Srinagar: When the pandemic hit the world, Sana Aftab of Bhagat Barzulla was putting up in Qatar.
With ample time to test her creativity, she utilized lockdown to learn making organic and halal soaps at home.
“I have been to Barcelona where organic soaps are famous. I bought them as souvenirs. During the pandemic, I had ample time and started making soaps as a hobby. I learned to make soaps from Instagram and YouTube and found it easy and creative,” she said.
Soon after learning the art, she posted them on her Instagram handle `Mountain Soap Company’, which earned her a good fanbase in Kashmir and Qatar.
“Every weekend, farmers set up a market in Qatar to showcase their products. I was also invited where I displayed my organic soaps,” Sana said.
To check people’s reactions, she initially distributed handmade organic soaps among friends and relatives who encouraged her to turn her hobby into a profession.
“They liked my products. My friends and relatives encouraged me to sell my handmade soaps in the markets since organic soaps are not very popular in Kashmir,” she said.
Gradually, Sana learnt more through books and the internet and started making different kinds of organic and halal soaps.
“I got more interested in making organic soaps. I surfed the internet and read books to learn more about making organic soaps. My handmade soaps are halal which means there is no use of prohibited ingredients,” she said.
Sana said soap making was an easy career choice for her since all the ingredients were available at home.
“It was easy for me since we have all the ingredients including cooking oil and caustic soda. Ittar, clay, charcoal masks, dried herbs, and honey at home,” she said.
What makes Sana’s soaps different from the rest is that her soaps contain ingredients available in different districts of the valley.
For instance, Sana’s Sopore soap contains clay from Sopore as an essential ingredient.
Similarly, Pampore Soap contains saffron as an ingredient to give it a fragrance and make it skin-friendly.
Sana said that she is now planning to set up a full-fledged unit in Srinagar to ensure bulk production of organic and halal soaps.
“I am getting a good response from my customers and will start my outlet soon. Even I. am planning to pitch for investments so that I can set up factories in every district,” she said.
Sans said her organic soaps have a good demand for marriages and other functions. “I have been making soaps for marriages and other functions. Customers love and prefer using these organic soaps because of their good results,” she said.