Meet Your Local Maker: Eugene Shabelyanau and Danny Galindo of SoapGeek

Join us as we shine the spotlight on the business owners, craft artisans, and makers of Castro Valley!

For Eugene Shabelyananu & Danny Galindo, curating a native plant garden in their backyard  was only the first step in their efforts to be good stewards to their community and the environment. Inspired by not only the diverse bounty of beautiful herbs and native flowers flourishing in their garden, but being able to reduce waste from commercial soap, they started a blooming soapmaking business, SoapGeek.

“Sustainability and being environmentally friendly are at the core of our life principles.” Danny says, “making soap became a passion and small business of ours once we realized how much plastic bottles are saved just by switching to bar soap.”


Soap forms when an oil, such as coconut, olive, or palm, is mixed with a base. The soap molecules have the unique ability to interact with both water and grease particles, scooping them up, and washing them away. This same process is how soap can destroy viruses and bacteria: when you’re washing your hands, soap is able to dissolve the weak fatty membrane surrounding the virus particles, destroying the virus-cell, and carrying the debris down the drain with water.


Not only does the inherent cleansing properties of soap help keep us healthy, but SoapGeek’s handmade soaps also are gentle on the skin and provide a rich source of botanical ingredients and medicinal benefits.

“I enjoy doing research on medicinal use of different herbs and how it can apply to skincare. My research includes both traditional (ie western medicine) as well as indigenous use of the herb.” Eugene writes “White Sage, for example, is a spiritual herb. It has been used by Native Americans to ward off bad spirits and cleanse/purify the area. Calendula on the other hand, is one of the greatest herbs for skincare due to its properties. Lavender is everyone’s favorite because it smells great and is calming.”


The soaps that Danny and Eugene are so enticing, it’s hard to get out of the shower. For example, the “Absinthe” soap bar containing pulverized dried wormwood herb, and myrtle, sweet anise, wormwood, and petitgrain essential oils, makes you feel like your swimming in a sensory cocktail!

When asked where he gets the inspiration for these intoxicating fragrances, Eugene claims this could be the topic of an entire book,

“Scent is such a complex topic. There is a base, middle and upper scent notes and finding a balance between these three can be quiet a task! I search a lot of ideas in books, online, read others notes on mixing scents and follow couple specialty online forums.”

SoapGeek’s growth has offered Danny and Eugene the opportunity to meet many interesting folks at pop-up events, teach people about sustainable living practices, and learn more about gardening. To say the least, they have developed deep roots in the Castro Valley community!

For Eugene this business has allowed him to tap into his artistic side:

“Developing a recipe, thinking of its design, what herbs to add, how to scent it accordingly, make the label - this is all a process that takes time and is the most enjoyable to me.”


Check out SoapGeek’s listing to learn more about their business and variety of intoxicating soaps!