How community support helped local soap company succeed in lockdown

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The Oxford Soap Company is a local, family run business that designs and creates handmade soaps and cosmetics in Oxford’s iconic The Covered Market. Best known for their popular zero waste items – soap bars and shampoo bars the shops now also sells a range of reduced plastic packaged options on cosmetics such as shaving soap, moisturising lotion, hand cream, face cream, bath salts and body butters.

Emily Tomkys Valteri from The Oxford Soap Company said: “All our products are made locally in Oxfordshire by our founder, Ervin, who is committed to producing natural and environmental recipes. Our shop, in The Covered Market, Oxford, includes an open workshop within the store which allows you to see the mixing, bonding and drying of products as you browse the shelves. For those after an even more personalised experience, private workshops are available where you can create your own products using your chosen ingredients for the ultimate bespoke creation.”
In the current climate, soap is very much on trend but good soap can be hard to find. The company’s specialised moisturising recipe, which has been specially created for hard water areas like Oxford, is designed to nourish your hands, keeping them soft even when washing them far more frequently.

It is rare you get to meet the maker but Ervin is in store most days and able to talk with customers about his recipes, ingredients and how each product is made. Not only this, Ervin is often making products on site and can be seen making shampoo bars, hand creams, bath salts and more as well as cutting soap live for customers to watch and even pick their freshly made purchase. For those looking to reduce their environmental footprint – it doesn’t get more fresh and local than this. Private workshops are also available for customers to make their own bespoke products to take home, pre-booking is required.

Emily added: “In terms of lockdown, obviously we shut the shop for the three months but our website stayed up and running. We introduced free delivery for central Oxford and some other parts of Oxfordshire which we delivered in person twice a week. We ensured to post on social media multiple times a week to keep customers updated on what we were doing and to make people aware that the business was still running online. This was more successful than expected and it really showed how the local community came together to support small local businesses like ourselves. Ervin also had more time to be making products and getting stock levels up as well as being creative and exploring new recipes and products to bring out in the future. We like to know where our purchases have come from too and how they were made which is why we love supporting local indie businesses and being part of The Covered Market community.”
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