Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hana meets Odds & Suds!

Odds & Suds

If you’re interested in starting a soap making business, these two are your inspiration. I met with the brilliantly creative couple behind Odds & Suds, a natural handmade soap company.

Jenny has been making soap now for 15 years, a business which started in a cosy kitchen and flourished into the thriving success it is today. 

The story behind the suds 

Jenny originally learned to paint with Annie Sloan and began painting furniture as well as making a furniture polish from turpentine and beeswax. In 2014 she was asked to take part in BBC 2’s Great Interior Design Challenge in Brighton. For her project she decorated a kitchen, giving it a gorgeous rustic French theme. 

Jenny decided that interior design wasn’t her calling and began to make solid hand cream, which she sold for 3 years at Tavistock Pannier Market. Soaps were a natural progression in Jenny’s mind so armed with a soap recipe book, pans and whisks- she took a step into the world of soap making! Soon enough, Odds & Suds out grew the market stall, so Jenny opened her first shop in Tavistock and has never looked back.   

Odds & Suds in the spotlight

Following the success of the Tavistock shop, Jenny opened second shop in Ashburton. The shop and their beautiful house featured in Country Living as part of a 4 page spread.

In 2009, Jenny appeared on one of my favourite programmes, Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, on Channel 4. She taught Kirstie how to make soap in the Odds & Suds shop. Jenny told me as they settled down on the sofa to watch the show, the orders began pouring in and the website crashed!

{Jenny showing Kirstie the ropes!}

Jenny after her TV appearance: “I drove to the shop and noticed a queue of people outside. I thought that’s funny, they must be waiting for a bus or something. I then realised they weren’t waiting for a bus… they were waiting for me to open the shop. It was crazy, we literally ran out of soap.”

From there it was a change of direction for Odds & Suds. The couple worked hard to transform their horse stables into a work shop fit for producing their soap on a larger scale to enable them to sell to the wholesale market. 

After chatting with the couple about their exciting plans, I got the impression from Jenny that she missed the homely kitchen atmosphere that was once her work area. “I do miss working in the kitchen but we’ve now got the capacity to make 3000 bars a week, so it’s still artisan but just not as cosy! I think a lot of producers get to that point, you become very busy with what you’re doing and you make that leap to become a producer.”

She described any crafting business as making monsters that need constant feeding and I couldn’t agree more! 

The Odds & Suds family

Today, Jenny owns the shop in Tavistock, Kelly runs and owns the Odds & Suds shop in Ashburton, Rosy has her own Odds & Buds florist and Matthew owns a tanning shop in Tavistock called Odds & Sun and also works in theatre production. 


Jenny’s tip for crafters:

“Keep it simple! So many crafters fall into the trap of doing too much but actually less is more.” 

For those of you wanting to go into soap making to sell, you have to have your products tested to make sure they are safe to the general public.

Jenny and John will be at The County Living Christmas Fair (Islington's BDC from 11 – 15 November). Their shops are already stocked for Christmas and if you aren't able to swing by then check them out online at or telephone 01822 618111- I've already placed my order! 

Hana xxx 

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