Fairtrade Product Launch & Meaningful Local Job Creation

by Visionary Soap Company Limited
Loan

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £10,000
Training Our New Team £20,000
Sales Drive into Overdrive! £30,000
£10,650
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
This project will address several key social and environmental issues – 1. Fluctuating prices for commodities as well as increased costs of production makes it difficult for farmers in certain parts of the world to compete and maintain a stable way of living. 2. Unemployment is high in our local community & the need for skills development and engagement with individuals in marginalised communities is much needed. 3. There are many liquid soap products on the market which are far from natural/organic and we want to offer a more ethical option bring that is an entirely organic, vegan product with sustainable means of production and packaging
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
1. The Fairtrade system 2. he Hasting/St Leonards area of East Sussex currently experiences the second-highest number of unemployment and benefit claimants in the South East of England http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/17/unemployment-and-employment-statistics-economics The region is also one of the highest areas of social deprivation despite being in the South East of England http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/0D1B2835-B128-4960-BB9D-E1F059F1F3AD/0/localeconomicassessmentdraft3.pdf With a successful crowd funding campaign, we are looking to create a further 5 job placements at our factory with a view to increase this even further with the anticipated market demand for our liquid soap. Sales will make this 3. Liquid soap makes 80%+ of the market
What is your solution?
To expand our local manufacturing, job training programme by launching a Fairtrade certified liquid soap range that will be stocked by the likes of Waitrose, Oxfam, Traidcraft, other major UK retailers and independent shops around the country. The above mentioned make up a large part of our current customer base and all have expressed interest in this product. We see a distinct opportunity to alleviate the problems/issues we have identified by bringing this type of product to market. We also have an ever-growing customer base outside of the UK and we anticipate high demand for this product with those customers as well.
How will you deliver this?
Visionary Soap Company’s Plan of Action: Money raised through Buzzbnk will support all aspects of bringing this type of product to market - - Fairtrade certification - Packaging, labelling & point-of-sale design and purchasing -Team recruitment & training - Ingredient sourcing and production - Filling, bottling and product roll-out/distribution - Sales drive, marketing, PR - Producing a video documenting the entire journey. Where the money will go – The initial £10,000 raised will allow us to fund the first production run of 4000kg of Fairtrade certified organic castile liquid soap base (concentrate), cover the cost of packaging and labelling design as well as administrative staff time needed for Fairtrade certification, trainee recruitment with local charitable organisations an kicking off our sales drive. The second £10,000 raised will allow us to provide a full orientation and training to 5 new recruits. This training will encompass all aspects of our company ethos and Fairtrade, health & safety, ingredient information and production processes. Some of these funds will be used to purchase protective clothing and footwear, basic mixing and filling equipment as well as purchase bottles and labels. Lastly, this will also cover the entire cost of hands-on diluting, blending, bottling and labelling through to finished product by the newly trained team. The last £10,000 raised will be used to support an on-going sales drive and marketing campaign, support in-store promos with major retailers and continue to support our new production team and any contingencies that may arise. We fully expect this project to be self-financing once we have established a solid route to market and increased sales. Things that we can tap into for free (donated, pro-bono, goodwill) – video procurement, volunteers to help conduct training (eager family & friends) and some PR exposure. Visionary Soap will also reinvest any profits from this project back into further expanding and strengthening our business, building our supply chain and growing our local production team. In summary, Visionary Soap Company is already recognised as the UK's leading Fairtrade bath & body care company and is held in high esteem not only for its commitment to fair trading but also for its innovative & inspiring approach to local manufacturing. We strongly feel that this is a project worthy of investment and one that will be embraced by not only our current customer base but by many people across the UK.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Hit 'like' on this page and tell your Facebook friends about this campaign
  • 5 minutes
    Like our Facebook page and then share our campaign with friends and family. Follow us on Twitter and tweet the campaign. Name us and the campaign in a #FF to spread the word. You can also go to our website and join our mailing list.
  • 15 minutes
    Check out all the gorgeous Fairtrade beauty products we sell at www.visionarysoap.co.uk. Take the time to have a good look at our website to learn more about our ethos and how we operate. Make a purchase, whether for yourself or someone special as we also have several gift set options to choose from. Let people know about us and you can even ask your favourite shop to consider stocking our products!
  • 30 minutes
    With a name like ‘Visionary’ we embrace and relish the challenge to always conduct our business in an innovative, cutting-edge way. The day we stop being visionary, is the day we might as well hang up our hats! Although still a small company, over the years, we have made quite a name for ourselves and this speaks volumes by the organisations that we do business with. Take some time to further research key organisations (to name but only a few) we rub elbows with – Fairtrade Foundation – www.fairtrade.org.uk Oxfam – www.oxfam.org.uk Traidcraft – www.traidcraft.co.uk Waitrose – www.wairose.com Triodos Bank – www.triodos.co.uk Ethical Superstore – www.ethicalsuperstore.com Amnesty International – www.amnesty.org.uk Comic Relief – www.comicrelief.com Vegan Society – www.vegansociety.com Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) – www.wen.org.uk Zaytoun – www.zaytoun.org Essential Trading – www.essential-trading.coop Suma Wholefoods – www.suma.coop The Ecologist – www.theecologist.org Pestalozzi International Village – www.pestalozzi.org.uk Hastings Trust – www.hastingstrust.com Hastings Furniture Service – www.hfs.org.uk Refuge – www.refuge.org.uk
  • A few hours
    Throw a Visionary Soap Party! Buy one of our Wholesale Sample Boxes http://www.visionarysoap.co.uk/wholesale-sample-box-47-p.asp, invite all your visionary friends, throw in a couple bottles of Fairtrade wine and we think you have the makings of a very inspiring, enjoyable and interesting affair! Let your invitees sample the products, show them our website, and, most importantly, show them our Buzzbnk crowd funding campaign page. Who knows, you might just help us strum up further momentum for our campaign and at the very least, help raise awareness about what we do.
  • Regular time commitment
    We're constantly on the lookout for keen journalists, bloggers, product reviewers, activists, Fairtrade campaigners, etc. who want to help us spread the word by writing reviews, blogging, volunteering or fundraising for us. Check out the Back This Venture Section to see how you might be able to support us. We would love to have you on board!

