After viewing Kerry's soap on Instagram and wanting to like each perfectly textured top multiple times, learning more about Kerry from Nature Saponified has only increased my like - now love - of Kerry's soap!
I'm not really sure when or why I had considered making soap but it had always been at the back of my mind. My husband and I had begun to rid our home of commercial synthetics – processed food, cleaning products, beauty products etc and while on maternity leave I bought several soap making books and it just went from there.
When did you discover you loved soap making?
Right from my very first batch of 100% lard soap, those 4 little bars had me hooked! I just thought it was so wonderful that you could mix up a gloopy concoction of oils/ butters and by morning it would be a completely useful bar of soap! I soon realized that the random recipe I had found in one of my many soap books wasn't great and so I set about finding as much additional information as I could. Thankfully I stumbled upon soapqueen.com which lead me on to lovinsoap.com and eventually the network of soap making groups on Facebook which all proved invaluable in my soap making journey. Soon I had immersed myself in learning all I could about fatty acid profiles, the art and science of scent creation, soap colourants, and luxury ingredients. Early on I decided to focus on using only safe natural additives in my soap making which I personally define as not synthetic or artificial (with the exclusion of sodium hydroxide - for obvious reasons!). So, I only use essential oils for scent and clays or plant colourants for colour – it just always felt like the right fit for me.
What are your favorite parts of soap making?
I have so many favourite parts! From watching the pH sensitive plant infusions doing their thing when I introduce the lye solution, to cutting up a hanger swirled batch, to tweaking and perfecting the way I swirl or texture a soap top – or reading about the newest technique, colourant or soapy trend, I adore it all!
What makes you happy to get out of bed regarding soap making?
The unique quality each batch has makes me happy to get out of bed. Before soapmaking became a business for me it was suggested to me that it might become boring doing the same soaps over and over but no
two batches will ever turn out exactly the same and I love that. Interacting with our wonderful soapmaking community via the Facebook groups I belong to or on my Instagram page makes me very happy – they are the kindest, most generous and supportive bunch of people you could ever wish to meet and I'm super grateful for them!!
What are you favorite oils, butters, micas and/or processes?
I am a true believer in simplicity and enjoy creating the best soap formulae from a few simple ingredients. The ingredients I choose to use come from ethical and sustainable sources as these are important principles to me and my business – I was delighted to source some organic shea butter from a women's co-op in Burkina Faso recently. I enjoy creating the multiple plant infusions I need for my soaps and never tire of watching the olive oil turn a different colour only to change again in the high pH environment of soap!
What were your hopes for creating your soap business? (To help you answer: What hopes came true, so far, for your soap business/process?)
Having left my nursing career behind to home educate our children my soap business was my opportunity for a personal challenge and as such it has continued to surprise me! Having decided to move to a wholesale model a couple of years ago Nature Saponified continues to gain new stockists around the country as well as starting an exciting new project in Germany and recently winning awards for our soap and lip balm in the Free From Skincare Awards 2017 and even having my textured soap tops admired and recognised by fellow soapmakers! It's a far cry from my initial vocation and I could never have dreamed this for my soapy venture but I’m glad and thankful for every minute of it!
What other interests do you have when not in your soap or bath products laboratory?
I enjoy water colour painting and cross stitch and I am also an avid reader of historical biographies of the Tudor era – when I am afforded the time! We are very lucky to live right beside the sea in a truly beautiful spot of North West Ireland and I enjoy walking the coast and nature journaling with my girls as we go.
Do you have concerns and/or hopes for the soap industry?
I truly hope that the general public continue to appreciate real soap for what it is and the benefits it holds for them and their skin. I believe that so long as those choosing to enter the industry aim to meet the individual regulations of their country and maintain good manufacturing practices then our industry can continue to see healthy growth.
What do you want people to know about your soaps/business?
I set out to create a rainbow of soaps using only natural colourants and complemented these with the perfect blends of essential oils. I individually package them in my ‘labour of love’ bespoke designed soap boxes that reflect the story and luxurious nature of each of my soaps.
What makes you laugh about making soap?
45 minutes of hand stirring my huge overly ambitious second-ever batch because the book strictly advised against the use of mechanical stirring always raises a smile!
Kerry of Natured Saponified can be found: