In the past 3 years, we might have washed our hands for thousand or million times. Did you notice how many plastic bottles of alcohol gel and hand wash soap were created? Simply turning hand washing fluid into hand-made soap bars produced by local enterprises could be a great kick-starting your sustainable lifestyle and work together to make our earth a better place. In this Issue 09 Eco With Attitude interview, Karina, the founder, creative director of Soap Yummy and also our Distinctive Actor, becomes our guest and shares her story of creating natural soap and clean beauty products according to the corporate motto of 'Yummy to the skin & Gentle to the earth'.
I want to create a brand that is friendly to the skin and the environment. Good for people and our planet, from natural ingredients to packaging.
#1 What inspired you to start your zero-waste lifestyle in 2017? How did you find Soap Yummy?
I first learned about the concept of zero waste through the TED talk of Lauren Singer which inspired me a lot. It led me to start writing my blog “Pledge to Nature” on sharing zero waste living, what I have purchased sustainable products and my DIY ideas as a hobby during my last year at university.
I was already doing different skincare products on my own, and before the pandemic, I love traveling to Thailand to visit their flea markets and purchase their local soaps. Since I love soap a lot, I started learning how to make it as it was easier to start, control, and change to different varieties with the recipe.
And I recalled the first flavor of Soap Yummy is Tofu Fa (a Chinese dessert made of tofu, like tofu pudding) as I love eating and wanting to infuse the concept of food flavor into handmade soap, and that’s how Soap Yummy was created.
There are two different types of clients who love “Taste of Hong Kong” a lot, since lots of people are immigrating to overseas, they would buy it as a gift. Another type of customer who loves Tofu Fa a lot for personal use, as it is made of soy milk, which is very gentle on the skin. I found some customers come to us first as they have sensitive skin, and I would recommend Tofu Fa soap for them and they found their skin type has been improved afterward.
#2 The motto of Soap Yummy is 'Yummy to the skin & Gentle to the earth', how did you come up with this idea to use natural food as the ingredients to make soap?
This is the core value of Soap Yummy since day 1. I want to create a brand that is friendly to the skin and the environment. Good for people and our planet, from natural ingredients to packaging.
#3 Any memorable stories with Soap Yummy?
It’s about the messages that I receive every day from customers which are very touching, and satisfying. One of my customers was keeping having acne and needed to take retinoic acid which led to dry lips. She has tried multiple brands which could not solve the dryness until she used Soap Yummy Natural Lip Balm.
There was a customer who organized a birthday party for his wife with my handmade soap workshop, and his wife came to me that she used my products for years, we have chatted via Instagram for a while but never met until at her party.
And Soap Yummy is often chosen as a wedding gift, the first customer was a member of The HIVE (I used to work here and same as the interview place today), and a few days ago, she contacted me again for making soap with her breast milk, as this is helping to smooth the skin.
#4 After you met #INVISIBLEPUFF, any changes to the packing when you ship products to customers?
I started with basic on day one, it was a kraft paper box with a stamp, using paper to wrap the soap and shredded paper. And now, I use #INVISIBLEPUFF for shipping as it is more protective during delivery rather than shredded paper.
#5 You have created many unique flavors and senses in your work, such as Tofu soap, can share more about your inspirations and cultures that apply to your soap art?
My inspirations are all based on my personal life experience. Such as the “Taste of Hong Kong” with Ginger Oatmilk Pudding and Black Sesame Soap which is a fun and interesting collection, that infuses our food cultures in Hong Kong.
Another inspiration is from the traveling experience, one of the hero products is the Donut & Bagel Soap, it was inspired by my New York trip, I always look for local food and flavor in the morning. The next inspiration could be from Thailand, Taiwan, or anywhere else.
And Soap Yummy has other soap made of coffee grounds, it was inspired by my working experience in The Hive, as I saw many coffee grounds were created and wasted every day, from that moment, I started looking for a solution to upcycle them. And afterward, I went to ask coffee shops for collecting the coffee grounds. Besides, supporting local businesses is another effective way to start a sustainable lifestyle.
#6 Any upcoming plans?
Soap Yummy was created in April 2019, and 3 years later, I want to launch a shampoo bar and pet products and extend the product line by end of 2022. Apart from making soap and organizing workshops for both personal and organizations, I am planning to share my experience about entrepreneurship and sustainable lifestyle with other brands or small businesses who also want to make candles or soap.
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