Saraphy Bath and Spa is a natural soap company founded by a refugee, to help other refugees through employment.
Thandar (Tanda) Htun
came to Canada from Myanmar – where she had also been running a similar social enterprise selling handmade soap. She founded Saraphy Bath and Spa in May of 2018 alongside her brother and their mom, driven to help uplift the families in her community living in poverty, while also helping her fellow Calgarians fight the effects of the city’s dryness on their skin.
“I wanted to create an opportunity for them,” she says. “So they can have enough money to send their kids to school and take care of their families.”
Htun herself is seeking an opportunity to give her business a leg up by launching a campaign through ATB BoostR – ATB Financial’s crowdfunding platform for local businesses. With the hopes of raising $6,000 by April 15, Htun will put the money towards developing an online shop and marketing her products at local farmers’ markets throughout the year.
The campaign boasts a myriad of perks for its funders, such as a selection of bar and liquid soaps. At the highest tiers are soap-making classes led by Htun for individuals or groups of up to seven people. Htun is especially excited about hosting the classes, teaching valuable new skills and sending folks home with their own delightfully-scented custom soaps made with natural ingredients.
The name “Saraphy” comes from a flower in Htun’s home country that’s used in temple ceremonies. Htun chose this name for the flower’s role in bringing communities together – something she hopes to do more of as her business grows as she plans to make regular donations to local non-profits from her revenue.
“It’s not about the money,” she says. “It’s about empowering people.”