“I cut my soap into square bars an inch thick. At first glance they look a bit like a nice cheese,” says Kim Emanuel, owner of Montclair Soaps. They look so delectable that he’s actually heard someone exclaim, “Wow, these are lovely…can you eat them?” Well, no.
Emanuel has been making unique soaps here for the past two years, using olive oil. He explains that “olive oil is very similar to the natural oils manufactured by skin and so it acts to moisturize and protect, without being greasy. The cold process of making olive oil soap results in a bar that is both deeply cleansing, moisturizing and extremely gentle to the skin.”
Of course, there’s an interesting back story about Kim and his decision to begin making and selling soaps in 2006. He’s a semiconductor engineer by day and felt the need to do “something a bit more human.”
“Soap by nature is very touchable, has wonderful aroma, it’s pretty and one can retreat into a tub of hot water with a bar of great soap,” declares Kim. “Before you know it, all the stress of the day drifts away. It’s a meditation. Soap is wonderful!”
He says his “favorite part of the whole process is when people come back to me after using my soap and tell me how much they love it, or how nice their skin feels…or how their nine-year-old son takes more baths now.”
It’s great to have a real soap maker in our backyard. Among the 14 varieties, he sees the highest demand for Mint Rosemary, Almond, Apricot, Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Pear and Lavender soaps. I’m attracted to the Lemon Grass, which puts me in the minority.
Holiday Gift Alert! Montclair Soaps maintains an online store and also holds court Sundays at the Temescal Farmers Market. You can order soaps online here, and Kim has graciously offered all Montclarions a $1/bar discount by inserting the word “MONTCLAIR” in the coupon code box at checkout.
Also you can avoid shipping charges completely, as a local. Just mention that you want to pick up bars at the Temescal Farmers Market (next to the DMV on Claremont Ave) when you see the special instructions in the online shopping cart. You can meet Kim there every Sunday to pick up your order.