Feature Photo: Kona Natural Soap Company
Greg Colden has been making creamy, fragrant bars of Kona Natural Soap Company soap since 2005, shortly after he and his life and business partner Marty Corrigan moved from Northern California to their farm on Hawaii Island. Greg was still working as an insurance broker when he first became interested in natural soaps, following a bad sunburn and reaction to a hotel soap on a trip to Hawaii in 2002. Once back home in Oakland, he began learning the art of making soap without sodium lauryl sulfate and other potentially skin-irritating ingredients. When he and Marty decided to leave the “rat race” behind, they bought a former quarry near Holualoa in the Kona coffee belt and transformed it into a biodynamic farm and soap factory.
Today Greg makes nearly 30 varieties of soap, starting with a base of California olive oil, sustainable coconut oil, sustainable palm kernel oil, Hawaiian kukui nut oil and Hawaiian rainwater, scented with essential oils such as lime, orange, spearmint, cinnamon, Hawaiian cacao and Kona coffee. Many of the ingredients come right from Greg and Marty’s Kokoleka Lani farm. They’re stamped with the company’s honu petroglyph logo, also emblazoned on locally made bamboo gift boxes and the inspiration for koa wood earrings, among other gift items. Greg has also rediscovered his love of pottery in recent years, crafting gorgeous ceramic mugs that are perfect for a cup of Kokoleka Lani’s 100 percent Kona coffee. Another sweet find: bars of Kokoleka Lani chocolate, which won an international bean-to-bar competition in 2019.