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Gaarna joins the board of Eco-entrepreneur association

Suomen Ekoyrittäjät

The activities and goals of Eco-Entrepreneurs are in line with Gaarna’s values and eco-ethical principles. As a member of the Board of Finnish Eco-Entrepreneurs, Gaarna is committed to the principles of the association (the principles are listed below on the Finnish Eco-Entrepreneurs website on 13 September 2020). Gaarna’s founder, Sini Kervinen, is the vice-president of the association.

  • Necessity – A product or service does not create demand artificially, but responds to an existing need, even aiming to reduce overall consumption. At its best, it replaces a harmful product or service.
  • Production – Raw materials from endangered animal or plant species are not used in production. Production does not use animal testing and avoids pollution and the use of non-renewable resources.
  • Energy – The manufacture, use and disposal of the product use as little energy as possible. Energy is produced in a way that supports sustainable development.
  • Transportation – Transportation seeks to avoid wasting energy. Production takes place as close as possible to the consumer and the product is transported in the least polluting way possible.
  • Materials – The product uses the least environmentally harmful substances and production methods and prefers renewable materials.
  • Packaging – The products do not generate unnecessary waste due to, for example, excessive packaging or short packaging life.
  • Proximity to the user – The dimensions of the product are human; small is beautiful. The product is repairable and repairs can be made yourself. The product is safe for the user.
  • Recycling – After the end of its life, product material can be recycled or disposed of without harm. The product itself uses recycled material.
  • Time of use – The product is durable and does not depend on fashion variations. No unnecessary disposables.
  • Criteria for social responsibility:
    – Consultation of all company employees in company decision-making and goal setting.
    – Fair treatment and welfare of employees.
    – Creating opportunities for minorities.
    – Fostering human values such as creativity, productivity, self-respect, responsibility and equality.
    – Promoting sustainable development in society, where possible both in one’s own operating environment and internationally. For example, fair trade with developing countries.
    – Truthful communication to stakeholders and the public.
    – The company values thrift in its operations.

The purpose of the Finnish Eco-Entrepreneurs Association is to promote environmentally responsible small and medium-sized businesses. The members of the association are committed to the eco-ethical principles of responsible business in their operations.

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Collaboration project with Unit Markt

Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Kuvaaja / Photographer: Oona Jokinen, Unit Markt

When good guys with different skills and inspiring ideas combine their skills, something new and interesting usually emerges. Not all new ideas are worth implementing, or even good, but diamonds are created every now and then. By doing and experimenting, it becomes clear in the end which idea was good and which was not.

One inspiring example of creative collaboration was made with Unit Markt. Unit Markt sells Gaarna eco-detergents in bulk. The selections include laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets, shampoos, soaps and conditioners.

Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Kuvaaja / Photographer: Oona Jokinen, Unit Markt

Oona Jokinen, the founder of Unit Markt, got a wonderful idea to create a pop-up soap bar in the store. The soap bar would combine Unit Markt’s caring ingredients, such as clays and herbs, with Gaarna’s well-received shampoo-, conditioner- and soap recipes. Each product would be made with only a small special batch, and the design would utilize new shapes and colors to make the soap bar look eye-catching.

Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Kuvaaja / Photographer: Oona Jokinen, Unit Markt

In addition to the wonderful, even delicious, whole, the customers were fascinated by the naturalness and beautiful appearance of the products. One eye-catcher was the whole blocks of clay soap, from which you could buy a piece just the size you wanted.

This was one good example of a collaboration that is sure to create something new. In fact, the new plans are already waiting for the next steps.

Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Kuvaaja / Photographer: Oona Jokinen, Unit Markt

The collaboration project between Gaarna and Unit Markt is also an inspiring example of how two actors can achieve more together. We in Gaarna would not have had facilities to host a soap bar for customers, and these wonderful products would not have been born without Oona’s vision. On the other hand, we at Gaarna were able to excel in design, recipes and eco-detergent expertise – and best of all, be creative.

