An event, a picture, a movie- it is peculiar how a small episode in our life can trigger us to make decisions that, in fact, change the course of our career. The way we respond to the opportunities thrown at us and how willingly we take up the initiative to solve the challenge differentiates us from the crowd. And years down the lane, when we look back, we have a tale of a sudden incident to narrate, a sweet memory that gave you an incredible push in a juncture of life.
Here is an MCA graduate who was surprised by the price of a soap that she saw in one shop and decided to make on herself. Her will grew, and so did her business as she ventured out to explore the creative face of soap making. In conversation with Simy Thomas Arun on her fulfilling and exciting journey with Siloam Soaps.
Brief us about yourself, your background, and your previous ventures.
I am Simy Thomas Arun, an MCA graduate from Thrissur, Kerala. I completed my MCA from MIT Manipal and worked at IBM for 1.5 years before getting married and shifting to Kochi.
I am into wellness care, and I love cooking and reading about them as well.
How did you perceive the idea of starting your venture? What inspired you to start it?
Once I happened to be at the premium ayurvedic brand Forest Essentials store, I was taken aback by the price of the soap. The product was expensive, but I loved how it felt on my skin. The next time I went for the purchase, my husband suggested the idea of making one on my own, and I started reading about it began to, began with positive replies for my product from the neighbors that gave me the push to pursue it fully. Since goat milk was beneficial to the skin, I started using it for my recipes and experimented with using the ingredients I use in the kitchen. I made sure that they were visually appealing too and started experimenting with creative designs for the same.
Could you tell us the story behind the name ‘Siloam’?
I wanted a biblical name for my brand, and it was my sister who suggested, “Siloam Siloam is a pool mentioned in the bible which is used for “cleansing and purification,” and it felt perfect for the range of products that we deliver. My sister also helped us with an appealing logo for the brand.
What are the different products and services that you deliver?
I initially made only two varieties of goat milk soap. I noticed that most customers wanted more goat milk soaps because of their properties, which led me to experiment with more combinations. I also occasionally make whipped soap scrub, bath truffles, body butter, donkey milk soap.
How do your source your raw materials? How do you ensure the quality of your products?
My materials are locally under my supervision and from trusted sources. The goat milk that highlights my products is sourced from a farm, and the oil is procured locally.
With a lot of options available in the market right now, what makes your products unique?
With the market flooded with synthetic options, my product stands out in a stellar manner. It is unique visually, and the ingredients make the fragrance divine, and the product is skin-friendly and healthy. I have seen people suffering from problems caused by dry skin, and the range of products that we deliver caters to that problem, as a good soap works like a medicine for one’s skin.
Also, there are two kinds of soap making- melt and pour and cold-pressed soap. Melt and pour soaps when you melt the ready-made base, pour into molds, and add the essential oil or fragrance into it, and prepared to use in a few hours. While cold-pressed soap making is a traditional soap-making method where we make the soap from scratch, adding the ingredients the way we require. Since it’s cold-pressed, the nutrients are preserved. After making the soap cut into bars, we cure it (air dry ) for four weeks minimum so that the lye is evaporated and receive the complete organic bar.
Siloam soaps are cold-pressed as it preserves the quality, and makes it stand out from its competitors in the market.
Also, handmade gifts give a unique outlook to the products, and I provide bamboo gift boxes and wooden trays for the occasion, giving it a personal touch.
How do you reach out to your potential customers? Do you have an online as well as offline presence?
I reach out to my customers mainly through my social media handles. I update the Instagram page regularly with the latest products and also publicize my products through WhatsApp groups.
Do you have a team? Could you also brief us about your plans for your venture?
I don’t have a team backing me. It is just me making, marketing, and selling my products. When I need an extra hand, I have my husband to support me. I aspire to have a studio for myself one day where customers can make their essential cosmetic products necessary for their skin like scrubs, masks, oils, and soap.
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