The Soap Co.: Creating Opportunities For Local Disadvantaged People
As a social business ourselves, we've been very happy to see a rise in ethical brands over the years, thanks to an increased consciousness of consumers wanting to know where their products are coming from and how they are produced. One of our heroes has to be British social enterprise The Soap Co., who prove there doesn’t need to be a trade off between beautiful design, high-quality products and a social mission.
Launched in September 2015, The Soap Co. is a luxury soap brand creating products that are good and do good. They are part of CLARITY, the oldest surviving social enterprise in the UK, set up to employ, train and support people with disabilities in order to build skills, confidence and independence.
The Soap Co. create and manufacture a range of luxury soaps and lotions, using ingredients like black poppy, wild fig, white tea and citrus, and employing people who are blind or otherwise disadvantaged. Currently they employ more than 100 people across the country, and by reinvesting 100% of profits, they aim to generate an impressive 60 new job opportunities every year.
Proudly made in Britain, all products and packaging are created in the UK at The Soap Co.'s East London-based factory and at their cold-press process workshop in Keswick, Cumbria.
The Soap Co. workers
Alongside its social mission, The Soap Co. strives to reduce its impact on the environment, sourcing packaging that is made from recycled materials and can be recycled and composted itself. The bottles are made from 25% recycled milk bottles, with almost 50% less impact on the environment than regular PET bottles; they are also refillable.
We caught up with Project Manager Louisa Barnett, to ask her a few questions about The Soap Co. and how people are responding to ethical brands in general:
How critical has being a social business been to the success of The Soap Co?
It has definitely played a critical role. The Soap Co. is part of a long tradition of social business stretching back to 1854 when CLARITY Employment for Blind People, the social enterprise behind The Soap Co. brand, was set up. Our mission has been core to the organisation since then and it sets the tone of how the business is run today from recruitment, to sourcing and product development etc. But, we don’t just make products that do good; it is critical that we produce products that are good and that we perform on the delivery of these products to our customers. Like any successful business, The Soap Co. has to be run like a tight ship!
The Soap Co. Project Manager Louisa Barnett
Do you feel like there has been a shift in terms of how people are seeing and responding to ethical brands?
Absolutely - I’ve felt a positive shift on the part of both consumers and businesses, and wholeheartedly support it! People are taking an increasing interest in the where, how and why behind the brands that they buy. Not only that, but the where, how and why behind the brands that they give - ethical gifting is definitely on the rise. I’ve also felt a shift in how responsible businesses respond to ethical brands. More specifically, at The Soap Co., we’ve seen a move towards ‘practical sustainability’ on the part of some corporates who are recognising that they can add value into their supply chains by making small changes, such as switching their soap supplier.
What were the reasons for having simplistic and classic designs for the packaging?
Our rationale for the packaging, which was designed by the talented team at Paul Belford, was to emphasise The Soap Co.’s black and white ethics towards social and environmental impact. The braille graphic on our products represents our workforce who create, pack, sell, and distribute our products with care. We were delighted to have won the D&AD award in May of this year which recognised the philosophy behind the minimalist design.
We can't wait to stock up our bathroom cupboards with The Soap Co. goodies!
If you'd like to too, they are offering Aduna Feel Good Tribers a 15% discount off all their products, simply enter AdunalovesSoapCo15 at The Soap Co checkout.
You can find out more about their mission on The Soap Co. website.