Sparrow Soap is an artisan soap making company from Perth, Western Australia – created out of the need to find a natural solution to combat itchy skin after a bath or shower.
Erin has long had a passion for creating “old fashioned” soap (as she would call it). It all began when her partner used to have dry and itchy skin after a shower or bath and Erin set out to find a solution, not only to treat the issue, but importantly, prevent the cause. Quality, natural cold pressed soap was the answer and through many trials and errors, Erin perfect her recipe. Her company, Sparrow Soap, now offers a range of luxury, artisan soaps, body and foot scrubs to enjoy absolutely guilt free!
Erin, tell us more about you and your brand Sparrow Soap.
I started making soap nearly 12 years ago now out of need. We needed an alternative to the drying, itchy skin feeling that commercial brands offered. I spent nearly a year researching natural cold process soap making before I tried it for myself, and after perfecting my recipe, I made a natural, plain and simple fragrance free soap for home use. Finally my husband was properly clean! I occasionally gifted the soap to friends and I also used it in my washing goo for the clothes.
It was a slow start for Sparrow Soap, about 2 years ago, that I had a shocker of a year and got made redundant 3 times! (ask anyone working in resources during that time!) One of my friends suggested I sell my soaps. I thought that no one would like my soaps, however I started and was so excited when I made my first sale and the rest is history!
In our September Box you will be lucky enough to sample one of Erin’s handmade Lemongrass soaps, beautifully presented with her recognisable branding.
What do you use to fragrance your soaps and are the fragrances you use harmful?
The Lemongrass soap is fragranced with Lemongrass essential oil. You may be surprised to know that the colour is completely natural – the Lemongrass essential oil is naturally very dark yellow and this comes out beautifully in the soap.
After much research, I have discovered that not all oils are the same. All essential oils must be handled with the utmost care and should never be applied directly to the skin or ingested. Contrary to popular belief, just because it is an essential oil, it does not mean that it is safe. We all know that mushrooms are good for us, however there are some that are extremely poisonous! That is why we should only use essential oils carefully and in controlled situations.
I love essential oils and I use many in my soaps like peppermint, lavender, star anise, rosemary, lemongrass, cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus and sweet orange just to name a few!
I also use selected fragrance oils in some soaps. I purchase from a trusted supplier and follow stringent guidelines that are tried and proven. Any fragrance oil I use is Phthalate Free. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl and have been used in fragrance oils. But not mine. I think it is very important to become informed correctly on what is out there and not to trust a fancy marketing ploy. Any fragrances I use are purchased from an FDA approved supplier and both my Essential and Fragrance oils are specifically formulated for use in Cold Process soap. For the record, there is absolutely no such thing as therapeutic grade essential oil – that is a made up term used by some companies to make it sound good. I encourage everyone to do their own objective research to find what works for them.
As with all my soaps, I only use and make soaps that I would be happy to use myself and use on my own family. And please do not use any peppermint essential oil if you are pregnant or breast feeding!
Why should we make the swap from the typical supermarket soaps to Sparrow Soap’s soap?
My motto has always been “do what works for you”. For me personally, when I look at that list of ingredients on supermarket body washes I cringe. SLS – Sodium Laureth Sulphate – it’s a chemical that is a known skin irritant. Why is it in soap?
Have you noticed how many are called body washes? That is because they cannot use the word “soap”. I have so many people come to me and say “I cant use soap” but what is “soap free”? Again, this is a huge marketing ploy to poo poo the word soap and to create fear over what is actually one of the best things you can use to cleanse your skin.
The word “soap” comes from Saponification. Saponification means “to saponify oils”. Body washes are not saponified oils. They are a list of degreasers, animal by-products (sodium tallowate is a common ingredient used in a famous beauty bar, and comes from cattle) and a bunch of other chemicals better suited to a laboratory. All of this is to produce body washes for the masses on an enourmous scale for the cheapest cost. You can imagine how expensive it would be for manufacturers to produce proper, old fashioned cold process soap out of olive and coconut oil! If I can add, the olive oil I use is from a local olive oil producer in Gingin.
If that isn’t enough to convince anyone, then do the try it out test. Try it and if you jump out of your shower without that dry, itchy, tight skin; and without having to slather yourself in moisturisers to combat the dryness caused by commercial body wash, you might be on a winner. If nothing else, the fact that you can pronounce all the ingredients in my soaps may help or perhaps reducing the plastic waste caused by commercial soap products in packaging etc.
Olive oil, coconut oil and a bit of lemongrass? What’s not to love?
What other products can we find in your range?
I also make bath salts, body and foot scrubs, shaving soap and beard soap! I am also currently working on a shampoo bar and a facial bar that I hope to have out by the end of the year. I am so very particular about it that it want it to be perfect for then though!!
I can make liquid soap, however right now I am trying to source appropriate vessels to carry it. Shall I make it a BYO container?
Where can we purchase your products, and do you have any upcoming markets?
You can visit my website www.sparrowsoapshop.com for delivery Australia wide or local pickup. Or the following stores:
King St Collective Perth
The Daily Blossom (order your booms and soaps online!)
Mataya Eatery Mandurah
Eat Café Duncraig
2 Green Fingers Willetton
In Retrospect Victoria Park
Just to name a few! All the details are on the website and the list is ever growing!
I will be attending Perth Makers Market on Sunday 24th September and the Margaret River Gourmet Retreat (Main event grounds) on 18-19th November. I have other markets in the pipeline that are not confirmed yet, so you can follow my events on Facebook or subscribe to my website for special updates.
What do you love most about having your own business?
I love to keep it real. I love the way I can make a tangible product and see how it helps people and brings them joy. Being able to see the direct results of my efforts, and to steer my business in the way I want it to go is so rewarding. It is also a little scary as what you see is what you get – its me on display for all the world to see and being able to combine my creativity with the science of soap making is a very special opportunity that I do not take for granted.
Describe your ideal relaxing ritual.
Home alone with a good wine, a good movie or a soak in the bath. Works every time!I want to try a sample of sparrow soap