After working together for years at the renowned Suma Foods co-operative, the two close friends started their soap company in 2008. Today, they take a very hands-on approach to running the business, and they employ around 22 people in a variety of roles, including manufacturing all of the company’s products at their idyllic West Yorkshire base near Hebden Bridge.
Along with the quality and performance of its wide range of products, Friendly Soap’s solid ethical credentials are one of the big attractions for its many UK and international customers. Products are all vegan, cruelty-free and packaged using recycled and recyclable materials, while every team member is paid more than the living wage, with a company-wide ‘profit share’ scheme in place. Every aspect of Friendly’s manufacturing process is squeaky clean too, from the meticulous sourcing of ingredients right through to low-energy production methods.
The company’s expansion has been encouragingly rapid: a sure sign that it really is possible to run a successful business in a way that’s responsible and sustainable. The business uses a well-established network of loyal distributors to get its products to market, particularly through independent shops and sectors like leisure, tourism and hospitality.
“Covid-19 has created caution on the high street but it’s great to see independent retailers re-opening. We will support them all the way.”
Photograph: Andrew Wade Photography