Featured Advertiser: Nordea Soaperie

Nordea soap

 

About ten years ago, on a sunny afternoon in New York, I was checking out the amazing crafts by artisans that lined the streets of SoHo when I stumbled upon a woman who was selling handmade soaps.

Soap is something I’d never really given much thought to until I saw these. Beautifully wrapped, each one individual, they literally smelled good enough to eat. I snapped up three boxes for gifts and one for myself. I never forgot her and, unfortunately, never found her again.

Lucky for me, and you guys, I found something better! Introducing one of our Featured Advertisers, Nordea McKoy who churns out amazing products from her own kitchen and trust me when I say you can feel the love! Nordea Soaperie uses natural oils (I’m a fan of those for hair and skin) so you don’t feel all dried up and pruny after you use them.

Nordea Lemon Poppy Body Polish

My personal favorite is the Poppy Sugar Scrub, one of her top sellers and I can see why. It exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time and hello? How Good Enough Mother is it of me to fall in love with a product that allows you to skip a step in your routine? And to top it off, they smell divine.

Now, Mother’s day is May 8th. Don’t be an ungrateful child and wait until the day before to find something. Because I’m a mom I can say this; she’ll know. How about this? Click on the advertisement on the left of the page and order something that is not only beautiful but that she’ll love using?

Nordea Hand Soap

And don’t forget – if you’d like to advertise on Good Enough Mother please just click on the How To Advertise button in our left hand sidebar and my team will be only to happy to help you out. We offer a special rate for small companies like Nordea’s. We’re big fans here at GEM of supporting women who are building their dreams!

Now, read on about Nordea, whose Second Act, is beautifying the world, one bar at a time.

Tell us about the Nordea range?

Nordea Soaperie features handmade soap and body products made from scratch.  I do not use pre-made bases, which allows me to better predict the outcome of the product.  There are a few ways to make soap.  I choose the hot process method, which means I mix all of the ingredients, and then cook the soap “batter” in the oven.

Soap is made by a process called saponification, which is simply a chemical reaction between the oils and sodium hydroxide (soap cannot be made without NaOH.)  After the soap is cooked, I add extra oils that are not affected by the chemical process.  So, in theory, these oils are left on the skin, which leaves it feeling, moisturized instead of stripped and dry.

What makes your products different from other ranges on the market?

There are a lot of soaps to choose from on the market.  You can get soap at the pharmacy, supermarket, even the dollar store.  Many people prefer handmade soap because of how it feels on the skin.  Glycerin (a humectant which draws moisture to the skin) is a natural by-product of the soap making process.  Many commercial soap makers extract the glycerin and sell it to makeup companies to make more money.  This is why many soaps can leave your skin feeling dry.

Handmade soaps also allow for a lot of creativity.  I can scent and color them any way I want.  I also like to use unusual ingredients.  Two of my more popular soaps have cucumber puree and beer on the ingredient list.  I also make soaps with aloe juice, coconut milk, Dead Sea mud, pumpkin, and even eggs!  During the summer months, I like to make a soap with banana puree.

All the products are handmade – do you personally make them or do you have a team helping you?

Sometimes, I wish I had help.  Unfortunately, this is a one-woman operation.  I once made some soap for wedding favors and had some friends come over to help.  They meant well, but didn’t wrap them properly, so I had to redo everything after they left.  I am such a perfectionist; I don’t think anyone who is not invested in my company could ever do a great job.  So, I just plow through it myself.  Now that my business is growing, I have to really think about how to expand, but still maintain a high quality product.

How did you learn how to make soap, body butters, sugar scrubs, etc?

I moved to Harlem in 2004, and was amazed to find people selling shea butter on the streets.  I could not understand the fascination with shea butter, and bought a small tub.  I started experimenting with it by adding different oils, and mixing them up.  Shortly thereafter, my whipped body butter was born.  Around the same time, I stumbled upon an online soap-making forum.  I learned so much from these women who have been making soap for many years.  They were taught by their mothers and grandmothers before modern soap calculators and the Internet made the process accessible to the public.  I learned the importance of testing, quality control, and how different ingredients add to the success of a particular recipe.

