Sean Selecman wears many hats: he's a firefighter, a musician (in two bands), a father and a soap maker.

Selecman owns Gunslinger Soap, a online store where he sells handmade charcoal soap, beard care and shaving tools. While he's a trained firefighter and musician, his soap-making endeavor happened almost accidentally.

"Originally, it started as an experiment with my daughter. It was supposed to be a one-time thing," Selecman said. "We made soap just as a project, and everybody that tried it loved it and just kind of blossomed from there."

What started as a small project in 2015 has grown into a profitable business Selecman now runs with his brother, although "it's been busy enough that it's probably become more than a two-person operation," he said. While Selecman tests out the shaving soap and razors Gunslinger offers, his brother, Matt, is able to handle the hairier experiments.

"He tests out all the beard stuff. He's got a nice, big beard and he's actually got long, curly hair so he tried the oils in his hair as well," Selecman said.

Gunslinger offers five men's and three women's soaps, all of which contain activated charcoal. Selecman's first batches did not contain the black powder, but a request from a potential business partner for black soap led him to experimenting with the ingredient. When he took leftover bars to the fire station, he discovered charcoal's cleansing properties.

"We had a fire one day and I used (the charcoal soap) and it got rid of the fire smell completely," Selecman said, pointing out smoke odor usually takes a couple showers to wear off. "From there, I researched charcoal and how good it is for the skin, and since then that's all I used. I got quite a few guys at work who use it for the same reason."

Gunslinger Soap is available at Hy-Vee and The Lucky Tiger in St. Joseph, and Selecman wants to concentrate on getting his products into more stores outside the area. Gunslinger also ships nationwide, Hollywood included.

"There's some events we've done, like Crypticon here in St. Joseph. It's always a huge event with a great turnout and they always have some celebrities there," said Selecman, who gives the actors gift baskets when he gets an autograph and photo with them. "A lot have come from there and they are really good customers."

Despite Gunslinger Soap's success, Selecman does not want to give up firefighting.

"I don't have any intention of making a job move because I love my career," he said. 

Selecman's secret to juggling all of his obligations? Being as efficient as possible.

"As bad as multitasking sounds, any time you're waiting for something, you can be getting other things done," he said.

To see all products Gunslinger offers, visit

Jessica Kopp can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter: @NPNOWKopp