Jenny from Kopa Kauai Soap Co.
Meet Jenny, the founder and creative mind behind our wonderful Sea Salt Soaps! We admire Jenny's soap making skills so much - after all, these skills have produced the most wonderful soaps you can imagine!
Every single soap of her brand Kopa Kauai is made with ALOHA (Hawaiian word to express love and a lifestyle that is focused on joy, love and gratitude) and natural, organic ingredients. She creates all her soaps in her studio on Kauai's north shore, mixing the most gorgeous botanicals and creating beautifully scented batches of all natural soap - it's an act of love.
We asked Jenny some questions for you & truly hope you enjoy reading her answer as much as we did!
We love your range of beautifully scented soaps! Can you tell us what inspired you to start creating the Kopa Kauai soap range?
The thought of making soap first occurred to me one night over dinner when my daughter, Leah, was discussing the new ‘Signature Leahlani Fragrance’ she was developing to add to her skincare line, I imagined her with a beautiful handmade soap to complement this fragrance.
Sometime after that, while I was in L.A. visiting my mom, I found a soap making demonstration offered by a 17th generation soap maker (from Scotland) and drove over 100 miles (nearly to the Mexican border!) to her studio. There were about 7 or 8 of us in this class and at each seat was a spiral booklet that included a list of every oil imaginable with their saponification value, note-taking paper, and a calculator. We spent the evening doing math problems, learning how to calculate the exact measurements of a given list of oils to blend properly with the temperatures and timing of the exact measurements of lye to safely and successfully make soap. We watched as she measured her oils and lye, teaching us about standard safety gear and precautions. We took turns holding the blender watching for the mixture to come to ‘trace.' This craft was all very new to me, and my eyes were mostly on the blend in the pot rather than on the note-taking paper, but I took home the booklet and the little chemistry lesson and began experimenting making small batches of soap.
I will always remember one of the first batches I made, it was a lime-scented soap using lime essential oil, and for added exfoliation benefits, I dried and added the leaves from a friend’s kefir lime tree. In the early days, my attempts at the soap making process were somewhere between the little girl in the backyard mixing together mud with flowers to make mud pies and an obsessed mad scientist in a chemistry lab combining all manner of scents and botanical combinations. There was something new coming out of the small bread pans every week, and the learning curve was steep.
Roughly two years later, I had a market shop with 21 different variations of soap on my table that included everything from mild chamomile–infused baby soaps and dog shampoo bars made with neem oil, to shaving soaps in tins.
Hawaii is such a beautiful & special place. Tell us a little about how the island of Kauai has inspired your gorgeous products?
Stepping off a plane in Kauai, you don’t need to wander off the beaten path to see and feel her powerful beauty, it’s everywhere.. In piles of mangos, you smell the tropical fruit and see all the shades of red, pinks, oranges, yellows, and greens. The bright red lychee comes out for summer along with the delicate June plumeria blossom and her exquisite floral fragrance. The fruits, the florals, the colors of the tropical sea, and the green jungle, they all contributed to my inspiration for our expanding line. It wasn’t until earlier this year that my assistant and I worked together to streamline our variety of soaps to make it more manageable, and today we have our nine scents of sea salt soaps and eight tropically-inspired classic soaps, some fruits, some florals, and some earthy.
What is your very favourite soap in your range?
My favorite soap is Pink Grapefruit & Rose. I love everything citrus, and I adore roses. It happens to be our least popular soap, and I have been advised to discontinue making it, but I think it's lovely so it will stay. It’s very subtle and tends to fade as do all natural citrus scents but it’s beautiful. My favorite soap making days are the days when Grapefruit & Rose is on the list. Lavender Mint and Eucalyptus & Lime are close behind.
Tell us a little about your journey towards skincare. Have you always worked in this area?
Oh, the journey, it’s complicated; it has several parts, some of which I may share later. What I will share now is that I had initially studied skincare and obtained my esthetician license in 2011/2012 (while soap making was still a sideline) so that I could help Leah with her rapidly growing esthetics practice and Leahlani Skincare business. We had plans to build a Leahlani Spa and work with clients while continuing to develop our businesses. As we were designing the treatment room, both businesses (Leahlani and KopaKauai) were becoming more demanding, to the point where we could no longer share it with the dream of opening our spa. We each chose to grow our product-based businesses over the spa project knowing that one day we could always return to the treatment room.
So, the journey initially began in the direction of studying esthetics to work with Leahlani but using much of my skincare studies, however; I ventured off to build a soap business and returned to the classroom at UCLA a couple of years later to study cosmetic chemistry while developing my sea salt soaps. The primary focus of that study was to learn about the components of fragrances, the best places to source them and which ingredients I need to steer clear of for use in soap making. The study can go on and on.
Do you have any exciting plans for Kopa Kauai in the future that you can share with us?
Yes, I do! I have many plans for KopaKauai and the ideas that flood into my head are relentless. My soap making process is a very handmade, labor-intensive practice that is also a bit dangerous and heavy going which is why I haven’t enlisted any outside help but it’s coming next year. It’s the only way I’ll be able to bring some of these ideas to fruition and when I do, you’ll be one of the first to know, I promise!
Mermaid Cove Organics proudly stocks Kopa Kauai Sea Salt Soaps - enjoy browsing, Mermaids!