Give Soaps are 100% vegan and handmade in small batches using high-quality ingredients such as olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil—and plenty of care. In fact, it can take up to a year to create a new line of soap, from inspiration to finished piece. And yet, while all this is important, it is not the essential point.
What, you may ask, is the essential point? Healing. The transmutation of karma, by turning what we perceive as poison into gold. Through soap? Yes—through many subtle yet tangible acts of intention. The intention of the maker, the intention of the giver and the intention of the receiver. This is how Give Soap itself came into being.
In 2012, I discovered that my roommate made his own soap. I went berserk and asked him to teach me. Once I learned how to make it, I didn't look back. I made my own, used it, gave it away, and began teaching others how to make it.
Later that year I travelled to Lima, Peru, where I grew up. There, a dear friend and mother figure gave me a box of my father’s old vinyl records and a bottle of Obsession aftershave by Calvin Klein that had belonged to him. Opening that bottle and smelling the contents brought me back a couple of decades to the time when my father was alive. Back in Brooklyn, while making a batch of soap, I felt a sudden powerful impulse to pour the entire bottle in. And so I did. Although this isn't the proper way to scent soap, the batch turned out well. After the soap had cured, I put it in a box and wrote KARMA SOAP on the side. I gave that soap to everyone I knew who needed to heal some aspect of their relationship with my father–including myself. That gesture was the seed of Give Soap.
A few years after, I spent a weekend in Connecticut making soap with a friend whose skills were more advanced than mine. With those skills under my belt, I began designing soaps intended to heal some aspect of being human. Before long, people were gifting the soaps to others, and I realized I had a growing business.
So how does it work? The ingredients, aroma, look and intention of each soap are meant to serve as a reminder for whatever qualities one wants to cultivate during the bathing ritual. Does someone you know need to be reminded to dance, to laugh, to see the irony in things? Does someone need to heal a key aspect of their identity (as a mother, a woman, or a queer person)?. Does someone need to feel seen and understood? These soaps are meant to help people heal—and then, when their work is done, to vanish. What then remains? It's hard to say. Maybe more space.