Just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, my wife, Ellen, and I had just moved to Rockaway Beach, New York, the coastal Queens neighborhood where I grew up. Our daughter was just six months old that spring, and the previous owners of our home let us take over the small community garden plot they had maintained, just around the block from our new home. It was a windfall, and quickly the garden became a place of refuge. In the grip of the pandemic, it was the place our daughter saw her first butterfly, and where we met our first new neighbors. Despite what was happening in the world, we managed to find comfort in all of the changes that take place in the natural world on their own time.
We had also never been so fortunate to live so close to the ocean. The open Atlantic sits just 100 yards from both the garden and our home, and we were amazed at how, all year round, people flock to the sea to search for tranquility, to heal, maybe for the chance to even see a whale's spout. People maybe have done this forever, but we gained a new understanding about how important this is to so many, and we visited the ocean many times ourselves as seekers.
The essence of Holland Avenue Soap Company sits squarely between those images. We create unique, cold process bar soaps inspired by the ocean. Many are soleseife soaps with purified seawater as their base. Some also include garden-grown herbs and plants infused into oils during production.
We see our soaps as an expression of the joys of being near the sea and within the natural world - joys that can also join us during the personal moments of our daily cleansing rituals.
So that everyone can enjoy the ocean safely, 10% of our sales go to Laru Beya Collective for free surf lessons and water safety classes that empower young people in historically excluded parts of Far Rockaway.
Made with love from B. 92 Street.