Soap Studio Inc.
Michelle of Soap Studio Inc. demonstrated soap making to a group of spouses at my husband’s office. We got lucky as she is a good friend to one of the spouses. I am not a crafty person, but I enjoy learning new things. Also, I have hand eczema which reacts to a lot of soaps, especially liquid soaps with lots of additives. Soap Studio Inc.’s handmade soaps are natural, so my friend who went with me suggested that I get her soaps.
I have been a big fan of a handmade soap company from Mumbai called Gia Bath and Both Works founded by Gayatri. My kids love Gia Bath and Body Works cupcake soaps and cake soaps. Gia has an online shop, but I have shopped from Gia Bath and Body Works at The Lil Flea pop-up market in Mumbai. Michelle also makes pretty soaps in cupcake shapes, so that intrigued my curiosity.
Michelle is an expat living in Mumbai. Out of her passion, she started making soaps at home some time ago. She had lived in Dubai for many years prior to shifting to India for her husband’s job. While having worked in Dubai, she also learned how to make soaps and started up her handmade soap business there.
Having being an expat myself for over 10 years, I have seen many talented trailing spouses who started their own businesses. They had to quit their jobs or have given up their careers in order for them to follow their spouses’ job assignments overseas. Unless you have a portable career or own your own business, it’s hard to continue with a career or work to earn money when you are the one to follow your partners’ jobs overseas. However, following your spouses overseas is a grand opportunity for the trailing spouses to pursue their passions.
I have seen some expat spouses change their career paths and establish their new directions after pursuing their passions while living overseas. I have always been inspired by entrepreneurs and those who live their life doing what they love like Michelle. While I understand that it is a luxury, it’s also easier said than be done. However, when you become an expat through your spouse, if you focus on what you love and pursue it, it is possible. In many cases, it is very difficult to work and earn money as a foreign national on a dependent visa anyways. There are many things you can do as a trailing spouse overseas and you should follow your heart.
In Japan there is a saying. “If you do what you love, you exceed in the skill of doing it.” (Japanese: Suki koso mono no jouzu nare.) I see that in Michelle’s work. You can tell how much she loves making soaps. She is a very sweet person and thought a lot about soap making to make it environmentally and ethically correct. Also, she uses the ingredients that you can get in most places in the world when she teaches so that people who learn how to make soaps from her can go anywhere in the world to keep making soaps. I was fascinated by the process and inspired by her passion.
She used 3 kinds of oil: olive oil, coconut oil, and ricebean oil. I learned a few things like if you add too much coconut oil in the soap, it’ll dry out your skin than it moisturizes. The temperature difference between the oil and lye solution (sodium hydroxide) needs to be exact, so you have to keep taking the temperature (with the machine you see in the photo below). After soaps are made, they have to sit for 6 weeks until you can use them. There are many more that she mentioned. She added that soap making requires patience. It is a process and Michelle’s work demonstrates how patient she is.
When making soaps, you use sodium hydroxide (also known as lye) which solidifies the soap. Sodium hydroxide is highly caustic which means that it attacks materials like metal and when it comes in contact with skin, it causes chemical burn. I’m scared of any chemicals like that. That is why Michelle uses masks and gloves in order to protect herself. The magical part of soaps made with sodium hydroxide is that after 6 weeks, the sodium hydroxide dissipates. I don’t know how or why, but the point is that soaps made with this chemical would not contain the chemical elements when they are ready to be used. By the way, this reminded myself of my clumsiness. My husband knows it well. That is the reason why I never really fostered love in Chemistry when I was in school.
She gives classes to small groups. If you are interested in buying her products or her soap making workshop, please contact her directly.
SOAP STUDIO INC.