January 3, 2019
For geologists, dissecting the earth’s rocks is second nature. While working in the oil and gas business, Dan Sabo was familiar with all kinds of compounds and formations. But when the oil boom went bust, Sabo started scouting another opportunity, one where he traded bitumen… for sodium bicarbonate.
“My formal training was geology but now I use things like magnesium sulphate or Epsom salt; it’s a rock,” explains Sabo, “We also use sodium bicarbonate—baking soda—and that’s also coming out of the ground. So a bunch of the minerals that we use are something that I’m familiar with, from my prior training.
What he’s doing now, however, is putting those compounds to different uses, overseeing the creation of natural bath products at Happy Hippo Bath Company, a company he owns with his wife, Anita Laninga.
“The company is 12 years old and we've been operating out of Sylvan Lake, Alberta from inception. The whole philosophy originally was just a small town—I call it a garage business because that’s basically how it started. It’s evolved to the point where we’re in twenty-three Co-op Stores and we have distribution right across Canada,” says Sabo.
This family-owned business is focused on crafting products that are handmade, natural and cruelty free. Happy Hippo makes a variety of bath bombs and bath products that are now available at Co-op stores across Calgary.
“We've got many different fragrances across our product line plus some seasonal ones too. Everybody's got a chance to kind of pick what suits them and it’s a nice affordable little luxury. People buy for themselves, or buy for their friends and family; it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg and it’s something very nice to do for them—or for you.”
Happy Hippo’s bath bombs are handmade and come in a wide variety of shapes and scents for both adults and kids including bubble gum, banana, berry, eucalyptus, plus scent blends like ‘anti-stress’ and ‘relaxation’.
Sabo likens the process of making the bath bombs to what goes on at a bakery.
“We take the raw ingredients—and it’s just like mixing the flour with the water, you throw in the egg—and whip it up with a big industrial mixer,” shares Sabo, “Then we put them on cookie sheets and then we dry them on a rack just like you cool cookies or donuts or anything else you bake. We make them fresh every day, again, just like a bakery.”
Bath bombs aren’t just a way to add colour, fragrance and fizz to your tub, they also have healthful properties too. Sabo says soaking in water with Epsom salts is good for you.
“They’re a naturally occurring mineral and when you soak in it, it relieves muscle strains, it relieves fatigue, it detoxifies; it pulls toxins out from the skin, and it just relaxes.”
You can find Happy Hippo Bath Bombs and Happy Dough play clay at Calgary-area Co-op stores in the health and beauty or pharmacy section,
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