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girliedyke 21 December 2013 - 18:04

I wish i had more to put in on this fantastic crowd funding for Monica ..If a few more put in £10 as i have the amount will be reached in no time ..Please please people join in .

Stacey Lane 21 August 2013 - 20:28

With Visionary Soap Co. what it says on the tin is what you get. Monica, the founder, is passionate about developing skills and making opportunities for people, as well as being passionate about the products.

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Visionary Soap is the UK’s leading fair trade body care company whose whole range carries the FAIRTRADE Mark. Our company has been entirely dedicated to fair trade since the business’ inception in May 2005. Our products consist of an organic body care range handcrafted in the UK and abroad using ingredients from producers in Palestine, India, Nicaragua, The Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa. Among the first pioneering body care companies to use Fairtrade certified ingredients, all of our products – 29 in total – have been certified in accordance with international Fairtrade standards, more than any other company in our industry at present. Furthermore, all products have been specifically formulated to contain a very high percentage of Fairtrade ingredients, well above the minimum set requirement of 2% for a wash off and 5% for a leave on product. Our soaps, on average, contain 60% Fairtrade ingredients, body butters – 99 to 100%, lip balms - 34%, body oils - 19% and our gardener’s hand salve – 34%. When others do the bare minimum, we strive instead for the maximum. As more ingredients are certified, we are committed to incorporating them into our products, thus boosting these percentages and supporting our Fairtrade producers even more! None of our products contain palm oil, synthetic dyes or fragrances, parabens, petroleum-based ingredients, alcohol, sodium laureth sulfate or animal products. They are also GMO and gluten free. They are simply made with the finest vegetable oils, butters, essential oils and botanicals. All products have been safety assessed and comply with current EU regulations as well as being fully certified by The Vegan Society and, of course, are cruelty-free. We take our packaging very seriously as well and always strive for it to be as eco-friendly as possible, whether that be recyclable, compostable, reusable and plastic-free. Visionary Soap Company is also very committed to value-added job creation in communities abroad and locally. We have forged innovative manufacturing partnerships with social enterprise training programmes in Africa and our community of Hastings/St. Leonards, East Sussex. The production of handcrafted soap presents several opportunities for supporting sustainable development, particularly in places such as Africa. Aside from the natural ingredients involved (often locally sourceable), there is a low barrier to entry in terms of equipment needed, water and energy usage is minimal - highly important in communities where these resources are often scarce - and it provides a relatively safe, holistic working environment for all involved. Production also requires a team effort and plenty of helping hands, thus the potential to create a lot of jobs in marginalised, isolated areas with high unemployment. Our founder is passionate about social justice, the natural environment and enabling people through trade. The cornerstone of our business is fair trade and we take that further by welcoming groups into our supply chain, enabling and entrusting them to produce our Fairtrade certified body care products. We supply an ever-growing list of independent retailers through various distributors - Essential Trading Cooperative, Suma Wholefoods, Rainbow Wholefoods, Highland Wholefoods and The Fairtraders Cooperative. Our products are stocked by the likes of Waitrose, Ethical Superstore, Traidcraft, Oxfam GB, Oxfam Ireland and Amnesty International. We also have an increasing number of international stockists as more people hear about us and embrace our vision. For more information about Fairtrade beauty products please visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/beauty.

