Whenever I go to craft fairs I am always on the lookout for handmade products – particularly soaps. Being a vegetarian, I try to avoid using soaps heavily saturated in chemicals, and luckily for me, I was extremely pleased in finding the cruelty-free and heavenly scented Taproot Organics.
Taproot Organics is the brainchild of Daniel Grunes, and his company is conveniently located in the cultural hub of Washington Heights, New York (Northern Manhattan for all you non-New Yorkers).
The initial idea for the company was inspired when one day Daniel wanted to make an olive oil handmade soap as a surprise gift for his wife. He has now been able to transition this initial idea into a full-fledged business opportunity and profitable venture – and through the help of social media they are now quickly gaining popularity in the small business world.
The soaps are incredibly moisturizing for both face & body, and are adorned with these natural botanicals scents. Each bar of soap is packed with essential oils to make your shower experience delightful – without the overpowering scent of synthetic fragrant oils.
Their Lemongrass Mint Body bar has a refreshing aromatic scent – awakening your mental alertness and concentration. Also when wet, its silky texture creates a creamy lather, leaving your skin feeling supple and smooth.
Their Orange Patchouli bar has this invigorating scent, releasing a naturally relaxing aromatic that helps soothe tension – and if you’re an anxiety-ridden person (like myself) this is a great soap bar to decompress stress. The soap is very gentle on the skin and rejuvenates dull skin.
Here’s a quick Q &A with Daniel Grunes (owner) about Taproot Organics
RATC: Please tell us a little about yourself?
DG: I am an informally trained former professional cook (learned at my Grandmother’s knee) who has always had a penchant for kitchen chemistry. I have lived in Inwood since 2001 and met my wife in Inwood Hill Park where I later married her.
RATC: What are your favorite ingredients?
DG: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Organic Sustainable Palm, and Castor Oil. They are in most of my bars and each bring something unique to the blend which differs depending on ratio.
RATC: How do you stay inspired and what motivates you to create?
DG: My children and customers are what inspire my creations. For instance, when my twins were getting bitten up by insects last spring I developed an Essential Oil blend (EOB) that we now sell as our Citronella Bar. When our customers raved about the EOB in our Lemongrass Mint Shampoo Bar and asked for a soap I created one that week.
RATC: Why have you decided to go into the soap making business?
DG: Demand. Demand. Demand.
RATC: Where do you sell your products both online and offline?
DG: Taproot Organics.com is interactive and live. People can also shop online right on our Facebook page; and our olive oil soap can be found at Cafe Buunni in Hudson Heights here in Northern Manhattan.
RATC: Which online activities do you feel have helped your company the most? What social media sites do you like to use the most, and how often do you use it?
RATC: What does your schedule look like on a typical business day?
DG: Working from home allows us a very flexible schedule. With three children, I make soap overnight and work on operations during the day.
RATC: What has been the biggest challenges selling on open markets?
DG: The weather – rain is terrible for soap.
RATC: What is your favorite part of your handmade business?
DG: Using Essential Oils to create whatever Aromatherapy blends I dream up.
RATC: What are your hopes and aspirations for your company and where do you see yourself going from here?
DG: We hope to have a great day, then a great week, and hopefully a great year.
RATC: What are three tools in your workspace that you can not live without?
DG: A hand mixer, goggles and gloves.
RATC: Do you have any advice for soap makers or small business owners that are just starting out?
DG: Accidents happen – take good notes because they’re not all bad.
RATC: Aside from soap, is there any other products currently available on your website?
DG: I am very focused on making the best handcrafted olive oil soaps for my customers. They demand it. Let’s see what the New Year brings.
RATC: With the holidays just around the corner, are there any holiday inspired packages/specials we should look out for?
DG: My wife is hand-wrapping each soap bar with gift wrap and ribbon so that our bars are grab, go, and give. Perfect stocking stuffers, as well as a small affordable option for coworkers, teachers, Secret Santa gifts, etc.
For inquiries regarding product availability, holiday specials, order information, and more shopping goodies, you can visit: http:// http://taprootorganics.com
— Roz Baron