If you think these are candies, you’re mistaken just like us. Look closer and you realise that the colourful and tempting pastries, popsicles and doughnuts are actually soaps!
Founded by Rishika Nayak, The Sass Bar is a Mumbai-based handmade soap label launched in 2018. Interestingly, some soaps not only look like desserts but also smell like it! You’ll also find them in fruity, floral and deep scents. So imagine having a relaxing shower with a berry smoothie bowl fragrance or a bubble bath smelling like watermelons–now that’s fun, right?
Ahead, we chat with Rishika about her sassy label.
ELLE: How did The Sass Bar come about?
Rishika Nayak (RN): In a farmers market in Sydney, I chanced upon cold processed soaps. They were normal bars but with exotic fragrances like chocolate espresso and key lime pie. This made me rethink a regular handmade soap and that’s how the idea of making soaps in dessert shapes sprung. Thereafter, I did a basic course in soap making, and my journey began.
ELLE: You recently collaborated with the popular illustrator from Darjeeling, Nori Norbhu. Tell us more about it.
RN: My first artist collaboration series called The Sass Bar X Artist features pre-curated boxes with different handmade products made by artists and me. The idea is simple–the artist comes up with a product and theme, and I make soaps/scrubs/candles to match that in a beautiful box highlighting the best of both worlds. When I stumbled upon Nori, I immediately fell in love with her aesthetic and creativity. I knew I had to make my first box for the series with her. We have 3-4 artists lined up ahead.
ELLE: Tell us about your soap-making process. What makes it unique?
RN: Soap-making is a chemical reaction between oils, butters and lye (caustic soda). The result is a cleansing bar with glycerin which is a natural humectant. As a result of cold processing soap (the method we use) vs commercial soap (uses heat), all the beneficial properties of the ingredients we use–olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, clays, additives–are intact.
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ELLE: What were some of your initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
RN: An important value for our brand is putting ‘fun’ in function. The soaps had to look beautiful without compromising on scent, lather and moisturising. I also wanted to use sustainable packaging and worked hard on making it look good without the use of any plastic opening. So I switched to biodegradable bubble wrap and cellulose cling film as alternatives. The quality of ingredients is extremely important to us and we couldn’t find any certified fragrance oils and colours in India. The colours here faded away after a few days and the fragrance was very artificial. So we started importing them from certified suppliers.
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ELLE: What are you working on next?
RN: I’m working on something really fun. I can only say it’s going to be a trip down memory lane. The new collection will be out in the first week of October on our third anniversary.