28 Feb, 2013
It’s about soap, but not really
Yesterday I wrote about shopping and value, perceived or otherwise. Today I wanted to share a recent purchase I made.
Is it possible to be addicted to a cake of soap? I didn’t used to think so, but that was before Turkish Fig soap made its way into my life.
You are probably wondering what Turkish figs smell like. This scent was new to me and for a change it was something other than the citrus or coconut and vanilla scents that are usually found in my arsenal. Turkish fig is unlike anything I have ever smelled before. It’s fresh and uplifting without being sweet, like something botanical without being floral. I can’t put my finger on it but I love it. There are poppy seeds embedded into the soap as well, which gives it a really great feel. Whenever I use it I just think: ahhhhh, HEAVEN. And 30 minutes later I realize I’m still in the shower, remembering I have actual work to do.
The other day Sarah and I went to Ikea for lunch and stopped by terra20 to buy a cake of this soap because my last precious sliver had finally vanished down the drain. Here’s what it looks like when new:
There don’t seem to be many poppy seeds in there, but trust me, they’re there.
This soap is made by a local company called Purple Urchin. They have a storefront on Somerset but terra20 carries a bunch of their products too. I was tempted to buy a whole ARRAY of different things but I had to restrain myself. I was allowing myself this one little thing because I see it as an essential.
But here’s the thing I wanted to talk about, this bar of soap costs five dollars.
I can practically feel people cringing as I write that, especially my mother and her mother before her. Is that a lot to pay for soap? Kind of, yes, especially since you can buy a dozen bars of soap for the same price at the grocery store. Five bucks may seem pricey, but the way I see it, there is value to be found there. Here’s the thing: cheap things always cost more in the long run. Know what I mean? What do cheap soaps do to my skin? And what about when the suds get flushed down the drain? This is something I worry about.
What should a good bar of soap cost anyway?
I don’t want to get into the science and chemistry of soap because I’d need a science degree to understand all of the information that’s out there, but I do like the fact that my soap is made out of ingredients I recognize: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, vegetable oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, fragrance, wax colour, papaver somniferum seeds (poppy seeds). Also, terra20 researches all the brands they carry, so if it meets their criteria, I don’t worry about it because someone has done all of the thinking on my behalf. I can shop there pretty much worry free.
What other value is there in a five dollar cake of soap? Well, it’s made by a small, Ottawa-area business. And this is important to me. (I consider myself a local business too you know!) By shopping locally we’re keeping fellow Ottawans employed and prosperous, many of whom are supporting families just like yours and mine. By shopping locally our money stays in the community. I know there are people out there who don’t give a fig (haha, see what I did there?) about shopping locally, and I ask those people to consider the fact that if there were no local, independent businesses, our consumer landscape would be pretty bleak and monotonous. Well-functioning cities are made of many things: communities, culture, and consumer experiences (think restaurants, concerts, shopping etc), and businesses play a significant factor in our overall satisfaction with where we’ve decided to live, not to mention the value of our real estate. If you want to live in a vibrant and happy, community (and I do!), shopping locally sometimes has to be a part of it.
Phew. That’s a lot to be say about a five-dollar cake of soap, isn’t it? Maybe it’s more than we are used to spending, I know, but I think it’s money well spent. At the very least it just means I’ll refrain from buying that latte at Starbucks next time I’m driving by.
What do you think about five dollar soap? Yay or nay? What kinds of consumer goods you do shell out the extra bucks for?