This is the second to last of my blogs (seventh of eight tours) on the New Taipei City factory tours. We were escorted on a bus by K. G. L. AD. Media Agency International Company’s associate’s, Director Kelin Chen, and Account Executive, Ann Li.
What did I know about soap before this tour? Candidly speaking, I knew very little for sure. What I did know is that some soap’s are better for cleaning than others. Some are soft and others are abrasive. Many have strong perfume smells which I do not like. Most soaps leave residue in sinks, showers, etc. I also know that many types of soap, both solid and liquid, use a form of lye which is a strong alkali. Lye dissolves easily in water, but can be caustic and irritate or burn the skin in strong or pure solutions. Well that’s the extent of my knowledge before the tour.
But after this tour, I have a much better understanding of both the art and science of making fine quality soaps.
The Cha-Shan-Fang Soap Tourism Factory is located in a pleasant rural area south of Sanxia, and as we pulled up to the front, soap bubbles were floating in the air all around us.
We were met by several people including Olga, Alwa Hu and LuLu (One of the 10 children of the founder) who first talked to us about their history of soap making and their family business.
The original founder (Lin Yi-cai)began selling soap in the late 1940’s and soon began developing his own product.
|The Founder, Lin Yi-cai|
His first successful natural brand of soap, “FLOAT SOAP”, was widely used in Taiwan for more than 20 years.
Today the company is run by the ten children of Lin Yi-cai. Their photos are displayed on the wall of their factory and can be seen below. By the way, we were told the founder is now 85 years old and still helps out at the factory on occasions.
|The Family run business|
The tour started in the lobby as our guide revealed the fascinating history of this business.
|Starting the tour|
In the lobby, they showed us how the founder had to transport the original materials for making the soap.
|When full of soap, this was very heavy to carry|
Also on display is a huge hand sculpted “pig” made from their soap weighing about 1000 kilograms!
|Solid Soap Hand Carved Pig|
We moved upstairs and saw sales marketing materials displayed on the walls since the early days of this company. We were also shown the many wonderful herbs and natural ingredients added to their various soap products.
Above the actual factory on a “catwalk” we learned of the 10 steps in making their soap.
As we walked, the 10 process steps were described on plaques including the ones shown below.
These 10 steps are as follows:
1. Cook the Soap consisting of various oils, water and alkali for at least 2 days
2. Extract excess alkali soda through evaporation for 1-2 days to create the soap base
3. Grind separately the herbs and natural ingredients in to powder; mix with soap,and combine
mixed soap with water 1:1 ratio.
4. Mix the combined soap, ingredients and water thoroughly
5. Pour the mixture into wooden molds
6. Immediately even out the top surface of the soap surface in the mold
7. Cool down for approximately 2 days to congeal the soap
8. Cut the soap using thin metal wire and place the soap on racks
9. Dry the soap (roasting) for 1-2 days to remove excess moisture
10. Pack the final product in their special designed packaging
After our interesting tour, we were taken to the DIY room for our own soap project. Today, we actually made our own herbal soap and selected our own mold, coloring, etc.
|The Cooked soap solution for our DIY|
|Our Tour Group working diligently on our DIY project|
While our soap was drying, we were thoroughly entertained by several “games” and quizzes for special prizes.
|Different Molds and our soap drying in the molds. Embossed bars of soap.|
|Our final DIY soap to take home|
At the end of our tour, we went to the Cha-Shan-Fang Soap gift store where we could see the final products, and to also purchase products to take home with us. I bought a variety of soaps and have been using them every day during my stay here in Taiwan.
We certainly were treated to an fascinating tour. Lu Lu, Olga and Aiwa Hu were friendly and very helpful during our tour and in the gift shop.
To visit the Cha-Shan-Fang Soap Tourism Factory or to contact them, their contact information and address is listed below.
Cha-Shan-Fang Soap Tourism Factory
64-10 Baiji Rd., Sanxia District,
New Taipei City, Taiwan