Gaarna ja Unit Markt yhteistyö
Kuvaaja / Photographer: Oona Jokinen, Unit Markt

In addition to its own and partner products, Gaarna also manufactures products for other brands in the role of manufacturer. If, while reading this, you came up with an idea or idea that you would like to go out with us to implement, then feel free to contact us! You can put a message, for example, by e-mail to; info@gaarna.fi, or alternatively send a message via Gaarna’s Facebook account or Gaarna’s Instagram account. It is always wonderful to be able to innovate a concept that serves a specific and new purpose.

Unit Markt is a waste-free, sustainable choice convenience store in Vallila, Helsinki. The selection includes fresh vegetables, groceries, daily cosmetics and home supplies. You can follow Unit Markt on Facebook and Instagram and check out the products on their online site unitgoods.com.

 

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Sea breeze shampoo bar

Merituuli shampoopala, Gaarna

Natural luxury

Gaarna, Merituuli shampoopala

Gaarna’s wonderful innovation, Sea Breeze shampoo bar contains sea salt, which gives the hair structure and reduces its sebum content.

Sea salt minerals strengthen hair follicles and scalp, making hair look healthier. Softly foaming and mellow Sea Breeze shampoo bar has a fresh scent of Lily of the Valley.

Sea Breeze Shampoo bar is a is Nordic Natural Beauty Awards nominee 2020!

Manufacturing

Sea Breeze shampoo bar is made using a cold method, where the soap matures at least one month before it is packed. The moisturizing properties of the shampoo improves over time. Foamy Sea Breeze shampoo bar is delightful for washing hair and when used as a shower soap.

Sini Kervinen, Gaarna”Sea Breeze is inspired by the Turku (City in Finland) archipelago, a family sailing trip and a beautiful summer evening by the sea. The hair was wonderfully puffy after fluttering all day in the fresh sea breeze and the desert island where we stayed the night smelled of lilies of the valley. I wanted to maintain this happy day in a shampoo bar and pass on the same, wonderful feeling to others. I hope you like it!”

Founder, Sini Kervinen

 

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Where did it all started?

Gaarna - Miten kaikki sai alkunsa?

“For us at Gaarna, being ecological is more than just production methods and ecological materials,” says Sini Kervinen, the company’s founder and entrepreneur.

But where exactly did Gaarna’s story begin?

“I’ve always been interested in the pure and natural alternatives to replace the artificial and industrial products.

Even as a child, my favorite game was to play chemist and a merchant. I made endlessly different mixtures of bath water and available shower products while sitting in a warm bath. I only agreed to come away when both the finger and toe heads were as wrinkle as the raisin. In my merchant play I just couldn’t get enough of organizing beautiful buttons that I had captured and collected in a jar like treasures. I sold them to family members for play money, torn from paper.

As I grew older, I became interested in natural herbs. I studied different plants and their properties. I collected them and dried them for tea, or dyed wool yarn with them. I read the literature on natural foods and studied the effects of harmful chemicals.

Gaarna - Merituuli pyykinpesujauhe ja etikkahuuhde
Photographer: Niina Pietilä

The birth of my first child, almost 10 years ago, made me even more interested in the ingredients in detergents. I wanted to live and be so that my own child would get only the best of everything. For both, as food and for skin. I also paid more attention to my own consumption habits and started recycling those that were still left behind.

Nature has always been close to my heart. Even though I was already doing a lot, it still felt like it wasn’t enough.

I got excited when a friend told me she had been making her own laundry detergent for a long time by grating Marseille soap and melting it in the water. I wanted to try it too. I also got a bottle of the detergent from her for to try it out. I washed my laundry with this gift detergent. I was actually quite good. I got fresh and clean laundry with detergent, that was so much better alternative to nature than the detergents I had used before!

I definitely wanted to make this kind of detergent myself too! However, I did not wanted to use industrially made, imported soaps. If one were to do it ourselves, then it would be done properly from the beginning. I found out and started making different soap products myself. I made both laundry soap and shampoo pieces. However, olive oil-based soap preparations did not clean the laundry, nor did the hair. I wasn’t happy with the outcome, but I knew I was on the trail of something important.

