This week, and just in time for Christmas, I would like to introduce you to Lytchett Bay Soaps. Lytchett Bay Soaps are a local business that I have been eager to interview for this series for some time as they are practically right down the road. Liz, the mastermind and soap wizard behind this business, was kind enough to let me interview her Via Zoom as we were in Lockdown at the time. Hopefully, when our restrictions lift I will be able to come and visit as she has said I can cut some soap bars, which if you haven't seen any videos looks incredibly satisfying.
Having no prior knowledge of the soap making process I felt I learnt a lot just from our initial conversation and have a better understanding of what goes into making the best natural soaps. Liz is passionate about making the best possible quality soaps that don't cost a fortune but most importantly don't cost the planet. We talk excitedly about the best scent combinations and the differences between shampoo bars and soap bars. I am quite a fan of essential oils so was delighted to hear what different combinations Liz likes to use. Her favourite essential oils are Roman Chamomile and Orange. She says that Roman Chamomile is a miracle oil and that Orange is a natural mood booster so she always has a good day when she is working with it.
I asked Liz how she got into working with soaps and essential oils and what inspired a change to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. She explained that she was having issues with her health after trying other methods she wanted to figure out what would help. She began cutting things out of her diet and changing what she was using in her home. Eventually, this leads to seeking more natural skin and hair care treatments as well. This isn't the first time I have heard of people choosing to cut out the harsh chemical from their life and seeking a more natural method that works for them. I have tried this for skincare and find it suits me better. We also discussed the benefits of using more natural products and how it limits waste. Many cosmetic products arrive in some much plastic and as they are often in small quantities they tend to be used fairly quickly and throw away. This is why having little to zero packaging, or reusable and recyclable is an important factor in what makes up the Lytchett Bay Soaps packaging. An example of this is her shower gel bottles made of aluminium, these are a great bottle to refill but also easily recyclable if thrown away. We chatted about how some people don't like to swap from liquid soap to a soap bar and that her natural shower gel is her household favourite. I know I will be looking out for her refillable bottles as liquid soap is popular in my household too.
I asked Liz what she recommends for people trying to live a more eco-friendly life and she said: "You really need to consume less, reduce the miles on the products you use, shop local and trust the local shops to supply you with the things you actually need". I think most people don't consider the miles it takes to get products onto supermarkets shelves even after the production impact. So shopping local isn't just beneficial for your local economy but also reduces your potentially unknown carbon footprint. I have a feeling that because many people are so used to buying mass-produced products that they no longer trust something to work the same if it is hand made or locally produced. The truth is these local/handmade businesses are just as good if not better than what you are used to. If Liz and Lytchett Bay Soaps is anything to go by, products made by the local business have far more thought and consideration to the quality of the product and how well it will work. Liz is incredibly knowledgeable about soaps and what ingredients work best for different skin/ hair types. I would trust Liz and her soap making skills over generalised store-bought soap every day of the week! Apparently, her honey soap bars are her best sellers so will defiantly have to try them and if you are looking for a trustworthy soap bar it might be worth you trying as well.
She also suggests looking at what you have and figure out what your bare necessities are. Reducing how much you consume is essential to living a sustainable lifestyle, but it also makes everyday living more cost-effective. But what her top recommended swaps? 1) Soap bars (but make sure to look at what they are packaged in), 2) Start reading labels to help you buy the most environmentally friendly options, 3)Try and reduce, reuse and recycle properly 4) Try to use something again and give it a second chance, 5) Buy less!
When it comes to Christmas all these points are even more important to take note of. But if you are looking for cute and eco-friendly Christmas gifts Lytchett Bay Soaps is a great place to start! Liz has made some lovely gift sets and Christmas scented soy candles which I think you really need to check out. Click here to view her lovely Christmas goodies.
All I can say is Liz is clearly passionate about the environment and about the quality of her soaps. She was delightful to chat to and has inspired me to support and look out for even more local creators. When you talk to a person like Liz, who is the entrepreneur and creative soul behind her entire business, you can't help but want to find out more. So this Christmas seek out people like Liz and see what they have made with you in mind!
Have you tried any locally produced products this year, let me know in the comments!