The company has sold 100,000 soaps since its release in 2006, a drop in the ocean compared to its flagship product, a liquid fish collagen drink, Tenshi no RaRa, which stands at 5.6 million.
The firm recently completed a clinical trial on the latter’s moisturising effect.
Yuji Nishina, general manager of the overseas business department at Eminet, said one reason for the lower sales volumes was because the soap was made using the time-consuming frame kneading method, aged for almost three months, and then individually polished.
The soap is made from soluble fish collagen, sekken soji (base soap material), water, sucrose, glycerine, maltitol, alcohol, sodium palmitoyl glutamate and etidronic acid.
The company is marketing the soap for dual purposes, both cleansing and moisturising.
It states the soap lathers to form a fine foam which will reach into the pores and clean it of sebum and old keratin. It also has a moisturising effect, attributed to its collagen material.
The soap also does not contain any petroleum-derived synthetic surfactant, with 40-50% of the product comprised of beauty ingredients - mostly collagen.
Nishina told CosmeticsDesign-Asia the frame kneading method used to make the soap was time and labour intensive, however it was necessary in creating quality soap, especially one that contained high-purity collagen for facial use.
“It cannot be mass-produced at one time, unlike usual machine kneading.”
The method involve pouring liquid-state soap into a mould or frame, before it is cooled and sliced. The soap is also left in a dark and cold room to age for about 75 days.
“By volatilising excess water and ethanol (alcohol) during this ageing period, we can be sure only the necessary quality ingredients are left to stabilise in the aged soap,” Nishina said.
After ageing, the soap is washed and polished, before moulding into the desired shape. The soap is rested for a day at room temperature, and hand-polished for a second round. It is then inspected and packaged. According to the company, about 10% of the products were rejected from each batch due to rigorous manufacturing standards.
The entire process takes about three months.
According to Nishina, the company chose Taiwan as its first international market for its high awareness of beauty.
“People in Taiwan are now paying attention to face wash which is the first step in skincare. In addition, premium facial soaps are also gaining popularity there.
“Another reason is that they are very pro-Japanese. Since there are almost no collagen-containing facial soap that excel in moisturising, we decided that we will launch there.”
The soap is manufactured in its factory located in Saitama prefecture, and exported to Taiwan.
The soap will be sold on the company’s Taiwan website at present, retailing for USD35 per piece or USD24 on a monthly subscription.
Nishina said it also planned to launch on an online mall and physical stores.
In Japan, the soap is only available through mail order.
According to Nishina, the company hopes to launch in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia in the near future.