Metro Manila dermatologists swear by the efficacy of the carrot soap Jose Bayotas Jr. makes from Butuan City. His soaps are not available in supermarkets and drugstores, but indirect endorsements from skin experts and some enterprising viajeras were driving the soap’s retail price from P40 to P150 per bar. But Bayotas, whose Prudent Trading is counted among the major carrot soap producers in the country today, couldn’t be happier. The demand provides a steady market for the 1,000 bars his factory churns out every day.
Bayotas’s success, like those of other neophyte entrepreneurs, started with failure. He made and sold laundry soap for almost a year until the fierce price war from established brands forced him to look for another soap variety to make. In 1992, he experimented with herbal soap formulations, although he shied away from papaya and cucumber knowing that the market was already flooded with these. So he focused on making carrot soaps.
“Everyone knows that carrot is good for the body when it is eaten because it has a lot of Vitamin A. As I researched more, I discovered that not only is Vitamin A good for the eyes, but it’s also very good for the skin,” Bayotas says.
Because he didn’t want to come up with an all-purpose soap but one with a value-added attribute, he made guinea pigs of himself and his family to see if the carrot soap was effective in treating pimples. The testing took a long time and a lot of hits and misses. “Inisip ko kung ano ang magiging effect niya pag pinahid at pina-dry ko sa pimple ang sabon.” Initially he used carrot juice as the soap’s main ingredient. He would rub the bar against a pimple, and left it overnight to be rinsed off the next morning. “I applied the soap on pimples that were really inflamed,” Bayotas says.
It took five days for the pimple to heal, which did not satisfy him so he decided to use not only the juice but the pulp as well. This time the zit dried up in three to four days. Remembering his parents’ oft-repeated remark that the vegetables’ peel contains the most nutrients, he included it in the entire formulation. The outcome was more remarkable: The pimples healed in two to three days. Bayotas knew he hit the jackpot. “Not only is the soap very effective, but I minimize wastage because I use the whole carrot.”