We at Heal’s believe that the sweet smell of success starts at home, so it’s no surprise that we have fallen for the beautiful scents of Soapsmith. A must-have for an elegant bathroom, we are delighted to feature the London based business as part of our Heal’s Modern Craft Market: Made in London and even more so to sit down with founder Samantha Jameson to discuss the art of crafting luxury soaps and scents.
Did you have aspirations to become a craftsperson from a young age?
Nope, I just wanted to do anything that made me happy and smile. Before Soapsmith, I did a completely unrelated degree in Liverpool studying Business Studies and went on to work in the corporate world organising events. I made soaps, bath and body products as a hobby and gave them out as gifts for family and friends. Thankfully they realised the love I put into them so they went down well and I ended up gaining a mini cult-like following. I later did a three month course in soap making, where I studied every soap related chemistry book I could get my eager hands on, learning my craft the old school way. It was then I realised I didn’t want to do something just for a pay cheque. I wanted to gain true enjoyment, which I have found through Soapsmith.
What is it about the medium of soap making that you love work in that you love?
Soap making is really an art. Getting the soap blend at the perfect pouring temperature and consistency is a real skill that’s akin to baking cakes! With soap making you are always learning new techniques. I started making soap 14 years ago but only made it a full time job four years ago, so it’s taken me quite a few years to master the technique. I am proud to say that I can now feel any bar of soap and know exactly the process it was made in.
At what point did you feel that the whole concept for Soapsmith was coming together?
The first piece I made that really made me happy was the Marble Arch Soap. It was created to resemble a piece of black marble, little specks and all, and it is pretty close in resemblance in my opinion. The second I must mention is the Body Butter Melt, it is made with such care to create a fluffy air like texture and always gets rave reviews!
What inspires you to create your handcrafted scents?
London is an inspiration as are holiday destinations such as Bergen in Norway, Poland and Italy. I admire people like Sharmadean Reid who is a massive supporter of women in business and is one of the very rare people that actually helps and cares. She is not a maker as such, more a designer and has an amazing company called WAH NAILS – she put nail art on the map. Anyway, her work ethic and kindness continues to inspire myself and the whole team at Soapsmith HQ.
“Soap making is really an art. Getting the soap blend
at the perfect pouring temperature and consistency
is a real skill that’s akin to baking cakes!”
Tell us about your studio where the magic happens.
Our studio is set in a former clock factory in North London. We have a large mezzanine level which allows us to get a birds eye view of part of the unit and there is a massive stainless steel table which allows up to ten people to work around it, each doing a specific task. As our products are made by hand we have various pieces of equipment around the unit including huge oils tanks, wrenches to lift the moulds, cutters for cutting the soaps and our moulds into which we pour the soap. We even have cement mixers for some of our products! We have another area just for curing the soaps, with racks and racks of hand cut pieces waiting to be packed into their little boxes. Lastly we have a packing section for all the stockists and online orders we get. Every day there are boxes of Soapsmith products ‘scent from London’ waiting to be collected by our couriers.
What is it about living and working in London that inspires you?
London is quite literally the world’s melting pot and it is filled with many sights and sounds from Cranes to Cathedrals. Every single day something happens that inspires us here, be it the scent of the moss on the pavement, which I nearly slip over on, or the daffodils as I walk across Lloyds Park.
I recommend for sure Wildcard Brewery at Ravenswood Industrial Estate in Walthamstow, Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace and Gods Own Junkyard, a neon wonder, again at Ravenswood Industrial Estate! Can you tell I love Walthamstow and Ravenswood Estate? The William Morris Bar on Forest road also does cracking jerk chicken meal.
“As our products are made by hand we have various pieces
of equipment around the unit…we even have cement
mixers for some of our products!”
Tell us a bit about the workshop you will be running as part of the Heal’s Modern Craft Market.
We will be holding a bath soak making workshop. Our bath soaks win awards due to the ingredients, methods of manufacture and scents we use and in this workshop we will discuss the benefits of Epsom salts, oatmeal powder and a few of the other ingredients we use. Each person at the workshop will get a chance to make their own bath soak, take home samples of our soaps and other new products not yet launched, so you will make a Soapsmith bath soak and leave with a whole lot more!
Finally, what does the future hold for Soapsmith?
We are working at the moment with a cool Coffee Roasting company called Perky Blenders, for whom we have produced the most amazing coffee scrub using their beans. We love working with likeminded companies so feel free to get in touch with our soaps and us!