Geographical coverage

International

Who do we help?

In terms of Fairtrade, we work with many producer groups around the globe. Here is an exhaustive list – Palestinian Fair Trade Producers Group (Palestine) – Olive Oil Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (India) – Coconut Oil, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger Small Organic Farmers Association (Sri Lanka) – Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger Del Campo (Nicaragua) – Sesame Seed Oil Conocado (The Dominican Republic) – Cocoa Butter Citrusdal Bergendal (South Africa) – Rooibos Get Paper Industry (Nepal) Handmade Gift Boxes With this new product launch, we have an opportunity to greatly increase our working relationship with Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) in India, suppliers of organic, virgin coconut oil, a beautiful key ingredient in our liquid soap formulation. FTAK was created as a result of the damaging impact of fluctuating prices which makes farming a risky and unstable way of earning a living for small-scale farmers in Kerala. Years ago, many of them cut down their coffee plants when prices tumbled and relied on sales of pepper until that market also crashed. Shifting from crop to crop at substantial costs based on the fluctuating prices of each crop has taken a heavy toll on the small farmer household economy. Now thanks to sales of their Fairtrade coffee, as well as spices, cashew and coconuts and nut/seed oils, they can enjoy a more stable future, and many of the farmers are now replanting coffee. FTAK’s membership includes over 4,500 farmers located in four districts of Kerala. We began using FTAK’s coconut oil in our bar soap back in 2010 when this ingredient achieved Fairtrade certification. It currently makes up nearly 30% of our bar soap formulation and we estimate that it will constitute approximately 5% of our liquid soap base. More can be learned about them here - http://www.fairtradenap.net/fair-trade-alliance-kerala/ In terms of who we help in our local community, we work with a variety of local charitable organisations which help us recruit individuals for our job training programme. These primarily include - Hastings Trust (www.hastingstrust.com), Hastings Furniture Service (www.hfs.org.uk), Refuge – Local Bexhill Domestic Abuse Shelter (www.refuge.org.uk) and Pestalozzi (www.pestalozzi.org.uk). We also work with local day centres, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and refugee organisations. With regards to Hastings Trust & Hastings Furniture Service, we participate in their Community Enablers Programme which you can learn more about here - http://www.hastingstrust.com/Community-Enablers.html. Our entire work force is made up of people from marginalised communities who have come to us through these organisations. We offer job training, skills development and apprenticeships in addition to a safe space, a social outlet, confidence-building, a fair wage, a holistic work environment and respect. This campaign and new product launch will enable us to provide an even greater outreach to these people in our local community.

How do we deliver this?

Through the manufacture and sales of Fairtrade certified bath & body care products! By expanding our business and launching this new product, we will be able to reach a greater number of households across the UK and beyond. Backers of this campaign will be able to invest in as well as take great pride in seeing clearly-defined deliverables in every aspect of our supply chain and how these deliverables encompass organics, Fairtrade and supporting meaningful local job creation - www.visionarysoap.co.uk

Awards And Recognitions

Awards/Invites: 1066 Business Awards – Start Up Business of the Year (2007) Guest Speaker – Presenting the ‘Case Study for Fairtrade Cosmetics, Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, Frankfurt, Germany (2009) East Sussex Women in Business Awards – Green Business of the Year (2011) NatWest Brighton Venus Awards – Winner for Entrepreneur of the Year, Semi-Finalist for Employer of the Year (2013) Accreditations/Certifications/Affiliations: Fairtrade Certified Licensee (2009-present) Vegan Society Trademark Holder (2005-present) Official Sports Relief Fair Trade Supporting Partner (2011) Visionary Soap Company is also a registered FTO (Fairtrade Organisation. To learn more, read ‘Doing Business Differently – The Companies Leading The Fair Trade Vision To Transform Trade’ http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/includes/documents/cm_docs/2011/f/fairtrade_organisations_guide.pdf