I met Shashi and Socrates at VegFest some time ago and was drawn towards their products. I was intrigued by how different they were, whilst being natural, gentle and effective. In this article, you'll find out about the various products that Living Naturally makes using soapnuts, and what motivated the owners to create this brand that will result in lots of people benefiting from chemical free detergents and cosmetics.
What does Soapnut specialise in selling?
Living Naturally specialises in creating products for sensitive skin using organic wildcrafted soapnuts. The Soapnut Apothecary describes what we do well. We have developed a hypoallergenic laundry detergent range and now we have a bath, hair and skincare range all using organic herbs and organic soapnuts or our very own organic soapnut extract.
Where is Soapnut based?
We are based in London.
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away access your products too? If so, how?
We love working with local retailers as it really speaks to what we are about. Our range is also available online and via retailers and distributors worldwide.
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on vegan cosmetics and laundry detergent?
We started the business out of a real need to rid our family life of toxins and harmful chemicals in order to heal our children. When we first started out we weren't solely vegan, but as we evolved, organically it became obvious that this was the way forward. We realised that we were living a vegan lifestyle, so the next step was to make the business vegan too.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free ingredients for your products?
For some ingredients it's harder, but we are 100% committed to making sure that all the ingredients are vegan and cruelty free. It's a priority for us.
Do these ingredients effect the outcome in comparison with non-vegan shampoo, skincare and laundry products?
For many years, ingredients like beeswax, honey, palm oil and goats milk in skincare has garnered support, because of the superb skincare results that were possible. When we went vegan, we knew we would have to source high quality vegan ingredients that would have to bring about the same results, without increasing the price that the consumer pays. I feel that we have done that particularly well.
For someone who hasn't used your products before and is indecisive about what to buy; is there a particularly popular one you can name in each of the three categories?
Laundry - The Laundry Starter Pack is great at getting people to make the leap in understanding that a small fruit from India can be fantastic at washing clothes. It includes everything you need to get you going on your soapnut laundry journey.
Hair - Liquid Shampoo & Botanic Hair Oils have been hugely popular because it deals with very common problems like itchy scalp, dry hair, oily roots, dry ends and psoriasis.
Skincare - The Soapnut Salve - a healing salve made with organic soapnut extract and other organic herbal extracts, is amazing at dealing with problem skin. You can use it anywhere and it sells out as soon as we make it.
Is Soapnut owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sells non-vegan products?
No we are the business owners and all companies we deal with do not test on animals or have ingredients that are tested on animals.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched Soapnut?
Before we launched our business, Socrates was a Sales Director and I was a Communications Manager for a charity. Socrates has a passion for healthy living and nature, and whilst I share those passions, I am most happy when I am making and creating. Starting our Soapnut business from home happened organically. We wanted to reshuffle our work life balance to make sure we spent the maximum amount of time we could with the boys before they started school. This was especially important to us, because our eldest has special needs. We spent a lot of time, as a family, finding ways to help him communicate and live a happy life. It is very important to us to spend as much time as we can with our boys, and that is what helped spur the decision to have a business where we could balance it around our home life.
What is your vision for the future of Soapnut?
We are a very small company still. However, we can really respond quite quickly to what our customers would like to see from us. Without giving too much away, we have plans for much more skincare, including trial sizes, body lotion and body butters, and we will also be developing home cleaning range. It’s a very exciting time!