A natural success: Willow and Plum Soap Co

Some of the most successful business ideas come from simply trying to solve problems you encounter in your own life. Willow & Plum Soap Co's start-up story describes just that.

Lesley Reid’s career as cabin crew on long haul flights had taken a toll on her skin. Dissatisfied with the products on the market which claimed to be ‘natural’, but weren’t, she decided to dive straight in and learn to make her own. She tells us, “I vowed to improve my diet and general health and skincare was part of that!”

Willow & Plum Soap Co was born, with the help of both Business Gateway Fife and Create in Fife, specialising in natural, cold process soap.  “I applied for Create in Fife funding, which covered start up costs. Business Gateway have been incredible, helping with everything from taking on staff to finding an accountant.”

“We are dedicated to being a little green company,” Lesley tells us. “We never use Palm oil, all of our packaging is paper and we have no waste. Our ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, like sea kelp picked from the beach and eucalyptus from a tree in a village nearby. We also give back to our community by donating soap bars to our local food bank.” This kind of activity really helps to differentiate Lesley from her competitors, even in the big international world of selling via a website.

Lesley’s business is well established now, but she still feels those same highs and lows as any entrepreneur will recognise. “The best thing is the enthusiasm and buzz you have. The feeling that nothing is impossible and the ideas are flowing. The worst thing is the long to do list before you can sell your products. Safety testing, labelling, website building... it's so worth it, though.”

Next on her personal to-do list is launching a new liquid soap product, which can be used in the hotel and leisure industry. Though time consuming, she feels it’s a worthwhile venture. It certainly looks that way to us.

Lesley combines two young children with a thriving business, even if she admits to never quite estimating the Christmas rush correctly! We at BQ will be watching her progress closely.


In partnership with: Startup Britain