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MEET OUR MAKER SAIPUA
Many of our makers are starting to return to work, including the intrepid owner
of Saipua, a women-led company that makes sustainable
products in Upstate New York. Saipua founder Susan Ryhanen uses pure,
natural ingredients to craft small batches of handmade soap from a farm
in Esperance, NY. We recently
checked in with our maker to see how she's doing.
In 1997, the founder of Saipua, Susan Ryhanen, started crafting soap in her Brooklyn
apartment. Not ordinary soap but hand-made, hand-cut soap made from 40-60% of
cold-processed olive oil scented with pure essential oils. In a nod to her
heritage, she named the products Saipua, Finnish for “soap”, and a highly
moisturizing empire was born.
We chatted with Susan in her soap studio at Worlds End farm in Esperance, NY.
What brought you to Worlds End?
Because of the pandemic, construction on the Brooklyn studio was very much delayed, so
in April, we relocated our soap-making to a farm upstate. We are just getting ready to open the workspace in a few days.
What’s your biggest challenge as a maker?
I have been making soap for more than 20 years, so I thought I had most of the challenges under control. Then in March when the virus hit, everything changed. We had a good supply of soap made when we moved to the farm, but as that dwindled, I started making soap in the large barn kitchen. Finding my supplies that were packed up for moving was my biggest challenge.
I’m just taking one day at a time and reassuring myself that all will be found when we unpack and move into the new studio.
How are you staying strong and resilient?
Being on the farm has given me a larger support system. In addition to my husband, I’m with my daughter, her boyfriend, and 2 other farm workers. We are so lucky to be with friends and family.
Where do you find moments of joy?
The farm is a special place. There are fields of flowers, vegetables, sheep and chickens. Lots of forest and paths to walk. We have a pond outside of our room and can listen to frogs at night. Just being outdoors brings joy.
What are you grateful for?
Vodka and chilled glasses.
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