My name is Johanne. My story is not extraordinary, but it is built upon hope and the desire of better days ahead.
In August of 2015, I moved my daughter to college, and - just like that - she was gone to another city and off starting a new life. She was happy, but this left me with an uncertainty I had not faced in years. Not knowing what else to do, I called my mom. I needed to vent, I needed to share my sorrow, I needed to be understood. The idea of making soaps resulted from that connection with my mother. It's just that simple.
Thus, I changed the direction of my life and embarked on a fantastic adventure. My motivation was twofold: I not only yearned for a new venture, but I also felt a strong urge to reclaim control of caring for one of our most important organs: our skin. My beloved island homeland of Haiti is central to my life, so the name “Savons Des Iles,” which translates to “Soaps of the Islands,” felt like a perfect name for my new enterprise.
When I get out of bed each morning, soap is usually on my mind. I always get excited thinking about a new formula, perfecting an existing one, or simply remaking a successful batch. This is both therapeutic and fun for me and has given me a new sense of purpose at this point in my life.
Here at Savons Des Iles, each step in our production process from inception and growing the ingredients to mixing and packaging the final products is carried out mindfully with regard to the customers’ health and wellbeing and our environmental impact. Each bar is carefully made, cut, and wrapped by hand. Our soaps are, for the most part, HANDCRAFTED IN HAITI where I have the ability to use ingredients that are harvested in remote areas of the country or from my very own garden. This is one of the things I love most about Haiti – that so many of our fresh ingredients that I proudly use in my recipes including cocoa butter, Castor oil (aka Lwil Maskriti), Aloe vera, and so many more are grown right here. The natural heart of our homeland is truly in every bar we produce.
I love everything about soap making and when I don’t make soap to sell, I delight in teaching children how to make soap through a mission project my daughter created while visiting Haiti years ago called les Bénis de Jesus.
This is my craft, my passion, my heart and I look forward to sharing this journey with you.