Gaarna - Luonnonmukaisesti ja rakkaudella
Photographer: Niina Pietilä

I studied more and did experiments over and over again with different recipes and different ingredients. On a few occasions I already gave up, but then tried again until I finally found perfectly cleansing vegetable oil-based recipes for both laundry detergent and shampoo.

The feeling was amazing when I realized I had created something really meaningful. I had created the way to wash laundry, body and hair safely without chemicals and environmental impact, ”says Kervinen.

We humans use huge amounts of detergents a month. And why not use – cleanliness and hygiene are important.

Most industrial detergents use a lot of substances that are not good for the environment. Various industrial combinations can be poorly degradable and bad for nature. The product information of laundry detergent does not have to indicate all the ingredients, which can make it difficult for the consumer to know what the detergent will eventually contain.

The detergent choices we make are of great importance. And not only for the environment but also for ourselves and our loved ones. By paying attention to what you wash yourself and your laundry with, you can do significant environmental actions over the years. At the same time, you remove huge amounts of completely useless chemicals from your daily life.

Gaarna - Luontoa kunnioittavat pesuaineet
Photographer: Niina Pietilä

Gaarna’s work was thus driven by his own interest and inspiration, which led to concrete innovation. However, Gaarna also sells products to consumers.

Gaarna’s journey was thus driven by Sini’s own interest and inspiration, which led to concrete innovation. However, Gaarna also sells products to consumers.

“The more people use Gaarna’s eco-detergents, the greater the environmental impact is. That is one of the main drivers, that inspires me to develop even more products. Environmental impact, that Gaarna and those who have chosen to use Gaarna’s eco-detergents, are creating together is inspirational. I am grateful of every single order we receive. Each order symbolizes those people, who just like me, wants to make a positive difference. Every subscriber and every time products are used is a step towards a more chemical-free tomorrow.

Thanks are also due to the partners and manufacturers who are an important part of the journey. Thanks for the joint journey also belongs to anyone who cares.

Thank you for caring <3”

You can follow Gaarna’s story and journey on Instagram and facebook under the name @Gaarna.fi.

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Soap Chemistry and History

When the acid and alkaline are combined, a salt is obtained. Soap is the salt of fatty acids. The soap is obtained as the final product by combining the acid (= fats) + alkaline = (lye, i.e., sodium hydroxide NaOH).

The soap maker should be prepared with proper equipment, as the lye is a corrosive substance and various substances together can cause a chemical reaction.

When the soap is made by yourself, it is possible to affect its properties. For example, it can be made as gentle as possible by leaving out scents and dyes. For example olive oil soap is the favorite of many sensitive-skinned person.

The amount of liy affects how greasy the soap remains. In order to get sensitive soap, it is worth to over-fatation by up to 10%. The most common recommendation is 5%, which adds slightly more liy to the soap. The amount of liy is in relation to the fats and oils and the amount must exact the right.

Over-fatation means that the amount of fats and oils used, is slightly higher than what would be required for saponification. This leaves some of the fats unsaponifiably, making the soap a little more gentle.

The soap over-fat percentage does not affect the pH of the soap, which is alkaline and between 8 and 10. However, for sensitive skin, fragrances are often more harmful than mild alkalinity. When used too much, all soaps dry the skin.

The main principle that affects soap hardness is that at room temperature solid fats produce hard soap and soft oils at room temperature soft soap. Soft oils are often more gentle on the skin than hard ones, so it is advisable to put hard fat in the mixture only about 20%. For example mixture 20% coconut oil + 80% olive oil, adds softness and washability but reamains the soap gentle.

The history of soap goes far. It has been found in ancient Babylonian clay pots and the first soaps are believed to have been made already 3000-2000 before the start of the countdown.

Two Sumerian clay tiles have been labeled with soap. One says that it was used for washing wool, and one used 5.5 parts of wood ash and one part of olive oil.

In Finland, in the 1950s, there were five main stages in the manufacture of traditional ash-liy-soap:

  1. An ash-lye solution was made
  2. Separated fat from slaughterhouse waste
  3. The fats and ash solution were mixed and boiled. If you wanted a harder soap, the work continued with the following steps:
  4. Salt was added to the soup to cure the soap.
  5. The soap layer was peeled on the surface and cut into it.