Scents and sensibility

Mikka Roque delights in the sweet smell of success

By Deneb R. Batucan

 

A BEAUTY with raw talent and blessed with an aura of confidence that one wouldn’t miss like a fragrance that lingers — that’s who Mikka Roque is. On the verge of starting an aromatic empire of soaps and bath products made from organic products, Mikka is on a meaningful path to success. And who knew success could be so sweet smelling?

SOAP SEARCHING. Finding organic and vegan products that didn’t cost an arm and a leg was quite an ordeal, so Mikka Roque decided to make her own bath products. That’s how Raw by Roque came to be.
SOAP SEARCHING. Finding organic and vegan products that didn’t cost an arm and a leg was quite an ordeal, so Mikka Roque decided to make her own bath products. That’s how Raw by Roque came to be.

Mikka, a mass communication graduate from the University of the Philippines-Cebu, is the bubbly proprietor of Raw byRoque, an online and pop-up boutique shop that expertly makes artisanal vegan beauty essentials. This scented soaps and bath essentials are all made by hand and with lots of love in the four corners of Mikka’s room.

Mikka started Raw in 2009 as an online clothes shop. A creative since her childhood days, she designed clothes and had someone else sew them. After her beloved seamstress passed away, she delved into ready-to-wear clothes. But earlier this year, she had an epiphany and wanted to sell something that she made with her hands — soaps.

“This year, I became vegan. And as I changed my lifestyle, it also means using stuff that’s cruelty free. I did this lifestyle change since I don’t believe in having to kill an animal for my benefit. And that’s the same with products that I use,” Mikka said.

SHE MAKES SCENTS. Meet Mikka Roque, proprietor of Raw byRoque, an online and pop-up boutique shop that creates artisanal vegan beauty essentials.
SHE MAKES SCENTS. Meet Mikka Roque, proprietor of Raw byRoque, an online and pop-up boutique shop that creates artisanal vegan beauty essentials.

First scent

Having trouble finding organic and vegan products that she could use that doesn’t burn a hole in her pocket, she came up with the next best thing — make her own bath products. After two months of sleepless nights, endless research and experimenting on various materials and raw products, Mikka finally came up with her first soap in a form of a sweet-scented cupcake.

Raw by Roque’s products consists of three main ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter and grapeseed oil. The soaps have glycerine which is good for moisturizing.

Mikka gave some of her soap products to her friends to test them, and it was a hit. And so she decided to sell the bath products.

What makes Raw byRoque products so appealing are the design and intricate details of the soaps. It looks so good that you’d want to eat it! “Adding texture to the soap is the fun part. I make the soap look like real food,” she said.

In a day, Mikka can conjure 36 soaps. She laughingly shared how her hands feel like they’re about to be ripped off because she needs to work hard and fast to have a steady production. “For one batch it takes an hour. If you wait a longer time, it starts to absorb the water in the air so you have to wrap it very fast. That happens in humid climates,” she explained.

Aside from the soaps, Mikka also has bath salts, scrubs and shower jellies.

Mikka’s business takes up a big chunk of her free time. During the day, she teaches English online while taking up her master’s degree in education at UP Cebu. A busy girl, she is.

“I really like doing both, teaching and making my products. It’s a good thing since teaching has a stable income which could help in making my business bigger,” she said.

A SENSIBLE PASSION. Apart from running her business, Mikka teaches English online and is taking up a master’s degree in education at UP Cebu, pursuits that complement her passion to create something beautiful.
A SENSIBLE PASSION. Apart from running her business, Mikka teaches English online and is taking up a master’s degree in education at UP Cebu, pursuits that complement her passion to create something beautiful.

A love for making things

Mikka has joined three bazaars this year in IT Park, Oakridge Business Park and Parkmall. It has been the best experience for her. “I love talking to people and explaining about our products,” she said. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved making things. I would make dolls out of melted crayons and socks. I would make my own Nickelodeon green slime and make my version of a pepper spray. Now that I have my bath products, it feels good that people appreciate the things that I make.”

Right now, Mikka’s best-selling soap ix her Pixie Dream Doughnut Soap. She hopes to make more scents and designs to widen her doughnut soap products. By next year, she hopes to buy materials from the States, like soap sprinkles, so she could make other doughnut designs. Her next target project after the doughnuts is to make a macaroon soap.

Like all young entrepreneurs, Mikka lives the hard-knock life as she works hard to keep her clients happy and excited with her products. But seeing the smiling and contented faces of her customers makes the work worth all the sweat and tears. And for Mikka, passion comes in a form of a pink doughnut soap that definitely has filled her life with the aroma of success.

Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas

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