DIMGO Seifen
DIMGO's hand-crafted soaps and toiletries come in a wide variety of colours and scents Photo: DIMGO

DIMGO – a Colombian soap opera

Colombian Diana Gomez produces and sells gorgeous-smelling soaps at her DIMGO concept store in her adopted home of Cologne.

A scent of the south lingers on the air in Cologne’s Severinsviertel district. It’s coming from the DIMGO concept store, where owner Diana Gomez likes to throw the doors wide open when the weather’s mild so the aroma of essential oils can escape outside, tempting passers-by inside.

A workshop full of fragrance

When they enter, they’re greeted by a magnificent mix of citrus, eucalyptus and mountain lavender. With its well-stocked wooden shelves, this atelier for hand-made natural beauty products at Severin Straße 128 in Cologne has a bright and breezy feel. In the showroom, scores of natural soap bars in every possible matt pastel shade are on display, along with shampoo bars, body lotions, exfoliants, scented candles, room and fabric sprays, dried flowers and a multitude of designer and stationery items by fellow handmade labels.

The soaps are stirred, poured, cut and packaged in the workshop behind the store. The small hand emblem stamped manually onto each product stands for Diana Gomez, for a handmade product and for her heart-to-hand approach. And Diana’s heart really is in this. As a child, she scribbled “dimgo” (short for her name, Diana Maria Gomez) on everything she made. “Little did I know I’d be using that as the name for my own start-up label 20 years later”, says the 34-year-old Colombian, thinking back to how things started.

Diana Gomez loves what she does – and it shows! Photo: DIMGO

Diana’s appreciation of all things beautiful and her knowledge of how to make tinctures, natural toiletries and, in particular, soaps was passed down by her grandmother, Natalia. Diana used to watch as she blended exotic fruits, plants and herbs to make tinctures and soaps in her kitchen back in Colombia.

Compositions crafted from cocoa butter and coconut oil

In 2013, Diana set off for Europe, armed with the skills she’d learned, to start a new life in Cologne. With its quirky, creative nature, the city she made home matches her mentality perfectly. She studied architecture, later became an interior designer and then, five years later, switched to soap. Her “soap opera” started when she began making cleansing and care products for friends in the kitchen of her student flat. She went on to move into a co-working space and then, when her first contracts came in, to a basement studio. One year ago, she set up a place where she could pursue her passion in Cologne’s Severinsviertel district.

Creating scents is like composing music, says Diana. And her first soap composition, still her favourite now, was a lavender soap – with a fine fragrance, sure to have a relaxing effect. Her range also includes natural soaps containing charcoal, bergamot, ylang-ylang and rose oil. “I love experimenting with consistency, like an alchemist. Today, I use lots of high-quality vegetable oils and butters that work well together, like cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, castor oil and almond oil. They give the soap a balanced consistency that lathers well.” The soaps are dyed using natural clay, blossoms, seeds and other natural pigments.

Good for the environment

Sustainability is an issue that’s very close to Diana’s heart. She only uses natural ingredients in her “a-little-goes-a-long-way” skin-pampering toiletries. They’re vegan, free of microplastics, palm oil and petroleum products and come packaged in sustainable materials. The ingredients come from sustainable sources, regional and certified organic where possible. The suppliers are small companies, like the German wine-grower that provides her with grape seed oil as a waste product from their production process.

The young entrepreneur’s business idea has proved a success, with four women now employed at her atelier in the southern part of the city. And there’s a constant flow of new creations arriving on the shelves, exuding their scent out onto the street.

DIMGO Handmade Concept Store, Severinstraße 128, 50678 Cologne, tel. +49 (0)221 67815632, Weds-Fri from 12 noon to 6.30pm and Sat from 11am to 4pm

Fancy trying your hand at natural beauty? Diana runs workshops at her concept store where you can learn how to make natural toiletries like moisturisers, toners or decorative bath bombs.
3 hours, 4 to 8 participants, 95 euros

Like your outfits sustainable as well as your beauty products? Cologne has lots of sustainable fashion labels too.

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