In an age of fossil fuels, pollution and plastic, Handmade is committed to sustainable production and selects many of its designers and producers with this in mind. And when a producer is ticking not one, but all of the sustainability boxes, we feel that it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
So, here is Base Soaps. Founded by Bungendore couple, Lianne and Mick, the business has made an ethical focus its foundation. Of course, their beautiful products are cruelty free, naturally vegan and free from sulphates and palm oil. The range includes bars of soap, liquid soap and shampoo bars among others. “The natural chemist at Team Base is able to create some of the finest vegan, hypoallergenic and biodegradable skin care products purely from nature’s supermarket.” And their products last longer. “Our shaving soap is case in point, each pot contains the equivalent uses to 12 aerosol cans, or enough to shave 1.65 woolly mammoths”. But Lianne and Mick have taken their fundamental ethical practices several steps further.
Firstly, they source almost all of their ingredients locally. Their olive oil is collected from the many local farms who have stock that is close to expiration or not quite fit for eating. Their coconut oil comes from Kokonut Pacific, based in Queanbeyan, themselves running a business whose entire profits go back to helping the villages that produce the oil. The walnut and macadamia shells that are used as exfoliants in Base products are waste materials from local food producers and their natural fragrances are essential oils that are produced as close to the region as possible, reducing freight and its associated carbon footprint. As yet, it isn’t possible for Base to be 100% plastic free, but that’s their aim. Their wholesale liquid soap is only sold in 20 litre barrels and their shampoo bars are gaining in popularity because they eliminate the need for packaging.
Base Soaps’ current focus is to give back to local communities, donating a part of the proceeds to health and hygiene projects in Australia. Lianne and Mick have partnered up with Malpa – a health leadership program that trains Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people to be health ambassadors in their communities. Says Mick: “We want to help Malpa solve socio-economic problems in our own backyard. Everyone needs soap! We aim to make a memorable connection between the purchase of hygiene products, to the provision of health education programs for Australian communities. We want to empower Australian consumers to solve local problems through their purchasing behaviour”. They are currently looking for new projects to help, empowering disadvantaged communities and providing a focus and an income, where there otherwise wasn’t any.
To help them to spread their net and make even more of a difference, Base Soaps is running a crowd funding campaign through Start Some Good. A brilliantly run campaign, they have almost reached their initial goal, which will help them to evolve, producing and selling more efficiently, developing a nationally recognisable brand and extending their impact on Australian communities. The dream is to expand and move production away from their garage, but rather than just moving into a bespoke facility to meet the inevitable demand of a national brand, they are aiming to develop more small-scale production facilities with flexible employment opportunities for those who need them. To help, you can donate in return for a simple bar of soap, right up to a corporate workshop, so head over to their CROWDFUNDING PAGE and help them to make a difference.
As if Lianne and Mick weren’t busy enough, they’re also working with us at Handmade on an exclusive limited edition product to help us celebrate our tenth birthday, so watch this space for more details!