Paraluman offers a range of zero waste essentials for anyone who wants to live with less waste. With products like cloth cotton pads & sanitary napkins, reusable straws, on-the-go cutlery sets, stainless steel food containers, and natural soap bars at affordable prices, Paraluman hopes to inspire and encourage more Filipinos to use plastic-free alternatives and make them a part of their daily lifestyle. Let’s get to know more about the shop owner and the products.
What’s the story behind the shop name?
Paralúman is an old Tagalog word for muse, a paramour. We wanted to use the shop to inspire people, much like a muse.
Who are the people behind Paraluman?
My name is Denise, a 26 year old teacher to children with special needs, and I’m the sole proprietor of Paralúman. With a little help from my friends, who are either unemployed, single parents, or special needs, from Manila and Cebu city, we run our little shop.
What inspired you to start an online shop focusing on eco-friendly products?
It started out as a need. I found it inconvenient to have to go to different shops to buy the things I needed as someone who wants to live a minimal-waste lifestyle, so I decided to make a one-stop shop for me and my friends around September 2017. By December 2017, the rest of social media found us. It was a busy month.
Are all your products locally sourced?
Most of our products are locally sourced and made. Some of our products (mostly the stainless steel items) are responsibly made overseas, but we do make sure to screen all our suppliers, and we even ask for certifications for the materials used to ensure everyone’s safety.
Also, I noticed that your Castile Soap contains Palm Oil, is it okay for you to tell us where you source this ingredient?
Our palm oil is sourced only from legal palm plantations in the Philippines.
I especially love the shampoo bars and feminine bars because they are plastic-free and comes in minimal packaging, do you make these yourselves or do you have a supplier?
We make our soaps ourselves.
Can you share with us the process of crafting your soaps?
All of our ingredients are actually things that were already on my pantry when I began formulating them. I didn’t want the ingredients to go to waste so I decided to make a product out of them and the shampoo bar worked for me, at least. We make everything in small batches, and produce only about 48 pieces per week. Everything is hand cut and hand wrapped, and we don’t use any artificial fragrances.
How do you test your products?
We test them personally. I myself use the Flowerchild shampoo and conditioner bar!
I bought your Castile Soap and Hemp Seed oil, do you have any tips on how to use these?
Castile soap is in general, an all around soap. I like to use this as shampoo, hand soap, and my favorite use for this is as a makeup brush cleaner and makeup remover. What I do is I mix this with water, soak my reusable cotton rounds in the solution, then put everything in a glass jar. As for hempseed oil, it works well for me as a facial moisturizer. I also use it as a salad dressing.
What are your top 3 favorite picks from your shop. and why?
I do use all of the products that we sell (no exaggeration!) and my favorites would be these three:
1 Lip & Cheek Tints – These are all locally and naturally handmade and I personally chose the colors and essences used. They last forever as well! The glass rollies are refillable and reusable, plus the labels were made from recycled paper.
2 Bamboo Toothbrushes – Partially because the people behind The Toothbrush Movement are awesome, and because 10% of the proceeds go to a local charity focusing on hygiene
3 Stainless Steel Food Container – As a vegetarian, I really need to take my lunch with me everyday to work since options around the area are limited.
It’s really good knowing that you do your best to keep the packaging minimal for your parcels, please tell us more about this?
All of the cardboard and bubblewrap that we use for shipping are reused and recycled. We have never had to buy our own packaging materials to this day. We do suggest for those living within Metro Manila to drop by our shelves instead. We do collect packaging materials at our events.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Our greatest challenge up til now is packaging. As you may know, we have physical locations and we also do plastic-free shipping via Lalamove, yet of course, people still order from other parts of the Philippines (much like you!) Our current couriers require issued pouches, and would plastic-wrap or tape boxed packages. Other people recommended Ninja Van but what they don’t know is that we actually ended our contract with them on December 2017, and again on May 2018. We’ve been having severe issues with their logistics such as not being reachable, delayed and lost packages, and not showing up when booked for pickup. Sorry Ninja Van!
What do you love most about what you do?
Meeting like minded people and thinking of innovative ways and new products to introduce to the Filipinos. We also love helping local farmers, small business owners, local artisans, and the single parents and persons with disabilities who work for us.
Is there anything you dislike about it?
Opportunists. Seriously! We get tons of messages asking for free products in exchange for good reviews – which we don’t take of course. It kind of defeats the purpose of our mission to be content with what you already have.
Do you have a brick and mortar shop, and where are you based?
We don’t have a shop, but we do rent spaces from cafes. We try to avoid concept stores because of the high commission rates that they ask for. Currently we have a space in Maginhawa, inside Jess & Pat’s.