I decided to give it a try, and found all of the ingredients locally.  I made some soap, and to my amazement, it actually worked!  From there, I fine-tuned the recipe, and really started to churn out some fantastic soap.  The lip balms, and sugar scrubs, etc. came along naturally since I already had most of the ingredients on hand.  Many hours of testing led to the products that I sell now.

I love that this is your Second Act – we’re very big on those here at Good Enough Mother. Can you tell us how you started the business?

I had been working as an Associate Director in TV news for many years.  With the economic downturn, many of my freelance gigs dried up.  I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I spent that time working on my products.  After a while, I had a lot of soap in my home….I gave a lot away, but needed to recoup some of the costs to continue with my hobby.  Selling the soaps allowed me the freedom to continue with the hobby, which has since grown into a full-blown business.  Selling my products also provided a nice income, which helped keep food on the table and a roof over my head.  I still work in the TV biz, so now it is a challenge learning to balance my two careers.

What are the main challenges you’ve faced along the way – and what did you learn from them?

When I first started making soap, I had no intention of selling them.  I knew nothing about running a business.  I have since learned a lot about marketing, inventory control, correct pricing, etc.

I try to stay active on Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with my customers.  It is difficult to sell soap and body products online.  People want to feel, smell, and touch everything.  Until we get “smell-o-vision” computers, it will always be difficult to explain how great they are.  I like to sell my soaps at markets on the weekend, where customers can meet me, ask questions, and offer scent suggestions.  I usually have water and paper towels at my markets, so people can try my sugar scrubs before they buy.  I also have a great spreadsheet that allows me to keep track of expenses and control inventory.

I have also learned to just say no.  Not a day goes by when one of my customers asks me about making shampoos, conditioners, lotion, bath teas, etc.  I can make any of these, and I do make them for myself.  But, all of these products take extensive research and testing.  I know my limitations, and I want to take my time.  It is important to make sure that the product is ready for the general public.  I would hate to recall anything because I did not do the proper testing required.

So where can our readers buy Nordea Soaperie products…?

I am in the process of launching my “Spa Collection” which is a set of products that will be found exclusively in stores.  These products are slightly different (different scents, ingredients, and packaging) from the products I sell online.  Nothing is finalized yet, so anyone interested can purchase my existing products from my website:  www.nordeasoaperie.com or, you can find me at different craft markets on the weekends.  I can be found at various places in the tri-state area, and you can check my schedule by visiting the “upcoming events” page on my site.

Nordea Strawberry

Thanks Nordea – good luck!

So what are you waiting for all your GEM’s out there – Mother’s Day is just around the corner!

Nordea Pumpkin

Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com . When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

16 Comments

  1. Jenny

    April 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I love her lemon poppy body polish, and also her lip balms are fantastic!

  2. Rene Syler

    April 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @Jenny, yes, they are! I love how soft and moisturized your skin feels afterward :)

  3. Tracey Rivers

    April 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Nordea made our wedding favors for us!
    They were such a big hit and everyone thought it was such a unique idea to have a small bar of soap accompanied by a lotion bar!
    We could not thank her enough!
    My personal favorite soaps are:Chocolate and Berries soap and Honey Pie.
    I also love the Whipped Body Butter.
    So very happy to have the amazing Nordea and her amazing soaps and body butters and scrubs in my life!

  4. Marilyn

    April 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I’m a big fan of Nordea’s soaps and have used quite a few. My favorite is definitely her Cranberry soap which is seasonal so it gives me something to look forward to. Her body butter is also pretty awesome. :)

  5. Mandy

    April 29, 2011 at 10:53 am

    The sweet mandarin lime body butter smells AMAZING!

    I got a sample when I bought a package at a market (which I sent to my stepmom and she raved about them – if I remember correctly, it included soaps, body scrub, body butter, & lip balms).

    I loved it (the body butter) so much that I bought a full size the next time I saw her at a market. I’m almost out & looking forward to restocking.

    Nordea is such a warm and engaging person also!

