By Eilidh Whiteford
To walk into the Hebridean Soap Company is to walk into a delicious bubble of colours and scents.
Established by owner Linda Sutherland in 2002, the Hebridean Soap Company shop and workshop are based in a renovated century-old stone barn in Breasclete, Isle of Lewis.
Linda and her team deliver a world of all natural ingredients and fragrances, producing not only soap bars and liquid soaps, but also the company’s unique ‘Gaia’ body and face cream range and, most recently introduced, a selection of beautiful island-scented candles, available to both visitors to the shop and via website www.hebrideansoap.co.uk
“Each year you have people coming into the shop and then you find they come back on the website,” said Linda. “I used to do the website orders in the evening after work, but they’ve become a permanent job now. We’ve a lot of repeat customers and it is just so great to see.”
All-natural, produced where possible with local ingredients, and mixed, poured and moulded by hand, the Hebridean Soap Company products certainly offer something different to their mass-produced contemporaries.
“We use a variety of vegetable oils for the base of the soap, but because we hand-make the soap, there’s no need to add chemicals,” explained Linda. “And this lack of additives means the soaps are not only gentle to use, but the precious glycerine in the soap is retained throughout the process.”
Made from sustainable palm and coconut oils, with pure essential oils for glorious scents, and the ‘Angel’s Tears’ of soft Lewis rainwater, the Hebridean Soap Company offers a wide range of different fragranced soap bars, as well as liquid soaps and gift boxes – which can be tailor-made using your desired products.
Linda created and introduced the Soap Company’s unique Rosehip and Chamomile body and face cream range ‘Gaia’ in 2016; and it proved popular from the off.
“It’s been selling really well and we’re getting people from Japan and America ordering through our website,” said Linda.
“The feedback we get is that people say it’s as good as, if not better, than what you’d pay £20 upwards for; but of course it is as it’s made from all-natural ingredients selected specifically for the creams.”
And this year the company has also established a new scented candle range – again, all hand-made, poured and moulded at the Breasclete workshop – as well as hand-stitched ‘Waffle Cloths’ and a variety of Harris Tweed gifts.
“It’s been fun learning to make the candles, and they all have island-themed scents,” said Linda. “We’re proud of our fragrances, we use them because we like them – the ‘Ocean’ fragranced candles for example are heavy on Juniper, they smell fantastic!
“We also have our Hebridean Trilogy of candles – Machair Flower, Peat Smoke, and Ocean – so visitors can take the smell of the islands home with them.”
She added: “I’m always amazed by how well things have gone for us over the years; but we’re very laid back here and I think that shows in what we aim for – something that you will enjoy using time and again.
“And I’m still enjoying it – this is what defines me now, I wouldn’t do anything else!”
You can find out more about Linda and the Hebridean Soap Company online at www.hebrideansoap.co.uk; or enjoy a visit to the shop and workshop at 25 Breasclete, clearly signposted from the main road.