THE rising cost of living drove Sam Kim Fei and Jolv Lee to search for a second income, but this quest eventually morphed into a skincare solution for those with sensitive skin. Founded in May 2016, Schorl is a local newcomer that offers artisanal soaps. The brand prides itself on its handcrafted glycerin soap bars made of natural ingredients that are supposedly nourishing and moisturising for all skin types. Its aesthetically pleasing packaging also injects a breath of fresh air into the current minimalism trend. However, more than that, what Schorl has going for it are its chemical-, colouring-, and fragrance-free claims. “It wasn’t until we started our business that we realise how health-conscious customers have become. A lot of the feedback we got is related to health. People have become more aware of the content in the products they consume, especially when it comes to chemical-related ingredients,” explained Sam. This consciousness can most probably be attributed to the other revelation that they unearthed. “What’s surprising to us is that many of our patrons are suffering from skin conditions, with eczema being a common illness. Hence, they’re trying to change their lifestyle by opting for more natural-based products,” said Lee. In fact, Sam revealed that concerned parents make up a portion of their client base. “We have quite a few parents who bought our products specifically for their children. Some even send us pictures of their child’s skin condition to ask for product recommendation,” he added. Besides the emphasis on its natural qualities, Schorl’s soaps are produced in low temperatures using the hot process method. Although this soap-making technique uses an external heat source to speed up the saponification process, the temperatures are kept low in order to maintain the efficacy of the active ingredients. As of now, the brand carry four flavours: candle bush, lemongrass, pomegranate, and passion fruit. Its debut product was the candle bush soap; a traditional herb that was widely used in the olden days to cure skin problems, it is also the inspiration behind the brand’s name. “Because the candle bush soap is black in colour, it looks like a black crystal to us. Therefore, we decided to name our brand Schorl (or Black Tourmaline) as it is the name for black crystal,” elaborated Lee. Just a few months shy from its first birthday, Sam and Lee are currently working on exporting their products overseas. Thanks to his background in the export sales industry, Sam is looking into introducing Schorl to China, Indonesia and South Korea. In addition to expanding the business abroad, they are planning to diversify their product offerings too. Nonetheless, these plans will need some more time before they come into fruition.