Sunday, February 21, 2010

Handmade Features: A Star of Handmade Soap

There's nothing I love more than the fresh scent of handmade soap. In fact, I love pretty much everything about it. Nothing screams luxury like treating yourself to a five dollar bar of soap. When I buy handmade soap all I want to do is find an excuse to take a shower, and I love cutting little slices off the bar to put in the kitchen to wash my hands with.

In honor of my love of handmade soap I have decided to feature an etsy seller, who happens to make her own exquisite handcrafted soap from scratch. My first ever featured seller is Soap Star. A talented Canadian soap maker with a unique approach. She is located in Cobourg, Ontario. Pictured here is her Mint Choc Queen Vic bar that looks good enough to eat. Here's a little bit about Vicky at Soap Star.

How long have you been making your own handmade soap, and how did you become interested in soap making?

I guess I first became interested a few years ago after watching a reality TV show in England (of all things!). It involved a team challenge where they had to create soap products along with all the packaging, marketing etc.

I've always loved natural bath & beauty products, harnessing all the lovely good stuff from the wonderful world around us without the use of harsh chemicals - so imagine my delight to discover I could do it myself!

I chose the 'cold process' method because it really is from scratch, and I find the chemistry bit fascinating & exciting (my mum & 2 of my sisters were scientists, so some of it must have rubbed off...)

I've only quite recently taken the plunge in making handmade soap for others, after receiving SO many compliments & requests from friends & family for my creations.

How did you select your name and slogan?

Brainstorming with the family, I wanted something simple that said it all - the soaps are the stars.

I live in the beautiful beach town of Cobourg, on the breathtaking shores of lake Ontario - it's known as Ontario's 'feel good' town. 'act natural * feel good' captures that spirit, along with highlighting the natural ingredients element.

What is your favorite part of the soap making process?

oh, that's a tricky question...but I think I'd have to say the 'moment of truth' - when I remove a new creation from the mold (by mold, I mean a recycled juice carton!) and take that first slice. Hopefully a beautiful interior is revealed, though there's no guarantee!

Oh, and blending the essential oils is also a fabulous perk of the process, all those evocative aromas - heaven...

What would you like people to know about your products?

That they're all made with alot of love, thought& dedication. Each product is inspired by a wonderful neighbourhood that has made me feel good, my hope is that they will pass on a little bit of that happiness to someone else.

I'm committed to using the best natural ingredients I can, and where possible I use organic, and/or locally produced. I source everything including packaging with a conscience. Reduce, reuse & recycle!

What have you learned that you wish you had known at the beginning?

Patience! A really good soap is a bit like a fine wine...it can take a long time (over 4 weeks) to cure, so I've learnt to 'let it be' until it's truly ready.

I've also learnt that the cost of shipping within Canada is kinda hindering a huge wealth of creative talent that should be flourishing as small / hobby businesses. I urge fellow artisans to be positive, inventive and never give up.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Ahhh, cocoa butter (smells like white chocolate!), olive oil (my father was of Italian descent)
and all those mouthwatering citrus essential oils!

What would you tell someone who is interested in making handmade soap?

Go for it - it's addictive & very satisfying, not forgetting your skin will thankyou...
Read & research all you can first tho, (soapmakers are a very helpful, friendly bunch) there's alot to consider and the right safety equipment is a MUST - 'the science bit' (chemical reactions using caustic soda) can be hazardous. But hey, if you prepare properly there's no reason to be scared - you'll be SO glad you gave it a go!

Some more sellers of handmade soap that are worth taking a look at. Maple Creek Soap, Bovine Bubbles, and SV. Soaps

5 comments:

  1. Great interview, I think I am gonna be buying some soap in the very near future! Perfect amount of info. Nice Feature!

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  2. Thank you, Joannie! As with all your work, very stylish - a joy to look at. :-)

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  3. I love the titles soapstar has given to her products!
    Great first interview Joannie!

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  4. Great feature! Love handmade soaps as well.

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  5. This is a great interview! I hope to see many more!

    I've nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award: http://inspirationalbeading.blogspot.com/2010/02/poster-sketch-power-of-sunshine.html

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