Shler’s Natural Soap Products Capture the Essences of Kurdistan’s Mountains

Picture soaps that transcend mere cleansing, instead serving as aromatic tributes to a distinctive locale. Enter Shler Abdulsalam, a 32-year-old Kurdish visionary hailing from th

Shler’s Natural Soap Products Capture the Essences of Kurdistan’s Mountains

Picture soaps that transcend mere cleansing, instead serving as aromatic tributes to a distinctive locale. Enter Shler Abdulsalam, a 32-year-old Kurdish visionary hailing from the picturesque city of Rawanduz in the Kurdistan Region. With a smile as radiant as her aspirations, she has transformed her love for her homeland's natural splendor into a flourishing enterprise, birthing her very own brand: ‘Shler’s Natural Products’. Forget synthetic fragrances and industrial chemicals; Abdulsalam’s ingredients are a love letter to Kurdistan’s flora – berries, oats, rosemary, aloe vera, even local honey – with each bar a miniature tapestry of the landscape.

From classroom to cauldron

Abdulsalam’s journey has not been a conventional one. Though she holds a degree in arts and geography, her heart longed for a more practical, impactful pursuit. Driven by a desire to empower women through natural beauty, she enrolled in a government-authorized course on cosmetics and natural treatments. That one year not only equipped her with essential skills, but also with three internationally recognized certificates, solidifying her qualifications and igniting her confidence.

Abdulsalam’s soaps are more than just sudsy squares; they are tributes to nature’s bounty. “The first lesson of the course was, of course, making soap,” she recounts with a glint in her eyes, “and I thought, ‘If that’s the hardest, let’s start there!’” 

And start she did, handpicking 99% of her ingredients directly from Kurdistan’s rich soil. “Some herbs, like basil, have been used in our homes for generations for fragrance and flavor.” she explains. “I consult botanists to help choose the right ingredients, ensuring each creation caters to specific skin or hair needs.”

Empowering others, one bar at a time

Abdulsalam’s ambition is clear in her product development process. “Many doctors have helped me as well,” she beams, “so the results are amazing!” She consults cosmetologists and dermatologists to create therapeutic products, personally testing them first. “I know what’s in them,” she declares with unwavering confidence, “so I’m not afraid.” 

This personalized approach, combined with her rigorous testing, has yielded impressive results, earning her the trust and loyalty of customers who have experienced firsthand the transformative power of her creations.

Abdulsalam’s success is not confined to her cozy shop-factory. Social media has become her digital marketplace, connecting her with customers beyond the Kurdistan Region. But her aspirations soar even higher. “Exporting my Kurdish brand to the world,” she declares with quiet determination, “is a dream I actively pursue.” Sharing the magic of her homeland with a wider audience is a driving force that demonstrates her unwavering belief in the power of Kurdish nature and her own resilience.

Abdulsalam’s story resonates as a story of a young woman who dared to dream big. Even as a child, she never shied away from challenges, embracing each experience as a stepping stone to success. “One of my dreams was to own a Kurdish brand,” she shares with a smile, “so I finished the course with great enthusiasm and started working. My dream came true!”

Abdulsalam’s ultimate dream? Starting and running a Kurdish restaurant that showcases her people’s culinary heritage. But no matter what path she takes, one thing remains constant: her unwavering dedication to quality, her love for her land, and her desire to empower others. “There’s no difference between men and women among the Kurds,” she declares with pride, “and that’s the reason for my success. My family has been incredibly supportive throughout my journey. They have given me all kinds of freedom and encouraged me to chase my dreams. That support has been invaluable, and I am so grateful for them.”

A name rooted in nature

Abdulsalam’s first name, Shler, also holds special significance. The Kurdish name for the fritillaria imperialis flower, also known as the crown imperial or imperial fritillary, is native to Kurdistan and blooms with vibrant colors, embodying the beauty and resilience of the land.

In choosing this name (Shler’s Natural Products) for her brand, Abdulsalam not only pays homage to her heritage, but also emphasizes the natural essence and unique origin of her products. As she confects her dreams into reality, one handcrafted bar at a time, she furnishes a legacy of empowerment for herself, her community, and her beloved Kurdistan. 

Her story reminds us that success can blossom in unexpected places, if fueled by passion, dedication, and a deep connection to our roots. Shler’s Kurdish soap symphony is just beginning, and its melody promises to resonate far beyond the borders of her homeland, inspiring others to embrace their own mellifluous journeys and carve their own unique paths.

Mohammad Dargalayi is a journalist and photographer with 13 years of experience. He is a member of IFJ Global. 

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