From rock star to soap star at The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company

From rock n’ roll to skincare isn’t perhaps the most obvious of career progressions, but talking to Tommy Crooks it feels like it’s been the most natural thing in the world. Tommy played guitar for Manchester post-punk band The Fall for a year after bumping into their notorious frontman Mark E Smith on Leith walk.

‘That was an eventful year. I got a letter in the post asking me to come down to Manchester and play a couple of gigs. Before I knew it we were touring America. It was an amazing year, the excitement of walking out on stage.’

But nowadays, his success comes from producing 100% natural handmade skincare right here in Scotland. Tommy started his business from his kitchen table in East Lothian twelve years ago.

‘I got interested in the process of soap making when I was at art college. I felt it was quite sculptural and beautiful. I got a bit obsessed with the process. It started off as a hobby and very quickly it became a business and it grew arms and legs.’

The products are made using the finest essential oils, are not tested on animals and are beautifully packaged. Tommy’s perfume oil blends prove that he’s certainly got a nose for this business.

Today, The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company has two shops in the capital, on Victoria Street and Cockburn Street and has a stall at Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, which is where his business really started to take-off. ‘I was stood in a freezing cold tent for two weeks, but we made £10,000 in two weeks,’ says Tommy.

The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company is also expanding into international markets. The business recently became the first Scottish business to open a TMall Global Flagship store in China. Tommy’s success in China may well be partially due to the fact that he has taught himself to speak Mandarin.

‘It’s been tricky, I can speak basic conversational stuff. The Chinese people find it really funny when I speak to them in Mandarin and they’re really helpful at correcting me when I’m wrong, which is probably about 90% of the time.’

With plans afoot to open a store in Japan, and with the company already selling products across the globe there’s no sign that Tommy is ready to slow down any time soon. He now employs seven people in East Lothian and is delighted to be expanding again.