Baffled as to why you couldn’t pick up a bar or bottle of pure organic soap amid the weekly supermarket shop Emma wants to do for the cosmetics industry what Jamie Oliver has done for food; Emma wants to get the world back to basics, creating the purest organic soap she believes possible and making it accessible to everyone.
From hand-making soap on the Aga and selling in subzero temperatures at farmers markets, the business has grown from producing 350 handmade artisan bars a day to runs now in the tens of thousands for the Everyday range on the machines – producing the first organic soap bar to hit supermarket shelves. Launching on a small scale in Waitrose in 2010, then regionally in Tesco’s in 2012, nationally in Waitrose 2013 (best beauty launch and fastest selling bar soap) followed by Booths in the North. The range then rolled out into other major national supermarkets including Sainsburys and Boots the Chemist in 2014.
Emma Heathcote-James talks about her journey upscaling Little Soap Company from a tiny handmade, kitchen table business to lining the supermarket shelves….
It was at this stage Emma moved off the kitchen table and into the buildings in Broadway. With a small team now around her, Emma was able to concentrate on new product development and a year later, in November 2015, an exclusive and exciting range of Lavender & Rose Geranium lines were launched in Waitrose, bringing new organic bar soaps,, Liquid Handwash, Foaming Bodywash and Bubble Bath to the market.
Amid all this Little Soap School operates from the Little Workshop on weekdays and Emma and the team continue to make and sell the original artisan handmade range which both underpin the roots of the company.
Emma’s first after school and Saturday job was aged 14 at Lloyds Chemist as a pharmacists assistant but she far preferred polishing the make up counter and playing with the skincare products. She worked there until Uni where she naturally moved into ad hoc day work with some of the global cosmetic brands such as Guerlain, Rimmel and Calvin Klein as a ‘spray girl’ and doing make up demos in the likes of House of Fraser and Boots whilst studying at The University of Birmingham from 18-24 which certainly sowed even more seeds. A quick diversion ensued, with Doctoral research in Theology, 4 best selling non-fiction books (two making the top 20 lists), and working as a researcher in broadcast TV and radio. Fed up of the long commutes and nights away from her beloved Cotswold cottage, she craved working closer to home in the countryside. One New Year’s Eve she made the snap decision to only take contracts within an hour’s commute and by mid-January was at the helm of the newly created Gloucestershire Media Group, based back then at Cheltenham Film Studios, overseeing training for the creative industries in the area. Emma also consulted in the area of Knowledge Exchange/Public Engagement at the University of Gloucestershire, SWScreen and The South West Design Forum. Working hands on in the creative industries, Emma missed having the time to be creative herself and longed for a hobby…