• UO Studio Visits: Bar Soap Brooklyn

    "There was a scene in the movie Fight Club that piqued my interest in soap making." — This is how we know we love Kakyung Cho and her small-batch soap brand Bar Soap Brooklyn. Kakyung has been making soap for four years, and officially started her line exactly a year ago. We're excited to have her as part of our Local Made Gift Shop at Space Ninety 8 this holiday season, and stopped by her studio to learn more about her process, her favorite winter-ready ingredients (olive oil and jojoba oil!), and the process of making her hand-blended herbal bath teas. 
    Photos by Anna Ottum

    How do you choose your ingredients and scents?
    I’m a practical person: I like ingredients and scents that serve a purpose. I won’t use color dyes, I don’t use a lot of decorations on top of the soaps, and all are made with natural ingredients that help improve skin.

    What’s your favorite scent to use? 
    It all comes down to lavender essential oil. Thank god for lavender essential oil. It’s soothing, relaxing, and healing. That is one perfect scent for me. 

    What’s the hardest part of your job? What about the easiest?
    I believe all tasks are important so I do not take it easy on any task. From concept to production to packaging... even executing orders and packing them up and shipping them out – it's all important!

    What kind of music do you like to listen to while you work?
    Depends on the workload, my mood, and weather. Sometimes I like some soothing Brazilian Bossa Nova by Joao Babel or even some classical Chopin or Bach. Sometimes I like some fun Crystal Castles, Arcade Fire, or Bonobo.

    What’s a typical day like for you?
    Vitamins, coffee, breakfast, e-mails. Then production or doing shipments. Last two tasks can take up my whole day.

    Tell us something we don’t know about soapmaking.
    For handmade soap making, prep can take more time than actual making!

    How did you get the idea for bath teas? It’s such a good idea!
    Doesn’t your skin feel wonderful and slick after a swim in the sea? Sea salt, especially Dead Sea salt, contains rich potassium that benefits you by helping with regeneration of new cells. 

    What’s your go-to last minute gift?
    Williamsburg, where I live and work, offers a variety of high-quality goodies that you can easily access from local shops! Mast Brothers chocolate bars from their chocolate factory are a go-to gift. I also like to pick up Christmas sweaters and socks from Urban Outfitters.

    How to make a bath tea bag:

    -A spoon of dried rose petals
    -A spoon of dried hibiscus petals
    -A spoon of dried calendula petals
    -A spoon of Dead Sea salt
    -Five drops of lavender essential oil
    -One bath tea bag (3x5)
    -Heat sealer
    -A mixing bowl

    Combine a spoon of rose petals, hibiscus petals, calendula petals, a spoon of Dead Sea salt and five drops of lavender essential oil in a mixing bowl and toss them. Put all ingredients into an empty bath tea bag. Heat seal it and now it's ready for a relaxing and soothing bath!

    Shop Brooklyn Bar Soap at Space Ninety 8's Local Made Gift Shop and follow Kakyung's work on her website or Instagram