Making The World Smell Better

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - April 26, 2006
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Howard Tang, Garrett Goo and Todd Taba
Howard Tang, Garrett Goo and Todd Taba

Pikake, vanilla, honeysuckle - these are just a few of the 100 scents that Chemistry has in store for you to create your own lotions, body washes, and shampoos. Choosing your favorite color is also a part of the mixing process.

Owner Garrett Goo proudly points out the store’s Wall of Fame, where customers’photos and the fragrance recipes they created are displayed. Product labels can be customized - one customer named his product Dim Sum Den Some.

“We also can mix up some of the products to suit men who don’t like the heavy scents of some of the other skincare products out there,” explains Goo, a Roosevelt grad who continues his day job of selling insurance.

At Chemistry, scenting parties for four to eight people have had an overwhelmingly positive reception, says Goo. Scenting parties are popular for celebrating birthdays, bridal showers and girls’ night out.

The Fresh Body Market line of premade products sold at the store - which Goo says are used by Hollywood celebrities including Tyra Banks and Jennifer Garner - are packaged like food. For example, a milk jug holds foaming milk bath in chocolate and strawberry scents. There are food containers that cradle sushi-shaped bar soap, and there’s a cucumber-shaped facial soap too.

The Royal Soap Company, whose line of products will arrive at Chemistry soon, has a body wash in the shape of a pint of ice cream, and another bath and body product in the shape of a Jello container. The shop also carries Archipelago products and a doggie spa line of all-natural products.

Goo shares one reason why he opened Chemistry.

“Whenever we went to the Mainland, our friends would give us their list of Bath and Body Works products to get for them,” Goo exclaims. “They’d pay us the money for them and then our suitcase would be loaded full of their stuff. I said to myself, I can’t be doing this (carrying stuff and not making any money).”

So Goo looked at possibly getting a franchise of Bath and Body Works or Lush. Those companies had no intentions of franchising, so he came up with a more unique idea and solicited the help of friends he had made over the years while working out at the gym. With three years of research, development and testing, the group used family and friends as a focus group for their ideas for custom bath and body products.

Gaye Santiago works as the store manager along with “bartender” Russell, who assists in serving up the products. The other partners all work day jobs in addition to helping out at the store on Sundays. Todd Taba, a chemist, serves as company president and analyzes new products. Insurance salesman Goo serves as vice president, and handles sales and merchandising. Howard Tang, a chiropractor, is also a vice president and helps with making Asian connections for containers.

The partners hope to introduce a hand cleansing gel, a bath and body line for tourists, and a fragrance of the month club in the future.

Chemistry is located at 1421 S. King St. near Keeaumoku. The store is open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 949-1688, or log onto

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