I own a small business called Magpie Hill Soap which begun in 2015, I produce traditionally made soaps using the cold-process method. I also own another seperate small business called Balbo Beard Co which produces Beard Oils (so far). I sell my soap and beard oil creations at my local Farmers Market, Wholesale, Bed & Breakfasts, Etsy, and Social Media platforms such as Facebook (Balbo Beard Co), Facebook (Magpie Hill Soap)(Photo- A range of Guest Soaps heading to my local Bed and Breakfast)
I began making soap for friends and family when I was on maternity leave with my now 3 year old son. I wanted to be available for my children when I was needed. Juggling childcare and employed work just didn't allow that to happen, so I sadly had to hand in my notice. This is when I decided to develop my soaps, became self-employed and took the plunge to launch Magpie Hill Soap, run from our family kitchen! At the beginning on 2017 I developed a range of Beard Oils using natural ingredients and launched Balbo Beard Co. I wanted to keep the 2 businesses seperate as I was targeting two different audiences.
The soap I make involves melting, heating, mixing, and curing different oils and ingredients. I can only make soap when the children are in childcare or asleep, as I completly take over the kitchen, including storing my soap making ingredients, moulds, pans, oils, packaging in kitchen cupboards and any other hidyhole I find. My soaps have to cure for a minimum of 4 weeks until they are ready to use, at the moment the soaps are in metal curing trays hanging from the kitchen ceiling! (You really have to see it to believe!). One perk of making the soaps in the kitchen is that the house smells amazing! The Beard Oils go through a quicker process, but involves using more oils (and therefore more space needed!)
Since my little businesses took off over the last year or so, the demand for me to make and cure more soaps and oils has increased, and therefore more room is needed. At the moment I can only make a certain amount, as I need to wait for the previously made soaps to finish curing to make room for the freshly made soaps to start their curing process. Storing my finished soaps and oils is becoming quite funny, they are sharing space with family photos on the dresser, the shoe rack shelves have become a great soap store, my sons bedroom holds all my flat pack cardboard boxes and market displays, and 5 of the kitchen cupboards store oils, bottles, and ingredients. My poor husband has also had to give up a quarter of his man shed to store containers and solid oils!
(Photo above- my selection of Beard Oils)
If you are able to help out, I will use Crowdfunder to purchase (or help towards purchasing) a garden workshop and move out of the kitchen (which will be bring relief to my long suffering husband!). I will be able to have shelving, soap and oil making space, packaging space, labelling space, curing racks, cupboards, and have everything soap and oil related in one place! The workshop will be secure when not in use and will therefore be child friendly.
My workshop will need to be heavy duty and insulated to deal with the weather we get get from being 1,700ft above sea level, on the Shropshire Hills! It will also need to be wired in by an approved electrican to keep Trading Standards happy.
(Photo above- Curing soaps hanging from the kitchen ceiling!)
(Photo above- A range of soaps which have finished curing and ready to be labelled)
(Photo above- Soap ingredients ready for making a small soap batch)
(Photo above- Ingredients and containers ready for making Beard Oils)
To be legal to sell my creations, I needed to follow strict EU cosmetic regulations which involves sending my soap and beard oil recipes and information off to a cosmetic chemist for safety assessments (see HERE for more details), this in itself carries a large fee! Then after completing a mammoth amount of paperwork and digital formfilling (to follow the cosmetic legislations), I am free to sell!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you can help to achieve my next business goal!
Many thanks and warm regards,