Release | Shizuko Kosuna
SAVON de SIESTA, the handmade soap brand using natural ingredients
SAVON de SIESTA is the soap brand which uses ingredients from Hokkaido, follows the oldest method to produce soap in the world, and mature for one month. Their concept is “the moment to ease your mind” and produces soap, skin care products, shampoos, etc. I interviewed Ayako Tsukeshiba, the founder of SAVON de SIESTA about their products, history, and feelings towards creating the products.
From chemistry to soap makingThe beginning of soap making for Tsukeshiba was her rough skin. When she was studying in the science graduate school, she was troubled by her weak skin; it got rough easily from commercially available skincare products. She encountered to a book about soap making at that time and realized she could make her own soap by using vegetable oil and alkali easily. For Tsukeshiba, who was studying chemistry in university, soap making seemed very simple. As soon as she started using the soap she made in her house, her skin got much better, and her life changed completely in a positive way.
▲Ayako Tsukeshiba, the founder and the president of SAVON de SIESTAさん
When she started soap making, it was the time when she was thinking about future. “I am not a researcher type person. I want to have a job which I can communicate with people.” Tsukashiba thought.
Then she started to think that, “We use soaps every day. I want to deliver soaps which make people happy with bubbles and aroma, and wash not only their body but also their mind.”
“I always liked baking. I liked chemical reactions from eggs and flours when I bake, and that was the reason why I majored chemistry. To me, soap making is like baking. I can add joy when I give it as a present.”
She founded “SAVON de SIESTA”, a soap brand for sensitive skins, in 2005. In 2009, she opened a flagship shop “Siesta Labo”. The shop and studio along Shiden-Dori Street opened in 2014. All the soaps sold in the shop is produced in the studio next to the flagship shop.
Delivering “the moment to ease your mind”The concept of soaps from “SAVON de SIESTA” is “delivering the moment to ease your mind in everyday life.”
“I want to deliver encouragement to make people feel ‘today was a good day’ or ‘I will do my best tomorrow, too,' rather than soaps or skincare products itself. “ Tsukeshiba told me.
▲The regular product goat milk soap. (1,070yen, mini-size 270 yen) The soap is really moist, and it can be used to baby skin.
▲The no.1 product red bean soap (1,070 yen, mini-size 270 yen), uses red bean produced in Tokachi region in Hokkaido. It thoroughly removes dirt from pores by the ingredients in red beans and powder.
Handmade soap using the oldest method in the world“SAVON de SIESTA” do not put on a heat and uses saponification processing or cold processing. They rest the soap for 40 days. They close in the moisturizer to the soap, which makes people feel strong moisture when they use it. Face feels moisturized and won’t feel dry even right after washing. The soap uses only natural ingredients and does not use chemicals at all. Also, there is no antiseptic in the soaps, so they set the use limit for 2 years to their products.
▲The soaps rest in the studio at the back.
▲The staff is removing unnecessary soap on edge by hand before packaging.
Soaps which can be only made in HokkaidoTsukeshiba told me that her base in creating soaps is delivering attractions of Hokkaido. She came to Hokkaido from Ibaraki Prefecture when she was a student. I asked what part of Hokkaido she likes.
“First of all, lots of nature and distinct seasons. The balance of the size of city and nature is really great. Also, people are nice. Many people do what they want, and I feel like Hokkaido is the place where multiple lifestyles are accepted. I feel that my work style is achieved because I am in Hokkaido. “ Tsukeshiba told me.
How is Tsukeshiba’s work style like?
“For example, the starting point of the product ‘Hatsuyuki (first snow)’ was the moment I saw the crystal of snow in Hokkaido. It was extremely beautiful, and I wanted to deliver my feelings. That turned out to the product ‘Hatsuyuki (first snow)’”.
▲“Hatsuyuki (first snow) 1,080 yen is one of Sapporo Style products.
“All the products have stories behind. I put lives of Hokkaido nature and materials producers into my soaps. And I try to tell the story to my customers when I sell the soap. By doing this, I am hoping the soap become an opportunity to learn a new aspect about Hokkaido or to come back to Hokkaido again.”
