Chocolate Pudding Cake...Soap !

Chocolate Pudding Cake...Soap !

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soap classes at The Granville Island Soap Gallery!!

Well, its THAT time of the year again! Soap classes return to the gallery in the fall staring October 15th which is a Saturday.
Staring at 10 am:
Beginner class: this class we learn to scent and colour glycerine based soaps essentially reformatting them to wonderful creations of your own doing. We will do hand tinted Koi fish, lemon candies, donuts with sprinkles.
Intermediate class we learn to do more elaborate items like embeds in cakes, decorating cakes and techniques to make dessert type soaps.
Advanced class students are shown two ways of traditional soap making...cold and hot process using essential oils. This is a old school way of soap making using fats and lye. No students under 16. pls bring a clean 2 litre milk carton to take some product home to cut and dry the next day.
.............all classes are fun , interesting and students take home some of their own work.
Simply call the store at 604-669-3649 to register!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Products at the Granville Island Soap Gallery!!

Hi Everyone!
This summer has been super busy with all the great visitors coming to Granville Island as well as the 'soapers' that stop by for a wee chat. I LOVE going over recipe ideas with people from their teens to well into their 80s.
It seems that a lot of people have had an interest in soap making at least once in their lifetime and many have tried with mixed results.
Some great stories come out of it either way!
Sooooo the next step in our great plan is the continuation of our hand made products, especially the soaps and the Moisture Mousse, especially the Moisture Mousse which we cannot.....cannot keep n the store or make fast enough.
I know one of the reasons is that my "mother-in-law" June is forever asking people to try one of the four scents we have in the line and once on the hands or arm people are hooked!
We like to call our Pomegranate and Orange mousse..."whipped cocaine" try and you are hooked.
This leads us to expand our line coming at the end of September (I know, later than we expected...hey we've been busy eh!) with:
All organic products consisting of:
 Peppermint foot gel
 Aloe eye gel
Spray-in detangler.
Bath oil
Bubble Bath
Kids bubbles
Lip balm
Liquid hand wash
Massage bar
...........and more!
We will do these in our favourite scents like "Summer garden", Lavender, French Vanilla and Naked.

the best part is that we will have a recycling program with the bottles so we will reduce the plastic footprint. Only ONE bottle will be out there per person rather than multiples.

anyway...thats it for today....back to making soap!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sensitive skin!!

Ok so now a year has gone by and there seems to be one common denominator within the questions asked by our customers and that is ..."what can I use for my sensitive skin?"
The truth in the answer comes from 26 years of making cosmetics and having both a skin care clinic and a soap store and that is............"we're ALL sensitive..its just how we deal with it both emotionally and physically"
Sounds pretty abstract but in the simple vein of the answer it is true that we all have issues whether mild or extreme at one part or time of our life.
Some people have legitimate concerns with regard to actual problems like eczema or environmental stressors that are hard on our largest organ.
Some people are simply whiners who like the whole world think they are so special that even the mildest product will create havoc with their skin, life, mental state.  Its a wee bit tiring as its those people who can't smell a lovely lemon verbena soap but I find them smoking five minutes later.
.....aaaaaaand there is a whole slew of people somewhere in the middle.
In actuality the less we do for for our skin, the better. It has become increasingly clear to me that, the skin, if given the opportunity to balance itself out, will do so.
This is not to say that anyone with a legitimate skin condition ignore advice of a trained professional but I always ask and listen to people when they say they have an issue and what they are using to try to alleviate that condition.
As Oprah would say..."what I know to be true is"........often people are "bandaiding" a problem rather than getting to the root of what is ailing them.
A great example is a busy hair cutter/stylist comes into the store from last January to just yesterday and complains bitterly that his hands are dry and cracked, raw and bleeding. This guys hands looked terrible and he had tried everything to great distress and financial strain. The first day I saw him I mentioned that using commercial shampoo on his customers hands, especially a super foamy, traditionally made salon formula (which is super stripping as it has to get all the gunk that people have on their heads so color and perms take well) will simply be the problem.
Sooooooo five months later hes back after trying everything and more and he is back from vacation......two weeks of vacation..........where he was not using any shampoo in the salon..........and simply allowing his hands to heal............and he sheepishly asked for our new body mousse cream.
"hows yer hands? I asked.
"Great!...seems Mexico and the rest did wonders" he nods.
"......and no shampooing clients maybe?" through a wincing smile I offered.
The light came on.
"Use gloves at work!!...duh!!" I laughed.
"oh yeh...duh.....!"
"and use your Moisture Mousse sparingly.....its a great that on your visa?"

