Living the dream: The Soap Shop Co. Mauritius
Seven years ago, Lise Maujean had a dream – one which had been at the back of her mind for several years and was finally ready to come to fruition. Lise wanted to open her own shop selling fresh and handcrafted body and bath products made from all-natural ingredients, an idea which had grown during her travels abroad. So in 2007 she undertook a year of research into the soap-making process before producing her first soap in 2008.
‘I spent hours in shops like the Body Shop and others,’ she says. ‘On the internet, artisan soap makers’ blogs were absolutely beautiful and the desire to start my own small business and do something different, something that didn’t exist in the Mauritian market, grew stronger and stronger.’
They say the biggest companies started out small. ‘My first soap was made in my kitchen,” says Lise. ‘We’re proud to say that before us in Mauritius, no one made soap the way we do and it seems our small company is a source of inspiration to others. Other than soaps, we also produce body scrubs, nourishing body bars based on cocoa butter and shea butter, body mists, lip balms… People love what we do, Mauritians and tourists alike.’
Located in Curepipe, The Soap Shop combines passion with a sweet tooth and the desire to indulge others with its fresh and natural cosmetics. The products come into existence in a traditional grandma’s kitchen, far from the use of any fancy industrial machines, and are so appealingly scrumptious they could easily be mistaken for a tempting sweet delight.
The Soap Shop’s soap recipes draw from a range of beneficial natural ingredients like honey, white clay, dead sea mud, goat’s milk and green tea, as well as oils like avocado, coconut, olive and grape seed.
‘We make hand-crafted soaps that contain natural glycerine, a bi-product obtained naturally through the “saponification” process. Glycerine is what creates the lovely, silky, lathering feel that moisturises the skin. The cold process method takes the most time but is undoubtedly the best method for producing the highest quality soaps. The skin is the largest human organ as well as the body’s first line of defence against dehydration, weather changes, infections and harmful substances. Hand-crafted natural soap gives your skin the care it deserves by gently cleansing and locking in moisture.’
‘My inspiration comes from nowhere and everywhere,’ Lise says. ‘It comes to me from my thoughts, my imagination, my moods, my treats, my readings, a food recipe book…’
But the most unusual ingredient they’ve used turned out to be a special request from a friend.
‘Our customers will give us ideas which we implement sometimes,’ says Lise. ‘The most extravagant special request was when a friend of ours, a Hare Krishna devotee, came to us with a bag full of cow dung and asked us to make him a soap using the dung as a special additive. We were surprised at first, to say the least, but it turns out that cow dung soap is very popular in India for example, for its antiseptic properties, among others. It turned out to be a very nice soap… oh and by the way it smells very nice! We still make it for him from time to time.’
So next time you’re passing through Curepipe, or if you’re looking for a genuinely Mauritian hand-crafted souvenir to take home, be sure to pay the Soap Shop a visit. You’ll be welcomed in with open arms because, as Lise explains: I love what I do and I want to share it with everyone.’