The Handmade Soap Company was founded in 2009 by Donagh Quigley and Gemma McGowan.
It arose out of a need for change in the couples life as by 2009, Donagh’s thatching business, ‘Thatcherman’, like many other businesses, was feeling the ill effects of the economic downturn.
“The gaps in between jobs were growing and I found myself out of work for weeks at a time, so it was imperative that I found something new and exciting ”
So they decided to think and get creative!
While on a road trip in Australia in January 2009 they visited a market in the rainforest in the Atherton Highlands and discovered a vibrant cottage industry in the making and selling of delightful handmade soaps, something that at that time was rarely to be seen at home in Ireland. Donagh had always suffered with mild psoriasis and had never found any kind of soap or cleanser that suited his skin.....until that moment! Eureka! Surely there must be tons of people with the same problems at home in Ireland. And so the idea for ‘The Handmade Soap Co’ was born.
On returning from Australia, Donagh threw himself into learning all he could about soap. He soon realised that there was a lot more to it than he first thought!!!!
“You can determine how well a bar lathers, how big the bubbles are, and how firm the bar and the therapeutic effects of the soap by the different types and ratios of oils you use”
His mission became.......to make the perfect bar of soap (see pic of grapefruit soap) , a quest that would take him as far afield as the U.S to study the intricate workings of soap production and then to the U.K to train with soap guru Melinda Coss whose expertise has proved invaluable to The Handmade Soap Company.
“By December 2009, after enormous amounts of trial and error, we had a product we were very happy with (picture of grapefruit soap). Our first outing into sales was the Christmas Craft fair in the Naul, Co. Dublin. We were anxious and had no idea what to expect but we sold out by lunchtime”.
The next step was “Showcase 2010” where things really started to take off! With many large orders to fill there were endless nights filling (with a ladle) and labelling bubble bath, making and cutting soap, gluing soap wrappers and all from their kitchen at home. They realised it was time to move out of the house and into a designated workshop. Gemma was extremely thankful to have her house back!
“Through constant engagement with our customers we were able to enhance our range in 2010”
The Handmade Soap Company are quickly becoming industry leaders, winning numerous awards for their 100% natural range of skincare products.
“We believe in using only the finest natural ingredients, making new stuff the old fashioned way”