Another case is a wee girl (well she was 16 or so....wee to me) says to me that her skin has been bad since she was 12 and the only time it gets better is in the summer.
We figured out that there was no case for a CSI investigation after more chatting but more to it that she is a swimmer in the a lake...where she wore no cover up make up (an evil material) and it was the combination of sun, exfoliation, letting herself sweat, and lack of the make up particles that let her skin balance and normalize itself to its own best ability.
The list goes on with dozens of cases but getting back to the "sensitive" factor I know for a fact that most people are less sensitive than they think and more stressing on their bodies so that it cant take the BS we put it through.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Soap in Vancouver...the Good the bad and the ugly!

Lately we have been making soap fast and furiously as the only shop in Vancouver to do so right in the store. Busy little beavers have we been in the "soap making area".
This leads the store to smell like a cornucopia of lemon and chocolate, almond and patchouli and a lot of other food grade essential oils.
This would be the GOOD....or the great. All day long we hear how it smells just so much better than other certain stores that sell we really need to name them? No.....ok yes....LUSH!!
You know which one I am talking about. You can smell the synthetic soap ingredients a block away and they have had more than their fair of disputes with their neighbors who somehow did not like the smell of the products wafting into their cafes and retail stores.......this would be the UGLY.
I am actually pretty pissed at Lush for making millions of people shy away from scent!!!
Sometimes people come to our door and shy away for fear that it is smelly.....then they linger and say "oh! this is way better than other stores I have come across".
"yes......we know...." is the response.
So now for the BAD. I can only tell you that if the product in a so called store looks just like the one in the Drug IS!
Once a company gets so big it has to contract it's product base to other companies who then subcontract to someone else there is no quality control. I don't care who the company is. This is how Kathie Lee Gifford found out her products were being made in less than stellar conditions for a while. Kudos to her and her husband Frank though for catching the problem and helping to implement stricter controls for manufacturing.
We will always know what is in our product lines.......cause you are important to us.....thin skinned or thick..we love it all.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bulk products at The Granville Island Soap Gallery!!!

Hey fellow bubble lovers!
We have been slammed damn busy these past few weeks but we are taking the time to launch a very exciting new product line(s) here in the Soap Gallery.
It is our bulk line of products!
We have been asked by so many if our SIGNATURE LINE scents can come in any other products than what we presently carry and after long thought we have created an eco friendly and gorgeous lineup.
The concept had to be carefully cogniscient of the packaging dilemma while still creating a nice package.
The result was a "fill a bottle....bring it back...we will recycle it for you and get a deal on your next fill"
This reduces the plastic can decide to have a label IF you want and our recycling program is efficient and clean!
We are very excited to also be bringing several products with a focus on the organic and essential oil compositions such as:
Bubble Bath
Bath and massage oil
Body wash
Peppermint foot cream
Body lotion
Body cream
Aloe eye gel
Body scrub
Lip balms
Foot balms
...and more!!
we plan to do these up in our Signature "Creamy French Vanilla", our "Summer Garden" scent and of course scent free!
Our launch is targeted for May 5th.
Come on by to test what we have!
Darren Monette

Glycerine soap vs traditional soaps at The Granville Island Soap Gallery

Hey all!
I was asked as I often am about what the difference is between regular soap like a traditionally made soap and glycerin soaps is.
Well, as best as I can explain it and with the help of stealing some text from Wikipedia...
Traditional soaps are a chemical reaction between an acid (oil) and a base or caustic material (lye) whereby the materials combine to create something completely different and without any of the original (well mostly) materials left over. The reaction is called Saponification and soap is created.
When we make soap one of the byproducts is glycerine and.....

Glycerin soaps are soaps that contain glycerin, a component of fat or oil. The soap is recognizably different from other soaps because it is translucent. The clarity of the soap is due to the particular alignment of the soap molecules in this type of soap, which can be induced through the addition of alcohol and sugar. This is usually done for homemade glycerin soaps which are not remeltable.
The process for making glycerin soaps was well known as of 1857 in the Western world. In modern industrial soap-making, the glycerin is then usually separated from the soap to be resold and used in a wide variety of areas such as for personal care products, pharmaceuticals, chemical intermediates, and food processing.....mostly food processing.
Glycerin soap is made by melting and continuously heating soap that has been partially dissolved in a high percentage alcohol solution until the mixture reaches a clear, jelly-like consistency. The alcohol is added to a slow cooked hot-processed soap and then simmered with a sugar solution until the soap is clear or translucent, and then the simmered soap is chilled in a freezer. With home- and hand-made soaps that still contain glycerin left over from saponification the grating, melting and cooking can proceed without the addition of anything into the mixture, though sugar or more glycerin is sometimes added. Glycerin soap can also be produced without remelting soap through directly cooking raw home-made soap.
Modern clear glycerin soaps bases are produced by combining various glycerol and polyols with soap and other surfactants in a manner similar to traditional glycerin soap making methods. These modern clear soaps have the benefit of being easily re-meltable and are often sold in bulk to customers for melt-and-pour soap crafting.

