Wishes Come True At Soapy Genie

by Naomi Blenkinsop
Groove Korea (groovekorea.com)

Located in the extremely popular neighborhood of Huam-dong, Soapy Genie is more than just a soap shop. A combined soap, candle shop and studio, you can choose from a wide variety of soaps, candles and an assortment of other beauty products.  Not only are high quality, handmade soaps and candles available to purchase, Soapy Genie also offers a fun-filled afternoon workshop that teaches how to make soaps, candles, and any other beauty product your heart may desire.

Soapy Genie officially opened its doors in 2014, but owner Jin Hyoung Joung had been making soap in her own kitchen long before that. Back in the day, (2011 to be exact), Jin was working as an English teacher of children; soap-making was merely a fun hobby reserved for weekends. However, this hobby quickly became an obsession which prompted her to start selling her soap at flea markets and craft fairs.

Jin has fond memories of her first days as a soap maker.  “I started selling soap in front of a boxing gym at a flea market in Kyungridan. I would even sell soap on the street for fun.” She quickly expanded her handmade soap empire by selling her products at other flea markets in Samcheondong and Hongdae.

Word quickly spread about her unique and varied selection of soaps and other beauty products and she moved up from selling her soap at flea markets and craft fairs to more established environments like Shinsegae and Hyundai Department Store. Jin even presented a soap-making workshop at Myeongdong’s Shinsegae department store.

Surprisingly, she doesn’t count these impressive feats as her highest accomplishments.  Instead, she values the regular customer base she has built over the years through selling her products at flea markets and on the streets.  “My regular customers and their good feedback are my biggest accomplishments,” she confirms.

By 2014, Jin had become very well known as a soap maker.  At that time, she was still making soap in her cramped kitchen, which could hardly fit all the ingredients and equipment she required to make her products.  This lack of space prompted her to open her own shop with a studio attached to better meet the ever increasing demand for her products.

When Jin first opened her shop in 2014, Huam-dong was not an ideal location for a soap and candle shop. The inconvenient location inspired Jin to start giving afternoon and full-day workshops on how to make soap, candles, body butter and bath salts. These workshops would not only be beneficial for her customers but also help increase her profits.  Coincidentally, shortly after Jin opened her studio, other artisan workshops and studios started opening in the area and now the street her shop is on is unofficially known as an artisan alley.

These days, Jin mainly offers the workshops on weekends.  Although Jin has a set schedule posted on her blog of times she is available, she is also willing to give workshops outside of these sessions to better suit her customers’ needs.

Jin has taught many kinds of students how to make soap, candles and other beauty products.  From students with zero experience to those wishing to become professional soap makers, Jin offers workshops that are ideal for everyone.  Students sometimes come by themselves to learn a fun new hobby.  Sometimes couples come for a creative date and at other times, small groups of friends participate in the workshop to try something out of the ordinary.

The workshops require a minimum of a three-hour commitment on the part of the students.  Jin also offers full day workshops for soap makers who want to make soap at home or for those aspiring to become professional soap makers themselves.  During the workshop, Jin tries to make the students as independent as possible while still providing them with the instructions and information they need so that they are happy with their final creation.  Participants have complete control over what they make.  For example, participants design their soap, and help create the recipe for it, which includes choosing the amount of fragrances, color, oils and seasalts that should be added.

Although Jin is well known as a soap maker, she is also able to give workshops on how to make these other beauty products too and even offers a spa basket workshop for participants who may want to learn how to make all of these products.

Jin has come a long way from selling her products at flea markets and craft fairs.  The last twelve months has been a huge success for Jin and her growing business and 2016 promises to be the same.  Her workshops are growing in popularity amongst Koreans and expats alike, especially since she is able to teach the workshops comfortably in both Korean and English. This year, Jin plans to sell her products on a Korean social media site to expand her customer base across the peninsula.  She is also planning on offering children’s workshops later on this year and a special Children’s Day class may also be in the works.

Needless to say, wishes can come true; just ask the Soapy Genie.

More Info: For more information on Soapy Genie products and available workshops, please visit www.soapygenie.com

Shop: Soapy Genie

Address: Soapy Genie, 134 (1st Fl) Shinheung-ro, Yongsan Dong 2 Ga, Yongsan Gu

Email: soapygenie@gmail.com

Tel: 010-7170-4336

Facebook: www.facebook.com/soapygenie2011

Instagram: www.instagram.com/soapygenie_hbc

Blog: blog.naver.com/onas2000 (Korean)

KakaoTalk ID: soapygenie

groovekorea.com

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