SNIPPETS: Rough Beauty Vegan Handcrafted Soaps

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For our first instalment of our weekly crafter’s interview we explore the world of vegan handcrafted soaps, with Rough Beauty a Singaporean based company that uses only natural ingredients to create wonderful soaps that are gentle on the skin. Jay the founder and soap maker tells us what its like to be a Singaporean soap maker.

Hi,Jay thanks for doing this interview. So the first question is what makes Rough Beauty’s soap different from store bought ones?

Our soaps are handmade without harmful chemicals (such as SLS) and do not contain synthetic fragrances and colours etc. {Sodium hydroxide is used in the traditional soapmaking process but it will react with oil and saponify, forming soap.} We use natural ingredients such as essential oils, spices and herbs for the various scent and textures and we are vegan-friendly.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Hmmm.. it started out with me trying out simple concoctions for hair care and it led to the experimentation with soapmaking. I guess from there it became a fun hobby that slowly grew. It’s been a year since I started introducing the soaps to my friends and almost a year since I shown them to the public. I would think that the crafting scene is definitely growing and it’s a pretty encouraging community!

So what’s the long term goal for Rough Beauty ?

I’m currently doing this business more on a part-time/hobby basis and am still trying to decide where it will go. I do aim to have my own studio space someday and I hope that while running this business, people will be educated on the benefits of handmade soap.

What have you found a challenge to deal with ?

Finding a space to store all my stuff! Everything is all over in the kitchen and in my room. :/

What is your most popular product and why?

Ashberry, aka volcano soap?
It’s a volcano-looking thing with different shades of charcoal and scented with a blend of tea tree, juniper berry and bergamot. It’s a crowd favorite! I guess people like it for its unique, rugged look?

Have you been teaching your skills to others? And if so what has that experience been like?

I have conducted some sessions of soap crafting. It features a different method (melt and pour, instead of the traditional cold process) and is a good intro to the craft for individuals. It’s been good fun although the first time made me nervous. It’s something I would do again because it’s meaningful to share what I know about handcrafted soap and to see people come up with their own creations and get excited about it. And getting to meet cool and make friends make it all the more fun too!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from running your own business?

I don’t know which is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt but there are definitely many smaller ones; about running a small business, about building and maintain relationships and about myself. I’ve become more trusting of my own path and am able to encourage my friends to follow theirs too. It’s all a result of many tiny steps taken. And it helps that I have a supportive family, boyfriend and friends who have been helping me test soaps and in the logistics part of my events and workshops.

Rough Beauty soaps can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/roughbeautys
Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roughbeauty

SNIPPETS is a weekly segment of the Shophous Sixtyfive blog which explores small businesses and crafters in Singapore
Find out more HERE