For my store I have made up for me a pure vegan glycerine soap to my standards and formula. This soap is a very gentle, purely cleansing products that holds the essential oils cleanly and clearly......a super nice product.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Natural soaps and a small footprint! boot!

We were chatting with a few people on a busy day here and someone remarked that they thought the store was really pretty and that idea was echoed by a few others.
I was and am extremely flattered as I explained that everything within the store has a "green" focus in that I re-purposed, reused, and recycled almost everything within the store. I used "eco" friendly, no emission paint and if I had to buy something it was second hand with the exception of two Ikea lamps that hang in the store.
It was almost like a game finding free stuff and reusing furniture and fixtures that would fit into a unified theme without looking like a flea market within itself. I even made the sign hanging outside out of an old door and some creative use of foam molding and some paint and dollar store letters......all second hand!
I am very proud of the way the store turned out and offer some advice to others who may be looking to start a retail establishment in that you can go high end and spend a lot on the interiors and yes, it will look great, or you can go creatively funky and save a bundle!
Unless the design is really mismatched and unusable the customers would never notice the difference and they would only focus on your products.
Only nerds like me go into a store and remark on the quality or cost fixtures as I have been in the business...and did I mention I can be nerdy?!?
Thanks again to our nice customers who complimented the look of the Granville Island Soap Gallery....I very much appreciate it!!

Intermediate soap class!

Our Intermediate soap class is upcoming tomorrow on Saturday.
We are looking forward to the class as we are doing up some fun "cake" style soaps with gorgeous decorating techniques.
Check back with us if you miss this one by calling the store at 604-669-3649 to see when the next one is happening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New artist at the Granville Island Soap Gallery

We are super happy to have Marlyn Macdonald join us in the gallery with her gorgeous paintings

Marlyn was born in England and moved to Eastern Canada where she studied at the Ontario College of Art before moving to the coast. Strongly influenced by Nolde, Van Gogh and Matisse, Marlyn creates works which are both contemporary and abstract. Lush surfaces invite the viewer to approach her painting; layers are built up and removed using a palette knife.

Marlyn’s love of flowers enhances her interpretation. Using strong colour coupled with expression and movement, Marlyn’s paintings of floral still life typically elicit a joyous response from the viewer & are collected throughout Canada. 
Marlyn and I used to work together at a Jewelry store where I was designing and selling sparkly things as was she and she had a few paintings up in the store there that were often admired.
We will be doing a revolving stock of her work as it will go fast with the tourist season fast approaching. Please stop by to see her work and I will put up a few examples of it here on the blog.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Granville Island Soap Gallery Classes

The soap classes at the gallery have been going along nicely with our latest being the advanced class this past week. Thanks go to the attendees who learned how to make soap in the traditional way and who put their own artistic spin on the final results. We made two soaps from our batch. One was a bright and lively peppermint and eucalyptus and the other was a spicy orange with oats.
The class was very enthusiastic and really got into the task with many great questions being asked. I always say that I learn way more than the students do. Classes are always happening with varying schedules. Just call the store at 604-669-3649 to see when and where.

Oh, and a super big thanks for all the folks taking pics and putting them on their own pages like flickr... They look great!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Born this way

Recently I was chatting a few customers who were very interested in the designs of our soaps and they commented on the artistic nature of our items. The conversation turned very flattering to me as they asked "how did you cone up with all these cool designs?"
to which I replied "to quote Lady Gaga I guess I was just born this way"
I couldn't help but have some fun quoting one of my favourite artists as it is a compliment that I can't take any credit for really... I like what I make and use all the products. I try to have a sense of humour about the designs and styles and that is something that yes, I research, but more to the fact I guess we really ate born with whatever sense of whimsy and humour we have. Blame my groovy parents... They're a bit wacky too.
Come on by the store to see what new and exciting things we have upcoming. These days we are working towards all our wedding and bridal favours for the upcoming season. The new and hot trend is takeaway soaps for your guests instead of the stale almonds or cake... Although... Mmmmmmm caaaaaaake!!! I like that too!
See.... Just born that way.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Soap Granville Island

Soap making classes are now being registered for our upcoming dates which happen on Saturdays. We have alot of fun making some great soaps so call the store at 604-669-3649 to see what spaces are available and come join us for a laugh and learn to make sone cool stuff.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Money section of the Province Newspaper

Darren Monette with a selection of soaps that look good enough to eat at the Granville Island Soap Gallery.

