Add Essential Oils To Local Businesses

If you have used Montclair Soaps before, then you made a special effort to buy ’em at occasional farmers markets or else online.  We’re lucky to have such a nice locally-produced product, based on olive oil of all things.

Well, the secret is becoming less so.  Soapmaker Kim Emanuel has started to join forces with local retailers, and his soaps and new lotions are available at re4m.  In coming weeks, they are planning to offer lip balm and more scents too.

Montclair Soap & re4m

Emanuel was attracted to re4m, which opened in June, because it’s “just the most wonderful store with fantastic surprises around every corner and on every shelf.  Lisa, the owner, has a completely magical eye for selecting objects that are a perfect combination of aesthetics within the store concept of sustainability.  I am very proud to be there!”

After nearly a year of developing lotions, it also was a good way to expand the business.  “Customers have been asking for a lotion with similar skin care qualities as my soaps,” explained the soapmaker.  “It was tricky but I think I have the formulas pretty tuned in….a one or two percent variation in ingredient ratio or temperature can be the difference.”

Plus there are fancier lotions available which require less fragrance than soaps.  Emanuel said he can afford really expensive essential oils like “steam-extracted Jasmine Grandflorum, Rose Otto & German Chamomile.”  I tried out the jasmine lotion while visiting re4m, and can report that it’s nice and light.

Hey, I’m a booster after discovering Montclair Soap last year.  Some users are attracted because other soaps are just too irritating.  For folks like me, it’s easy to get addicted to this slightly sybaritic experience – and now we have a reliable source in the Village.

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Sorry, Montclair Soaps Aren’t Edible

“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.”

Montclair Almond Cherry Soap

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.

Montclair Soaps

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.