Talk with Tanya from Sealuxe, the maker behind our Merge soaps
You may have noticed that Merge has its own soap line for a wee while now. We thought it'd be interesting to share this collaboration between Tanya from SeaLuxe, a maker from Vancouver, and Merge. We worked with her to produce exclusive scents that would be associated to some of our most favourite spots in Tofino.
We met her when opening Merge back in 2015 and were amazed by her apothecary talents. Even though Laurie had a particular vision for the blends wanted for the store, such as Rose & Cedar, Tanya is the pro in blending scents together and we were curious about where her inspiration comes from.
Merge: How do you discover new scent blends?
Tanya: Each new scent I create brings waves of memories from growing up on the coast where the air was thick with pines and firs, yet softened by the salty breeze of the ocean. Exploring as a young girl was so full of these beautiful, natural aromas, and all the scents that low tide brings. Each scent is permanently etched in my olfactory glands. I look to these scent memories when I’m creating something new – it’s a lot like beachcombing, turning over rocks and discovering something new. I start with scent notes that are already familiar to me and explore from there.
Merge: What is your process for making Merge’s soap?
Tanya: Merge’s soap is known in the soap markers community as hand milled or French pressed, which means the benefits from the essential oils remain intact because there’s no high heat that will burn them off. It also means the soap bars are a lot denser than a typical bar of soap, and therefore longer lasting. The soap starts off as a traditional cold-processed soap, then is cured for 6 weeks, grated, heated with water and oils added, then cured for four more days and finally, cut into bars.
Merge: Are the soaps ecological?
Tanya: Sealuxe is in the process of becoming eco-certified and Leaping Bunny approved, for these particular soaps, as well as, all of our products.
Merge: Why did you start Sealuxe?
Tanya: I’ve always made useful natural products for myself. I wanted my daughter and I to be healthy and couldn’t afford natural products, so I wild foraged/harvested and researched beneficial plants and seaweeds. Years later (I’m talking 20 something years…) my daughter suggested I sign up for a market. I did, and I sold out within two hours at that market. That was when I recognized a real need. It was shocking, and because I already loved making things for friends and family, I jumped at the chance to turn a passion into a job. That was five years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Merge: What is your favorite thing to do in your business?
Tanya: I love experimenting! Everything about it excites me. From researching ingredients I’m not familiar with, to sourcing those ingredients. When I get a new delivery, it’s like Christmas morning for me, and I experiment with different recipes weekly! I believe that some recipes turn out to be the greatest creations ever, and then others are complete failures. But I love the process. I also enjoy running test groups and getting positive results and feedback from my creations.
Merge: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with Sealuxe?
Tanya: I’m thrilled to have made a lot of like-minded friends in the last few years. These are my people, and they have become my tribe. Within this community, I feel I can thrive in my work, and am continually being inspired to do more. This extends beyond making products, as local brands (such as, Lace on the Beach and Bevefresco) and I get together to clean local beaches as a part of the Beachy clean initiative I’ve started. It’s a beautiful thing to see the community come together to clean up the beach. I believe it’s a two way street, and we should be taking care of the ocean just as much as we are reaping it’s benefits.
Massive thank you Tanya for making our soap and producing such wonderful self care products. Learn more about Tanya’s company SeaLuxe here.
Explore our Merge scents