Friday, 3 July 2015

Feature Friday: Washed Out Soap Co.

Earlier this year I started stocking beautiful artisan cold process soap from the wonderful Washed Out Soap Co., which is both luxuriously nourishing and vegan friendly. All Washed Out Soap Co. products are handmade by the very talented Chris for everyday use using high quality natural ingredients and traditional processes. 

Every item is created from scratch by hand in small batches, meaning every item is created, prepared and packaged with the utmost care and attention. As well as being vegan friendly and cruelty free, they only use plant-based oils, and don't use palm oil in any of their products, making them even more environmentally friendly.

I'm also very excited to announce as well as The Classic, a very nourishing, gentle soap, and The Barista, made with a concentrated espresso base and packed with brewed Arabica coffee grounds, I now stock Salt of the Earth, perfect for sensitive skin, and a 3 Soap Sampler Mini Pack with a small tester of each soap included to help you decide which soap to try - although personally I recommend them all! 

I caught up with Chris to ask him a few questions about Washed Out Soap Co., how it started and what the future holds.

What inspired you to start up Washed Out Soap Co.?
At some point early last year, finding myself out of work and bored of jumping from job to job, I started looking at my existing skills, as well as some stuff I had been interested in or looking into for a while, and came upon soap-making; I had tried a few more basic soaping techniques and methods in the past, and went from there. I started working with the cold-process method (generally accepted to be the best method for producing the highest quality soap), and went from there. My focus is on providing a range of natural products to enrich and improve the users daily life.

What's been your favourite moment since starting the company, and what's been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome?  

The company is coming up to the 6 month mark right now, and I have a handful of moments i'll remember from this phase - the collaborative projects i've worked/am working on, the Great Cynics soap I made to team up with the bands new record... I've worked a handful of really great events, North East Vegan Festival being the biggest at this point. I think the thing that makes me happiest is the amount of great makers and brands i've happened across and connected with off the back of the business.

What does your average day consist of?  

Every evening, I compile my to-do list for the following day. I'll wake up, exercise a little, make some coffee, then fire into it. I will usually start with an hour or so of admin/emails/research and development and/or planning for new items. I might pack some mailorder, in which case i'll take that to the post office. I tend to start practical work (actual production of soaps/butters/etc) around or before lunchtime. A light day might finish around 6/6.30pm, and a long day will take me to around 8.30/9pm. I generally need to fit in a supply run ever other day too - no matter how much stuff I pick up in one go, I always seem to need something else!

Where does your inspiration for new products and scent combinations come from?

 My inspiration for products as well as scents, comes mostly from traditional apothecary supplies and ingredients, coffee, herbology, and nature. I personally really like earthy, woodsy fragrances; mints, pine, rosemary, etc.

What's your favourite item so far?

My favourite item right now has to be the Barista Blended Butter - though our next soap is pretty amazing too! I can't really talk too much on that right now though, secret projects and such!

What advice would you give to a creative start up?

My advice is basically really simple - if you have an idea and you think it can be a viable business, pursue it. It'd be so easy for you to not follow it through, but honestly, it's not the toughest thing in the world to try it out and see where it could go... I suggest talking with independent business advisors, individuals who have gone a similar route to the one you are considering, and talk it through with friends too. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a supportive group of creative people around me who feedback to me constantly, and it really helps. My main point is, do it. I tell everybody to do it! Make your own universe!

What do you have planned for the future? 

I have so many plans for the future! I am always working on new soaps, but also always working on new lines in general. While I can't mention everything that is on the cards at the moment, I CAN mention I am hoping to have our next three or four soaps out this year, as well as hydrosol linen/room/body sprays and tattoo healing balms. Needless to say, I have a busy few months on the horizon!

Shop the full collection of Washed Out Soap Co. available from Little Miss Delicious here, and keep an eye out for new products being added in the future! 

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