Let me ask you a question – would you go to any dentist in any town for your routine check-up? Are you happy to go to any hairdresser who has an appointment? The answer will be no! – we do business with those we like know and trust!
As customers we want to know if we can ‘like know and trust’ the companies we buy from so in this series we ask the person behind some of my favourite natural and organic companies to step out into the spotlight
It’s the turn of Emma Heathcote-James from Little Soap Company
Tell us about yourself and your company?
From hand-making soap on the Aga and selling in subzero temperatures at farmers markets, the business has grown with production runs now in the tens of thousands becoming the first organic bar soap to line the shelves of Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and Booths…
How did you get started?
My family grew up using soap my Granny collected on her travels over the years. It wasn’t anything we really discussed, it was just the family norm: pure, natural soap, free from any chemicals. When Granny died and her stash had dwindled, I found to my surprise that nothing like that existed. There were rows and rows of ‘beauty bars’, products that called themselves soap but were actually synthetic, chemical interpretations. There was no proper, natural soap product available amid my weekly shop.
In 2008 I went to a village fete and, in desperation picked up a bar of handmade soap. It was like nothing I’d ever used before. I taught myself how to make it and the rest, as they say, is history….
What were you doing in a previous life?
After Doctoral research and 4 best selling non-fiction books (two making the top 20 lists), I worked predominantly as a researcher in radio and TV.
Why natural / organic / sustainable?
I am passionate about reducing the amount of chemicals and synthetics people unwittingly rub into their skin and want to do for the cosmetics industry what Jamie Oliver has done for the food industry. I want to get the world back to basics, creating the purist, cleanest, organic soap I believe is possible and make it accessible to everyone.
What’s your USP? What sets you apart from your competitors?
We were the first organic bar soap to enter into the supermarkets. My mission statement is part of our branding and because it’s so important is on all our packaging: “My aim, quite simply, is to make pure, natural soap, accessible to everyone” and this continues to underpin everything we do.
What sets us apart? Because we are fortunate enough to supply so many branches of so many stores we are able to manufacture in bulk which drives the price down enabling us to be affordable on the shelves.
What kind of feedback have you received from clients?
We love emails from customers and have #praiseMonday posts going on our Twitter and Facebook feeds which says it all!
What’s the next big launch / project coming up for you?
We’ve just launched our new organic liquid hand wash, foaming body wash and bubble bath into Waitrose. Coming out for Christmas are additions to our Little Beast Pet Range: an Organic Liquid Pet Shampoo and an Organic Spritz for in-between washes.
We’re also increasing the offering of our Little Soap School courses which run from our North Cotswold workshop. For the past six years people have come from all over the country and indeed the world to learn how to make organic soap, creams, balms, natural perfumes and green cleaning products. It’s so easy to do once you know how and it’s always been part of my ambition to educate people about the benefits of natural skin products so the Little Soap Schools allow us to do this whilst also being a fun day out.
It’s also empowered many to set up their own soap and cosmetic businesses, which include one in the Isle of Man using Manx produce, a farmer using milk from her herd of grass fed cows, bee keepers making products with their own beeswax and honey, as well as buffalo and goat farmers utilising their milk. A lady in Tanzania has set up a co-op for the wives of their workers to earn money for their families, using excess avocado oil from their harvests. We have also taught a gentleman from Iceland who uses glacial water and volcanic ash in his soaps, which is now sold on the airlines….the possibilities are endless.
What’s your big dream?
My vision is to create a brand people associate with clean organic soap products, nationally and globally, at an affordable price.
Where can we find your products ?
The new Little Soap range (bar soap, liquid hand soap, foaming body wash and bubble bath) can be found exclusively in Waitrose and Waitrose.com. Our bar soaps can be found in Boots, Tesco, Booths and Sainsburys as well as many other outlets. The entire range including our original artisan handmade range can be found in our Little Soap Company online shop.