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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 090919 — Tova Langhans

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Kismet and serendipity again grace #sparkchamber, as a trip to the restroom at a restaurant — what is this amazing soap? — led to the sensational revelation of entrepreneur Tova Langhans, founder and creator of @t.langhans eco•luxury body care. After unexpectedly being laid off from her job in 2011, Tova turned her hobby of soapmaking — addicted to soap, “I just love the way it looks, feels and smells. In my bathroom I didn’t just want a bar of soap, I wanted a bowl of soap ... a very large bowl!! When I realized it was something I could actually make, there was no stopping me.” — into a business.

Right away, she saw a gap in the personal care market. The majority of handmade soaps are produced with a blend of oils, usually including coconut oil because it creates a nice hard bar and produces a lot of lather. Unfortunately, in the process of making soap, coconut oil becomes very astringent, very drying on the skin. Not willing to compromise moisturizing qualities for bubbles, she decided that authentic Castile soap [soap made with only olive oil] would be the foundation of her brand.

When it was time to expand her business to include additional body care products, research led her to an eye-opening discovery: the ingredients in most personal care products — regardless of price — don’t vary much. And worse, most contain parabens [synthetic preservatives linked to health issues], phthalates [a family of industrial solvents], fragrance oils [synthetic aroma chemicals], and even formaldehyde. She discovered safer alternative ingredients, like citric acid made from actual citrus fruit, and sea salt from the actual sea.

She was also unwilling to compromise the quality of her products by using fragrance oil — “Essential oils bring so much more to the party. Not only do they smell like the scent nature gave them, they also impart crucial therapeutic properties.” House Blend, her signature essential oil blend, wows almost everyone who smells it. “I credit some of my success to the fact that I wasn’t formally trained. I didn’t have the restrictions of existing rules of “how it’s supposed to be done” which allowed me to think outside of the box when it came to creating my formulas.”

Find more of her story, and all of her exquisite products, at the website. And, 20 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area have T•L soap in their restrooms! If you’re in town, it’s well worth a trip to the restroom just in case.

1.] Where do ideas come from?

Reading ingredient labels of traditional personal care products and making a note of what I DON’T want to do. Harnessing the power of sampling [supplying free soap to restaurants] and combining that with the growing trend of shopping online. I literally have new customers ordering soap and hand cream between their appetizers and entrees. 

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

I want to see the aging population embrace aging not lament it. Aging is not a dirty word. I have zero interest in making anti-aging products, I make natural products that take care of the skin you’re in. 

3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?

I get up at 7:15am and get my daughter off to school. Then I film myself dancing in my kitchen doing my 1-hour dance workouts that I absolutely love. After my T•L shower I scroll through my workout and choose what clip I am going to share on my @agingfearlesslywithtova account. After that it is tackling whatever the day brings —meeting with potential restaurant partners, filling orders, etc. My day typically ends around 8:30pm. None of this feels like work, it’s simply who I am, what I do, and I love every minute of it. 

4.] How do you know when you are done?

I’m never done. 


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