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Greetings, I’m Aliya, a Brisbane based artisan soap maker. I make soap for weirdos!
Sailor Mouth Soaps began back in 2009, almost completely by accident. I had just recovered from a broken leg (roller derby!) and was itching to get out of the house. I ended up at my local library, thinking I’d try my hand at native gardening and instead, found a misfiled book on soap making. I borrowed it out, read it cover to cover and within a few days, I’d placed an order with an online soap supplies store and the obsession was born.
Crafting a brand that aligns with my ethics is really important to me. Just having something that looks cool isn’t enough, so every ingredient and supplier is researched carefully to make sure it’s what I say it is. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation out there about what vegan or cruelty-free actually means and especially around the ingredient, palm oil. I’ve seen many people say their products are palm oil-free but they clearly contain derivatives. It’s a complex topic so, with my background at an ethical skincare retailer and my own research spanning nearly 10 years, my customers can be assured they’re getting legit cruelty free products.
I make two different types of soap right now (with more to come). Glycerine soaps aka ‘melt and pour’ and Cold Process soap, using the traditional method with lye. This allows me to create a wide range of products, based on look or feel or function. My soap toolkit would look pretty weird to the uninitiated. Stick blenders, toothpicks, pottery tools, make up brushes, syringes, pipettes. It’s like a cross between a pottery shop, a commercial kitchen and a laboratory.
The process itself is fairly straightforward when you’re beginning, both methods are just like following a recipe. But the real art begins when you learn the basics and start incorporating other methods into your work and really get to grips with your ingredients. Seconds count and temperature as well. All of those things I can either see, feel or anticipate now whereas in the beginning, there was a lot of failed batches and major learning experiences. Now, when I make soap, it’s almost like a dance. Moving here to there, with rhythm. It’s not hard to do at least 7,000 steps when I have a big soaping day. When I really have to get cracking and have a lot of orders, I love listening to industrial music because the beat makes me move like a happy little machine.
It sounds so random but being a soap maker is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. I love the artistic outlet and practical nature of soap. Having special little creepy and cute soapy treats around the house makes me smile. I'm a bit of a clean freak so making and using soap suits me perfectly.