For Joulian, the route to becoming a soapmaker was a bit of a roundabout one. Nearly half a decade ago, while Joulian was running his own creative visual-communications company, he came up with the idea to shoot a series of short films on local makers, artists, and craftsmen in the capital. Somewhere along the way, he became fascinated by the art of soapmaking and decided to try it for himself. Joulian quickly fell in love with the process – and learned that he was pretty good at making great vegan soaps – and thus the venture began. The series of short films never came to fruition, but a line of incredible soaps and skincare products, called SAABOON, were created in its place.
The name SAABOON means soap in many languages. SAABOON’s products are 100% natural, 100% vegan, and 100% handmade. Joulian chooses the scents that he uses based both on their aroma and their beneficial properties. He uses oils such as bergamot oil, known for its disinfectant and soothing properties, and tea tree oil, which is both antibacterial and antifungal. Not one for strong scents, Joulian prefers to keep things pure and simple, using one scent per bar of soap.
Somewhere along the way, he became fascinated by the art of soapmaking and decided to try it for himself.
This past year, after four years of selling his soaps online and at various retail locations throughout the city, Joulian decided that he was ready to take the next step and open up his own space. He spent two months renovating the spot at 595 Gladstone, turning the old video store into a beautiful soap shop. It’s grand opening is one of Joulian’s favourite memories of SAABOON thus far. “Leading up to it I was getting anxious,” remembers Joulian, thinking “what if no one shows up?” Thankfully as soon as the doors opened it was clear that would not be the case – the turnout was unbelievable; at one point the shop was a real-life sardine can, with people packed shoulder to shoulder.
Step inside the soap shop at 595 Gladstone and you will see the planning and attention to detail that went into designing the space. There is a beautiful concrete sink that Joulian made himself, with winding copper pipes. A seven foot tall cactus named Ethan sits proudly in the corner of the shop, beside the concrete cash counter, also made by Joulian. The beautifully coloured soaps adorn the white shelves that span from floor to ceiling, like jewels in the afternoon light. Another wonderful thing about the shop? Winston and Leon, Joulian’s two charming pugs, hang out at the shop on the regular and they welcome other friendly four legged visitors.
Those looking for a soap that is natural, practical, and beautiful, who have yet to visit SAABOON soap shop, we suggest you make a trip. If we may, a little bit of advice for fellow lip balm addicts: try the lip balm – it’s a hands down favourite!
Visit SAABOON at 595 Gladstone Avenue or follow along on Instagram @SAABOON.