Alistair & Robyn handmade soaps from Wangi Wangi attract ...
A WOMAN who has been making and distributing a range of handmade soaps from her house in Wangi Wangi is now preparing for life as a businesswoman in the global marketplace.
Wangi Wangi soaps set to clean up on world stage | photos
LUXURIOUS LATHER: Jo Middleton said the handmade soaps in her Alistair & Robyn range were made from ingredients such as olive oil, shae butter, and mud from the Dead Sea, in Israel. A twin box costs $29.99. Picture: David Stewart
Ms Middleton said the brand name, Alistair & Robyn, was created by combining her son, Jordan's middle name, with the middle name she shares with her daughter, Courtney. Picture: David Stewart
The Alistair & Robyn range is occasionally available at pop-up stalls at shopping centres including Charlestown Square and Westfield Kotara. Picture: Supplied
The soaps are also available at the galleries of Ken Duncan and Neale Joseph. Many of the bars incorporate images created by Ms Middleton, who is also a painter. Picture: Supplied.
The soaps on sale at a pop-up stall at a Hunter shopping centre. Picture: Supplied
There is a men's line in the Black and Gold range, including Cedar and Saffron (pictured), Coffee and Vanilla, and Salted Lemon Lime and Kelp. Picture: David Stewart
When Jo Middleton displayed her Alistair & Robyn brand of artisan soaps at the China International Beauty Expo earlier this month, she hoped she might entice one distributor to help her introduce her soaps to Asia.
Instead, she won the expoâs award for Outstanding Brand Manager, and the industry couldnât get enough of her all-natural soaps.
âI got 70 proposals to distribute the soaps through out Asia,â Ms Middleton said.
âThis is massive. Iâve gone from local to global, and now Iâve got to find a warehouse, and to employ a lot more people.â
Ms Middleton is a former hairdresser who makes the soaps by hand in the one-time salon at her house.
The business is now a family affair.
She said her son Jordan was âNo 1 foreman and mechanical manâ, her son Cameron was head of analysis, daughter Courtney handled media, and husband Bill managed the hardware, and was the financier who critiqued her creations.
Ms Middleton started making soaps in 2014, after illness forced her to walk away from a successful 28-year career as an award-winning hairdresser.
âIâd had enough of using products full of chemicals," she said.
The inspiration to create a chemical-free, handmade beauty range came from decades of handling dyes and peroxides at her hair salon and seeing them wreak havoc on her skin and health.
âSo the whole house went organic â" our food and everything â" and that included our soaps and shampoos,â she said.
Ms Middleton was fastidious in sourcing soap ingredients that were ânatural and healthyâ.
Those ingredients include natural micas pigmented by metal oxides, magnesium salts, mud from the Dead Sea in Israel, organic kelp powder from the Atlantic Ocean, and shea butter from Africa.
âAnd one of our largest suppliers is Olio Mio Estate, in Pokolbin. Their organic extra virgin olive oil is our soap's main ingredient. We try to use Australian vegetable oils and essential oils wherever we can,â Ms Middleton said.
What also sets these bars of soap apart is their artistic designs.
Ms Middleton is also a painter, and sheâs been able to incorporate designs such as Uluru, and floral insignias, into the bars â" and not just on the surface.
A twin box from her Black and Gold range sells for $29.99. Her upcoming Red and Gold range is expected to sell for $100 for a twin box.
Visit alistairandrobyn.com.au for more.
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