After working as a recycling picker in New Zealand, Anna Lee returned to Malaysia and her mother encountered a problem at home. He was not sure how to dispose of used cooking oil, unknown to such recyclers in the country.
Her mother suggested that Anna turn it into soap, seeing that her daughter already knew how to make conventional body soap.
Incidentally, there was also the family The dishwashing detergent is gone, which Anna decides to refill with her test.
“Also, my dad had severe eczema on his hands at the time and the commercial dishwashing detergent irritated his hands even more, so much so that he couldn’t do the dishes at all,” Anna revealed.
Her determination to do something normal for her use, her home business, soap Santon is fruitful.
When the oil cleans the oil
Soaps made from used cooking oil can be unprepared and leave customers wondering just how healthy reusable cleaning agents can be.
To add to that, I’ve seen a business that makes candles from used cooking oil that need a very heavy scent to cover the scent.
But Anna pleaded for a difference. “Surprisingly, this was never a problem for us,” he shouted. “We’ve sold over 1,000 versatile soaps so far no one has complained about the smell because it doesn’t smell like cooking oil used in the first place!”
The oil that Anna collects is filtered through a fine-mesh filter as part of the process of cleaning the staircase. But he believes that the stench of oil disappears mainly through saponification.
If you think of science class, you know that saponification is where fatty acids (cooking oil used in this case) combine with lye and break down. This process also kills the bacteria present in the oils and therefore reduces the hygiene concerns in soap santun products.
But explaining all this can sometimes be very complicated for customers to understand.
“So I like to make videotaped soaping videos because I think it helps keep things in perspective so people can see beyond that,” says Anna.
Her efforts seem to be working, and so far no consumer has questioned her soap hygiene.
“Most of the customers who support us know exactly what soaps are made of and want to use them for a variety of reasons: hand eczema which cannot be tolerated by commercial detergents, zero plastic packaging, great cleaning ability in plastic containers,” Anna Vulcan told the Post. .
Serious elbow grease
The oils donated to Sopan Santon usually come from the same age as Anna’s peers and a partner in Puchang’s F&B business. Three of Tiktuk’s followers donated their used oil after a video of Sopon Santon was leaked on the platform.
Since most Malaysians tend to use sunflower or canola oil for everyday cooking, Anna must keep an eye on what kind of oil she is working with. Some oils, like sunflower oil, spoil quickly.
Anna says coconut oil is a star ingredient in her versatile soaps, and is added to any cooking oil she uses to make her products.
“A general rule: coconut and palm oil make a good and tough bar [soap] With lots of soap that’s what we’re looking for, ”says the soap maker.
Before mixing by hand, Anna shared that it limited the production of their shampoo bars. They’ve recently invested in a stand mixer, which has made the task much easier with less sore weapons, but it certainly hasn’t come cheap.
Number bubbles up
Introducing Soap Santon with his partner Lewis, the pair have bootstrapped RM1,000 as starting capital. But by the end of 2021, they have spent a total of Rs 22,000.
“The costs were mainly on equipment, vegetable oils, essential oils and other miscellaneous items,” Anna explained.
Soap Santon makes 20-30 soaps per day due to the limited soap mold and makes 35 shampoo bars before they get tired or their machine gets hot. Anna hopes to bring more soap molds so they can make up to 50 soaps per day.
In an average month, Soap Santon sells 46 body soaps (RM18-RM23), 86 multipurpose soaps (RM3.70), and 74 shampoo bars (RM21-RM24).
With the exception of the versatile soap, based on my personal experience, its prices are fairly good compared to other artisan soap makers in Klang Valley. And this is in line with Soapan Santun’s three-year goal: to make zero waste bathroom essentials more accessible and affordable for Malaysians.
However, unlike store-bought soaps that usually have stabilizing ingredients to prolong their shelf life, Sopan Santoon soaps are best used between 6 months and a year.
“The essential oils and vegetable oils in the soap deteriorate and become residual very quickly when exposed to constant moisture,” Anna elaborated.
Launched in April 2021, Sopon Santon had a six-month business break in September 2021.
Soapan Santun currently supplies two zero-waste stocks, namely MINIMIZE and Papago Zero Waste, and hopes to partner with more.
- Learn more about Soap Santon here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Anna Lee and Louis Koh, co-founders of Sopan Santon