Today we're interviewing my dearest friend and boss babe, Taylor, who shares her story as aen entrepreneur and answers some of our questions about her amaaazing zero waste Hawaiian bodycare brand!
Hi Taylor!! Can you tell me a little bit about your journey as an entrepreneur and how you got to starting Keālia Organics?
Hi :) My journey as an entrepreneur has been a long one and I though am still en route to an unknown destination, I’m enjoying the ride hahaha. Anyway, I have always loved making my own natural plant-based products ever since I can remember. It’s something my mom did, so it’s something I’m used to.
In 2018 I started my zero waste journey and got really deep into it, as a result of that I learned how to make soaps and shampoo bars! I soon realized that creating natural products was something I wanted to continue doing for myself and for others, and I was so passionate about combatting plastic pollution that I also wanted to create an outlet that would allow me to do that. So I put two and two together and everything just worked out from there!
We love you and what your brand represents! How would you describe your personality and what is your life motto?
Aw mahalo my sister I love you too!!! My personality, I’d say I’m lots of fun, I’m crazy and also quite weird. But I’m an artist, that’s just how we’re built hehe. I’m also down to earth and overall pretty chill and I really love nature and traveling.
I feel the motto I live by the most is, “You don’t know until you try” and although it’s so simple, it’s something that inspires me every single day to just… do whatever it is that I’m considering. I’d much rather be disappointed with a result than to never try and wonder for all of my life what would have happened if I did.
What was the idea behind the name ‘Keālia Organics’?
The name Keālia Organics is inspired by where I’m from in Hawai’i. Keālia is a town on Kaua’i, the eastern side of the island where my family is from. It’s really one of the smallest neighborhoods, I mean we have literally one street of houses here hahaha.
I chose “Keālia” for the name because to me it kind of represents myself, coming from a small town on a small island but entering the big world and sharing with it all the big ideas I have to offer! Just something you don’t usually expect from a small place, you know?
Can you tell me about the process of creating every single piece by hand?
My brain hurt a bit thinking about every single piece hahaha. It’s a pretty consuming process but I’ll share with you my soap process! Since that’s my main product :)
Most soap makers have to start their process by melting their oils, but here in Hawai’i, it is so hot that my oils are ALWAYS liquid 😂
So step one- measure oils
Step two- measure out the sodium hydroxide (aka lye, the chemical compound that solidifies oils into bar soap) and water
Step three- mix the lye with the water (this is actually very dangerous so I must always use gloves and goggles and mix it outside)
Step four- allow the lye mixture to cool off and reach the same temperature as the oils
Step five- add the lye water to the oils and blend!
Step six- when the mix thickens, I allow it to sit and cook for about 30 minutes
Step seven- after the soap cooks, I cool it down and monitor the temperature until it’s cool enough to add the additives such as essential oils, plant powders, mica colors, etc.
Step eight- after thoroughly mixing in the additives, I put the soap into molds, add my gold dust and whatnot, and allow it to harden overnight.
Lastly- the morning after I cook a soap, I unmold it, cut it up into even pieces and then shave the edges to achieve the final look! Then I let it cure (harden) for a few days and it’s good to go!
How do you go about selecting your flavors?
To put it simply, I just think about scents and combinations that I really like and then I make it
I’ve used essential oils for everything most of my life so I’m familiar with these scents, so when I decided to use pure essential oils for all my products, I just started off with my favorite ones. I use a lot of botanicals in the soaps, and I cook often so it’s all very similar pairings.
What is the favorite product that you sell and why?
My favorite product is my shampoo bar!! Mostly because I’m soooo proud of it and how that actually works. It took me nearly 2 years to get my recipe to what it’s at now, and I’m just so content knowing how much plastic waste I’m preventing, and allowing others to prevent as well. Plus its so fun to use!
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
Honestly the pandemic has allowed my business to flourish and I’m quite thankful in that aspect. I mean, first off, people are definitely considering their sanitary measures now more than ever!
But really, I think the pandemic had a positive ripple effect on small businesses here. Not to mention that Hawai’i people are HUGE on supporting local, all-natural, and eco-friendly in general… and I’ve just had an overwhelming amount of positive support from the community in Hawai’i, and also in the continental U.S.!!! so yeah, I’m pretty stoked I guess.
What’s next for Keālia Organics?
Welllll… I’m currently in the process of getting a new workshop! It hasn’t finalized just yet but I’m just going to keep saying it until I just manifest it and it happens 😂 I’ve been bulk wholesaling to different businesses and for events, so I’d like a bigger space to be able to create more and just have more room for storage. I’d also eventually like for my workshop to double as a place where people can come in and purchase products in person!
Where can I buy your products?
My products are available on four islands: Kaua’i, O’ahu, Maui and Moloka’i.
Kaua’i: Rock Salt Plum in Kapa’a, Mercedes Maza Art Gallery in Hanapepe, and at Clean Kaua’i refill store in Lawai.
O’ahu: Protea Zero Waste in Kailua, To The Sea Hawai’i in Waikiki, Keep It Simple Honolulu on Waialae, and (coming soon) a store in Haleiwa!!!! SO excited about this one!
Maui: Paradise Now Hawai’i in Wailuku
Molokai: Pu’u o Hoku Ranch in Kaunakakai
To finalize this interview, what’s your advice for women wanting to start their own businesses?
If you really want to do it, then do it! You owe it to yourself to try! There is nothing in the world that can compare to the feeling of doing what you love, and for a living. It’s a euphoric sensation and truly a blessing. Because not many people in the world are able to say that. So if you have even the slightest chance of success, it’s definitely worth trying!
Thank you so much beautiful! Be sure to check out all the amazing offered at @keāliaorganics, and make the switch girl!!