A variety of tools and equipment, both built at Riverside and purchased, are used throughout the process. Raw ingredients are sourced primarily from here in Zambia, with some needing to be imported. Four local youth with an excellent work ethic and teachability have been trained throughout this process. They have all been trained in all aspects of production, from soap making to cutting, stamping, and packaging, but two will primarily be the production team and the other two will be the packaging team. The production room has been organized to maximize efficiency and storage in a small space.
First, ingredients are carefully weighed, blended, and/or melted at the ingredients weighing station. The base oils and lye solution are then combined in the batch mixing pot assembly. Safety guidelines are carefully memorized and followed. Oils are blended with the lye until thickened, utilizing a chemical process known as saponification. Then, additives such as charcoal, oatmeal, honey, and sugar are added, as well as essential oils such as peppermint or tea tree oil. The soap is then poured through a valve into silicon molds where they harden until ready to cut.
The current rate of production is 400 bars/day of four bar soaps – Charcoal Cleanser, Oatmeal Honey, Peppermint Moisturizer, and Tea Tree Antiseptic. We retrofitted at 40-foot shipping container into a shelved curing room which can hold up to 16,000 bars. After 2-3 weeks, the bars are taken back into the production room where they will be packaged and labelled, ready for sale.