It was a humble thought that began seven years ago by a woman who wanted to carve something for herself. The idea of making soap with natural ingredients did seem farfetched but it never held her back. Fira Adrianta, better known as Fira, ventured on this journey together with the support of her loved ones.
Walking into renowned retail outlets displaying natural and safe hygiene products, particularly fragrant body care, sparked the interest in this young lady. The alluring shapes and sizes combined with tantalising scents caught her attention. Much like most of us, she started browsing for soaps and soap making on the internet, looking at pretty pictures and reading self-fulfilling articles by hobbyists who make soap as a creative outlet.
Fira’s interest in soap was only natural. As a graphic designer who created and appreciated the arts, she had a natural affinity towards soap making. The entire process of creating something beautiful out of mere raw materials stimulated her. And the end product, the soap itself, was simply satisfying – beautiful, decorative, perfumed soaps that were both practical and pleasing to the eye.
Her casual reading on soap slowly turned more serious as Fira began to teach herself. Her journey began with some research via the internet, where she discovered that natural soap was a much followed trend in Europe. Her research was also more centered on distinctive features between natural and chemical soap. After much reading she realised she needed to visualise the process rather than read up on it – a realisation that led her to use social media which was readily available for her to take advantage of. With everything literally a click away, Fira then followed trending soap makers on the video-sharing website YouTube to learn the processes and ingredients requirement.
While her fascination in soap making was more than just a casual interest, it took five years for Fira to feel comfortable enough to even start thinking about venturing into making soap. Her hesitation came from her fear that her soap would cause bad reactions to those who used it. However, this only made Fira more determined in creating high quality soap with high quality ingredients. To ensure her soap would be gentle enough for the most sensitive of skins, Fira went the extra mile and began attending formal classes with certified pharmacists in Malaysia. It was through these classes that she learned the right techniques and processes of making soap using natural ingredients.
Fira is a proponent of natural products, and some of the natural ingredients which she swears by are olive oil and coconut oil, widely known for their benefits to skin and hair. Another essential ingredient which is highly used in her soap making process is distilled water, which is water that has been boiled into vapor and condensed back into liquid, making it truly purified water. Other ingredients include oils, extracts, butters and essential oils.
Soap making may look fun, but Fira warns us that it can be dangerous. So dangerous in fact that she sends her young daughter to her mother’s house whenever she starts a new batch of soap. In her home, Fira has set up a small “laboratory” where all her chemicals are kept. These include sodium hydroxide, or lye, which is corrosive and must be handled with care.
Her favourite part of making soap is planning the design. Here, Fira gets to tap into her creative side and create colourful patterned soap. When asked how she feels to see her soap journey come this far, Fira smiles contently and says simply, “It’s been a journey, but it’s fulfilling.”