The Local Find: Toronto’s Own Terra Soap Co.Beauty
Stop by any farmer’s market or head online to craft maker sites and you’ll find all-natural beauty brands a plenty. Lots of eco-friendly local labels start as hobbies and can become household names.
One brand to watch, Terra Soap Co. is a fan favourite on Etsy Canada. Launched by Toronto-based maker Isola Stauch, Terra Soap Co. recently took part in the Etsy: Made in Canada event held at the MaRS Discovery District building in September.
I talked to the brand’s creator to talk about sustainability in beauty and at home, and how working with Etsy has helped her business.
*How did you start working with essential oils and making your own soaps?
I started working with essential oils the first day I started making soap for myself. Before my journey in soap making, I took a soap making course. It was a melt and pour course and we used fragrance oil. I knew right there and then that melt & pour or using fragrance oils was not for me. Essential oils are extracted by distillation, often by using steam and have been used for centuries, that appealed to me and I knew if I was going to venture in the soap making business, natural was the only way to go for myself and for my clients.
I started making my own soaps for personal use about six years ago. I bought a natural bar and I was hooked. I knew I had to learn how to make it. It was quite a journey because I knew I only wanted to make a soap that was natural. There are different methods of making soap. The one I believe creates the best quality bar of soap is called the cold process method. It creates gentle soaps that are cured over four to six weeks and produces a long-lasting bar with ultimate moisturizing. The benefits of natural soap ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil can be lost through the heating process in hot process soap techniques; the cold process method ensures these natural ingredients are better preserved.
*What does the name Terra mean to your brand? Why did you choose it?
Creating a name was the hardest part! I wanted a name that was meaningful to me and my Italian background. Terra in Italian means earth, land, so that spoke to me. My ingredients start from the land/earth and become something wonderful.
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*What does sustainability meant to you?
What sustainability means to me is how we might live in harmony with the world around us, protecting it from damage and destruction.
As I started doing more research about how I could make my products more sustainable, it was very important to me that every ingredient I used was as sustainable and natural as possible. At the beginning of my soap making I used Palm Oil, after about a year into it I learned that using Palm Oil was very devastating to the environment so I decided to stop using Palm Oil right away. This was not an easy task, it meant me changing all my recipes. In the last six months I’ve been on a quest to find a Palm Oil that’s hundred percent sustainable, it involves doing your research and getting to know the companies that are producing sustainable oils, asking questions! I’m not back to using Palm Oil in my soaps for now, but I’m happy there are sustainable companies out there that are making a big difference. It’s very important to me to know where all my ingredients are produced, how they are being produced and by who. My soaps are wrapped in a recycled material. I also use glass jars and PET jars.
*How has Etsy helped to build your businesses profile?
Etsy is definitely a good fit for my business model. I don’t have a web/e-commerce site, as I found it too expensive for my small business, so for now the Etsy pop up shop works for me! It gives me the traffic and exposure that I need. I definitely have a lot of growing to do on Etsy, but it’s a good start. I also love being part of the Etsy markets, which has definitely helped my business.
*What are your future plans for the brand?
Expanding my knowledge and sales on Etsy. Invest in a web/e-commerce site. I’m presently looking at wholesale, selling in a few retail stores. Continuing my research on sustainable ingredients to make sure my quality remains high in my products.
Stauch of Terra Soap Co. also makes bath salts, face oils and mud masques. Shop her line here.