Our history begins on the 3rd of March 1886, in a cosmopolitan city of Romania on 21-23 Traian St , when Lippa Braunstein obtains from the City Hall the right to open its factory (according to historian Tudose Tatu’s book „The laborious history of forgotten factories „).
At that time, William Procter and James Gamble had just achieved maximum reputation as suppliers of soap and candles for the North American Confederate Army in the civil war, and Wiliam Colgate innovated with his soaps by perfuming them with essential oils. Then In 1890 pharmacist Paul Carl Beiersdorf founded Nivea, and in 1898 B.J. Johnson Company founded the Palmolive Soap.
In 1891, Lippa Braunstein named its factory as Apollo, and in 1901 “CHEIA” brand name was registered. In 1908, with 60 employees, produced 120,000 kg of soap. „Romanian soap” was first mentioned.
In those days, in 1903 pharmacist Hans Schwarzkopf in Munich invented the shampoo powder and began working with Fritz Henkel. In the interwar period, “CHEIA” soap is essentially a bourgeois soap, specialised in functions and promoted under educational languages (according to the 1933 newspaper’s archive). Traditional manufacturing technology, during the Second World War, attracted the appreciation of German officers associating it with French soaps, superior to German soaps.
In 1948, the factory was nationalised. In Ceausescu’s time, in 1975, in the period of industrialisation of Romania, the factory was refurbished and became the main soap producer in Romania with more than 2,000 employees. Although the recipes are minimised and its specialisation is growing, “CHEIA” Soap becomes universal in the society of those times: being used in industry, in the army, in agriculture, in any Romanian family. “CHEIA” soap used to cover all functions – hand and body washing, hair washing, shaving, washing laundry or carpets. The jokes specific to those times like „Do you want to conquer the woman? You need to use Cheia Soap !” become sloppy slogans.
Since 2011, perhaps from nostalgia, we work persistently to rewrite a Romanian secular history in soap production by adapting it to present, with information, innovation and contemporary technology.
Nowadays, in the twenty-first century, Apollo Cheia SRL, based on the intertwining of the two secular forces, Apollo and Cheia, by combining the past with the present, respecting the definition of soap by dictionary or natural law of chemistry, through work of Man as in the days of Lippa Braunstein but without limitations to ingredients as in Ceausescu’s Time, wants to cover the existing gap of natural handmade soap on the Romanian market and also exporting in different international markets. Our soaps are natural and handmade manufactured here, in Transylvania – the place where People and Nature coexist peacefully!