Meet Samantha Jameson, founder of Soapsmith
Posted on February 26 2021
Last December, we introduced a new brand in our shops - and website - for the very first time. The Soapsmith soaps first caught our eye with their stylish graphic design and after trying them, we fell in love with their range of hand & body care products, all inspired by the rich and diverse history of London.
Like us, Soapsmith is an independent, woman-owned, and London-based business, and we share the same ethos, attention to detail and love of artisan craft. Their handmade soaps, hand & body washes and lotions are gently formulated with natural oils and ingredients to provide rich hydration for sumptuously smooth skin.
We recently caught up with Samantha Jameson, founder of Soapsmith, to discuss the art of crafting luxury hand & body care products:
Hello Samantha, can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your brand?
Hello! Well, I suppose you could say I was a born entrepreneur- I always wanted to work for myself, build something from the ground up, use my creativity to bring fresh ideas to the world. I was 24 when I started my first business; starting as a small events company supplying bucking broncos and chocolate fountains, I was soon the events company for choice for some of the biggest brands and celebrities in the country. I even designed and launched an award-winning mini-chocolate fountain!
But really, my true passion lies with the power and wonder that is scent. Scent has always been my strongest sense, and my connection to places, people and time comes through smell- it’s the thing that transports me to the various chapters of my life. So in 2010 I decided to sell up, and start again. I spent two years developing scents and bath & body products which could beautifully house them. You could say I was obsessive about achieving perfection, as I didn’t sell my first scent or bar of soap until January 2012! I now realise, there is perfection in the act of constant refinement- I never rest, our products are constantly evolving and getting better.
How did you get the idea of making soaps inspired by London?
I was born in London- Hackney to be exact- and it is the place I will always call home. Unique experiences, odd juxtapositions- it’s a cultural jamboree, filled with grit, authenticity, art and beauty. I have so many stories to tell of my life in London, and my favorite way of telling stories is through scent. So I guess the idea of evoking memories of London life through scent just… fit!
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the three ranges we have in store and on our website?
Friends and I used to go clubbing on Brick Lane and then fill ourselves to the brim on the greatest Aloo Bonda, curry and gulub jaman . I’ve got hundreds of stories from being in Brick Lane’s vibrant, culturally rich and Indian influenced scene. Brick Lane’s headline notes of amber, black pepper and heaps of Sandalwood make for a spicey, all-out, almost spiritual experience on use.
I find Whitechapel’s dark history fascinating. Mysterious, gothic, full of stories. Whilst lilacs and violets seem like such a sweet, innocent blend, it’s intended to trick the mind- a false sense of security- almost too innocent, too perfect …. Underneath the headline notes, a colourful past, a myriad of secrets- notes of sweet clover, iris, heather and fennel can also be found in the middle, unmasking Whitechapel’s rich history.
Hackney- perhaps closest to my heart and took a long time to get right. Inspired by balmy summer evenings spent on Hackney Marshes with my brother and friends. Kicking a football- just care free youth. It’s such a special time in a persons life, and so often we realise this only decades later as look back on our younger selves. It’s a crowd pleasing scent, which was exactly my intension- citrus, fresh, herbaceous – unapologetically simple. Just like my teen years.
As an independent artisan perfume maker, we appreciate the craft and care Soapsmith puts in the making of products. How did you learn the art of soap making?
At my kitchen table, no less! A mixture of self teaching and simple courses. I joined an online community group with members from all over the world. We swapped tips, tricks and ideas of an evening. I loved learning the combination of science and craft. It wasn’t until I moved into our unit in Walthamstow (where we remain today) that I started to hone the craft and scale up the process, looking at more sustainable and efficient methods of making high quality soaps.
The limited edition Columbia Road soap you launched last Christmas was a hit with our customers. Can you tell us about your link to Columbia Road and the inspiration behind the soap?
Christmas for me starts at Columbia Road (and of course a trip to Angela Flanders Perfumery for gifts to friends and myself!). It’s transformation of its famous flower market marks the first signs Christmas. Fir trees line the streets, fresh cold winter air is warmed by the hot drinks and festive song. The sent evokes my casual stroll through the market on a cold December afternoon. The scent isn’t what I’d call expected, but then again my scents never are!
Thank you Samantha!
We invite you to try for yourself and indulge in the luxurious and beautifully scented Soapsmith range, we are certain you will like them as much as we do!