Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of enquiries we receive from people looking for public and products liability for making soaps, and selling them through craft fairs, markets and online. The UK is positively packed full of people producing these gorgeous handmade products. Everyone’s story is a little bit different, on how they got into the soap making craft, so we particularly liked Amy’s story when she first approached us for craft insurance for her soap making business.
Pure Goats Milk Soap made by Amy Thomas of The Raw Soap Company
Hi, my name’s Amy and I’m the founder of The Raw Soap Company. I started The Raw Soap Company last summer after completing my degree in Veterinary Bioscience, striving to pursue my sustainable interests. On our family small-holding we had an abundance of milk from our small herd of pedigree Anglo-Nubian goats, so I started to look into its alternative uses, as well as consuming it daily and making cheeses. We had heard about the benefits of goats milk soap so I thoroughly researched the area and before long I was making soaps using other locally sourced ingredients! Starting The Raw Soap Company was the perfect way to combine all of my passions. It’s fundamental to me that I know the provenance of all ingredients used, working with other local, small-scale producers to source natural and raw British ingredients – creating truly beautiful soaps with no nasty surprises!
A herd of pedigree Anglo-Nubian goats from Amy’s family’s small holding
I craft soaps part-time, whilst also working a few days a week as a Campaign Project Officer for Farms Not Factories, supporting real farms and not animal factories. I also provide research support for another organisation in a similar field researching sustainability issues. So I’m lucky, my different work focuses are inter-linked and are great passions of mine.
My average day at The Raw Soap Company begins at home in my cottage kitchen. When I wake up, I take the goats milk out of the freezer to thaw a little and then catch up with my e-mails and other admin. You must use frozen milk because when mixed with the lye (reagent in soap making) the reaction is exothermic, giving off lots of heat. I then weigh out my ingredients and begin to make my soap. Currently, I only make one kind of soap each day in a small batch. If there’s soap to be cut, then I also do this and put it on the curing rack. Usually at this point I can’t resist having a peek at the other soaps already on the rack to see how they’re doing, I like to turn them every so often too – it’s a bit like loving a good cheese! Sometimes, I’ll do a bit of soap wrapping in the evenings with my partner, where we put some music on and get quite a production line going!
This is a tough decision because I love all of our soaps… But they are all so different! I love the Pure Goats Milk Soap because for me its what its all about, a fuss free soap celebrating our beautiful raw goats milk with only local rapeseed oil and beeswax. It’s so simple but so luxurious too. I also really love our honey and oatmeal soap, which uses Rape Flower honey, produced only 2 miles away from our soap kitchen. I like to think that busy bees which produce the honey also visit the rapeseed fields where we source our oil from!
We’re currently hand crafting soap decks to go with our natural soaps. It’s really important that natural soaps are kept free-draining to prolong their life. When I was looking for soap dishes/decks to invest in, all of the wood they were made from was being imported and I had no idea what kind of life or story it had, let alone how far it was coming. So, I thought lets just do it ourselves! We’ve been carefully gathering fallen local wood and fortunately I have a crafty grandfather who is helping with producing them. I’m very excited to finish them this month.
You can find us on our website – www.therawsoapcompany, where we have a blog and you can also sign up to our newsletter (for interesting news only – we will only send something when we have something important to say!)
You can also find us on facebook, twitter and instagram.
As we ask all of our customers who are kind enough to share their work with us – If you could offer any words of wisdom to other people just starting out in the craft world, what would they be?
Do what you love doing because you have to work hard to make things happen
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