Eight-month-old Parisa Creations makes oil-based, natural handmade soaps and shapes them to look like stars, bows, seashells and more
Hobby kits can sometimes do more than occupy you in creative pursuit for a short while. They did to 28-year-old Gauri Kulkarni. Her inclination towards craft did add up, of course.
A soap-making kit from Hobby Ideas over a regular summer is how the idea of the brand Parisa Creations came about.
A Mumbai-based, BSc Home Science graduate, Kulkarni now makes as many as 25 different varieties of oil-based, natural handmade soaps.
She began making soaps with a base oil- coconut, palm or almond with flowers and herbs that were collected while travelling.
"I love to travel and collect flowers and herbs over my travels. I found some special tea tree leaves on one of my trips to Ladakh and used it in soap. I gave away the soaps to family and friends and they seemed to like them," she says.
It was only about eight months ago that Kulkarni started retailing her soaps under the label Parisa Creations. "A friend suggested the name. Parisa is Persian for angel, I liked the sound of it," she tells us. She is self taught in the trade and comes with a passion for all things handmade.
"I read books and researched the internet using my basic sense to create soaps with natural combinations. It is about knowing you can mix tulsi and turmeric, not lemongrass and turmeric," she says.
Her first step outside of home with her soaps was small exhibitions in Mumbai to test the market. She came out with flying colours and expanded her line.
"The most popular amongst my gamut of soaps is lemongrass, tulsi-turmeric and crushed mint leaves. I have also started making coffee and cocoa soaps since last week," she says.
The next step was the packaging and Kulkarni's soaps had to stand out. "It was again on one of my travels that I saw some interesting moulds, like Eiffel Tower.
When I realised I couldn't get them shipped, I found some in Mumbai," she says. The results are seashell shaped milk soap; a star shaped crushed mint soap and more.
Future plans for the brand include expanding it to 50 varieties and roping in village artisans. For the festive season, she's also made soap hampers packed in baskets with potpourri thrown in.