A Day in the Life: Soap Star

In ‘A Day in the Life’ we reach out to thought leaders, business leaders and social entrepreneurs and ask them to share with us an average day in their working life.

This week we spoke to Lesley Reid, founder of Willow & Plum. Specialising in quality hand-made soaps, Willow & Plum use nothing but natural ingredients, sourcing as many as possible from their local surroundings in Fife.


A Day in the Life: Soap Star

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What is in store for you today?

School run is done, mornings can be madness with my two little girls! The breakfast carnage has been cleared away and now I am busy with a large wholesale order for a shop, so today is mostly labelling, packing and a whole load of caffeine.

What does a typical working day look like?

I like to get the messy stuff over with early, so most days after the morning school run I heat up oils to make a few batches of soap. I am lucky enough to have a purpose-built workshop in the garden (saves on the carbon footprint)

After that, I’ll go indoors to my home office and crack on with whatever is on the list… I do love a list!

Are there any sort of personal rituals or routines that you have to undertake before you start work?

Yoga in my pyjamas before anyone realises I’m awake, it helps me focus! A good cup of tea and a tidy work space is a must.

As a team, do you have any group rituals or events per day or week?

We sit down and have a proper chat most evenings. Life can get so busy, we find it important to have one whole day away from the business every week.

When your team come together, is it in a digital sense, or is there still a physical meeting up?

With a family business, there is no escape! I love it though, as we understand each other and we really do have different strengths, so we are a great team.  Our meetings are usually held over the kitchen table with a couple of laptops and can get quite lively when we don’t quite agree on the direction of something. Typical family business I suppose! I wouldn’t change a thing.

What projects have you currently got on, and what upcoming projects are exciting you?

We will be launching a new range of liquid hand soap after the New Year. This is something that’s been in the pipe line for a while. Meeting customer demand for a liquid soap and sticking to the Willow & Plum ethos of being natural has taken a fair bit of time to develop.  I am so excited about it and the opportunities it will bring. I began this business towards the end of my career flying with BA and it has been the most exciting project of my life.

How do you measure impact and successes, and how do you celebrate them?

One of the most important things to us is when we have customers coming back for repeat orders. Customer retention is everything for us, knowing we are keeping people happy with a reliable product is succeeding.

Little victories are celebrated here and there’s always a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge!

What gets you through the day? (Any podcasts, activities, thoughts etc?)

Yoga breathing to get through stressful situations and taking a break to walk the dog (she won’t let me work anyway) A dog walk in the Scottish sideways rain is a brilliant way of clearing the mind!

What are you currently reading?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I look forward to bedtime reading! It’s so interesting to read about where we come from and mostly where we are going.

What’s your Ethos?

Since we launched in 2013, our ethos has been to deliver the most natural vegan friendly soap possible, without harming the planet while doing it.

I developed a soap recipe and made sure there was no animal products and no palm oil involved from the start.

Everything from the manufacturing process to packaging is done in a mindful way. None of those pesky foam packaging bits here!

And finally, suggest a better title for this feature.

What about ‘soap star’ or something like that?


Find out more about Lesley and Willow & Plum here: https://www.lovewillowandplum.com/


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