Our founders Rob and Geoff grew up in Hebden Bridge, in West Yorkshire, back in the 1970s. A hotbed of alternative, hippy and punk culture back then, the town sparked and shaped what’s become their lifelong interest in radical political thought and social and environmental justice.
Rallying against the capitalist model and looking for fairer ways of doing things came naturally to Rob and Geoff. On top of that, their stunning Pennine surroundings gave them an instinctive connection to nature. Hardly surprising then that, like many Hebden residents, the two friends found work at the now legendary Suma Wholefoods Co-operative
As well as a bunch of useful business skills, at Suma Rob and Geoff learnt that you really can run a successful enterprise where ethics come before profit. Inspired, aware, and more prepared than ever, they decided in 2008 that the time was right to do their own thing. Friendly Soap was born.
Nowadays, Rob and Geoff might have a grey hair or two and go to bed a bit earlier, but they still have the same passionately held values and convictions as they did growing up. It’s just that now they’ve got a thriving ethical business of their own to channel them through.
Right from day one we made it our mission to do something simple: create high-quality products that tick as many ethical boxes as possible. We didn’t just want to make soaps that are cruelty-free or use less packaging: we wanted true all-rounders that leave customers feeling as conscientious as they feel clean. If we’re really honest, the process has been a lot harder to perfect than we first expected. To reach where we are now though, it’s been well worth the effort.
Our ranges contain no animal products or by-products and have never been tested on animals, which means we’ve really earned our registration with Cruelty free International and The Vegan Society. Our ancient cold-process method means our soap is totally biodegradable and free from by-products too, so there’s literally no waste.
In terms of energy use, we pour, cut, stamp and pack our soaps by hand in the UK, so we’re talking lots of calories but a small carbon footprint. Our packaging is pretty special too, because it’s made from materials that are 100% recycled as well as recyclable. Plastic doesn’t get a look in, and our parcels for delivery use brown paper tape. Heck, we even use poppy seeds and hemp bran instead of microbeads.
A million miles from conventional detergents, we don’t use harmful preservatives or foaming agents because there’s no real need for SLS or Parabens. The silky-smooth lather produced by our soaps is all down to careful ingredient choice and our cold-process method of making them. What about our Shea butter? Bought from a women’s worker cooperative in Ghana. Coconut oil? Taken from coconuts guaranteed not to be harvested by slave monkeys.
We’re sure you get the picture by now. In a nutshell, we’ve gone as far as we can to have as little impact as possible on our planet and its wildlife. And anywhere we do have an impact, we’ve tried our best to make it a positive one by supporting communities who could use a helping hand. It’s mission accomplished then, right? No chance. We reckon there’s always room for improvement, so watch this space…
Ethical credentials are great, but you’re probably wondering whether our products actually work? We certainly would. Well, you can relax, because these are feel-good products in every sense.
Our soaps are lovely bits of natural luxury. They’re packed with cleansing goodness, smell divine and can help with many things from wrestling those wrinkles to fighting off bugs (yes, even the creepy crawly types as well as coughs and colds).
Beautifully gentle, they make a rich, creamy lather you wouldn’t believe, and they won’t dry your skin because they’re full of naturally-occurring glycerine. We also use plant-based oils like coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter too, so each different soap has its own magical ability to nourish and restore your skin.
For extra variety and to make sure there’s a soap you’ll fall in love with, we use essential oils, flowers, spices and herbs. These give each product its own special colour, scent and healing magic and, in the case of poppy seeds and hemp bran, the power to gently exfoliate.