Rebecca Bennett, Director at The Solid Bar Company tells us about formulating anhydrous personal care products.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rebecca Bennett: Very well, thank you. Essential oils have strong natural anti-bacterial properties, so we are lucky to be working with them and around them all of the time.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded The Solid Bar.
Rebecca Bennett: We came across the idea of The Solid Bar Company whilst crossing the Atlantic on a 36ft yacht. We lost our engine halfway across and floated for ten days, and during this time and the time afterwards living on the boat for almost three years in the Eastern Caribbean, we came up with the idea for water-less spill-free eco personal care products that were not available on the market.
How does The Solid Bar innovate?
Rebecca Bennett: We have spent many years formulating anhydrous personal care products that are vegan, biodegradable, plastic-free, and palm oil-free that work really well, that doesn’t compromise on luxury, and still remain competitively priced. Our first product was our repellent bar in the Caribbean, then our hair care bars, and it has grown from there.
It has taken a lot of energy and chemistry (perhaps if we had known just how much we wouldn’t have done it!), but now we constantly develop our range to be as forward-thinking as possible for our consumers, as well as remaining eco and sustainable.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Rebecca Bennett: Our business has not really slowed down during this time; we have a product range that we believe consumers are looking for, and we are busy expanding into more areas.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Rebecca Bennett: No, we did not, thankfully. We have help from a nearby military academy, so we are very fortunate to have this on our doorstep.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Rebecca Bennett: We tend to have good relationships with both our wholesale customers and direct customers; we are always professional and prioritize maintaining those.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Rebecca Bennett: No, we didn’t.
Your final thoughts?
Rebecca Bennett: The future seems more uncertain than ever at the moment, but certainly the economy is going to be hit hard, hence us bringing out our more economical ranges (our Essential hair care bars, for example, that also just won the Top Sante awards beating 350 other, mainly liquid shampoos and conditioners), our new, amazing 2-in-1 bars and our herbal balms including from ingredients grown ourselves here in Oxfordshire.