To be more specific?
“I am using fir tree essential oil from Shimokawa Town. It is hard to know about partner producers unless I actually visit the site so at first, I went to Shimokawa Town to see their work. What I discovered was that they make use of all trees: core becomes to lumber, branches to sawdust, and leaves to essential oils. Not only that, but they were also doing tree planting for the next generations. They were operating ecological forest management.
I try to eagerly introduce the producers’ attitudes by explaining directly to customers or putting on my blog. By doing that, customers who got interested actually visit Shimokawa Town to experience making essential oil. The mutual communication is achieved. “
The seasonal products with storiesSAVON de SIESTA creates lots of seasonally limited products.
“Our feelings change depending on the seasons, right? In spring, we feel like relieved of our worries and in winter, we try to protect from snow. I would like to make something to sit near those seasonal feelings and support our customers. I want customers to feel ‘thank god I had SAVON de SIESTA products.' I imagine the scenes of customers using the soap, so I spend almost a year to create one product. It takes only a day to make soap making recipe, but I write notes about my feelings of each moment and what aroma I would like to have. Those will be my hints to create products in the next year. Therefore, I need at least a year.”
▲The seasonally limited products in the shop. The shop’s recommendation from spring to summer is “SUN PROTECT LOTION” to protect the skin from UV.
▲“White birch and sunny spot” series are limitedly sold in May. It contains sap from birch in Hokkaido and honey. The soap is 1,512 yen. The series also have skin cream, bath salt, and body oil.
“Sakkamitsu” is sold only at the flagship shop in SapporoI asked Tsukeshiba about her recommendation as a souvenir from Hokkaido.
“I recommend ‘Sakkamitsu’; it uses honey produced in Hokkaido. Many people travel from far away to our flagship shop so created something that is available only in Sapporo and particular about Sapporo.
The TV station in Sapporo has bee on their rooftop, and that bee carries honey from the radius of 4 kilometers, which includes roses or lilac in Odori Park, botanic garden, Hokkaido Shrine, etc.
When I introduce the soap to customers, I explain to them that ‘the soap uses honey from the rose garden near our store.' The green season in Sapporo feels really nice with lilac and rose flowers. The soap is the product to feel that nice atmosphere in Sapporo. I was very particular about ‘made in Hokkaido’ for this soap. It uses honey from Sapporo, oil from Nayoro, and fir tree essential oil from Shimokawa Town as I mentioned.”
▲“Sakkamitsu” (1,512 yen, mini-size 324 yen) has the slight aroma and very sticky bubbles. It moisturizes very well so recommended for washing face.
The new business development with “Siesta Oil Serum MORINGA”She started selling cosmetic oil from 2017. The oil extracted from seeds of the plant called Moringa is the new business development for Tsukeshiba, who has been particular about Hokkaido until now. I asked how and why she produced the cosmetic oil.
“I told I was particular about Hokkaido ingredients, but I used made in the Philippines ingredients for this product. Moringa is a plant grows in India or Philippines, and its seeds have behenic acid.
I use the genetically unmodified oil called “Ilocos Moringa” from a specific farm. This is a fair trade business. By producing the cosmetic oil regularly, we protect not only the farm but also people who work at the farm, and part of the sales will be used for the activities to protect forests. I strongly sympathized with this activity and decided to sell Moringa oils.“
▲The limited product “Siesta Oil Serum MORINGA” 4,320 yen. It is said the Moringa oil extracted from a native species in the Philippines has the best quality. Since she uses rare ingredients, the number of this product is limited.
“If it were a shop to sell soaps merely, I would never think about selling products like this. I would like to deliver ‘moment to ease your mind’ by connecting multiple things, including producers, in the field that we are familiar.”
SAVON de SIESTA is a soap shop, but they do not want to deliver soap itself. Their products put producers’ will and connect consumers and producers. Their gentle and kind viewpoint towards the world is put into their products. They also have the online store, so you can also order their products if you got interested. I also recommend to visit the shop and hear stories from Tsukeshiba and other staffs.
Text, photo / Hokkaido Likers writer Shizuko Kosuna
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