Darren Monette with a selection of soaps that look good enough to eat at the Granville Island Soap Gallery.

Photograph by: Submitted

Name: Darren Monette.
Business: The Granville Island Soap Gallery, Vancouver.
Contact: 604-669-3649,
Number of employees: Four.
Time in business: Nine months.
How did you get started? Having been a cosmetic manufacturer for the spa-hotel retail trade, I knew that one day I would have my own outlet selling what I most desire in products. And that is soap that looks gorgeous, is locally made and comes from high-quality organic materials . . . often with a bit of humour added into the mix.
What prompted you to start a business? I waited for a particular space to open up on Granville Island for a while and when it came available I jumped at the chance.
What do you like best about having your own business? Running your own business makes every little skill you ever learned valuable and being a jack of all trades helps tremendously. I relied on reused and recycled materials and furniture, low-emission, eco-friendly paint. I did all of the interior design myself and made a game out of shopping for fixtures that I could either make or repurpose.
What has been your biggest success? As we make soap here in the store, we can keep the quality to the highest standards. By trial and error, we found that our bulk products are sought after by people eager to trade in their empty containers for new ones. That sharply reduces overall waste. We have also implemented a recycling program for plastics that is working well.
What lies ahead? Soap-making classes start this spring in the store. We are going to concentrate on making the best products and integrating forward-thinking marketing ideas to create the most efficient business we can.

Read more:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vancouver's best Soap shop!!!

Recently we had the good fortune to have a wonderful guy named Andre do a short documentary on the shop and publish it on youtube.
Thanks for that Andre, you are a superstar and it looks great!
If you are interested in seeing what Andre has put together just click on:


Soap Classes at the Granville Island Soap Gallery

Hi all!!
our first soap class went super well as did our intermediate class with a few of the participants taking both of them.
The ladies learned to make, in the first class...chocolate donut soaps (a huge hit as Christmas for us)
lemon drop candy soaps (as yummy as they sound) and Koi fish soaps which were unusually pretty in how each student made different ones and they all turned out beautifully!

The second class was more for the decoration aspect in that we made cakes that actually looked real...but of course they were soap. Guilt free Cherry Cheesecake anyone? about Chocolate Pudding Bundt cake or maybe Orange Creamsicle cake....or Peppermint/Eucalyptus cake....delish!!!
We taught how different layering techniques and decorating styles that really made the "cakes" look good enough to eat and the ladies were all funny and creative, making interesting and gorgeous items to keep and give away.
Kudos and thanks for all those that took the two classes.
Right now we will be taking signups for our advanced class which will be the traditional soap making class with old school techniques...........learning about the how and why behind the chemistry will be important and necessary to impart proper soap making abilities..........should be fun!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Being "Koi" about soap making.

Finding organic essential oils for our "Rustic" soap line can be trying at best with such a variety of suppliers available. Spain and France are huge exporters of wonderful materials but recently I have found some superior local suppliers of oils. Who knew that there was and is so many varieties of essential oils that are sourced from BC farms?!
Lately one of those ordered locally is peach which goes into one of our most popular soap items the Koi fish soaps. These are gorgeous transluscent decorative fish with artfully placed yellow, red and blue colouring.
As a perfect segue.... It is also one of the soaps we teach you how to make in our soap classes! Our first class(es) start January 22 which is a Saturday.
Call the store at 604-669-3649 for more info. See you there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

YouTube is our friend!

Good news! We are finally heading into the new age with a series of new videos uploaded to YouTube.
check us out by simply searching granville island soap
Darren Monette

Soap Making classes at the Granville Island Soap Gallery

The soap classes are starting this upcoming week for the beginner classes and we have had to put on another class because it has been so popular! I underestimated the interest in both crafting and soap making. I guess people really want to get back to luxury items with a local and natural component.
I also wonder if people are interested in crafting items and thereby knowing exactly what goes into them. With labeling info getting increasingly more complicated albeit more informative it begs the consumer to really look closely to listing and actual ingredients.
In any which way we are proud to be a place to go for great information and a really fun time making some wonderful items!
For soap classes just scroll down for info on them and call the store for times and classes available.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Handmade natural soaps.

