Gemma, the creator behind Spirited Soaps on the beautiful Isle of Islay featured in our August box. Gemma creates the most incredible handmade soaps inspired by the incredible Spirits produced on the Isle of Islay & Jura.
Everything is made using natural ingredients from her own little shop on the beautiful Isle of Islay.
We wanted to find out more about everything that has inspired Spirited Soaps and get her top tips for visiting the Island!
What inspired Spirited Soaps?
The whisky isle! It was a lady called Ailsa that started the business 15 years ago, she wanted to make a nice, natural glycerine based soap. To make it transparent you need to use alcohol and what better to use than whisky when you live on Islay! Spirited Soaps was born.
What is your favourite product?
Ooh, it would have to be a bar of Lussa Gin soap! As a gin drinker I absolutely adore how we’ve managed to capture the scent of the drink in the soap, it’s divine!
How do you select the specific fragrance for each distillery to make sure it complements their spirit?
We work with each distillery to create their ideas of what the bar should smell like so each one is individual to them. Some want it to be like a dram, others choose complimenting fragrances based on the tasting notes and some use the surroundings of the distillery to draw inspiration from.
What is your favourite part of running your business?
Meeting our customers. I love chatting with everyone that visits and hearing all about their time here.
What’s your proudest moment so far?
Surviving this past 18 months! We are so lucky to have had support both locally and from afar. We teamed up with Bruichladdich distillery at the start of the pandemic and produced enough sanitiser to provide every household on Islay & Jura with a bottle, along with large containers to the emergency services, to the shop keepers and any other essential workers that had to keep going throughout. It was good to be able to do something useful for our community.
If you could give a little piece of advice to anyone looking to start their own business what would it be?
Keep going! Some times it can be a little daunting, you might question if its worth the stress or effort, but it really is. Speak to people, we’ve all had to start somewhere and getting advice from those that have gone through the process already can really help.
What do you get up to when not being the boss?
Living where I do is a wonderful playground for all sorts of adventures. I have 2 big dogs that need lots of walking so its fun to explore the islands with them, there’s always a new beach to find or a hill to take a picnic up!
What’s your favourite whisky?
Controversial I know, but I’m not a big whisky fan! I do enjoy a nice rum though and luckily a new rum distillery recently opened on the Isle of Jura, Deer Island Distillers. They make a lovely spiced rum and I have been enjoying it this summer.
Any tips and tricks for those wanting to visit Islay?
Book up your accommodation in advance, we’re a really busy little island! When you get here chat to the locals, we’re always happy to offer advice and tell you about the hidden gems you don’t want to miss!
To follow this incredible small businesses journey, make sure you give them a follow on their Instagram page!