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New Wholesale Price List for 2017

Just a quick heads up that this is now available on our Wholesale Page for download. Bearing in mind that our new palm-free formulations will be gradually introduced to our stock, the retail prices will be changed only once existing stock has been sold out, and revised formulations are available for sale.

You will also notice that some retail prices still remain at RM22 per bar–this is because we are trying our best to maintain prices for you, while also still operating at margins that can sustain our business. 🙂

Our minimum order quantity is just 60 units per SKU (Stock Keeping Unit, i.e. an individual item), so if you’d like to consider stocking our all-natural soap for sensitive skin in your shop, or to sell online, just drop us an email at sales@kindersoaps.com, and we’d be happy to help answer your queries.

Have a lovely week ahead!

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Of Surfing And Getting Out Of One’s Comfort Zone

michelle's diary entries for Jan 2017

I was just about to write “Happy New Year” to start this blogpost… and then realised that it’s already February 5th. I’m late, as usual…! :p

Last year, I very briefly met Tony Meloto, who is the founder of Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in the Philippines. You really should take the time to read about what they do and why they do it–it’s pretty inspiring stuff. They were going to run their 4th Social Business Summit from January 20th till 22nd. It sounded interesting (because I had no idea what social entrepreneurships were all about, or how they are run), so I decided to go.

Here’s the rub: I’ve never been to the Philippines. I don’t know anyone there. I’ve never travelled solo.

I also have a weird fear of getting into airplanes.

I could either a) be afraid of all the unknowns present in this situation, and stay ‘safe’ or b) do all the necessary planning, and trust that everything will eventually turn out fine.

No prizes for guessing which route I took. :p

I did my budgeting, browsed through Airbnb, wrote some emails and booked my flights. Thinking of making the most of the trip to a new country, I was going to spend 8 days learning how to surf on a tiny island off Mindanao called Siargao, then fly over to Luzon to attend the Social Business Summit at GK Enchanted Farm. All on my own.

It was the most life-changing 13 days I’ve had to date.

disembarking our twin turbo prop airplane at Siargao

There were many situations where it was a lot better that I did not know what to expect. For instance, the fact that I would be arriving in typhoon season for the Philippines (a deadly one had just passed through Manila over Christmas), or that the only way for our plane to land in Siargao was by sight–if it was too foggy (as it often was, over that island), the plane would have to turn back for Cebu.

I was also presented with several occasions where I literally had to suspend what I thought to be my better judgement. One of them was when I got stuck in Cebu’s horrible lunch hour traffic snarl, with just 45 minutes left to my gate closing for the one and only flight to Siargao–and all the taxis passing by my pickup point were occupied. Just as I was about to give up on public transport and entertain the scenario of waiting for the next flight the following day, a toothy old man walked up to me with an oustretched arm holding a spare helmet, gestured to his beat up motorcycle and said that he could get me to the airport in time for 120 pesos, “No problem!”.

I had a suitcase, a backpack and my handbag on me. I looked at the motorbike, and the ratty helmet.

I needed to catch that plane.

So I popped on the funky smelling helmet and off we went, my luggage squeezed between us, one hand balancing my handbag on top of said luggage, the other clutching the seat tightly. We were getting damp from the rain. Zigzagging for 20 minutes in between lorries, cars and vans, which were just inches away from us at times.

As I tumbled off the motorbike at the airport with the silliest grin on my face (I imagined), I thanked the man profusely, and vowed never again to give only 2 hours’s traveling time to any airport from then on.

This was also the first time I became that crazy passenger you may have spotted at the airport, running full pelt past the check-in counters and desperately searching for her boarding gate.

view of the sea from Pesangan beach

It rained almost every day I was there. It wasn’t torrential, but enough to get you soaking wet if you stayed out for more than 5 minutes. But it did make the one or two days (and the hours in between showers) where the sun burst through the clouds – absolutely glorious.

cockfighting entrant, Magpupungko rock pool, Pesangan, an outrigger

For 8 days I was surfing, exploring some parts of the island on foot, others by motorbike or habal habal, catching up with some reading, and just relaxing, taking in the sights and observing people.

I got caught underwater, at times almost breathless, when the whitewash kept crashing into me and my surfboard, making me bump and scrape my legs on the reef; ate an entire breakfast from fresh coconuts that my instructor and his brothers tossed out from the trees they had climbed, just after we paddled exhausted to the shore; sped down roads on the back of motorbikes while being stung by the rain; and saw vibrant rainbows against the backdrop of a heavy, blue-gray sky.

Every one of these experiences made simple things like having a warm plate of rice in front of me (and the realisation that I was still breathing!) feel like something to be so grateful for.

When I finally had to say goodbye to the island and the lovely new friends I made there, I thought I would miss my new routine too much to fully appreciate the conference I was going to in Bulacan, two hours out from Manila. Thankfully however, I was wrong.

At Gawad Kalinga, I met yet more wonderful people, heard inspiring stories from young Filipinos who were determined to lead their families and communities out of poverty by learning how to be effective entrepreneurs, and had the chance to roam around a fully working farm.

