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Lathering for the Souls- Taiwan’s Yuan Soap
When a person thinks of soap, rarely would they go beyond a cleansing ritual. For some, soap might just be the thing to soothe their tired souls especially during now where spas, massages and beauty salons are pre- requisites to many.
Yuan soaps came from an attempt to reverse time, by using what our ancestors used to soothe tired and problem skins. Distinctively Asian by virtues of using various herbs and water found in the mountains and springs in Taiwan, Yuan introduces this almost forgotten wisdom of the past of using easily accessible herbs (as remedies) to the younger generations.
Started almost 4 years ago, the soaps were meant to be just for personal used and gifts to relatives and friends. Until an organic shop owner pointed out that the popularity of Yuan soaps could just be a new career path for Chiang Jung Yuan who had gave up his advertising firm in search of a more solitude life.
Giving up his career in at the height of his career and middle age, Chiang started developing skin problems such eczema and allergic rashes. He itched terribly whenever he used a skincare product containing preservatives. This led him to studying Chinese herbal medicines and learned to make his own soap. Yuan soap was the result of putting himself in others shoes.
Oil, water, alkali salts and additives are the basic ingredients to make soap and anyone of us can easily whip up a batch of soaps. However, few would invest the kind of time in it that Chiang has. Yuan soap currently has a herbs farm within the YangMingShan National Park which was rented to him by the Taiwanese government. His policy of hiring the local villagers which made up of senior citizens, housewives and unemployed ex fishermen has been lauded by the government thus gaining full support for his little workshop and farm.
As the soaps are 100% natural, it is also free from artificial fragrance and colours. Initially, most felt the soaps are either too “ugly” or too herbal smelling to attract the mass market. His straightforward and honest approach and marketing slowly gained popularity including attracting media interviews consequences to leading to gaining staunch supporters who believe in handmade and green products.
Currently, his workshop produced about 80,000 handmade soaps monthly supplying to his agents in Malaysia, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Japan, Korea and of course Taiwan. Yuan soaps also grew from selling to 400 organic shops in Taiwan, to tourist spots, boutiques, cafes and of course their own counters in various leading departmental stores.
For more information, please click on the links below to read more on Yuan Soap which was written by the English Press in Taiwan and Malaysia.
The Star , Malaysia
Various Steps in Yuan Soap Making
Behind Yuan Soap in Malaysia
Yuan Soap is imported and distributed by
ORIGIN LIVING SDN BHD, a local company which is currently exclusively markets Yuan Soap to health food stores, pharmacies, and departmental stores.