Fort William-based Highland Soap Co has announced plans for expansion amid a major surge in demand for its products from customers in Scotland and around the world.
Company founder Emma Parton says success in the past year has been driven by several factors, including a thriving e-commerce website and consumer habits shifting towards supporting local and environmentally responsible companies.
The company, which specialises in producing luxury handmade bath, body and skincare products inspired by Scotland’s highland landscape, has reported a 25 per cent increase in sales for the 2020/21 financial year, quadrupling what they were in 2017. It has also bolstered its workforce by nearly 30 per cent despite the challenges faced by businesses in the ongoing pandemic.
Highland Soap Co will expand its portfolio of standalone retail stores in Scotland to seven by opening a brand new shop in Aviemore in May, creating three new jobs for local people. The company has also struck an agreement for export of products to a third continent after concluding negotiations with a supplier to retailers in Hong Kong. This is in addition to the 350 retail stockists already established across Europe and North America.
Emma, who founded the company in her kitchen in 2001, said: ‘During the past year, shopping habits have changed with many customers favouring local, sustainable businesses and products made by hand by skilled craftspeople. We believe that our products are the finest and most ethical soap and skincare products made in Scotland and are proud that our customers across the globe have continued to support us throughout the pandemic.
‘We are excited to announce that we will open our seventh retail store in Scotland next month in Aviemore. The shop and our expansion into Hong Kong will enable more customers to experience Highland Soap Co’s range of organic, natural products in person and will mark the start of a new and exciting chapter for the company.
‘We have always prided ourselves on being the greenest makers of soaps and skincare products in Scotland and have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing unnecessary plastic. This year, we have gone a step further by committing to packaging our shampoo, body washes and conditioners in 250ml bottles made of biopolymer, a plastic made from sugarcane. This renewable source needs little more than natural rainfall to grow and we plan to extend this sustainable form of packaging to our other product lines as soon as we are able to do so.’
Highland Soap Co is a family-run business with more than 50 employees and is based at the foot of Ben Nevis, in Fort William. There, members of the public can enjoy a visitor centre, café and free tours of the factory and engage in workshops to make their own bespoke fragranced soaps.
Last year, the company responded to the outbreak of Covid-19 by developing a range of scented hand sanitisers made with 70% alcohol sourced from a Highland distiller. Their products have since been featured on ITV’s This Morning, where they were hailed by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield as one of the best hand sanitisers on the market in the UK.
For more information, visit www.highlandsoaps.com