Friday, December 15, 2017

Meet the ‘Soap Lady’


FOUNDER: Owner of founder of Rodco Home Essentials, Colleen Malawar-Aqui. —Photos: ANISTO ALVES

Mark Fraser

On her identification card her name is Colleen Malawar-Aqui but to her friends and clients she is the “Soap Lady”. 

Originally from our sister isle Tobago, Malawar Aqui has been making soaps and other beauty essentials for the past 15 years.

For this mother of one, there is never a dull moment in her chosen profession. She admits she is tickled by the fact that her customers upon seeing her will often stop and say, “look the Soap Lady”.

She first started making scented candles and once she mastered it, the next logical step was to branch out and make soaps and other bath products, Malawar-Aqui said.

 “I have no background in chemistry, however, through the prompting of my friends who got the opportunity to sample some of my work, felt it was something that I can excel at,” she said.

“They encouraged me to seek a chemist who could teach me the fundamentals when it came to soaps and combining various ingredients. I absorbed the information and became very good at it that I now do it on my own,” she said.

From body scrubs, body butters, lip balms, foot soaks, lotions and creams, the “Soap Lady” prides herself on making products that incorporate natural and other local ingredients.

She is the founder and owner of Rodco Home Essentials, a company that has been in existence since 2004. Created to cater to the skincare needs of Caribbean people, Malawar-Aqui says she was the first client for her company.

She said, “I suffered terribly with dry skin and no matter how much moisturiser I used it just wasn’t working. I knew I had to do something about it.”

Forging ahead, Malawar-Aqui spent time listening attentively to her clients’ needs and made products that would be beneficial to them.

She said, “I started off making candles and soaps and now my range of product is roughly 12 altogether.” 

Apart from making bath and beauty products, Malawar-Aqui also conducts workshops in soap and candle making in Arouca. Rodco Home Essentials would be based in Maloney Mall, Maloney Gardens, she said.

Malawar-Aqui has not always been a skincare consultant. In fact, her life was even more hectic back when she was a fashion designer as it is now. Making wedding dresses, clothing for men, women and children, her style she says was more haute couture. 

“This is a more holistic approach to what I use to do. It is a little more laid back than fashion design but I needed something to do that would also give me time for me. It expanded from making candles and soaps, to home essential items,”she said. 

“All Rodco products are homemade even though they are not 100 per cent organic. They are all made using natural and locally made products,” she said.

“Apart from having a great fresh scent our products incorporate ingredients such as papaya, pumpkin, aloes, watermelon, turmeric, mangoes and neem,” Malawar-Aqui added.

A men’s line and a line for sensitive skin will be available soon. She noted that while she carries a few men’s products the line was incomplete.

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