Norfolk couple launch natural, vegan, cruelty-free beauty products
- Credit: Archant
Scents of place makes and sells shampoo, conditioner and body wash in recyclable packaging. Fiona Burrage tells us more
You’ve just launched a new brand of Norfolk-made products – what is it?
Sop – Scents of place is a vegan, cruelty-free body care and natural fragrance brand that has been inspired by the Norfolk landscape and language. Each of the scents is made up of a combination of essential oils to support wellbeing.
What was your inspiration for the range?
In June 2018 we renovated a 1930s boat house on the bank of the River Thurne in Repps with Bastwick. Once we’d finished, I felt it didn’t have the scent to match how it felt and looked. And that is how Scents of place was conceived. Each combination of scents was to embody my feelings about a particular location in Norfolk.
What is different about it compared with other products on the market?
My aim is for Sop to be a celebration of everything it stands for and all that it’s inspired by – from the regional dialect to the natural environment.’ In that sense I think we are truly unique.
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So the environmental impact of what you’re making is important to you?
Sustainability is of paramount importance to Sop – every detail is carefully considered. The shipping boxes and bags are fully biodegradable and made from recycled sources.
The decision to use aluminium bottles was based on much research and consulting with a number of environmentalists. Whilst we sourced some good recyclable plastic options we discovered aluminium to be not only easier to recycle but infinitely recyclable.
Plastic pump dispensers are sold separately to facilitate easier but also multiple use. Everything is made, bottled, printed and fulfilled in Norfolk – the majority of it within five miles of our home in Norwich – made by Norfolk people.
Are you doing something to support Norfolk wildlife as well?
Yes, our charitable partner is Norfolk Wildlife Trust – we are corporate members and, in time, we would like to contribute a share of profit to the trust.
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You’re working towards becoming a B corp company – what does that mean?
Certified B corp companies meet the highest standard for their social and environmental performance as well as balancing profit and purpose. The test is rigorous and the board will analyse your first fiscal year as a start-up. We are ensuring that all of our planning and decisions will enable us to meet their criteria.
What about you, the Nor-Folk. Tell us about yourselves
Nor-Folk is a design-led lifestyle brand, established in 2015. In 2013 we had our son Stanley and having co-run Norfolk branding agency, The Click, I was intrigued by how people could build brands online and sell. We launched with a small selection of homeware products, but focussed on children’s clothes.
We sold from a warehouse in Norfolk to stockists across the world, from Lebanon to Philadelphia, with 70 stockists. After three trade shows, two in London and one in Paris, it became apparent my heart lay elsewhere.
My passion was and has always been travel, design and homewares. I took a step back to focus on photography whilst planning how to evolve Nor–Folk organically. Once we’d bought the cabin, which is also a holiday let, everything else fell into place.
As a family of three we live in a converted factory in Norwich which is our base and we love to travel together which we share on our journal. Last year we created and launched a creative co-working space called Studio Inn. We have a great mix of people from an illustrator, developer, textile designer, graphic designer to name just a few. I’m sincerely missing our daily conversations, camaraderie and socials at the moment.
You’ve just launched the products at the most challenging time possible – how’s it all going?
We launched April 24, so we are very young, so far we have a stockist in Japan and two independents in the UK. I think trade are a lot more cautious, and rightly so, economically it’s turbulent times. We are very grateful for our consumer orders.
As a mum of one, balancing work with home schooling, if of an evening I’m not working, then before bed I will enjoy a bath, with some candles and maybe a glass of wine. I’m hopeful that there are other people who are in a similar positions to me, they want to invest in a quality brand and support small businesses.
Can people buy Sop products in Norfolk yet?