Patricia Yau has always been a crafty one. She’d already been selling handmade zakka items like feathered headbands and other handmade curios when the idea to go into the soap business struck suddenly; she’d been importing handmade soaps from Taiwan, and one day thought “Why not create my own?”.
Bless her DIY spirit. Pat dived straight into it, taking classes and doing research, and eventually coming up with her own formulas. All in all, she spent 2 to 3 years developing an original batch of products, and in January 2011, Lullabelle was officially in business.
Today, their all-natural product range includes hair and body soaps, bath salts, nail ointments, lip balms, and even household soaps, including a coffee kitchen soap made from coffee and eucalyptus – a tough combo that gets rid of those lingering odours.
According to Pat, Lullabelle is a lifestyle. And she’s taken great pains to ensure that its girly identity is spread consistently across all of its products, where pink, polka dots, and vintage-inspired images dominate. Even at Lullabelle’s HQ, where we meet up, it’s matryoshka dolls and animal figurines galore.
But back to Lullabelle’s products. Way down the line, Pat has plans to expand her range of products to include makeup, but now, focus is on a rather peculiar ingredient. “Now, I’m into mother’s milk,” Pat explains. “Maybe because I’m a mother now, I really feel the love and care that goes into the soap”.
I ask if she imports the milk as a powder (as in baby formulas) or as a liquid, and she rushes off to the freezer and comes back with a bag of frozen milk. It’s the real stuff!
“Some mummies express too much and it doesn’t keep, so they pass it to me,” she says, adding that her participation in a breast feeding advocacy group has been handy. Custom orders start at RM80 (for about 800g of pure mother’s milk soap), and it takes about 5-8 weeks for the soap to be produced.
If you want to bathe yourself in milky maternal comfort, you’ll have to wait till you’re lactating. Or find a donor mum. The soaps Pat makes are usually for the individual from where the source of milk comes from, and there’s only ever a handful of extras for sale.
You’ll be lucky if you get your hands on some though, especially if you’re suffering from certain skin problems (it apparently cures eczema and psoriasis). And though it sounds like a bizarre beauty concept, there’s a fairly big camp that promotes its use. Do a Google search to see what I mean.
But if you’re milkless or not keen on taking it that natural, try the other items from Lullabelle’s signature range. The Calendula Love Marseilles Soap (RM18) is another good bet for dry or sensitive skin (and babies too).
And I personally recommend the Purple Magical Ointment (RM10), a herbal balm that comes in a little tin case. It’s made from a long list of ingredients, and has a gorgeous scent of peppermint and essential oils. Great for skin blemishes, soothing redness and pesky bug bites, and to calm you down after a long day at work. A posh Tiger Balm, if I may say so.
Lullabelle doesn’t promise an overnight miracle. “It takes some time to see the results,” admits Pat, though great credit goes to her for keeping Lullabelle’s ingredients 100% natural. But there is one other special ingredient that goes into every single one of Lullabelle’s products – love. “I bless all the soap when I’m making them,” she adds, saying it’s her way of sending her customers good vibes and hopes for better skin. Lullabelle clearly loves you. And Lullabelle, we love you too.
Want to get in touch with Pat? Visit her new blog. She’s a regular feature at local craft markets, and also takes bulk orders for special occasions and conducts soap-making classes at the pretty Lullabelle HQ.