Soalp, a play on the words “Soap” and “Alp”, is the name chosen by Sibilla, the mind behind this project, to express in a single word the profound essence of this small artisanal business that has been devoted to the production of soaps and cosmetics since 2016. It came into being as an idea celebrating the landscape of Ticino, with its natural beauty and authentic scents. Soalp is a niche brand that evokes the atmosphere of, and the sensations experienced in, these mountainous and rural areas.
The range is small, but of the highest quality, and spans the entire Ticino region, from the shores of Lake Lugano, through the chestnut forests of the Bellinzona region, to the peaks of the Blenio Valley. The olive oil and coconut oil soaps, all handmade in Ticino according to the cold soap-making tradition, are presented in three fragrant variants. The Lago soap is characterised by dark blue tones and hints of lavender and rosemary; the Bosco soap has a delicate aroma of thyme and chestnut honey, produced on the slopes of the Claro monastery; finally, the Montagna soap, as white as snow, leaves a feeling of freshness and purity on the skin thanks to the addition of clay and essential oils of spruce and mint.
In addition to soaps, there are elderflower extract products, including a hand cream, a shower gel, a lip balm and a deep yellow soap. “These represent the rediscovery of what is in fact a very common here in our landscape, and when it is in bloom it can be seen everywhere. One of my favourite times of the year is when we pick the flowers, that are then processed in the manufacture of preparations. Elderberry also has a long tradition in folk medicine, as well as in the traditional cuisine, with all our grandmothers relying on the benefits of elderberries and the flowers”, says Sandrine, who is responsible for the production and the sale of Soalp products.
Soalp is also a fine example of female entrepreneurship. The team is made up of Sibilla, Sandrine and two young female staff. Roberta, a chemistry graduate, takes care of the formulation of the creams and the production of the Sambuco line, and Agata, a student at the University of the Arts in Berlin, is in charge of handling social media and looks after the brand image.
With a view to promoting the local area and supporting its community, Soalp has several cooperative ventures with entities in Ticino engaged in social integration activities. The Il Gelso vegetable garden offers employment opportunities to young people with physical or mental disabilities and supplies Soalp with rosemary, a fundamental ingredient of Lago soap, as well as making its drying facility available to the company for the processing elderflowers. In collaboration with Laboratorio La Linea, Soalp's small team has also established a delightful range of ceramic soap dishes.
The sensory journeys provided by Soalp products have enabled this small brand to secure the support of a large and loyal customer base that regularly buys through the online shop, and from retailers in the area who are able with these products to present the essence and identity of the Ticino region.