If you’ve got your earrings in you’ll be ok…

At the moment my business is all about the computer; solidly working my way through a data base of jounalists, bloggers and the like in order to get the name about, to get those all important product reviews for the WILD Body Butters and Soaps.

( and just to add here that this is starting to pay off – 4 great reviews last week! )

This means that it is frighteningly easy to find yourself attached to your laptop at 11.30 in the morning still in your dressing gown or even tapping away while your body remains toasty under the sheets. Its been very, very cold.

But it doesn’t take long to realise that this is NOT THE WAY TO GO.

The protestant guilt kicks in even if you have actually been working productively all that time.

There is just something about getting up taking a shower, putting on your make up and ….. as my friend Annie insists…. putting in your earrings, that just means business. Pat Butcher you were an inspiration to us all.

And now I have been joined at the work table by Iona and Sarah I think its only polite to look my best.

The WILD team is expanding – you read it here first ūüôā

Soap – don’t you just love it?

So the soap has arrived and I have to say I think it looks fab! Lovely and chunky and a beautiful texture, Melinda has done us proud.
¬†It’s such a shame that soap has become a bit old-fashioned – so many of my friends have said but I just don’t use soap any more. Shower gel is so much easier etc etc. I just don’t get it really. To me it always seems so wasteful and unsatisfying. You slop the gel out of the bottle and half of it goes down the plug hole even before you’ve had a chance to smear it over your skin and then it’s washed off before you managed to get any real lather going. It s just so damn slippery. I really love the feeling of rubbing the bar all over my body. However, I suppose millions can’t be completely wrong and I may well have to bow to the inevitable and produce a shower gel a little further along the line but for now its soap all the way!

My main championing of soap versus gel is the fact that in a gel,because it contains water, you also have to include a preservative and in a hard bar of soap you don’t.

Preservatives – another topic all together! They are a hugely contentious issue for a lot of people so next post I think I will take a look at some of the worries. I hate the hysterical tone of some producers of natural products but think it is something that we need at least to be aware of. Skin is after all our biggest organ and while we worry a lot about the preservatives in our food most people are totally unaware of how many we spread all over our bodies.

Problems, problems!

Have had a bit of time off and feel a bit better for it – I think! Anyway it was great to spend some time with an old school friend again. Holiday snap to illustrate – the Costa Brava’s answer to Thelma and Louise

The designs are taking much longer to get right than I anticipated and I’m starting to dream about African fabric. The colours are so much bolder than those we are used to in Europe. It’s also really hard to get the right balance for a cosmetic pot between that boldness that says Africa and the pretty and soft look that girls associate with skin products. We are almost there now I think/hope!

Before we left for Spain we had a manic day trying to get all the ingredients and the fragrance blends down to Hastings before the manager left for the weekend. We kept her waiting until after 6 but luckily she was very sweet about it.

We had had such trouble mixing the blends despite our very professional looking pipettes. We had been so excited when they arrived in the post. Unfortunately after several “sucking up” sessions the essential oils started making the plastic melt and they kept exploding! Shows how careful you have to be with those essential oils and why there are such strict guidelines with them.

Anyway we managed in the end and we can congratulate ourselves that this is at least one task ticked off the list.
The Hastings Trust will start making the soap mid August which gives the soap plenty of time to mature to become truly luxurious.

France and the formulations

The product of course has to smell fantastic and feel beautiful on the skin.  So we call in some help and contact a soap and beauty cream guru to help us get it right.

It can only help that she happens to live in France near Bergerac in a beautiful converted farmhouse. This is tough I’m telling you….

After a solid week of working on samples and fragrances we feel a bit more relaxed. It is starting to become real as we start using them on ourselves every day. Anyway the dogs seems to like us hope that’s a good sign.

So now we know pretty much what we want we now have to find someone to make the cream and the soap up for us. We had thought long and hard about setting up production in Kenya and had visited the workshop of ‘Made’ jewellery in Nairobi. The owner of the company,Cristina Cisilino, was brilliant and very encouraging. She showed us around and introduced us to all the artisans who live in the infamous Kibera district that is a short walk away. It is pretty inspirational experience and something we will definitely be working towards.

This is one of the reasons why we work with our particular consultant Melinda Coss as she has had practical experience of setting up soap production in Ghana and South Africa.

For now though we need to be able to make sure that production is as easy as possible or we might bankrupt ourselves before we even get started.

We decide to work with the Hastings Trust Charity to make the soap and for the creams we go to ‘Body and Face St Cyrus’ in Laurenckirk at the other end of the country! It may seem like a mad choice but the company is run by a delightful Scotsman who is highly experienced in making natural products across the cosmetic industry.

Home again and getting started

So how to start??

Once we have decided on the African oils that we need for our products we contact some of the people from our trip and get them to send over to us some big drums that we have to pick up from Heathrow cargo depot. We seem a bit out of place among the huge juggernauts picking up a couple of tons but I think the lorry drivers find us entertaining.

We take home our ‘cargo’ to store in the newly cleared out cellar and Kevin is¬†inexplicably¬†happy that it is getting some proper use. Men and cellars – its very strange.

So now its a matter of making sure we can source all the necessary specialist ingredients that will make our products as special as we want them to be. Its not an easy job and takes much more time in getting sorted than we were anticipating.

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