Q: Do you really make all these products yourselves?
A: Yes, we do.
Chikondi is the soap maker, and makes each batch of soap by hand, from scratch. We don’t use any pre-made ‘melt-&-pour’ bases or anything like that (should they be called ‘melt-&-poor’ which describes their quality, perhaps?). Our soaps are made by the cold-process method, using oils such as veldt-raised free-range tallow, Mozambican coconut oil, local sunflower oil and local macadamia oil, and some special African tree oils, like Baobab and Marula. We scent our products with essential oils sourced from around South Africa, along with a few from other African countries like Madagascar and Morocco.
Kate illustrates and paints the artwork for all our packaging.
We strive to use only natural, sustainable, African and safe ingredients in all our products and to make them the best in the world.
Q: Where is this stuff made?
A: Our soaps, balms and other products are all made on our beautiful farm in the rolling green hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa. We use as much locally grown and sourced material as possible, including some plant extracts we grow ourselves.
Q: Where are the products shipped to customers from? Will I have to wait weeks and weeks for it?
A: We ship items world-wide.
We use The Courier Guy for all standard deliveries in South Africa, and we send items twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they can usually deliver to main centres within South Africa within a couple of days. Outlying regions may take a few days more.
For orders outside South Africa, products are shipped to customers from our partner based in the United States. Orders should reach anywhere in the United States or Canada within a few days, and Europe within eight days. We keep track of the inventory levels they have on hand so that we are able to send more to them before any item goes out of stock, but this does still occur sometimes, due to the handmade nature of our goods and their curing time, and the time it takes to ship goods from Africa to North America.
Q: Is there lye in your soaps?
A: No, our finished soaps do not contain any lye. We use lye, or sodium hydroxide solution during the soap making process to convert our oils into soap, but all of the lye is used up in the reaction and none remains in the final product. Additionally, we ‘super-fat’ all our soap bars, which means we add a little extra oil to each batch to make them extra moisturising and nourishing for your skin. It is impossible to make real soap without using lye. Any soap that is claimed to have been made without lye or sodium hydroxide isn’t really soap – it probably contains detergents such as sodium laureth sulphate, or a base of proplylene glycol, so you should check if the producer can give you a complete list of ingredients.
Q: Do you use palm oil?
A: No, we don’t use any form of palm oil, palm olien, or palm kernel oil. We only use locally-source, sustainable and environmentally-friendly raw materials such as veldt-raised tallow, which we render from grass-fed, wholly range-reared cattle, which is superior to palm oil for soap-making and all skin-care applications. We will never be able to make the quantities of soap a palm oil user could theoretically produce since the supply of free-range tallow is so much more limited, but we’re not looking to become the biggest soap maker in the world – just the best.
Q: Do you make any products besides soaps?
A: Yes, we make a range of balms, tallow balms, natural, aluminum-free deodorants, 100% beeswax candles, natural perfumes and a few other things, (We are always coming up with something!) which we will be adding to our store over time. We’ve started the site with just the soaps because that seemed to be the simplest item to get started with as it required the least paperwork. As we fill in more forms and process the paperwork for international shipping, we’ll get more of our products on the website. Sign up for our newsletter or follow our blog so you can hear about it as soon as our other product ranges arrive.
Q: Is this site safe to shop on?
A: Yes, it is. Our shop is hosted on one of the most secure e-commerce
platforms available, and our payment processors use 256-bit encryption, the same level of security as your bank and your cedit card company. We do not store your card details and our site is scanned daily by our security partners for malware and electronic threats.