A SOAP STORY
Riza Saidi of Sabun by Riza shares her soap-making journey and the challenges she's faced which have motivated her to continue working hard towards her dream
Words and Illustrations by Chong Kok F'ng | Photos by Endi Haikal Sham
Walking into Ms Riza Saidi’s home, the 50-year-old homemaker’s warm and friendly demeanour shines through her smile, making one feel at home almost immediately. A gentle yet indiscernible scent wafts from her basement and fills the living room with a fresh fragrance.
The aroma comes from handmade soaps handcrafted by Riza.
When asked about how she started on her soap-making journey, she recalls her teenage niece with eczema.
Riza wanted to help her niece out, so she went to a soap-making lab to learn how to make soap. Her niece responded positively to the soaps.
Seeing how happy her niece was, Riza started making soaps and giving them as gifts to friends and family. In turn, they suggested she start a business selling her soaps. This was how Sabun by Riza came to be.
“I believe that it’s more personal than just running a business actually, because I feel like I’m helping others,” she says.
Riza once had to discard four kilogrammes worth of soap due to her lack of research. She wanted to add colourants to her soaps to make them more festive for the Christmas season.
With the advice of the lab assistant, she added Titanium Dioxide into the soap as well. Titanium Dioxide is used to make the soap colours more vivid and opaque, which a lot of commercial soaps use.
When the soaps were ready, she did not like the feel of the soap. They felt very artificial.
“Rather than sell or give away the soaps as presents, I’d rather just discard them. So I learnt my lesson,” shares Riza, with deep regret on her face.
In the near future, Riza hopes to expand the Sabun by Riza brand to encompass more than just soaps. She has recently released a line of six essential oils and has plans to venture into all-natural skincare products.