It all began with a bar of soap somewhere in Iloilo.
Ira Tan, wanting to stray away from the available soaps on the market, set out to make one for herself. It easily became one of her favorite afterschool hobbies. But as people around her began to notice, they wanted in on it too. “It was an accident. I wanted to stop but the demand kept coming,” she recalls. And with that, everything else followed.
With the help of her sister Irene, she delved into makeup, skincare, and other things you can slather on your face. Ira sought out professional and asked for their advice. She studied natural preservatives and what ingredient is good for what. “I was a Psychology Major who needed a creative outlet and I’m not good at anything else,” she says with a laugh. “Music, dancing or whatever, I couldn’t do it. I could make soaps, though. Good ones. I can go to a grocery story, pick out fresh ingredients and make a soap out of it.” This talent serves as the beginnings of her own natural and organic beauty brand. She was able to freely experiment with other products for the skin such as body frosting, underarm scrubs, face soap bars, and even armpit cleansers.
She says that clay-like material was the most fun to mix. “It starts off as powder and it gets molded into something like clay-doh.” A self-described control freak, she reveals that she has to make everything from scratch herself even with a team of people already behind her. The process of making new products always starts with the question: What would I use? From there, her impressive product list was born.
Photography by Kitkat Pajaro
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