Soap making hobby turns into full-time business
FIVE years ago Carrie Drinkwater fell down the "rabbit hole” of making her own soaps and her small business has since become so successful she was able to quit her full-time job earlier this year.
The Gracemere woman is the face behind Lady Lathers Handmade Soap.
A combination of winter and dry skin struck up the curiosity to make her own soap and her little hobby has just gone from there.
Naturally a creative person, Carrie loves painting and sewing and has studied graphic design and photography.
"I was looking for something else to do and it just exploded,” she said.
YouTube was her best friend and despite some fails, the end result was rewarding.
"A lot of research, the internet is just a pool of knowledge and I am the kind of person that learns by doing things, I have to do it to figure out what I am doing wrong,” she said.
"It's like cooking but it's not ... you have to weigh everything and there is different safety procedures.
"But being able to make an end product that is useful and has a purpose and you get to use it time and time again.”
She started with soap and moved on to laundry products.
She makes a laundry butter which is good for sensitive skin.
"A lot of people find laundry powder makes their skin itchy,” she said.
She now also makes and sells bath soaps, liquid soaps, lip balms, shampoo bars, skin care and more.
Carrie's favourite product at the moment is a face cream, as it keeps her face moisturised during cool weather.
Now she has also added biodegradable and reusable packaging to get rid of all the plastics.
But it hasn't all been success.
Carrie grew up in Rockhampton and moved away to Brisbane after school.
She started a soap business down there and moved back home two years ago, bringing it with her.
When she first moved, she lost a lot of stock in December due to the heat.
She learnt she had to keep the fans on at all times and keep the products inside.
Relaunching her business in Central Queensland, however, she was greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response.
"It's great, it's so successful ... it's been a really pleasant surprise.
"I wasn't sure what to expect with a smaller town,” she said.
"It's amazing. So lucky and thankful people are really conscious of what they are putting on their body and what they are using and what kind of waste they are generating.”
It has been so successful she was able quit her retail job in January, after working in the industry for 20 years.
She is also looking forward to some success at Rockhampton's River Festival in the coming weeks.
Lady Lathers Handmade Soap was accepted as a stallholder and it will be the first time she has had a stall there.
"I'm expecting a big crowd and looking forward to meeting a lot of people,” she said.
Lady Lathers Handmade Soaps
- Handmade products made in Gracemere
- Artisan soaps, cruelty free, paraben and palate free skin care, shampoo bars, laundry products
- Stock available at That Wholefood Place and Our Shop
- Etsy shop online
- Search her on Facebook
- Find her at Rockhampton River Festival on July 12 - 14