Have you ever thought about incorporating medicinal healing into your beauty products? This is a practice everyone can benefit from, but can be a difficult journey to start without any guidance. Not only does medicinal healing nourish your body, but it also nourishes your soul! If you’re not sure where to start, look no further than the amazing Indigenous brand, Haípažaža Pȟežúta. Learn all about this phenomenal and unique medicine soap company in today’s exclusive interview article! From chatting about how they first started their business to learning about their best selling products, we can’t wait for you to find out more about how you can incorporate medicinal healing into your life with Haípažaža Pȟežúta!
Can you share with us a little about who you are and your background?
Tipiziwin is Lakota and Dakota, with Shoshone, Ojibwe and French ancestry. She is from the Standing Rock Reservation, where she was born and raised, which lies across the border between North and South Dakota. T is mixed Lakota, Tsalagi, Delaware, and German and he grew up in the PNW. After spending most of their adult lives in the Lakota homelands as students and educators, they currently live in Eastern Washington in the homelands of the Nez Perce. In addition to making and selling our soaps and other products, we are also former Lakota language immersion instructors, and we continue to use our language every day of their lives.
What inspired you to start your business?
We have six children and as parents we witnessed how chemical-laden and store-bought products caused allergic reactions in our youngest children. So in 2017, we began our journey of creating soaps and other herbal products. From our Lakota and Dakota traditional plant knowledge and our Lakota belief, everything we touch carries our spiritual medicine, so we wanted to incorporate this into all our products. Our first batch was a sweet grass soap that immediately was healing for our youngest son. We started out gifting bars to friends and family, then we began making more for giveaways, and after that we created an Etsy store before we eventually moved to our own website!
Tell us about the story behind the chosen name of your shop.
All of our products are made with love, good medicine, good intentions and good prayers for those who will be using them! It was always important to have our business name in the Lakota language, and it means “Medicine Soaps.” We want to heal and tell a story with every single one of our products, which is why our business name means so much to us!
As a herbal soap & medicine shop, what makes your business unique or different in comparison to others on the market?
We are unique for a couple of different reasons. For starters, we make all our soaps as a shampoo and soap bar combination. We also make our soap and shampoo bars in the hot process style of soap making. This means that we add the lye and oil to cook and after it turns into a batter, we add the infused oils with our traditional medicine plants. This guarantees that the medicines are going to be strong, get on your skin to help heal and nourish your body, but also your spirit, mind and heart!
What is the process like in creating your products, from ingredients, colors, design, etc.?
We make everything in small batches, between 30 and 60 bars at a time. Depending on which one we are making, each soap and shampoo bar has its own distinct colors and shape. For example, when we make our Sage bars, we use the four colors of the medicine wheel or four directions, white, red, black and yellow. We grind up the sage and infuse an oil while we cook the soap, and once the batter is done we can then add the sage infused oil and split the batter into four containers to add the earth pigment. Afterwards we pour the mix into the molds and let them sit for a day before we take them out to cut, shave and stamp them. So much thought and detail goes into the whole process of creating our products, and this is to ensure we can bring as much medicine and healing into everything we do!
How does your culture and identity come into play when formulating your products?
Whether it be our Lakota and Dakota homelands, our traditional stories and songs, or our children and families, our culture and identity are the foundation of everything we create and do. We put so much into creating products that represent our traditional values and cultural heritage that it wouldn’t be Haípažaža Pȟežúta without all these meaningful elements!
Tell us about some of the products you offer & your best selling items?
As mentioned already, the bulk of our products are our shampoo soap bars. We offer a variety of scents and ingredient combinations that serve different medicinal and healing purposes. Our Sage and SweetGrass bars are favorites for sure. We also make a Mentholated Chest Rub that is infused with Bear Root, and it is by far our best selling product!
What are some of your personal favorite products?
Particularly, I love the sage shampoo bars because we harvest the sage at home on Standing Rock from the Porcupine Creek where I was raised, where my parents still live, and where my paternal family has lived for over six generations. I also am deeply moved by the healing that has come from our bear root and sage products for the circle of supporters who battle skin sensitivities, such as eczema, much like our own children did. It touches my heart that healing is happening using our traditional medicines. I also LOVE the Phehin Akhisoke and our recently added Thick as Fir because they were created initially for me by my husband because of my issue with my thinning hair.
As a local Indigenous business, what’s something you love about your work?
Something we absolutely love about our work is that we get to spend time with our older children. They are a key part of getting our orders packaged and delivered to the post office, and we get to share the healing experience we had with our youngest children with so many amazing customers. Our motto is “Share The Good Medicine,” and that’s what we believe we are doing! We are sharing the beautiful healing experience that we had when we decided to forego the store bought products and create our own. This has been such a special feeling, and being able to help so many others with our healing ingredients is very important to us.
Where would you like to see your business in the next 5 years?
We would love to have a physical store someday for sure, and we would also love to have the opportunity to help some other indigenous people by hiring them at an in-store location. We also want to add lots of other products to our store in the future, like salves and balms, aluminum free deodorant, and fluoride free toothpaste! There are so many ways we would like to continue incorporating medicinal healing into everyday products, and this is just the beginning.
Anything else you wish to add or share about your brand, successes & story?
One thing about Haípažaža Pȟežúta is that we have always wanted to create a practical avenue for people to work toward a more respectful and reciprocal relationship with our Grandmother earth. We align our Indigenous values of generosity and reciprocity with our business model by offering a gift with every purchase made on our website. And we just want to continue to share the good medicine with the world around us. The world needs more love and more good medicine, so we are honored to do our part for as long as we can!
From their affordable healing products, to their amazing cultural impacts, it’s no secret that the Indigenous brand Haípažaža Pȟežúta is one worth checking out! We are beyond grateful that we got the opportunity to learn more about the importance and power of medicinal healing in our beauty products through this interview. Be sure to check out Haípažaža Pȟežúta line of medicinal healing products available for purchase now!