Introducing…Tomato Glow A Holland Avenue Soap Collab

“Hey, I have an idea, let’s make a tomato-scented soap!” Over the winter, Mike Benigno of Holland Avenue. Soap, Co. reached out asking if I’d like to collaborate on creating my very own Glorified Tomato garden soap. I kinda lost it!!

“Yes.” I said.

Mike has partnered with others to create custom soaps like community group Sea Changes and The Beach 91st Street Community Garden, drawing inspiration from their unique complexions. He offers personalized, create-your-own scented soap for individuals, customized soap for a special event such as a bridal or baby shower. And Holland Ave. Soap caters to wholesale markets.

Holland Avenue. Soap, Co. Paula DiGioia Soap

What fascinated me most about this collaboration was discovering Mike’s approach to selecting scent combinations. I visited the Holland Ave. soap-making studio to choose the Tomato Glow scent profile. The best way I can describe the process… an effervescent science experiment.

First, we discussed what “tomato” meant to me and how to express the scent and the vibe of my personal energy in this product. From there, Mike brought out essential oils that he felt expressed our discussion. Then we began a process of elimination by dabbling delicately with tomato tinctures. What fun! We joked that we’re both Italians with wonderfully large noses with exceptional smelling capabilities. Seriously though, Mike has a great nose. It was impressive to see him at work, wafting, thinking, sniffing near, and detecting far. His perception of smell has an incredible range. I learned that sensing scent is an art form. Mike Beningo is a soap sommelier.

We created two test batches. The scent profile of Tomato Glow is a secret combination of tomato flower oil, cedarwood, and patchouli. It takes five weeks for soap to cure, a process called saponification.

Paula DiGioia Tomat Glow Soap
Photos by Mike Benigno.

I eagerly waited! Finally, the morning came to shower and test the two versions of Tomato Glow! They were similar but one was more sweet than the other. I needed more punch.  We made tweaks to our tomato potion, upping the peppery vibe (more patchouli please). Five more weeks for the final batch and during this time Mike and I brainstormed on the name, worked on the packaging and Mike shot the beautiful photography for the Tomato Glow soap line.

Where is Tomato Glow soap available? It debuts at Rockstock, this Saturday, June 22, on the boardwalk at 92nd St. I’ll be hanging around with Mike at his pop up, so come through and experience the delicious aroma of Tomato Glow!

Tomato Glow and Holland Ave Soap favorites are for purchase on online and in many of our favorite local shops.

I am filled with gratitude to Mike and Holland Avenue Soap, Co. for this opportunity. I’m so pleased with the aroma of Tomato Glow, it’s just right. Who would have ever thought The Glorified Tomato would have a soap line?  I’m learning to trust my senses and life will reveal the fragrance of endless vining paths of opportunity.

Holland Avenue. Soap, Co. creates unique, cold process bar soaps inspired by the ocean, often using purified seawater and garden-grown herbs. Their soaps express the joys of being near the sea and nature, thereby enhancing daily cleansing rituals. With community support as a central part of their mission, 10% of profits are donated to the Laru Beya Collective, a Far Rockaway organization that offers surf lessons and water safety education to empower local youth. Learn more, follow Holland Avenue Soap Co. on IG – @hollandavenuesoapco.

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