Here at the Granville Island Soap Gallery we make a variety of soaps. Everything from delicious looking soap cakes and donuts which drive our quests happy with their style to MY personal favorites which are the ones in the "Rustic Series" line which I have pictured below. All handmade using only olive oil, palm oil,coconut oils along with some silk protein and various other natural oils and organics.
I absolutely LOVE our "Lavender and Malba Flower" soap as well as our "Lemongrass and Oatmeal" and lastly our "Mint and Chocolate" soap is pretty darn popular..just don't eat it.
A good question that I got from someone was "why would I use a glycerine soap over a traditional soap?"
and my answer is "usually a glycerine based soap would be a very gentle option and one with a goatsmilk component would be ideal but because we hand make our traditional soaps using only gentle and luxury oils and during the process we incorporate the glycerine (which is a bi-product of the soapmaking process) back into the soap instead of skimming it off like a commercial soap maker would. Either way it would depend on the tolerance level or likes/dislikes of the essential oils added to the soaps at time of making.
I have a list of things that are relatively inexpensive that if you are a rich person and they are:
1. good wine
2.good coffee
3.good bread
4.good cheese
5.good chocolate
.....and good soap!
all these things are consumables for sure but I have to say that even while a good bar of soap may seem expensive at the time it will far and away outlast all of the items from one to five as you will use it dozens of times and enjoy the experience every time you use it.
come on in and see us!!

Soap Classes at The Granville Island Soap Gallery

***The Granville Island Soap Gallery***
2011 Soap Making Classes

Learn about the artistry and science behind one of the oldest crafts going.
Take part in  hands on learning courses from beginner to advanced in a relaxed and professional setting right in the Soap Gallery on Granville Island.
All materials and equipment are provided with only minimal needed to bring. (Sometimes a old smock/shirt and maybe an empty milk carton depending on the class)

Classes are non refundable due to material purchase but are transferable if attendance is unable.

CLASS 1 (soap crafting for the beginner) for all ages.
Saturdays 2:30-4:00 (pm dates tba)
Learn the art of glycerine reformatting-scenting-moulding and decorating in various ways.
Students have a fun time making and taking some of most popular items including one chocolate donut, 6 koi fish soaps and three lemon drop soaps. (Retail cost would be $29.00)
Bring a small hand towel for yourself.
Cost of class $40.00 including tax.

Class 2 (Glycerine soap making intermediate)
Saturdays 4:30-6:00 pm (dates tba)
Learn more advanced soap layering and essential oil combinations creating soap cakes!
Students make a variety of soap cakes including chocolate pudding cake, peppermint twist cake, creamsicle cake and cherry cheesecake soaps.
Students take home 1/8 of each of the four cakes at end of class and setting up of the cakes permitting. (Retail value $45.00)
Bring a small hand towel for yourself.
Cost of class $50.00 including tax

Class 3 (traditional soap making classes, advanced)
Saturdays 2:30-6:00 pm with a break dates tba.
Students learn background and history of soap making and learn hands-on the art of cold process, hot process and re-batching soap utilising fragrance essentials and essential oils in  natural vegetable formulations. 
Students take home several bars (two different types) made in that class in take away moulds that will firm up next day. (Retail value $80.00)
Bring a small towel, old shirt or smock and two-2 litre milk cartons empty.
Cost of class $80.00 including tax
Granville Island soap Gallery #104-1535 Johnston street
(right under the Sandbar restaurant on the Boardwalk)
call for class schedules and availability 

Handmade soaps at the Granville Island Soap Gallery

Welcome to our first blog for the Soap Gallery here on Granville Island!!
We are located at #104-1535 Johnston Street here on Granville Island (right under the Sandbar restaurant) on the Boardwalk by the Backstage lounge of the Arts Club theatre.
We have a variety of local items which is what we are focusing on with soap being made right on the premises!

We make a variety of handmade soaps both in the traditional way incorporating natural essential oils and botanicals as well as our wonderful soap cakes which look like a variety of delicious cakes you would swear were real cakes, donuts, cookies etc.
This last Christmas we were gift central with happy people leaving with the most original gift items on Granville Island.

Rounding out our line of local honey, candles, babies and Moms items and art pieces we have invited several local soap makers to display their items.
We are pleased to have such partners as Saltspring Island Soap Works, Family Soap Company from Squamish BC, Alberta Naturals 'bar naked' soaps from Calgary and more!!
stop by to say hi and check out our soap classes which I will put info up in a later blog entry!
Darren Monette