This month's brand spotlight features Jammie Choo, creator of the delicious Harlem Soap and co-owner of the home interior store Harlem Heirloom. Keep reading to see why he uses Goat's Milk in his soaps and what's next for the soap line. No Lye (*wink).
1. In your words, describe the inspiration behind starting the brand Harlem Soap. 1a. Describe your style in 3 words.
The Inspiration for the brand came from my own skin problems. I have eczema and wanted something natural for my skin.
I'd describe my style as clean and simple as you can see translated in my label design.
2. I read on your website that you use all natural products, including goat's milk! What was the thought process behind using that specific ingredient and just all-natural products in particular?
Since I have eczema I knew I wanted something without all those harmful chemicals and additives no one can pronounce or spell. After researching I learned that goat's milk has a pH level very similar to human's skin thus it helps to balance and replace what we naturally lose in the shower.
3. Where do you find the inspiration for the scents of your soap?
I've worked in fashion my most of my entire life. With fashion lines there needs to be cohesiveness. Each of the scents lends itself to the next. Unscented Oatmeal, lavender Oatmeal, Lavender lemongrass, Orange Lemongrass, Spearmint Orange. Etc..
4. For all those natural nerds out there, briefly describe the soap manufacturing process and why you do a batch of 180.
Soap making is quite easy. If you can bake a cake you can make soap. Its a combination of melted oils combined with Lye (yes what's inside of a perm). The Lye acts as a hardening mechanism however it evaporates in the process. The mixture is then poured into molds and left to harden for about 4 weeks. The soaps are made in batches of 180 bars to insure consistency.
5. So Harlem Soaps are sold at your lovely home goods/interior design store, Harlem Heirloom. I have to say, I thought it was the cutest store I've seen here in Harlem. What was the inspiration behind the offerings you sell within the store?
Thank you, thank you. The soap came before the store. Harlem Heirloom is the brainchild of my boyfriend Tyler and I. We met while working for the William Sonoma brands, Pottery Barn Kids and Teen stores as Visual Merchandisers. Naturally I sell the soaps via the store but the other items are just things from all over that we loved and knew our Harlem neighbors would too.
6. Are you considering expanding Harlem Soap, to more body care items i.e. Lotions, Scrubs, etc?
I am going to expand the line to offer other scents. However I am not going to go into other items although its something I've been thinking about. I want the brand to be just soap and the best bar soap that anyone has ever used.
7. What's the next steps for Harlem Soap & Harlem Heirloom?
The next steps for both Harlem Soap & Harlem Heirloom is really just growing the two brands exclusively as house hold name. I am working on getting the soap into other stores (we're in 2 others since launching last wholesale in June). As for the store we are going to our first ever NYNOW show, So excited to meet people in the design and home décor world as well as buying tons of new stuff for F/W.
To shop these scents and more visit http://www.harlemsoap.com.
Creative Direction & Styling: Tamera Darden
Photography: Sirnoahbility IG: @sirnoability