Every day, customers ask what’s so different about the soap I make, compared to what you see in the a grocery store. There are lots of unique aspects to my hand made soap. Firstly, it’s made in micro batches – about 36 bars in each batch. The ingredients are all sourced from trusted suppliers dotted around the globe. I’m on first name terms with many of them: Akua is the proud grand daughter of a cocoa farmer, from the village of Effiduasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana. She is now the custodian of a social enterprise, supporting female co-ops, producing exquisite organic cocoa butter and shea butter which I am very proud to be able to use in my hand crafted soap and balms.
Martin, from Germany, supplies me with organic babassu oil. He spent many years in Brazil, near the Amazon, working with social enterprises which support Brazil’s Warrior Women, as they are known. As the result of the ‘Free Babassu Law’, women have more security to develop their business, and promote social change. I use babassu oil instead of coconut as I’m intolerant to it (a growing number of people seem to have the same issue).
Alain supplies me with my beautiful organic lavender oil, from the Provence region of France. Again, local flower farmers come together to get their organic lavender distilled into beautiful essential oil and lavender hydrosol. The oils are steam distilled at low temperatures, which helps maintain the integrity and benefits of the oil.
My organic olive oil is produced by the Neto family from Tras Os Montes in Northern Portugal. This was one of the first certified organic olive farms in Spain and Portugal. It’s one of the main ingredients, in my ultra nourish facial balm, and for infusing into calendula oil.
I love to get to know my suppliers, and that they genuinely want to make a difference in their own communities. As consumers we too can play our part by supporting businesses who want to help keep this ethos going, it’s a concept known as “conscious consumerism”. It might seem very small to buy a face balm or a bar of local hand made soap, but every little change in consumer habits makes a big difference to theses communities around the globe.
All the ingredients in my hand made soap are plant based. Again that’s a personal decision, as the daughter of a butcher, I’ve been a vegetarian for the past 45 years. I, also only use clays, and oxides to colour my soaps, and love the idea that I never know exactly how each batch will turn out- the joys of alchemy! With regard to scenting my soaps, I don’t use fragrance oils, and only use wild crafted or organic essential oils, where possible. Again, these are sourced from trusted sources around the world.
As you are getting ready to plan gift giving for the upcoming season, or maybe a special treat for yourself or a good friend, why not consider handmade soap from Kilkenny- thanks for reading.