By the time I got on my 5th and final flight that would take me home, I felt like some old parts of me had been slowly, lovingly taken away–to be replaced with new perspectives, ideas and beliefs. All thanks to the myriad of mini adventures, as well as some very interesting people I had the good fortune of connecting with in my brief jaunt in the Philippines.

I was charmed by how happy most of the locals were, despite clearly being financially poor. Both in Siargao and Gawad Kalinga, the community was tight, and practically everyone knew each other by name. They made genuine connections amongst each other. They were contented, and had everything they needed. The land and sea provided for them, as long as they continued to nurture and protect it.

It was clear, however, that modern consumerism was catching on, as evidenced by what the little sundry shops were stocking up on (junk food, mass made clothing and toiletries, english TV dramas etc). There were many new concrete buildings being erected along the single main road that ran along the eastern coastline, and I fear that if ever I came back to Siargao, the island would have lost some of its backwater charm to loud, touristy establishments. I hope I will be wrong about this too.

It also gave me some fresh ideas for Kinder Soaps, in terms of what we should be focusing on, new products and the like. As much as I relished the quiet downtime while abroad, I was quite glad to touch down in KL so I could get back into the swing of things at work again. And I was beginning to really miss my family too!

All in all, January has been surprisingly enriching. It makes me feel like it’s just the beginning of a very eventful year to come, and I will need to somehow muster the discipline daily to keep my shoulder to the wheel… especially when times get tough (which they will).

May you be blessed with the mental and emotional fortitude to make 2017 your year. Hugs from me. 🙂

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Kinder Soaps Is Going Palm-Free in 2017

It’s been a long time coming. We are officially going to rework ALL our soap formulations to completely exclude palm oil from now onwards.

For years, we at Kinder Soaps have been agonising over the use of palm oil in our soap. We’ve held on to it for so long because

  • it lends good lather, cleansing and moisturising properties to our soap;
  • it is the cheapest ingredient we hold in our inventory;
  • it is very accessible.

That is, it makes good business sense to keep using the stuff in our products.

However we can no longer turn a deaf ear, nor a blind eye to the many issues surrounding the use of palm oil globally. The ones that are of particular interest to us are

  • rampant deforestation of virgin rainforests to make way for new plantations;
  • the use of the slash and burn technique to clear old crops in Indonesia, which gives rise to the choking haze that has to be suffered by its citizens, as well as its neighbouring countries, every year.

Our choice to distance ourselves from using this key trade crop for our country may not leave any significant impact on the industry as a whole – but we will certainly be able to sleep better at night, knowing that we are actively taking steps to be a smaller part of the problem.

(I keep thinking of the future environment that my children will grow up being accustomed to – easy access to unspoilt forests, or just swathes of mono-cultured land?)

What does this mean for our customers?

You will still be getting great soap bars that are just as nourishing for the skin – which will also be even more gentle on our environment. 🙂

We will be using a lot more coconut oil in our soap base formulations. They make for hard, long-lasting bars of soap that also give wonderfully fluffy lather, and together with the olive oil and cocoa butter, the resulting soap will still have great moisturizing properties too.

This decision comes at a price – doing away with palm oil means that it will cost more for us to produce each bar of soap. So as we gradually roll out the new palm-free formulations to replace the soaps that eventually get sold out, we will also be adjusting their prices upward, between 10-15%. Some soaps may be their prices revised by an even larger percentage, because of their essential oil prices (we haven’t decided on their price tiering just yet). For now, however, you will still be able to get your soap at the old price of RM22 per bar.

So all in all, we are very excited to roll out our new formulations – and to be a part of the global movement to hopefully make a sustainable change to this earth-damaging, yet critical, industry.

Please share our story with your Facebook network, your friends and family. We will need your support more than ever, as we try to do our best by Nature, on whom we depend entirely for all our needs. And if you have anything to add to this issue, please comment on this post or get in touch with us at ask@kindersoaps.com. We’d be more than happy to chat with you. 🙂

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Interview with BFM – Lady Boss #5

As always, it was all fun and laughter when I had a chance to be interviewed at BFM89.9 – The Business Station. I went in for a pre-recording session with Natasha yesterday. She was a lovely host, and in conjunction with International Women’s Day which fell on on March 8th this year, we talked about what running Kinder Soaps has been like as a woman, what my past employers taught me about being a good boss, and how my awful memory could actually be a blessing instead of a curse. :”)

Here’s the podcast of the interview. Apologies for my rough voice and delivery, and I am far from being a role model in terms of how to run a successful business… Rather, I shared real musings and experiences that can hopefully help others reflect on their own choices of action with regards to running their own enterprise.

Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have after listening to the interview, and I’ll try my best to answer them coherently. :”)

 

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Customized Wedding Order

soap and oil for dry skin gift set

We had some fun doing up a customized wedding favour project for a friend of mine, which was delivered today. 🙂

She had her half-sized soap bar favours wrapped in brown paper, with a simple scalloped card printed with her wedding details fastened to the front of each piece. For her bridesmaids, we parcelled 2 full sized soap bars and a handy bottle of custom-blended pulse point oil (this one was scented with rose geranium, lavender and cypress essential oils).

What I was most pleased about this particular project was that we tried out using these nifty pressed palm frond disposable bowls as the container for her bridesmaids’ gifts – and I think they do a wonderful job of keeping the gifts together, as well as lending a rustic, earth-friendly feel to the whole package. Here’s what you should look out for if you’re searching for a similar packaging solution:

Fallaleaf biodegradable disposable bowls

Fallaleaf is, I’m pleased to say, a Malaysian-owned and run company. Please support them by considering their dinnerware the next time you intend to host a party or event–their products are truly biodegradable, and did not even require any chopping down of live trees to make their products. Visit their website to know more. I bought my bowls from Jaya Grocer in PJ, and I’m sure they are available at your nearby supermarket too.

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Running About Town

It’s been a very rainy, overcast week in terms of weather, all over PJ… But so much is happening still! 🙂 This photo was taken during a video shoot two days back. I’ll let you know what it’s for once it’s out (on Monday this coming week, I’m told).

Apart from that we are gearing up for our first Christmas Bazaar (if I recall correctly) – and it’s going to be at Bangsar Village II, 28th and 29th November (that’s this weekend!) from 10am till 10pm. Come visit us if you can!

2015_BV2CHristmas_Bazaar_Poster

Our Star Wars soap is also almost ready to be sent out to you. I wanted to keep this as a little surprise for you to see only when you unwrap your soap, but check out the stamps I made for them…!

star wars inspired stamped soap

It’s not too late to get them at our special pre-order price of RM20 per bar (RRP is RM23 per bar from 28th Nov 2015 onwards).

Have a terrific day ahead everyone!

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Star Wars Soap Available for Pre-Orders!

Sorry to have kept you waiting, but the Star Wars soaps are finally listed on our website!big grin I had a bit of trouble with taking new photos, so I finally managed to dig up the ones I originally used in previous years.

Hoth and Endor are now available at a special pre-order price of RM20 per bar instead of the full price of RM23 per bar, until they are done curing between Nov 20th and Nov 28th. Get these limited edition soaps for all your Star Wars fans while stocks last!

SW Hoth 01

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Double Duty Balm On The Way; Revised Store Hours

IMG_0005 (Duplicate)Hi everyone, hope you are all keeping well! Just a quick heads up to let you know that I just realised that we are completely out of our beeswax pellets, so I will need a week or two to make a fresh batch of our Double Duty Balm while waiting for my next shipment of ingredients to arrive.

To those who have just recently ordered them from our website, yours will be given priority for delivery. I’m so sorry to have to make you wait for them–but rest assured that yours will be the freshest batch available. 🙂

New store

On another note, we are revising our store hours (again!). I’m still trying to figure out the most efficient pattern of days to open during a given week, and this is part of the experimentation. Apologies for keep you guessing on when the shop is open! But here are our latest shop hours (which I hope to maintain for the long run):

Open from 11am to 6pm
Closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Public Holidays
+603-77320955

Calling us ahead of your visit would be best. winking Thanks for being so understanding.

That’s it for now. This week we are going to be pushing through with some major production runs, hopefully having some new storage racks delivered (yay!), and some design work going into the labels for our Star Wars soap.

Have a productive week!

rose,
Michelle

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October Update

We have our GMP audit coming up tomorrow, and Star Wars soap available for sale somewhere between the end of October and mid November!

Watch out for the new limited edition Star Wars listings soon, because that’s when we’ll begin accepting backorders so you can reserve your soap at a special price of RM20 per bar (it will be retailing at RM22 per bar after November 15th 2015, and will only be available while stocks last).

Have a terrific week ahead everyone! Remember to share our posts and videos with your friends and loved ones who may be interested in our wares. 😉

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Special 15% Savings Especially for Happy Bunch Customers!

Happy Bunch, the floral delivery service, celebrated their first birthday in September 2015, and we were honoured to have the chance to collaborate with them to send a little something special to their loyal customers. If you were one of the lucky recipients of their beautiful, vibrant bouquets on the week of September 21st 2015 (which came with a little bar of our soap!), you may have noticed that we attached a card with a special coupon code for you.

Just enter that code during Checkout on Kinder Soaps’ website, and you will enjoy 15% off your entire order, from now till 31st December 2015. Each customer is entitled to a single use of that coupon, and it cannot be combined with any other coupon code for that order.

For a start, have a look at our fragrant bestsellers such as Goat’s Milk and Patchouli, DreamTime and Tangy Lavender. If unscented soap is more your thing, check out our Goat’s Milk and Honey soap, or Breakfast Bar.

Shoot us an email anytime with your questions, at ask@kindersoaps.com.

(Photo credit: Happy Bunch)