While some people drone on about the lack of individuality of mass-produced items, others complain about the particularities of seeking ‘artisanal’ experiences. But when it comes to the toss-up between name-brand products that line the shelves of supermarkets vs. imperfect, handcrafted products that carry the markers of someone’s hard work, I say I will always shell out for the latter.
After all, in a world full of mass-produced items made by machines and assembly lines, finding hand-made objects created with intention and passion is a novelty. If you’re someone in the UK, who seeks out independent brands with a story, Skunk is a brand to note. An independent brand founded out of her home in Hackney London by South Asian origin Juhi Pande, it creates unique bath and body products as well as concrete objects. The idea that inspired Juhi was simple - to infuse everyday objects with uniqueness and character.
The Birth of The Skunk
The products from Skunk ranging from striking black and white soaps to vibrantly coloured concrete designs are a visual and sensory delight. Juhi's creative journey began with the humble bar of soap. What began as experiments with material, texture and smell over a decade ago, led her to find a love for making things with her own hands. She started with soaps that she’d add as a stocking stuffer or into gift bags alongside tacky Christmas sweaters. But what set these soaps apart was not just their quality but also their unconventional shades. Playing around with activated charcoal at the time, these initial bars of soap were chunky and either white/colourless or a deep black, much like a Skunk and the name stuck.
While the brand started with monochromatic soaps, her exploration of colour came a few years later with Skunk Cement. She discovered something beautiful about the contrast between the near permanence of a solid cement vessel, its weight, its industrial nature, and the soft playfulness that a shot of colour could bring to it. Over the years, she has continued to find joy in creating handcrafted products and her continued love for playing with colour, fragrance and functionality in everyday objects led to the founding of Skunk Superstore.
Of Everyday Muses And Creative Exploration
Today, Skunk is still a small independent brand that creates everyday objects to use and muse over, that are crafted, cured and packaged from the home studio of the founder. From the black and white soap that gave its name to the brand, to concrete soap holders and incense sticks to the solid hand balm that soothes the founder's hand after a hard day of work, Juhi continues to create products that she hopes will delight others as much as it does her.
Amid her exploration of creating these products, Juhi reveals that she came to appreciate the meditative and cathartic aspect of crafting by hand. Working with various materials is a journey of self-discovery and creative expression, and this personal connection is what gives Skunk Superstore its unique soul.
While Skunk Superstore is still growing and has a UK website, its products are also gracing the shelves of select stockists across the UK. You can discover these distinctive creations at places like Neighbourhood Store in Shoreham, Cup and Cloth in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Snoop in Shrewsbury, and Deptford Does Art in London.
What makes Skunk Superstore truly exceptional is its commitment to the artisanal spirit. In an age where the mundane and mass-produced often dominate, Skunk Superstore offers handcrafted everyday objects that range from unique bath and body products to cement vessels that are a result of the founder’s hard work and artistic exploration.
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