We stumbled across Farm Soap Co on Instagram and we're so happy we did! We could tell by the artistic photography to the uniqueness of the soaps that we were on to something special!
Farm Soap Co is run by the warmest lady Silvana de Soissons (crushing on her name). We first chatted to Silvana back in May over the phone (still heavy in lockdown mode). She's the type of person you'd love to have as a friend - knowledgeable, a zest for natural beauty, and incredibly kind-hearted - a type of person you could chat to for hours.
We loved how most of the ingredients were grown on her own farm in stunning Dorset, and all made with finest natural products. The are so gentle on the skin and feel amazing to use, a must try!
We were lucky enough to take some of Silvana's time so we could get to know more about Farm Soap and hear her day to day. Please enjoy.
Can you give us a brief introduction into Farm Soap and how / when it all started?
At Farm Soap Co. we hand make small batch, natural, botanical skin and body care products. Our main product, as the name implies, is natural soap – no chemicals, just plant ingredients that cleanse and moisturise.
I have been working on Farm Soap Co. for about a year, but I only launched the business this April 2020 – during the pandemic! I really did not envisage that soap would be needed so badly!
Were you always involved in the beauty / soap making business or did your path start somewhere else initially?
I was involved in the retail industry for a number of years and bought a lot of skincare products and toiletries – always wondering why so many UK shops and hotels stock toiletry products from abroad, when we can so easily grow our own botanicals and make our own toiletries right here in the UK. So many beauty products and skin washing products are also loaded with chemicals, and the cocktail of the fragrances and products we use every day is toxic. We have seen a huge consumer shift to more natural products with sustainable supply chains and vegan provenance and that trend is something I have always been interested in.
Natural products with a sense of place – that’s much more sustainable and better for the planet!
We couldn't agree more!!!
What does your typical day look like?
I normally get up very early as I have an aged Fox Terrier who starts howling at the crack of dawn. I try to make products every day, or else I am packaging, taking parcels to the Post Office, buying in supplies, dealing with admin, sending emails, etc. I also grow herb and flower botanicals to make oil macerations – I sow, grow, harvest, dry and process.
I am very fortunate to live in rural Dorset, completely surrounded by farmland – there are so many lovely foraging walks to go on where I gather wild herbs, flowers and berries. At this time of year, in particular, I am so grateful to live in the countryside.
Because of my Italian heritage, food is an important part of my day. I love plants (obviously) and I love soups, salads and fruit – so at lunch time I might have a rice or pasta dish with vegetables, or a vegetable soup or mixed salad with cheese and bread. I also have a dangerously sweet tooth which is always hankering for a treat! Normally I will work until the late afternoon and then try to switch off by reading or sorting out the house. At weekends I love to visit the Bridport market, go to the seaside or visit a National Trust garden.
Do you have a soundtrack you listen to while working?
I love BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM.
Whats your favourite and least favourite thing about soap making?
Most favourite: the point where I add essential oils or Dorset Sea Salt. After many, many thousands of soaps, that moment is still exciting.
Least favourite: tons of washing up, cleaning, clearing and putting away!
The whole process looks beautifully romantic, how long does the whole process take?
It’s not romantic – trust me, it’s hard work that requires a lot of concentration! The whole process takes about an hour, and then the soaps need to cure naturally over 30 days. The process takes place over a number of days because the soaps need to be unmoulded.
Whats your favourite ingredient to work with? And is this grown on your farm?
My favourite ingredient and botanical to grow and work with is definitely Calendula – such a pretty flower, a bright, beautiful burst of sunshine orange. And the oils derived from it make the best skin oils.
Do you have anything new and exciting being released later this year and would like to share with us?
Our own face and body oil – all grown in Dorset, organic and natural.
Any learnings or sage advice on the back of the lockdown?
Despite all the challenges that the pandemic has forced upon us, it has given us all time to reflect, maybe enjoy the natural world a bit more, and also realise that we don’t need to consume and go shopping constantly – we can survive with less. I am a great believer in making more with less. The simpler your life the happier and healthier you will be.
"I am a great believer in making more with less. The simpler your life the happier and healthier you will be."
What’s something feel good you’ve recently read about or listened to?
I love the news stories about how, in the last few months, nature has reclaimed and rewilded places that were previously hostile, polluted, crowded or inaccessible. Also we have seen how communities have rallied together and support has been galvanised to protect more vulnerable people. There has been a huge surge in crafts, gardening, cooking and creativity during the lockdown – this is all encouraging news. Making something with your hands is infinitely rewarding and interesting.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would declutter, clean and organise the world – a place for everything and everything in its place. I believe that if a place – be it a home, a garden, a place of work, wherever - is orderly and clean it becomes much more livable, enjoyable and functional – clutter, dirt and chaos are my worst nightmares. I would also like to share my superpower and give it to a number of messy people I happen to know!
Favourite spot to hang out in the UK? Why?
The Jurassic coastline in Dorset – I just love the seaside, seaweed foraging, walking my dog on a beach, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. There is nothing more powerful for wellbeing.
Pic by the amazing @frolique_life
Three desert island essentials?
Natural soap. Good gelato. Big straw hat.
Coffee or tea or other?
Cappuccino. Flat white. Macchiato. Every day please!