Meet Leonara Manyangadze, the founder of Tanaka soaps. We met with Leonara at her studio, a stone's throw away from the sea, to talk about Tanaka Soaps, style and jewellery.
Silver or gold?
How did you get into soap making?
It was at a time when I was feeling severely burnt-out from my job as a Producer and I took up a pottery class as a way to get out of my head and 'meditate'. Around this time I made some soap dishes and that got me thinking about what else I could make and one thing led to another. I've been obsessed with natural skincare for as long as I can remember, and holistic wellness too, so when I started properly looking at the ingredients in skincare products I was using, I wanted to get rid of the harsh chemicals and decided the simplest way would be to try and make something myself which led me to experimenting with cold-processed soap making.
Describe your own style.
Hmmm. It has definitely evolved over the years and even more-so post-pandemic. My main priority is to be comfortable and I think I'm now less concerned with being 'fashionable' and instead I shop intentionally looking for items that will last me a really long time. If I had to choose one work it would be 'hard-femme'.
What's for you won't pass you by.
Biggest influences or people that motivate you?
My close friends are my biggest cheerleaders and they also motivate me to chase my goals. I think we do that for each other and even though we're in different industries, we still hype each other and support one another. At the moment I'm also very motivated but having a good work-life balance in a sustainable way means I can properly look after myself .
What does jewellery mean to you?
I'm like a magpie, I love shiny things. For me jewellery accentuates all my looks and I feel naked if I forget my earrings or my rings. I think in some ways it shows someone's personality more than the clothes they wear. It can also be really sentimental depending on if certain pieces were meaningful gifts or the stories behind them.
Do you have any go-to pieces of jewellery that you wear every day?
Definitely earrings for me. Because I have a shaved head I feel it's an easy way to get 'dressed up' and seem like I've made an effort.
How do you make time for you - any self-care or daily rituals?
I love a good skincare routine and feeling like I've had a facial just by doing a couple of steps in the morning and at night. A bath (using TANAKA soaps of course) is also my go to when I need to de-stress or just chill. Also wine!
Do you have a favourite Tanaka soap at the moment?
Hard question but I would have to say The Basic Bar which only has 3 ingredients. It's the first soap I ever made and it uses coconut milk instead of water which makes it super nourishing and it has a gorgeous lather.
Favourite Seol + Gold jewellery?
My favourite piece (at the moment) is the gold T-bar necklace, and I also love stacking with the geometric creole hoop earrings.
What are you looking forward to over Summer?
Long sunny days by the beach with friends. It can feel like life is going a mile a minute sometimes so just making the most of longer days and feeling less rushed is the goal.