AFTER five successful years of producing honey in her backyard, housewife Norani Mohd Halel decided to make soaps using honey from the same bees.
Norani, 57, started keeping stingless bees, known locally as lebah kelulut, in 2016 after attending a workshop at the Kampung Melayu Raya Village Community Centre (PKD), where she learnt about bee farming and honey-making.
“I decided to give it a try then as I felt it could help me generate some income,” she explained.
“I also wanted to utilise the knowledge I had gained.
“So I bought three beehives at RM350 to RM450 each.
“Now, I have 17 and 10 of the beehives are placed at my home while seven are at the PKD.”
The mother of five said she attended another workshop at the same PKD at the end of last year and learnt how to make soap.
“Since I was already producing honey, I thought that it would be interesting to try making soap from the honey and some herbs I have been growing.
“I started making and selling the soap around January and to my surprise, there were quite a number of people who became interested in the product,” she added.
Norani has sold more than 2,000 bars of soap since the beginning of the year through local agents.
On the soap production process, she said it took her less than an hour to make one batch, which would yield 18 retail-size bars.
“It takes only about five minutes for me to mix the ingredients together using the double-boiling method,” she revealed.
“Once it reaches the ideal consistency, I place the mixture into a moulding tray and wait for about 30 minutes for the soap to harden before packaging the bars.”
The bars are sold at RM5 each.
Norani recently began selling her products online to reach customers from beyond her area.
“I was worried earlier that I might not be able to cope with demand but as I have been making the soaps for some time now, I finally went online,” she said.