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Start Up Stories: Mianra Artisan Soaps

The Mianra Artisan Soaps journey started back in 2003 when I took up soap making as a creative outlet and a relaxing pass time from the intense job of being an Early Intervention Specialist.

Formulating, tweaking recipes and endless trial and error – I was on a mission to make the finest soap!

At the time I worked at a large School & Rehabilitation Centre with over 200 women who happily took a piece of soap from my trial batches. They were given one condition- to give honest feedback!

With the same determination and passion I had to breathe life into my products. Having no supporting team of experts behind me I took up the challenge and learnt the basics of Photography and Graphic Design.

Years of making passed by and I was having fun!

Building up courage – with the desire to get independent feedback – I sent off some soaps to a critique in Germany known for her to the bone, in depth and sometimes harsh reviews. My soaps scored an incredible 9.4/10 and placed them on par with established high end brands. I was thrilled and realised I may have something!

Seeking Support

Having found myself made redundant from my job at around the same time –the first time- contemplated the idea of making my hobby a commercial venture.
Having no business background the natural progression was to brush up on my skills and in 2012 I took part in the PINC Program ran by The Rubicon Centre/CIT in Cork.

Mianra Artisan Soaps first appeared in front of the wider public at the Annual Christmas Fair, RDS, Dublin 2012. They received a very warm welcome and gave a good boost of confidence having sold out!

Mianra Artisan Soaps

Mianra Artisan Soaps

With the immense support of South Cork Enterprise Board I was able to fine tune my offerings and branding with a stong focus on attending Showcase 2013, RDS, Dublin with much anticipation, excitement and nerves all in one. The first introduction of Mianra to the retailers! And what a breakthrough it was! 25 retailers have eagerly placed their sizable orders from Sligo to Kenmare and beyond – much to my delight!

The future is bright for Mianra as the list of stockists are steadily growing nationwide and gaining interest from abroad as well.

Mianra Artisan Soaps

Mianra Artisan Soaps has accelerated beyond expectation since it was set up.

I managed to turn a creative outlet/ hobby into a thriving business with very little financial resources but an abundance of determination and creativity. I have met some fantastic people on the way who all recognised my efforts and did not spare their support and encouragement. They helped me set new challenges for myself and I am very grateful for that!

I am still at the beginning of an exciting journey and continue to learn as I go along. Through SCEB I recently attended the Accelerate program which brought on a new set of focus for my business.

My goal is to further increase brand awareness and secure orders from high-end retailers in both Ireland and UK.

Needless to say our family kitchen needs to be just that from now on and it is time for me to move into a dedicated workshop.

Post by Hajni Kele. For more information visit or follow them on Facebook at

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4 Responses to Start Up Stories: Mianra Artisan Soaps

  1. Guest July 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Congrats Hanji, good read , and great to see you on the way to superstardom

  2. Tony Reddington July 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Congrats Hajni,. You are well on your way to supersatrdom

  3. Meabh Ring July 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Your soap is so beautiful, a must have in every home, thanks for sharing them with us all.

    • Hajni August 21, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      Thank You Meabh- that’s very kind.

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