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Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello, I'm Hepzabeth the owner of artisan soap and skincare company Cleanse With Benefits. I had eczema as a child and my Mother used to make homemade remedies with me using clays, herbs and oils to treat my skin. I suppose that is where my love for creating therapeutic soaps, lotion bars & more came from and of course the memories of bonding with Mum. I was always set to have a career in a creative industry, I trained and studied in furniture restoration, conservation & decorative arts at university in England but somehow to unleash my inner creativity I really found myself as a soap-maker and now I live in Sydney with my partner Oliver and Barney my Tibetan Spaniel rescue dog.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I make artisan soap bars with a few skincare items on the side. All our soap is made using the traditional cold process method. The basic soap recipe we use contains Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Australian Olive Oil. Every product we make has a history; from hours of developing a recipe, sourcing the ingredients, thinking about the packaging & a lot of trial & error - not every product will make the shelf! I’m a perfectionist; everything has to look, feel & smell amazing.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
Inspiration comes from the beauty of nature; poppies, roses, lavender I just admire and love flowers. The modernist movement of Fauvism also takes light in my work; I am a great fan of colour and vibrancy.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I have been making skincare products since I was a little girl developing into soap making around a year and a half ago. I am a believer in sustainable living and learning folk arts and crafts. Soap making is a traditional art that dates back almost 5000 years.
How did you come up with your business name?
All credit for the name goes to a dear friend of mine Miss Megan Martin. She came up with the pun a few times before I actually took a likely to the name.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I like to discover new blogs and soap related websites, soap is a passion and an obsession. I collect a lot of books and magazines, you can never own enough! I also love thinking of new revolutionary ideas to become an advocate for handmade design.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
When you think of a name for your company make sure the name is not already taken on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram - even if you don't want to use all four main marketing sites, you may change your mind in the future. Make your camera your new best friend, get to know and understand its cameras functions and take clear good shots of your products using natural light.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Social media is a powerful weapon, I try to post using the main four social media apps weekly - no one likes a stale unused and abandoned facebook page.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
Balancing your time efficiently. I tend to have periods where overwhelm myself with too much work to do mainly because I have been too occupied with a knitting project or another hobby. Spend a few minutes planning and making goals for the week or day ahead. I always see my goals clearer with a list in front of me especially if it's on some nice stationery. I love a pretty list.
What do you like to do besides creating?
I am a trained upholsterer and in the conservation of upholstery and wall upholstery. I also teach both modern and traditional upholstery workshops in Sydney. I always had a passion for reviving old things. I grew up in a household where my Mother is an avid collector of all sorts of antiquities from the old medieval lance hanging above the fireplace to the numerous stuffed animals in the living room which includes an old parrot whose owner abandoned him at the taxidermist after he died of old age, the owner never came back to claim him so Angela ended up giving him a home. Being surrounded by these old oddities taught me love and respect for antiquities and preowned furniture.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
Marilyn - Bat For Lashes, I Blame Myself - Sky Ferreira, The Mother We Share - CHVRCHES, Another Girl - Wild Belle, The Riot's Gone - Santigold.
Downton Abbey, The White Queen, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Returned.
The Darjeeling Limited, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Into The Wild, Atonement, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Anything Philippa Gregory, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold
Oh My Design Blog by Amy Arthurs www.ohmydesignblog.com, A Beautifull Mess www.abeautifulmess.com, I Am The Lab www.iamthelab.com, Studio Extso www.studioexsto.com, Bespoke Magazine www.bespokezine.com
What would be your perfect day?
My perfect day would be an autumnal one sitting by the fireside reading a book or doing a spot of knitting with my family around me.
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
The Owls Are Hunting - for their pretty handmade home wares and intricate embroidery.
Cleanse With Benefits visit store
14 April 2014