By Michelle Sathe
Signal Staff Writer
Walking into Soapish is like stumbling upon a gallery devoted to all things bath and beauty.
There are the tall, narrow cakes of soap layered in vibrant colors, embedded with jewel toned bits, the tops are layered like frosting, sparkling with flecks of gold and silver.
“I like to think of my soaps as little pieces of art,” said owner Tania Vivian, who opened Soapish just three months ago. “That’s what makes them stand out.”
In addition to the soaps, bath bombs beckon in pastels of every shade, while luxuriant lotions, oils, lip balms and shampoo bars are offered in clean white or clear packaging with the bare, modern font.
Then there’s the fragrances, from the ultra-fresh “Clean Laundry” to the exotic “Chai Tea” to the deliciously refreshing “Lemon Cake.”
“I like to match scents to designs and colors,” Vivian said.
A former baker and cake decorator, Vivian has been making soap at her Valencia home for the last four years. Inspired by her love of nature, design and the environment, she learned the basics on YouTube, creating a recipe that acts as the foundation for each soap.
“It’s a base of olive oil, coconut, oil and cocoa butter, which replicates palm oil,” Vivian said. “But I won’t use palm oil, because it creates deforestation that harms wildlife.”
All Soapish products are cruelty-free and many are vegan. “The only non-vegan ingredient I use is beeswax,” she said.
Over time, Vivian perfected her craft and began selling her wares at local stores, such as Barn and Charm, and on soapish.net, while her Instagram and YouTube accounts quickly gained a large following (currently 50,000 and counting on Instagram).
“It really blew up on social, which gave me courage to open a store,” she said.
Soapish is a family affair. Vivian’s husband, Ryan, built much of the shelving throughout the store, as well as a huge marble countertop and sitting area in the middle of the store.
“I love having a big workspace. It’s so much fun,” she said.
Her 19-year-old daughter Emma created all the labeling and package designs.
“I’m not technical at all and Emma just has a really beautiful, youthful perspective,” Vivian said.
Prices for the soaps are $8 each or 3 for $22; while “bath bombs” are $6; bubble baths are $10; sugar scrubs are $16; oils are $17; and lotions are $20.
Custom orders for events like baby or bridal showers are available, as are custom gift boxes.
So far, the response has been very positive, according to Vivian.
“Right now, people are seeing value in small businesses with artisan products,” she said. “They want something handmade, rather than mass-produced. It goes along with the way people are eating and drinking artisan foods and craft beers. They want to feel what they’re putting on their body is special, too.”
Since the products are so gentle and chemical free, Soapish has also attracted a clientele that find store-bought bath items to be too harsh for their skin.
“There’s no itching, burning, or allergy-producing ingredients,” Vivian said. “It’s like music to my ears when someone who has eczema or psoriasis tells me they can use my products just fine.”
It’s also a thrill when online customers come into the store, she said.
“I love it when I get to talk to someone who’s been using my products for years, but we’d never met before. Some of them have been using Soapish from the beginning,” she said.
In 2019, Vivian plans to host classes at Soapish on making everything from soap to lip balms.
“I love teaching,” she said. “Having a group here would be as fun for me as it much as it would be for them.”
While being a new business owner can be challenging, with long hours and endless things to do, Vivian is enjoying the journey rather than being focused on the destination.
“I’m just taking it all a day at a time,” she added. “I had a dream, I’m watching it grow and living in the moment.”
Soapish 24353 Main Street, New-hall. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (661) 753-3540 or visit