Today I am proudly introducing Rene Whitlock, artist, famous soap maker and soap making teacher from Vancouver, Canada. Rene is also my teacher and there are some recipes in my portfolio that are borrowed from her.
Rene started her soap making carrier in 1997. She was selling her soaps in different stores from where she expanded and started to work mostly with Canadian wholesale customers. She also developed her own soap brand called Karma Suds, wrote an e-book on hot process soap making and founded a Soap making School.
Here are several interesting tips from Rene and facts about her.
In her School Rene teaches not only soap making but also making cosmetics and spa products
Rene does not use Palm oil in her products, this is because she failed to find a good reliable supplier and also because she founded out about palm oil industry that it destroys the lives of natives who’s land is taken from them to create Palm Oil Plantations
Rene is a great animal lover and one of the reasons why she does not use palm oil is that Orangutans who live in these plantations are being killed. So in order to help Orangutan International foundation she developed a special soap line that donates 1 CAD from every sold bar to this foundation.
When she was supplying Kelowna Metaphysical store with her products, she discovered Reiki, she got interested in this form of alternative medicine and started learning it. So she is also a Reiki Master.
Rene, first of all thank you very much to agree for this interview. I think it is always interesting for Ukrainian customers and readers to get more information from specialists and professionals from abroad and overseas.
Nowadays handmade products become more and more popular in Ukraine. However when it comes to soap making, there is still a long way to go, i.e. people do not always understand the benefit of natural handmade soap or why it costs more than products they can buy in drugstore. What about Canada from this perspective?
Thanks for inviting me to do this interview Gvantsa. It is always an honour to be able to spread information to those who are wanting and willing to learn.
In Canada, the effects of chemical based soaps are becoming harder to ignore. So many of us have become sensitive to chemical based fragrances and colours that our skin can no longer tolerate it.
Many of my soap making students first ended up on medicated creams from doctors to control the psoriasis and eczema that is caused by using commercial soaps
It's quite miraculous to watch them transform from victims of the commercial soap industry to creative soap makers who have problem free skin.
Making your own soap or purchasing soap from someone who is carefully chooses the ingredients, really is the solution to controlling skin issues.
I believe Canadians are wanting to take control and take responsibility for their own skin health. We no longer look to the beauty industry for real solutions.
If we speak about customers, people who buy your soap, how can you describe them, what is their portrait, values etc.
My customers who buy my products and learn to make their own in my classes are trying to stay as natural as possible. No fillers, no chemical fragrance, just real ingredients that benefit their skin. Aged mostly between 35 and 55. Mostly women 90%, but some men 10%. Looking for natural products to share with their families. Generally very environmentally conscious. Buying organic is a top priority for many of these people. These people are not necessarily wealthy or have a lot of money to spend on themselves for luxuries, but have made health a priority and generally choose quality for their families over luxury items.
Do you have your best sellers? Which products are your best sellers?
I make a wonderful bamboo charcoal face scrub that has an organic cream soap base that I also make and teach.
For my soap one of my most popular would be Autumn Bliss
My liquid soap is also very popular because it is versatile and used for cleaning the home
But most of all it is my classes that keep me the busiest.
I have recently gone to New York to teach a weekend class.
that's me squatting in the middle front.
Do you have any favorite recipe/product? Which are they?
I would have to say my Raw Butter. It's made of Raw Cocoa Butter and it smells wonderful.
I noticed that my customers are mostly women; men are not very much keen on taking care about themselves, even if you develop special products for themJ. How about men in Canada, what is you experience from this perspective?
I feel like if men are given permission and encouraged to look after themselves, they do. In Canada more and more men are reading labels before buying skin care and they really are feeling the effect of the chemicals they are exposed to.
I am seeing an increase of not just buying my products, but actually taking the classes and not just 1 beginners class, but all the way to liquid soap. t's always great to see these men coming back to learn more.
What do you like more about soap making or which is your favorite moment during this process?
I would have to say, when it comes to making the soap, it's the moment I cut into a fresh batch. I love to see what the pattern is going to look like.
Went it comes to teaching, I really love the moment I notice a student going from being just curious to actually falling in love with the process of making soap.
Speaking of classes. I must run off and get ready for a class tonight.
It has been a pleasure speaking with you and I wish you much luck on your blog series.