  6. Gayle

    April 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I met Nordea last year at a Nyack street fair and was immediately captivated by her soaps. My favorites are Lenny My Precious Love and G.I. Jamie, while my husband and sons (ages 12 and 17 – these are soaps they LIKE!) love the Dead Sea Swirl and What A Man.

    I use them myself, give them as holiday and birthday gifts and order more as soon as my supply runs low. And everyone says the same thing: “These soaps make my bathroom smell like a spa!” They’re excellent!

    I’ve tried samples of Nordea’s body butter and lip balm, and need to add those items to my next order.

    Additionally, it’s a breeze to order from Nordea’s site, and I always feel like I’m being personally attended to. I am a customer for life.

  7. Lauren

    May 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Try the kitchen scrub soap – I use it everytime I cook something fragrant in the kitchen – the coffee grinds get rid of garlic odor like a pro!

    The laundry scrubber is also awesome for those times you don’t want to do a full load or don’t want to go to the laundromat for a few things!

  8. Serena

    May 3, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I first found Nordea and her wonderful soaps at the Renegade Craft Fair in McCarren Park.I bought myself a bar each of Honey Pie, Dead Sea Swirl, and Rosemary-Mint and was so pleased with them that I made a point of tracking her down for more. I then picked up her Lemon Poppy Butter scrub and, omg, talk about heavenly! I went back for the larger tub when that one was done. I am so thrilled her products, I will keep going back for more as long as she’s making them.

  9. Allison

    May 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I met Nordea at a craft fair in Boston in fall 2009. I bought her wonderful shea body butter for myself and a Hippie Chick perfume for my friend’s daughter. I still love the body butter, but I’ve become a Hippie Chick addict. Whenever I wear that fragrance, I get compliments and queries about what it is! Since 2009, I’ve used a number of the yummy soaps and I love the adorable hand-embroidered sachets. I’m looking forward to her next trip to Beantown (altho’ it’s a cinch to order from her website)!

  10. Patricia

    May 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I encountered Nordea at a fair in NJ and could not refrain from buying myself a lemon poppy body polish and mandarin orange body butter. I absolutely LOVE them and cannot wait to get her foaming hand soaps as she did not have them the day we met! Go Nordea!

  11. Diana

    May 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I met Nordea at a craft fair in Medford, NJ and picked up a bar of her Blue Musk for my son. He’s a teenager, and it’s all about smelling nice for the girls right now! He loved the scent and so did my Dad when he stopped by. I purchased more as Christmas gifts for both of them. The soap leaves your skin clean and fresh without having an overpowering scent. Nordea is a sweet, friendly lady and I wish her much luck in her business. She definitely knows what she’s doing!

  12. birdy27

    May 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    i met nordea when i was vending at the columbus avenue green flea market. i wasn’t able to get my regular spot and i ended up sharing a space with nordea. lucky me! i love nordea’s products and i especially love the musk oil i brought. it smells so good! and i love that it comes in a roll-on! i call nordea “the hardest working woman in soap business”! she is an extraordinary crafter and i can’t wait to see her products in stores across the country!

  13. Dale

    May 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Met Nordea at Brooklyn Flea. Love the Dead Sea Swirl , Hippie Chick and Rosemary Mint. Used them as Christmas gifts for the “friends who have everything else,” they were pleased. Am about to run out of stuff, so see you soon N.

  14. Clare

    May 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I love her body butter Hippie Chick- it smells great and makes my skin very soft- It actually improves my mood when I wear it!

  15. Chris H

    May 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Met Nordea at a holiday craft fair at the Brooklyn Lyceum two and a half years ago. Bought a few soaps thinking they would be good stocking stuffers, have been a regular ever since. Would not dream buying soaps anywhere else. Since everyone else is shouting out their favorites, let me cast a ballot for “Oh, What A Man!’

  16. Adela

    May 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I love all of Nordea’s products but I think my all time favorite is her body butter and lip balm. My husband loves the “Oh-What a Man” – and I love it on him too!
    Keep up the great work and keep the different scents coming!

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