GLE oneLondon helps The Soap and Bubble Company access finance to expand and increase its service offering.
Soap-making parties for children and young people
The prospect of keeping a group of children entertained for a few hours is daunting enough – especially if it’s for a birthday or special occasion. To successfully do this however, whilst enticing children to learn more about natural skincare sounds like an impossible task! Rennaé Matthews was unphased by such a prospect and following years of office work decided to incorporate her work and soap-making hobby to set up The Soap and Bubble Company.
Having always been creative and looking for new challenges outside of her nine-to-five office job, in 2005 Rennaé stumbled upon a soap making course. Discovering that her interest in soap was not individual and that friends and colleagues were equally interested in the techniques and processes, Rennaé decided to utilise her new skills and organise her very own soap parties.
From this point onwards, Rennae’s hobby became a part-time vocation, organising parties every week for new and existing clients. In particular, Rennaé found an increasing niche market for children’s parties.
For two hours, Rennaé hosts parties for children aged eight years plus, giving them the opportunity to make a number of different bath products, the most popular being “exploding bath bombs & handmade duck soaps”, while also learning about the history and science of the soap making process, in an informative, hands-on and entertaining way. Rennaé furthermore insists on using child friendly, organic or SLS free ingredients to make all of her Soap & Bubble creations – pleasing parents and children’s sensitive skin no end!
What makes The Soap & Bubble Company so individual is not only Rennae’s enthusiasm and engaging personality, but also despite a glut of soap companies filling the highstreet, Rennaé is the only business in the UK dedicated to offering soap-making parties for children and young people.
How GLE helped them
Looking to grow the business to a full-time enterprise, Rennaé came to GLE oneLondon in 2007. Through intensive one-to-one support with a free business adviser, Rennaé was able to refine her business plan and direct her vision for the future.
In doing so she identified a need for £5,000 to kick-start her business – through marketing, setting up a website, and buying equipment.
Approaching the GLE oneLondon loan fund for their assistance, Rennaé was thrilled with her loan fund manager who set aside time to ensure that she was ready to pitch effectively for finance ready. As a result of this support, when she met the loan fund panel she was able to secure a loan.
The impact of this help
The business is now a full-time venture for Rennaé and she employs two further members of staff as Party Hosts. The Soap and Bubble Company has expanded its services to offer soap workshops for schools, youth clubs and other youth services. There are plans to expand the business throughout London and the UK, and produce an organic range of children’s bath products.
Rennaé found that the main obstacles to setting up a business were massive amounts of paperwork, marketing the Soap & Bubble brand, and accessing finance.
Through GLE oneLondon however, she found the support and guidance needed for every aspect of starting her business, which she states would not have been available through her normal bank, had she accessed a business loan from them.
As Rennaé states: “I love GLE oneLondon for their continued support and professional help over the past few years.”
Despite these obstacles, Rennaé would encourage other entrepreneurs to “make sure you’re passionate about your dream, research your idea well to test if it can be a viable business, and be prepared for every eventuality – there’s no IT department when you work for yourself!” “At the end of the day, you simply need to love what you do.”
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