had always been, but that now includes the identity of mother. I mentioned this in my original intro of this newsletter.

And as I’ve struggled to plan the future for FORK & MELON in a very difficult market, while wrestling with multiple new roles, I’ve come to realize a few things more fully during this slow return to myself:

1. I want to continue creating things (and words) that I love, and I want to share them.*****
2. When you create, if you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one.
3. At my core, I’m an artist.

After a lot of reflection, I’ve decided to take the brand in a more focused direction. You could say I’m going back to my roots. Speaking to a more specific group of people. Like I speak to friends in real life. (I’m already doing this with this newsletter.)

What’s in the works for FORK & MELON now is something new. Something with style at the forefront…hand soap as a form of expression.

A more fully realized fusion of soap and personal style…

FORK & MELON is now…clean luxury soap, aka soap for fashion people.

Fashion for your sink.



Stay tuned for what’s to come. And in the meantime, check out the new website that better reflects our brand identity.

You might be part of the tiny group that it’s for.

With love xoxo,

P.S. If you've made it to the end of this and it doesn't resonate (or if it just sounds silly), but you've been a customer with us (and/or if you just want clean, hydrating, simple, & sustainable******* body care products that are good for you and your whole family)…F&M is still here for you!!! And we love you.

It's for a tiny group of women, and not everyone will like it..png__PID:1feafbf2-009a-4101-85e2-b75262cee43b

*I just saw that clip recently – love! The poet’s book is here.

**More specifically, it’s a hand soap, body wash, and bubble bath – all the same clean, luxurious formula! How simplifying, and easy to buy and refill! We also have hand/body cream. And hand sanitizer. And a beautiful shampoo and conditioner that is currently only available to hotel clients.

***My husband and I stayed at The Guild Hotel downtown a few months ago (it was lovely) and they stocked a more well-known luxury soap brand in our room. The scent was perfect for a romantic stay, but very strong. Now that we’ve detoxed from synthetically fragranced products, my nose is no longer used to them – I felt like every time I washed my hands my nose was being blasted with fragrance chemicals. The scent was still noticeable on my husband’s hoodie days after we got home – not normal! Though it did evoke fond memories as it was tossed in the wash.

****I know this is not uncommon. The Cut published 2 somewhat contradictory articles on this topic in just the past week or so – I didn’t find them compelling enough to link to, but mention because this “motherhood identity” topic continues to be talked about a lot. More to say on that another time.

*****You may have heard of The Practice, The Creative Act, or The Artist’s Way, but have you heard of my daughter’s current favorite book, The Smart Cookie that her aunt gave her?! “I had done it. I’d created something and shared it with the world. Well…my world, at least.”

******As I mentioned in my first intro of this newsletter, I wrote “soap as fashion” down on the back of one of my old paper business cards, as kind of a lightbulb moment but also kind of a passing thought, before my daughter was born. The business card has been sitting on my desk ever since. 2 years after I wrote it, I had the idea for this newsletter. And now it’s continuing its emergence into the world…!

*******We have some exciting new things coming on that front as well.

********Apologies for the borderline unreasonable number of footnotes on this one. Xo

^Image credit to Cabmate/Instagram.

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and nothing in my newsletter is meant to constitute or substitute for medical advice. I am sharing my personal experiences with hope that it is helpful, and for general informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. FORK & MELON and its affiliates shall not be liable for any information provided here. Always seek the help of a medical professional for your individual health needs!

Please note, any products I share are things I actually use and/or are genuine recommendations of mine. I may earn a small commission if you purchase through one of the links above. I work hard to produce this newsletter and make it as enjoyable and useful as possible. Purchasing via the links in this newsletter helps to support its continuation (at no extra cost to you). I really appreciate it!

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