The start of Enucia came about a year and a half ago (November 2010), however it has been in the works for a little longer. April of 2010, I was working for corporate America, and our office was told it was closing its doors in Columbus! I had a feeling this day would come; I now had a few options. I could relocate with the company to New Jersey, I could get a new job in the area, or I could try something new and stay at home with our daughter. Relocating was quickly eliminated as an option; this choice just didn’t make sense for our family. I started looking to see what was out there for jobs, not much I have to admit. I didn’t really want to go back into the corporate world – especially after being laid off for the third time in 10 years. So after a lot of thinking and careful consideration we decided I should stay home for now and try my hands at handmade soap.
I have a family history of soap making ~ my paternal and maternal grandparents and great grandparents made their own soap. My paternal great grandfather and grandfather ran a successful company in northern Ohio of cleaning products. I used that knowledge to research the different processes of soap making – wow what a huge variety there is in making soap. There is what is called Melt and Pour, Cold Process, Hot Process, among others. I first tried my hands at Melt and Pour, this was fun, but this wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to be able to make soap that could control – such as ingredients and the feel when using it. After additional research I found the Cold Process method fit what I was looking for (it was also the process that my grandparents had used).
As I was researching oils and processes, I recruited my husband to help with my new venture’s name and packaging. After many forms and different varieties the name Enucia was born. I am asked frequently what Enucia means. Well it doesn’t really mean anything specific. We wanted a name that was not specific to anything yet had a ring to it. We thought Enucia had that feel of Luxury we were looking for, so Enucia – Bring Luxury Home was born! Now the name is set, the packaging is coming along.
During my research I went to the library and checked all the books out that I could find regarding Cold Process Soap, I researched the internet reading everything I could find. Bought some highly recommended books, I did everything that I could do to understand and get as much knowledge as I could before I started making soap. What interesting information I found about oils specifically. For instance, some oils have excellent cleaning properties, some are wonderful lathering oils, while others are wonderful skin conditioners. Olive Oil is an oil that has been used for decades for soap; it creates a very mild wonderful soap, that can be used on anyone’s skin, even a baby. Who knew soap making would be so scientific – the soap made really relies heavily on the make up of the individual oils you use. My next step is to understand ratio and how much of each oil to put into my recipes.
Understanding oil composition is very important when trying to understand what the batch is going to turn out to be. Each oil has different classifications and lots of different numbers associated with each oil, for instance there is an SAP Number which helps determine how much lye is needed to turn the oil into soap. This all plays a role in creating the soap you want. So creating the ‘perfect’ bar will take some understanding of each oil and the properties and the values. I was getting very close to all the information I felt like I needed to be able to move forward with make my ‘perfect’ soap.
Lye is used in all types of soap. Sodium Hydroxide is used for bar soap and Potassium Hydroxide is used for liquid soap. The lye is mixed with the oils and Saponification happens. Without becoming too scientific – Saponification is the process of the oils and lye mixing and the process of becoming soap. The lye is the neutralized and you then have a wonderful bar of soap.
After months of research and playing around with recipes I created, I was ready to create my ideal soap. I had to purchase more soap making supplies so I could create what I wanted in a larger batch. I was pretty confident that this batch was going to very close to my ideal soap, and I was ready to find out! With the Cold Process method the soap is poured into the mold and wait 24 to 48 hours until the soap is unmolded and cut. Then another 3 to 6 weeks until the soap is ready for use. Now waiting approximately a month until I was able to feel and use my newly created soap. Waiting began…..
After waiting for the curing process to finish, it was wonderful to find that the process worked very well. I needed a little tweaking to my ingredients to make it what I wanted, but generally the soap turned out pretty good. I recruited my husband again to help me make soap molds – I wanted to be able to make logs of soap that I could cut into bars. He did a fantastic job, different sizes and they work perfectly to this day.
Now I was thinking ahead and wanted to buy enough product/supplies to be able to enter my first craft show in November to see how things would sell. I had many many months to prepare and decide what I wanted. The list seemed overwhelming. What oils and how much should I buy? What essential or fragrance oils should I buy? What other products should I think about bringing with me to the show? Overwhelming myself is something that seems to come naturally. 🙂 I decided that I didn’t want to use any dyes in my soap, I wanted to stay as natural as possible, so I started researching different herbs to use in the soap mix to give color to the different scents. I found a good mix of herbs and purchased my supplies and after refining my recipes I was ready to begin producing bars and packaging for craft shows coming in November of 2010. I knew that my friends and family loved my soap, they were hooked. Could I get others hooked too? Only time will tell…