Friday, January 1, 2010

Purdies Scottish Soap Company

(Post: English)
"Scottish mother of four turns her hobby into an international soap business."

Denice Purdie has four children and lives in rural Scotland, where childcare is not an option. She wanted an income that would allow her to take care of her children at the same time.

She set up a business in her cottage in Argyle, producing a line of hand-made, organic body products that are biodegradable and vegan safe, using a broad range of pure, natural and botanical based ingredients.

Today her products are shipped all across the globe, as far as Japan, North and South America and across Europe. Indeed, far from suffering from the economic recession and laying people off, Purdies is hiring.

Denice says, "A lot of people say don't start a business from a hobby - I think the complete opposite, you have to really know your product passionately and then you can spend your time and energy on the actual selling of it."

Starting out with £35-worth of ingredients, Denice made her first batch of products which she sold at a Christmas fair. Surprising herself by making £96, she realized this was just the beginning.

She has constantly reinvested and built her business organically, never borrowing money from the bank.

Going online was a necessity - because with four girls and no shops nearby it was hard to get out and sell products, so Denice started off by posting products on eBay.

Due to shear volume of orders, she no longer sells on eBay, the company's business comes direct and through its own website. Today the company sells predominantly internationally, with a particularly significant customer-base in Japan.

Denice sourced her packaging boxes on and has been buying from the same provider for the past three years.

She says, " has really saved me so much time and effort. I also used the site to source Aluminium soap dispensers - I couldn't find anyone in the UK selling the quantity I wanted at the right price. I posted what I was looking for and within hours got more than 25 responses."

Denice also discovered from other members on that if you are importing natural and recycled products into the UK, you can claim government cash incentives, because you are enhancing the environment. "This was great news for an eco-minded small business owner like me," she says.

Denice modestly adds, "I don't think of myself as a businesswoman at all. I am now able to buy land and build houses, but I am still just a mum able to make money and look after my children at the same time."

The whole entrepreneurial experience has been a steep learning curve for Denice from learning how to manage marketing and online selling through to calculating margins – she attributes much of her success to her passion for the product and not trying to grow too quickly through borrowing.

Purdies will soon launch a new product specifically designed for international markets. Denice says, "I have four children to pass my company on to and have a lot of ideas, so I am very excited."

Source: Alibaba

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