A warm welcome to The Solid Bar Company owner's story and thank you for visiting our website.
Our journey has been quite eventful to date, and we’ve been refining our unique products for over five years now, so I thought it was about time to give our loyal customers a little background to our journey so far.
Just click on the links below to read the various chapters of The Solid Bar Company creation to date.
It all really began whilst we were sailing a 36 ft yacht across the Atlantic, with days of blue as far as the eye could see, amazing sunrises and sunsets, then nights full of stars down to the water's edge during every phase of the moon.
There were days of quiet and calm as we crossed the paths of flying fish, watching dolphins racing at the bow.
Then there were sudden transitions from these days of serene seas, as the weather changed and we faced the turmoil of giant waves careering towards us causing all our shampoo and shower gel bottles, which were then all plastic, to start bouncing off the cabin walls - this was the time and place of inspiration for our practical and earth friendly product range.
Sailing could easily switch from being dull to highly eventful and then back again in very short periods of time.
One particular time that stands out is when our engine broke down in one of the remotest parts of the planet, with three-mile deep water below us and the nearest land about 2,000 km away.
Although we were primarily a sailing vessel we needed a motor for inshore manoeuvres and power - no engine meant no generator, no electricity, leaving us with no working fridge or any other electrical equipment for the rest of the voyage.
I can still vividly recall that time as the yacht was also becalmed for several days. There was complete stillness and such beauty all around yet, this was simultaneously coupled with the underlying stress of realising that we were making little progress as we drifted westwards at the whim of the currents slowly passing through the water - and all the time we were running low on food. It certainly gave us time to reflect, and to lose weight!
Prior to this, I’d spent ten intense and adrenaline-fuelled years working in the stock markets specialising in European arbitrage trading before deciding to completely switch direction. I studied horticulture, landscape design and later aromatherapy.
Taking some time out during during this period I travelled around mainland China and Tibet.
Then moving on to South America, I carried out conservation work in the Peruvian rain forest and the Galapagos Islands. After that I trekked the Inca trail, saw the emerald coloured salt lakes of Bolivia, travelled through Brazil and down to the very southern tip of Argentina.
On my return to the UK, I set up a horticulture and landscape design business in Hampshire.
Here I got married and with my husband, simultaneously with creating beautiful gardens, we also ran luxury holiday accommodation. Then the threat of neighbouring land being sold for development loomed which led us to make the big decision to sell up and move on.
It was then, perhaps over a glass of wine or two, that we decided to do our Ocean Yachtmaster's Offshore training and embark on a 10,000 mile sailing venture.
Following on from our transatlantic adventures, as mentioned above, we then started developing our product range in the Caribbean on a remote island. This wasn't easy (but someone had to do it 😊!) and our products were made resilient enough to be successfully taken anywhere on the planet.
It was also a great mosquito (and no see-um) testing ground for our very first product which we then sold throughout the Caribbean and into 48 US mainland states – a solid, highly effective, natural repellent lotion bar with 12 active ingredients.
Climate and geography dictated that the market was seasonal and very tourist and cruise ship dependent. So, although we built up a good wholesale business and online customer business, we were limited in what we could do from a remote location.
Primarily for logistical reasons we decided to move to nearby Florida in early 2017. It was shortly after this, in mid 2017, that three huge hurricanes - Harvey, Irma and Maria - hit the Caribbean islands claiming 400 lives, causing immense devastation and billion of dollars worth of damage.
We immediately lost all our wholesale business overnight but we still counted ourselves amongst the lucky ones as we still had many friends on the Islands who had lost much more.
Making the decision to move back to the UK in 2018 with a resilient and eco-friendly product range, now endorsed by The Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, was a logical progression for us.
Also with 5 years of valuable experience, research and development in a testing environment on the other side of the Atlantic we felt it was timely to offer consumers in the UK and Europe our unique, luxury and convenient product range, allowing them to permanently make the switch away from plastic packaged personal care products to a much more sustainable alternative.
Conveniently, due to the more temperate climate this also meant that we would now be able to grow a number of the cosmetic ingredients for our herb infused balms ourselves.
One of the first things we had to attend to was the rebranding of our product range to suit the UK and European markets which are quite different to the Caribbean and USA we had been in before.
Many months have been spent developing our deodorant bars to be gentle yet effective and have now found a UK supplier for the biodegradable tubes. We have now launched our deodorant range in January 2020.
Zero waste packaging is also next on our radar and we are moving closer to having that in place. As efficient as aluminium packaging is for recycling, we’ve seen enough places in the world that don’t recycle at all and that memory has stayed with us.
Since switching to using only plant based, vegan ingredients we have also managed to remove the sustainably sourced palm oil previously found in two of our eighty plus ingredients without compromising on luxury - so we are now 100% palm oil free. The final 'tweaks' have been made to ensure that our shampoo bars foam equally well in hard water as they do in soft water.
That's about it for now, but we will be sure to keep you abreast of future developments as soon as they occur so please sign up to our newsletter below, that way you will also receive exciting blogs full of healthy hints and tips and early notice of offers and other updates ahead of the crowd!
Best wishes to all,
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