When I look back at my twenties (which was more years ago than I would like to admit) my world was limited to my apartment, my class schedule and varsity sports. I lived from weekend to weekend until I graduated with a degree and was faced with the realization that I had to get a job. Beyond school I really didn't know what I wanted to do, or what I would be good at, let alone a career that I would have an all encompassing passion for. So ... when I met Katrina Wright, a 21-year-old entrepreneur following her dream of starting a company that let's her help others and share her creativity, I was blown away!
When I was first introduced to Crystal Bar Soap at the East Village Block Party a few months ago I had no idea this was a brand new company at their very first retail event. Just eight months ago, Katrina and her boyfriend decided to leave their jobs, unhappy and feeling unfulfilled with where their careers were going. A self-proclaimed overachiever, with a passion for the arts and expressing her creativity, Katrina needed to re-evaluate where her life was going and was looking for a clean start ... which is EXACTLY what she got!
At around the same time, she was introduced to the study of crystal healing (i.e., the art of using crystals, also known as naturally occurring minerals, to facilitate subtle energy shift within that result in healing illness, conditions or a perceived problem a person may be experiencing) by a friend who wanted to help out during this rather confusing time. Intrigued with the idea that crystals could cleanse the body of negative energies she thought to combine them with something that immediately made her think of cleaning ... SOAP! Removing dirt and impurities from the physical body while simultaneously banishing negative energies to balance ones chakras would be a "supercharged clean"! This was the start of Crystal Bar Soap.
Crystal Bar Soap - A Lesson in Patience and Perseverance
In a germaphobic society, where people know far too much about illness and disease (thanks to WebMD), we have become obsessed with being clean. If you walk into any drug store you can't miss the stocked aisles dedicated to cleansing products for the face and body (i.e., bath bars, liquid soap, facial cleansers, shampoo, etc.). Because everyone uses it, soap was the obvious choice as the vehicle for these healing crystals. She cleverly used the "broccoli covered in cheese" philosophy, appealing to a person's desire for beautifully made soap, without having to educate (or convince) anyone about the benefits of crystal healing. They would get the perks of these crystals without even knowing it!
Although Katrina was excited by the concept for her business, she knew she had three major obstacles to overcome:
- She had NEVER started a business before (or had a mentor to guide her)
- Crystal healing (as an alternative technique used to improve energetic balance and promote healing) is not widely understood or accepted
- She had NO CLUE how to make soap
Even though the odds were against her, she dedicated the next few months to learning as much as she could about crystal healing, how to start a business and how to make soap. Katrina knew she had to focus her business on a product that everyone would "use", would "want" and would "appreciate". She spent hundreds of hours experimenting with temperature, time, colours, scents and shapes to come up with a distinct brand of soap to call her own. Although she admits to having batches of soap "bite her in the butt" on occasion, Crystal Bar Soap has evolved into a line of products that represent "beauty and self-love" (things that have always been important to Katrina). As a result, each handmade bar of soap must:
- Include a sun/moon charged crystal that promotes energetic balance and harmony
- Reflect (and accentuate) the beauty of the crystal inside
- Be just as unique as the person who uses it (i.e., colour variations, different shape, different scent combinations, etc.)
- Provide a luxurious experience for the senses (i.e., sight, scent and touch)
- Support a future that respects animals (i.e., all Crystal Bar Soap products are vegan and do not use products derived from animals)
Katrina wants every Crystal Bar Soap customer to get MORE than they bargained for ... and they do!
Two Hands, Five Senses and a Heartbeat
Recently featured in Flare Magazine, you would think Crystal Bar Soap was manufactured using complicated machinery and packaged for commercial sale ... but that is not the case! In fact, every single bar of soap (and bath bomb) is made by Katrina Wright, herself! For example, she:
- Inspects each crystal for beauty, brilliance and a smooth texture
- Makes every batch of vegan soap in her kitchen (including the colours, designs and layering)
- Mixes the essential oils to create the scents for each unique batch of soap
- Cuts each bar of soap by hand (using a very sharp kitchen knife)
- Comes up with the names and description cards for every bar of soap
- Wraps and packages each order by hand
- Writes cards to every customer
- Paints every box shipped out via Canada Post
Regardless of whether it's a single bar of soap for her neighbour down the hall or 200 bars of soap for a customer clear across the globe, this is the care and attention that goes into everything she does. She appreciates EVERY order and proudly makes everything with love and good intentions!
The Future of Crystal Bar Soap
What started off as a rather ridiculous idea eight months ago has evolved into a successful business involved in shaping Calgary's entrepreneurial community. Her products are available both online (at www.crystalbarsoap.ca) and at local indoor markets throughout the year (i.e., Market Collective).
It's too early to tell what's in store for Crystal Bar Soap but all things point towards a very bright future! In many ways the journey of the business has mirrored Katrina's own life journey and transformation as she is evolving and coming into her own. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my Chakra Essentials Kit and the Halloween candy from my recent purchase and am anxiously awaiting the release of more limited edition, crystal-infused soap combinations (i.e., Sandy Beach, Life of Pie, Witches Brew, Sugar Plum Fairy and Chocolate Bliss)!
If you’re curious about Crystal Bar Soap, you can check out images from my visit with Katrina on our social media using the icons at the top of the page.
(This post was originally published on www.sixfootcanasian.com on October 27, 2015)