There’s much excitement in the air here at Little Soap HQ as the team prepares for tomorrow’s Rural Business Awards and Friday’s prestigious Business Woman of the Year Awards… I am so genuinely thrilled to be a finalist at both, standing alongside other great rural businesses on Thursday night and three truly inspirational women on Friday.
Women of the Year Awards awards are now in their 36th year, supporting and promoting positive female role models and encouraging women to showcase their talents in the business sphere, so it’s fantastic to be a part of it all. This will be my 5th year there and every time I leave on a high from the speakers, full of inspiration and energy. Of course, over the years too I’ve watched some phenomenally inspiring women take home that accolade and trophy. I’ve had friends in the finals, I’ve stood at the finalists table chatting to them in-between courses in awe so still have to pinch myself to believe I’ve got this far in the judging process and now will take a seat there too! Creating and running your own business is a lonely place – I always knew there was a need for what I was doing. I always knew we had a really good product but to have external nods that we’re on the right path, have a good model and healthy performance means the absolute world to me.
October 2018 marks Little Soap Company’s 10th Anniversary. Who would have thought as I took my first cheque from Lavender Ladies making hand made soap for their adjacent farmers market stall ten years ago, that a decade later I would be launching a new Grapefruit & Orange range to mark the milestone. On top, the new suite includes four exciting new products: an organic shower gel, organic hand and body lotion and the long awaited organic shampoo and conditioner. Also, never in my wildest dreams as I packed my car boot with soap, banners, display boxes and tablecloths would I have imagined I will be sat at the finalists tables tomorrow evening and Friday lunch. It’s like the best anniversary present ever!
However, I do feel a slight fraud as I’ve loved every minute of the journey – and oh what a rollercoaster journey it’s been! From the kitchen table to our gorgeous HQ which is nestled on my favourite road in my favourite village in the world – Broadway. Soap has taken me all over, it’s been the vehicle to give small businesses a voice. I’ve been privileged to represent women in the workplace at Westminster, voice the necessity of micro enterprise at the EU in Brussels, given keynotes on stages up and down the country, spoken on air and on Sky and BBC news about the impact of changes such as pensions, GDPR, and Brexit. But more so, it’s given YOU a choice on the shelves.
Little Soap Company was the first organic soap on the supermarket shelf – we need more ethical companies to come and sit beside us and finally I am thrilled to say that is starting to happen.
Plans for 2019 are exponential. Mind blowing. Things I dreamed of to take my mind off the damp cold and my frozen soup in the thermos under the trestle table as I stood on my little farmers market stalls are finally materialising. Now is the time. Right now people understand the need for plastic free packaging, they want eco-friendly products, biodegradable, free from, the provenance and ethical credentials of businesses are now being explored. Vegan, Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free, Organic, Natural are what the consumer now understands and wants and of course these are all things we have been doing and perfecting the last ten years….. Mark my words, bar soaps are making a massive come back!
Organic and natural soap shouldn’t be a luxury choice – I will be happy when it is considered the norm. There should be choice amongst brands like ours. We shouldnt be the only one on the shelves. That wave is gathering – just like the food industry, the cosmetic industry is catching up. We are reading the label, we are questioning ingredients… I think it’s utterly brilliant…. here’s to the next decade….
Pictured here with Emma are the other Business Women of the Year finalists taken on the final judging day last month.
Left to right – Emma, Joanne Marshall CEO of YPO, Fiona Allan CEO of Birmingham Hippodrome and Sally Preston Founder/MD of The Kids Food Company
The winner of the Rural Business Awards will be made tomorrow evening and the 2018 Business Woman of the Year awards will be announced on Friday afternoon and we’ll be sharing the news across social as soon as we can. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and take a look at the Q&A I did recently too….