Her fascination for soap making started when Nicola Goveas realised that many skin care products we find today have harmful chemicals that can damage the skin of an individual. In order to give people a touch of nature she started her small venture — ‘Estrava’ — that specialises not just in natural soaps but also other body essentials like face and body scrubs, lotions and lip balms.
Apart from making soaps Nicola also involves herself in a lot of handcrafts like knitting, decoupage and candle making to name a few.
Recalling how she got interested in making soaps Nicola says, “I make a lot of handcrafted decoratives during Christmas. One year, I met one of my sister-in-law’s friends who made soaps and thought that they could be a quirky addition to my list. I started ordering soaps from her and sold them during Christmas. That’s when my sister-in-law convinced me to learn the art of soap making, so that I can make my own soaps. It has been a year and a half since I have been making and creating homemade soaps, but the official inauguration of the physical store happened in the month of January this year.”
Explaining the name Estrava she says, “When I was looking for a name for my venture, my friends and I came across many names but we couldn't find anything that was appealing and sounded appropriate for my range of products. After much search, we decided on the word Estrava which means, extravagant fragrance and it also sums up to exactly what I want to convey.”
All her soaps, she says have exotic natural ingredients, “I mostly use natural oils like coconut, almond and olive oil while making soaps, and use essential oils for fragrance. There are no extra artificial colours used during the preparation.”
One can find an array of soaps at Estrava, ranging from orange extracts, lemon, charcoal, Shea butter, green clay, aloe vera to cucumber extracts. All of them have their own rich skin benefits. As for the scrubs, she largely uses green clay, oat meal and coffee.
Some of the skin problems that these soaps cater to are dry skin during winters, skin allergies due to pollution and they help in moisturising the skin.
“Since these soaps are homemade and the fact that they are all made of natural ingredients, there is absolutely no worries of any kind of harmful effects unlike the ones in the market,” she says.
Before launching the physical store, Nicola used to craft the soaps at her kitchen. However, now they use the space behind the store as a workshop that is engaged in much of the preparations.
Though the City today sees a lot of homemade soap making ventures coming up every second day, Nicola says she doesn't feel any kind of threat to her business from anyone.
“There is no competition as such; I have a lot of customers who have come back to me with positive feedback. These soaps and other body essentials are not just for personal use, but their affordable price ranging from Rs. 70 to Rs. 300 also makes them a great gifting option for birthdays, anniversaries and festivals,” she adds.