Not all washed up: local teen’s success with Mr. Penguin Soap


Jihan Kapur

A photo of a Mr. Penguin Soap package. “I feel like [Mr. Penguin Soap] can become a household name and it can be recognizable in the near future,” Jihan Kapur said.

Tolu Oyesanya, Reporter

Mr. Penguin Soap began with a class at Emerson, Incubator EDU, where Emerson High School sophomore Jihan Kapur was given the opportunity to explore his passion for business and participate in an entrepreneurial experience.

Initially, the business was a team project, but as the product progressed, Kapur found himself standing alone as his team members decided to leave the group. Despite facing setbacks throughout his journey, Kapur persevered.

“I had a group of four,” Kapur said. “Then one person left. Then the other two left. So it was just me. It really was demotivating, but I feel like I use that demotivation as the overall reason for why I should be doing even better.”

After learning about children with germaphobia OCD, Kapur made it his goal to motivate other kids to stay clean in order to relieve anxiety surrounding germs.

“These children were washing their hands up to 150 times a day and it would really be [discouraging] for them because a lot of people around them would address them like some kind of freak,” Kapur said. “The whole point of Mr. Penguin Soap is to provide these children with a friendly way to clean themselves and stay hygienic rather than being labeled as a freak. I really wanted to create a friendly experience with these kids because I know how hard it can be to go through things that make you stand out and make you look different.”

Mr. Penguin Soap has a slogan — the “SOAP standard,” the acronym standing for safe, original, academic and power-up.

“How I choose these words is actually pretty funny,” Kapur said. “[Letters] S, O and A were really easy because they’re all related to my product. But P actually inspired me to create the whole power up section, kind of like Pokemon, where you can power up your animals.”

Though there were obstacles along the way, Kapur’s love for business was a driving force behind his motivation to bring his ideas to life. He would spend his free time thinking of ways to further his business.

“I love creating ideas and turning them into reality,” Kapur said. “Once you plant a seed, it keeps growing if you give it the right nutrition and overall sunlight. Same thing with my thoughts. Once I have a base thought, I’m able to pretty much build upon that as much as I can.”

One of Kapur’s goals is to make his business unique and distinguishable from other soap brands.

“It’s unique [because] it has its own message and it appeals to children,” Kapur said. “I feel like it can become a household name and it can be recognizable in the near future.”

Mr. Penguin Soap is expanding its product line with a new business idea: “Mr. Penguin goes around the world.” The plan involves Mr. Penguin visiting places around the world, starting with the Arctic, while meeting other animals and introducing new scents.

“As of now, we’re actually starting to make the African edition of the soap, which includes a lot of animals like Leon the Lion Warrior and Carl the Cheetah Express,” Kapur said. “As Mr. Penguin makes his way around the world, I want to create a scent that pertains to the places he goes. Maybe eucalyptus for Africa.”

Appealing to his customers is one of Kapur’s focuses, and he has received feedback on the scent of the soap, which is currently peach-mango.

“We’re also switching our overall fragrance to essential oils because a lot of people don’t like fragrances as they believe it is a bit toxic to their skin. We want to make sure that everyone can use the soap. That’s our goal for now.”

Starting a business comes with its fair share of mishaps, and for Kapur, this was no exception.

“When I was first starting out, when we were heating up our soap base to make it into soap, our soap base was too hot and it exploded,” Kapur said. “It took us about an hour to two hours just to clean up the whole kitchen again. And that’s probably one of the funniest now, but pretty frustrating at first, experiences. But everything is a learning curve.”

In the beginning of the business process, soap making didn’t seem like a hard task to Kapur. But he’s since learned and come a long way.

“It used to take around an hour to make four soaps, now it takes me like five minutes,” Kapur said. “So I’ve definitely gotten better.”

Those interested in Mr. Penguin Soap can buy a 2-pack on Etsy for $12.99.

Kapur’s biggest aspiration of the Mr. Penguin Soap is to inspire the next generation of kids.

“You know, I don’t want to sound cliche, but if we can help our next generation, we can help ourselves,” Kapur said. “These next generations of kids are pretty much the future. And I want them to be feeling confident and happy in their own skin.”

Visit Mr. Penguin Soap’s Instagram.