After 21 years of making soap by hand, the family duo behind Nelson-based Global Soap have sold up shop.
Sisters-in-law Ing Marie and Bronwyn Shalcrass began the company at home with no running water and children running amok. They knew nothing about making soap – making it from a recipe book.
“But our aim was always to expand,” Ing Marie says. “We just wanted to create something that people would like to use.”
And they did. The company now has its well-known store on Nile St as well as selling at markets around the country, and around the world through its website.
“We have always loved what we did, right from the start,” says Bronwyn. “We wanted to make something affordable that families would use.”
It won several business awards over the years and led the team to create bespoke soaps for other companies as well. But it has always been done from Nelson.
Bronwyn says they just figured out they made and sold their one millionth bar of soap.
“We are just a small business so we did the whole thing.”
They also involved the whole family with husbands and children. But they always said when they turned 50 they would have a rethink. “We had a plan,” says Ing Marie. “We still love coming to work but we want to do other things and slow down.”
So last week they had a party to say goodbye to Global Soap. But they have already passed the reigns to David Mitchell and his partner Jody McLeod, who relocated from Auckland to takeover.
David first bumped into Ing Marie’s husband Tony 10 years ago. Back then he knew of the business and told Tony that if ever they wanted to sell then to get in touch. Recently Tony did just that.
“It’s fabulous product and it’s part of the community,” says David, who has given up a previous career in corporate recruitment for his own lifestyle change.
Jody, a former IT project manager says that the move just felt right and that Ing Marie and Bronwyn are helping them transition from the city life to the soap life.
“We will put our personal stamp on it at some stage but right now it’s a recipe that not broke.”