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The newest Steve Harvey game show will feature a pair of familiar faces on its premiere episode Sunday.

Misti Morningstar and her 19-year-old son, Grant, have owned and operated Savage Soaps at 10 E. Church St. in downtown Frederick since 2010. In October, the pair went to Hollywood with an appearance on the premiere episode of “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome,” a new seed-funding competition reality show that airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

Comedian, actor and veteran television show host Harvey serves as the host, and the audience members are the “customers” who choose the winner of the seed money to help them launch and market the product.

“The show is about funding the American Dream,” said Leslie Garvin, the show’s executive producer, via email Wednesday. “An inventor can have an idea and get it funded by the crowd (the studio audience) to get it off the ground.”

The Funderdome, or Dome for short, is the stage where the aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs showcase their products in a business pitch presentation. The contestants are chosen via audition tapes, and each one goes head-to-head with another that makes a similar product. 


Savage Soap owners Misti Morningstar and her 19-year-old son, Grant, display a selection of the soap in the Church Street shop. Staff photo by Bill Green

At Savage Soaps, the Morningstars make and sell handcrafted, natural, vegan, olive oil soaps and skin products using “superior ingredients.”

While they are established business owners in Frederick, the mother and son have aspirations to showcase their products on a bigger scale. The pair said Thursday they were prohibited from revealing whether they won the money because the premiere does not air until Sunday, but they said they received some great exposure from being on the show and expect even more positive feedback after the episode airs.

“Most people would see that type of audition and say, ‘Wow, you get money,’ but what I think is really important is how many more people can be helped by us, through recognition of our product,” Grant Morningstar said.

The Morningstars, who both have acting experience, submitted an audition tape showcasing their products and mission and learned in early fall they had been chosen for the show. And while there was excitement, they were still unsure until recently of whether their segment would actually air.

“Sometimes they shoot things and they don’t air. That’s pretty common,” Misti Morningstar explained. “They called and emailed and said we were chosen, but we were not sure we would be on the show.”

From the time they got the good news to when they boarded a plane and filmed the episode in October, the Morningstars said they went through a long process of perfecting their pitch.

“We’d write down what we wanted to say, and they’d come back to us and suggest other things,” Grant Morningstar said of the process. “It was just back and forth all the way up to the start of the show.”

The suspense of whom the local soap makers would compete with continued until right before the show began taping as well. The two said they were in the studio with the other inventors, looking around wondering who their competition would be right up until they went onstage.

“We didn’t know anything,” Misti Morningstar said. “What the [television viewers] will feel is what we were feeling.”

According to the show’s website, Savage Soaps went up against the V-Smart Bar from Roswell, Georgia, “a holistic soap that helps keep a woman’s private parts fresh and clean.”

The actual experience of being on the show was exciting and energetic, Misti Morningstar said, and both she and her son said they had a great time.

“It was really high-adrenaline,” Misti Morningstar said. “The stage was really big energy and the audience was powerful, and Steve Harvey was funny, as usual.”

Garvin said in her email that producers chose Savage Soaps to be on the show because of both the product and the team dynamic.

“We loved the mother and- son team,” Garvin said. “The product is fun and a great idea.”

While Garvin, like the Morningstars, could not reveal whether Savage Soaps took home the seed money, she recalled what it was like meeting and working with the owners.

“They brought humor, passion and presented well,” Garvin said in the email.

Savage Soaps is also not the only Frederick business that received airtime in the Dome.

Misti Morningstar said Savage Soaps partnered with Frederick’s own Flying Dog Brewery, Monocacy Brewing Company and Dragon Distillery to make some specialty soaps that were part of the Funderdome pitch.

The soap makers use byproducts from the brewing and distilling processes to make some of their soaps. For example, for their Joust soap, the Morningstars take the leftover botanicals from the Joust Gin at Dragon Distillery to make the soap. Misti Morningstar said she and her son make the Monocacy Brewing soap from leftover oats from the brewers’ O’Honey Southside recipe.

“It’s important to us that we formed partnerships with Flying Dog, Monocacy Brewing Company and Dragon Distillery,” Misti Morningstar said. “We wanted to also incorporate that into what we’re doing because we want to help the community. This recognition, it’s not just about us. … We really want to bring that recognition to our partners.”


Steve Harvey, host of “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome,” talks with mother-son team Misti and Grant Morningstar, owners and operators of Savage Soaps in downtown Frederick, during the taping of the show’s premiere in October. Producers chose the Morningstars to compete on the first episode of the show with their handcrafted soaps. The local mother-son team traveled to Los Angeles to film the episode, which airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC. Courtesy Photo

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