Never like this month, we feel absolutely vital to share our new "Maker of the Month" blog series.
This is a truly strange time we are living in, and now more than ever, it is so important to support small, local businesses that are going to be affected by these very strange circumstances.
So this month we had a chat with one of our fantastic, sustainable businesses we source our eco-friendly products from, The Clovelly Soap Company, and specifically with her founder Sarah.
It is an absolute pleasure to work closely with this great company, they make amazing handmade vegan soaps and their soaps on a rope are one of our best sellers on EarthBits.com.
Sarah @The Clovelly Soap Co.
- Hello Sarah, how are you? Tell us a bit about yourself and your team!
- I am a Mum of two girls, 2 dogs, a Cat and lots of Chickens and Ducks. I have always been passionate about natural health and handmade herbal cosmetics. My husband Casie has been my champion support since day one and now runs the company with me. We started the company in 2011 when we moved to Clovelly and wanted to live a sustainable lifestyle and work from home. For years it was the two of us and now the company employs 14 people from our fulltime managers to our teenage part-time soap wrappers. They are all local eco fanatics with so many amazing skills that they bring to the company a passion for the environment and good food at lunchtime!
- How did “The Clovelly Soap Company” get started and when?
- We started in 2011 when we moved to Devon and took on The Clovelly name, before that it was Sarah Harper Handmade and I had a few London stockists and did craft fairs. I fell in love with the village and our amazing studio and the potential of lots of lovely visitors appreciating our handmade creations. I developed sensitivity to detergents and shampoos and cleaning products in my 20’s and decided to learn how to make my own natural skincare free from chemicals and detergents that irritated my skin (we stock soaps for sensitive skin here). I started the soap company so that I could share my passion.
- What’s the most challenging thing about running a sustainable business in your opinion?
- Trying to be zero waste is hard work when you have so many suppliers that use lots and lots of plastic and packaging, we recycle as much as possible and our packaging has evolved over the years to be a eco friendly as possible. My shop manager runs the social media for 2 Minute Beach Clean and so many of my team are really hot on the sustainable side so they help up find solutions to deal with waste and package everything as sustainably as possible. I am also passionate about sustainable ingredients and it is hard sometimes to find good suppliers that share my passion.
- What is the most rewarding moment in The Clovelly Soap Company history?
- For me it was a small thing compared to so many bigger achievements, we have a small department store locally which I have been shopping in since I was a child and when we became a stockiest for them I felt really proud of our achievement. Our recent moment was the success of our deodorants that I developed for my pre-teen daughter and has been such a success.
- How much have sustainability values influenced the company’s ethos?
- It influences every aspect of the company on a daily basis as our team are so passionate about it and they are constantly looking for ways to reduce, reuse and repurpose everything that comes through the company and everything we produce. Even the smallest off cuts of soap are now cut into tiny single use soaps so we have no waste.
- Describe “The Clovelly Soap Company” in 3 words (if you can!)
- Beautiful, Natural, Ethical
- What are the ingredients you simply cannot do without and why?
- Lavender Oil, Calendula infused oil, Bicarb & Cider Vinegar. Lavender is amazingly healing and can be used neat on the skin so we use it for burns, wounds etc either alone or in our infused calendula oil. I make my own calendula infused meadowfoam seed oil which I use for a facial oil, moisturizer, for bites and skin irritation. Bicarb is a great deodorizer and can be used in skincare, healthcare and cleaning. Cider vinegar we use for cleaning, healthcare and as a conditioning rinse after our shampoo bars.
- Can you tell us what sustainability practices are at the heart of The Clovelly Soap Company?
- Recycle, Re-Use and Zero waste. From our Products to our packaging and waste we have minimal going to Landfill and many items of our waste we give to other companies that can make use of it and vice versa. Our packaging is designed to have as little impact on the environment so that our products are guilt-free.
- How do you come up with inspirations for new products?
- I love spending time creating new scent blends and using new ingredients for ourselves or for other companies. I enjoy the creative process and I also get inspiration from herbs that grow around us that have amazing skin properties that we largely ignore. My children are also a big inspiration as I want them to be able to use handmade natural products for everything. My pre-teen daughter wanted a deodorant that smelled amazing and worked but had no nasty chemicals and minimal waste, so I developed our natural deodorant for her and it has been such a success story. She is asking for natural makeup now so watch this space lol.
- What are the most popular products you make?
- Honey & Oat Soap, Shampoo bars and Natural Deodorants
- What’s new in 2020 for The Clovelly Soap Company?
- In terms of products Herbal Vinegar Rinses to go with our shampoo bars, Tattoo Balm, Lip Balm and some lovely new soap blends. We are excited to be moving to new premises in a beautiful old Victorian School house in Clovelly overlooking the sea!
- What is the must have product for 2020?
- Our Natural Deodorant.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Sarah, it’s been a pleasure!
Check out our range of wonderful soaps on a rope from The Clovelly Soap Co. here!
Also learn: Why do handmade soaps cost more?