In the shadows of the Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, the next big business is already taking shape.

On the second floor of First Baptist Church, a small group of determined women gather each week to make soap and discuss strategies for how to sell more of their products. Each of their bars of soap is made by hand with organic products ideal for sensitive skin and has been flying off the shelves at the markets they’ve attended.

The company, M3:2 Soaps, started after a two-day class led by Texas Baptist Men Soap Ministry leaders who taught seven women how to make organic boutique soaps and principles of running a business.

Carmen Orona participated in the class because she wanted to learn something new.

“I never thought about myself as being able to make soap. To me, that was something unreachable. So when I heard they were coming, I said, ‘I want to do that,’” she said.

“They told us how we can get profit off of it if we work together. I liked that part too. I’ve never had my own business, but I always had the desire to have a business.”

The ladies are enthused to work together, splitting the profit equally amongst all of them. As they worked to create batch after batch of soap, they learned they do it well and began believing people would be interested in what they were making.

“We were excited,” Orona said. “We really like our project. When we first started making our soaps, we tried them on ourselves first. We really, really loved it. Then we started offering to other people.”

Dee Dee Wint, vice president of TBM Water Ministries, is encouraged by the growth of the ladies in the group. The transformation taking place in their lives is exactly what TBM is seeking to accomplish through its soap ministry.

“It is exciting to see this group of ladies enthused and growing in their skills and confidence,” Wint said. “This is exactly what we would like to see through the soap ministry — equipping people to be able to help themselves while encourage one another.”

The business is growing as is the ladies’ ability to help their families and improve themselves. Orona is using her share of the profits to take a business class.

“I’ve gained confidence,” Orona said. “I’ve been able to do more than I ever thought possible. I never thought of myself as a salesperson but this has been a challenge for me and I’ve put myself out there and really enjoyed it.”