Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Experiencing Mianra

Early this year I had the pleasure of exchanging soap with Mianra Artisan Soap all the way from Ireland.  Hajni pronounced (h-ay-ni) the founder and owner of Mianra sent me 2 of her signature scented soap: Rose Clay and Sandalwood.
(This photo is provided by Mianra: Sandalwood Soap)

"Mianra" pronounced (Mee-n-ra) meaning Mineral in Irish. It refers to the mineral rich seaweed and clays Hajni uses in her soap creations as well as micas etcc...
I had a chance to chat with her and I'm proud to introduce you the Hajni I know, more up close and personal.  I always believe in knowing the creator behind the scene before judging the products.  So here's her story:

I took up soap making some 9 years ago while living in The Netherlands. I was always drawn to handmade soaps and eagerly tried my hands at many different crafts from quilting, candle making, stained glass and so on. I ventured into making my first batch of soap more or less out of determination and a healthy dose of stubbornness you could say. One weekend I visited a popular brand's shop (Lush) where the sales person told me a rather mystified and false story of making soap. I was given a tiny sample of their soap for to feel oh so privileged.  It did quite the opposite of course! I went home that Saturday and locked myself in for the next week reading and researching the subject. I was determent to find out all I could and give it a go. It was only after 2-3 months solid reading that I made my first batch of soap and never stopped since! It became a true passion and my primary creative outlet loving every bit of it!

When I asked her what her profession is outside of making B&B products this is what she said:

My background is in special needs. I was trained at the International Peto Institute for the motor disabled and graduated as a conductor/primary school teacher. A very unique and internationally recognised place for its education/method of Conductive Education. Here is a video to best describe it ( this one is a center in the US) http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsgoG9XvOaM&feature=related
          I absolutely love what I do and feel lucky to have met so many fantastic people through the years - 15 years to be precise! It is a very rewarding profession and one where you have to be creative throughout the day to challenge and motivate the kiddies. There are no set rules as everyone's character and needs are so so different! You have to think of alternative ways all the time to keep the spirits up! This is the part I enjoy the most! Have the in depth knowledge of the science behind-  yet wrap it/ present it in a fun and enjoyable way! So YESSS it definietly influences my soap making!

Now I want to talk about miss Hajni's personality, she's vibrant and all I can say is judge it for yourself!

Huh! About me? I'm 37 and a spring chic LOL! I love everything craft & design related let it be rewamping furniture or making my 20th handbag - I'm all for it! I love all what the Internet offers these days - such a vast amount of information and incredibly talented craft people out there! I follow a good few blogs as much as I can and always have a long list of things I 'd like to do. Love travelling and meeting people, mad about colours. Love flea markets, watching movies, good food with a twist and photography! Life I guess :)!!! I am a fairly positive person and I could get excited about the smallest things let it be the scent of fresh cut grass or a Japanese fabric :)! 
Isn't Hajni a multi-talented woman?!  Look at all she can make:

There's a supportive family behind every successful woman, and this is how Hajni talks about her lovely family:

I get so much support from my partner in all what I do and the poor man does have to put up with a lot :)! Sewing machine in full blown operation at 11 pm or soaping taking over the cooking or chatting to you at 1 am about thenewest fragrances is all dealt with graciously. Someone told me once that the magis trick to happy family life is keeping the woman happy. If she isn't she'd make sure the others aren't either. A bit mean and extreme but there is truth in it! We're also the proud as punch parents of our 3 and a half year old son.

Now let's talk about what we are really interested in, her soap and her philosophy in bath and body products:  

My aim is to offer handmade soap which is primarily really good for the skin but also appeals to all senses. It has to be visually interesting, one of a kind and smell fantastic. Showers don't have to be a boring routine - it should be an uplifting experience. Something we all do on a daily basis so why should it be treated with less interest than let's say determining an outfit for the day or enjoying a gourmet dinner. Right? In my book everyone should have 4-5 different soaps in their shower and pick the one matching their mood best! It might be plain and citrusy or a colorful swirly one with earthy/woodsy tones or a soft pink floral one!? Why NOT?! I worked many years on formulating my recipe to provide a moisturizing soap with big fluffy foamy leather and use a variety of added ingredients like seaweed, goats milk, silk or clays or even pureed carrot. As for what my style is I'm not sure it could be defined as such. You would be a better judge of that one!   My surroundings don't so much influence what I make. Surely I'm inspired by it all but those experiences aren't that different from anywhere else. They aren't specifically location related.

 Hajni has a good news to share, she's is proud to tell all of us that she is moving her business up a level!

I have just won a place at a business course aimed at women entrepreneur which I only just started. I'm really excited about it as it is a huge change from being a hobby soaper to running your own business. Up till recently I have been a hobby soap maker - a pretty spontaneous one- with no strategic planning in place. I must learn to put my thoughts on paper and have specific goals and targets in which this course will be very helpful. It is also a great networking opportunity and a good sounding board! I believe I have a good product and have worked very hard on the branding/packaging side of the business but I need to work on the sales and marketing now!!! It is a whole new venture! I'm also very excited about introducing new products in the very near future including balms, body butters, scrubs and bath treats.



  1. Hajne is so talented!! I had no idea she was crafty in so many areas!! Best wishes on your business venture!!

  2. Wonderfull soaps and the wrapping.

  3. Lovely soaps. I am fortunate to have 3 of Hajni's soaps and am using the Mirage currently. Beautiful soap to see and to use! Such a creative person! Thank you!

  4. This is such a thorough portrait of a soaper. Very nice interview I just must say. Excellent Emily! Once again thankyou for opening up new horizons!

  5. Thanks Emily for having me :)! And to all for your lovely comments! @Pam - delighted you're enjoying the soaps!

  6. Great interview and great photos! Her soaps look amazing!