Maker of the Month: Abdah Emporium

Naseerah with Abdah Emporium is a storyteller at heart. Some of her products are inspired by her dreams, others by stories she's read or written. The result is luxurious plant-based soap, scrubs, body oil, and more, complete with elegant packaging. Get to know Naseerah below!

naseerah with abdah emporium

Handmade perfume

How long have you been making bath products, and how did you get started? How long have you been selling your products?
Hi, hello, and thank you so much for asking! I’m over the moon about the opportunity to share. I have been making bath and body products for around 8 years now, since I was in high school. One day I was bored and literally Googled “crafts for teens” and somehow stumbled upon a soap making tutorial from the Soap Queen herself. It was so amazing to me the things people could do with simple ingredients and also how I could control exactly what was in every product I used on my body. I quickly realized that making my own products might be the key to solving some of my own skin issues. I was enraptured and have been obsessed ever since. 

I started selling around two years later, but it’s only been within the last three years that I’ve really been focusing on the business side of things. I started selling mostly because of the encouragement from family and friends, and because I made so much soap so quickly that it kind of took over a section of my parents’ basement, haha. It’s been a wild ride but I’m grateful to have found something I love to do so early in life.

eve soap by abdah emporium

Eve soap

What do you love most about making bath and body products?
I love the community surrounding the craft. I think I’m really fortunate to have found a creative outlet that people all over the world also share and for the most part, they are some of the most amazing, creative, and kind people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. I love, love, love sharing tips, tricks, and new discoveries with other soap makers and crafters.  

What inspires you to create?
I used to write a lot, mostly poetry and fiction when I was in high school. Not so much anymore, unfortunately, due to limited time, but it was one of my first creative loves. I’m a storyteller at heart and so when I imagine new projects, I usually have a whole story behind them. Sometimes they’re inspired by my dreams, which can get pretty wild as I am a lucid dreamer. Sometimes they’re inspired by stories I’ve read or written myself. I don’t always share the whole story, because I want people to also be able to attach their own memories and stories to the items they purchase from me.

tea collection by abdah emporium

Blooming Tea products

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get started?
I would say that time and practice are the only way to really get the hang of a new craft. Trust that with a little time and practice, you can reach any creative goal you set, whether that’s making the perfect unscented bar of milk soap or the smoothest, most luxurious body butter ever.

Your product photography is gorgeous. Any tips for getting a great shot?
Firstly, thank you so, so much!  It has taken me a lot of the two things I mentioned before, time and practice, to get where I am today on that front. I am by no means a professional, but I work with what I have and apply what I’ve learned from professionals to the best of my ability. 

I would say my number one tip for serviceable if not great product photography is understanding the tools you already have. If you only have a cell phone camera or point and shoot camera, you can totally take great photos. You don’t need an elaborate studio with professional equipment, just a little creativity and know-how. There are so many resources for handmade businesses these days about how to take great product photos. In every article I’ve ever read about the subject, the most important aspect mentioned has been lighting. I personally find that natural lighting is the best. Even if it’s a cloudy day here in Michigan, I still prefer natural light to artificial light, and I just touch up photos in an editing app.

facial toner by abdah emporium

Facial toner

Who’s another maker you admire? What do you love about their work?
Oh gosh, I really don’t know if I can choose just one! There are so many makers I love and am inspired by. I recently discovered Chartel from Gold + Water Co. and I am obsessed. I love the almost ethereal vibes of her branding and her absolutely gorgeous soap, of course. It's got this old world charm that contrasts with modern elegance.

Have you experienced a fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
Oh man, so many fails! My most recent was making a huge batch of soap and in a beautiful chartreuse color that discolored to a brown. I had worked with the fragrance before but somehow forgotten that it discolored as deeply as it did. Whoops! Now I double, triple check those vanillin levels and plan accordingly.

What plans do you have for your business moving forward?
I have so many things in the works right now. I pride myself on my custom blends and that’s what I’m really focusing on this year. That, and building a more cohesive brand. 

body buff by abdah emporium

Body buff

Naseerah's top Bramble Berry picks

  • Aloe vera liquid - I use the aloe in literally everything. I love that it’s clear and adds so much luxuriousness to any product.
  • 4" Silicone Loaf Mold - I use the 1 lb. silicone mold for test batches, which comes in handy when I’m testing new fragrance blends and don’t want to risk it with a big batch.
  • Rose Gold Fragrance Oil - This is one of my absolute favorites from Bramble Berry and as long as you guys don’t discontinue it, neither will I!
  • Stainless steel bath bomb mold - Even though I don’t sell bath bombs at the moment, I love the stainless steel bath bomb mold for when I get the urge to make some for myself or for gifts. I prefer it over plastic molds just for the durability and sustainability factors. 

What’s your favorite Bramble Berry project?
My favorite Bramble Berry project was actually a recent one. My dad had purchased one of the soap making kits and we made a lemongrass scented loaf of cold process soap together. It was a lot of fun and I felt like such an expert for a moment! It smells amazing and turned out so pretty.

leches soap by abdah emporium

Leches soap

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We're constantly inspired by the DIY bath and body community, so we'll be highlighting a different business owner or hobbyist each month. If you want a chance to be featured, share your photos with #BrambleOn!