Hawaii Small BusinessWritten by Stacy Yuen Hernandez On 13 June 2012
Raising the bar at the North Shore Soap Factory

Chocolate and strawberries, mango papaya, ginger lemongrass, coconut cream …

On a recent visit with the family to the Historic Waialua Sugar Mill, I found myself salivating when reading the names of these flavors until reality set in. I wasn’t in an ice cream shop or shave ice store. I was at a soap factory.

The North Shore Soap Factory, which sells its products under the Hawaiian Bath & Body brand, is known for its tantalizing soap “flavors.” It’s also known for making soap the old-fashioned way without detergents, harsh chemicals or petroleum-based ingredients.

According to General Manager Debora Driscoll, who with her husband, Jerry, began producing handcrafted, natural soaps in 1996, the company makes soap through a cold process. The soap is aged and the end result is a very hard bar that lasts about twice as long as a commercial bar soap.

Along with a regular line up of 20 soap varieties, the company also produces lip balm, body wash and kukui nut oil products. The factory uses island-grown ingredients, including honey, papaya, tangerines, coffee and guava. Organic ingredients include oatmeal, rice flour, blue cornmeal and spices.

And now they’re unveiling a new soap “flavor” — Guinness Stout.

“Our soapmaker, Jonathan, likes to make new and creative soaps and experiments with different ingredients and colors. He was doing research on different types of soap and learned how to make soap using beer. He chose a dark color for the swirl to create a ‘Black & Tan’ look.”

Although the Guinness Stout soap is a new product and only a few batches have been made, Driscoll says it looks like it will become a customer favorite and makes a perfect Father’s Day gift.

“Beer soap has hops, which is known to have skin-softening and antiseptic properties. And, its rich and full lather make it a great shaving soap for Dad,” says Driscoll.

North Shore Soap Factory/Hawaiian Bath & Body products can be found at the Historic Waialua Sugar Mill, online at www.hawaiianbathbody.com and at Island Vintage Coffee, Down to Earth and Whole Foods Market.

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Stacy Yuen Hernandez

Stacy Yuen Hernandez is a writer for Hawaii Business magazine. A former writer/editor for The Honolulu Advertiser, Stacy has also worked in radio and TV news in the San Francisco Bay area. She possesses a Journalism degree from San Jose State University and a Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.

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