The Nel family planted their first rosemary and lavender fields in the rich, red soil of the Free State province in 2014. It is unlikely that their daughter, Mariet, who was 16 at the time, would have known that the essential oils produced from these plants would become a vital ingredient of her future business.
Today Mariet is the owner of Sooth, a successful South African company, whose flagship product is a wonderful range of natural, organic and eco-friendly soap. Drawing inspiration from the natural world, Mariet and her staff shape every bar into an artistic expression of their talent and creativity.
We are delighted to be working with Mariet and her talented and dedicated staff, and we cannot wait to see what they will come up with in the future.
We caught up with Mariet, who was kind enough to answer a few questions we had.
What were the main challenges you had in starting your company and how did you overcome them?
Wow, it was quite a challenge to start a business from scratch, but I definitely had a head start with the farm in the Free State. The main challenge was to learn the necessary skills to make soap. It was quite a process, and I had to have a lot of patience, but finally, I can say I am there.
I made soap every day, and worked until I had the confidence that was needed to succeed. I definitely had to learn to manage my time, and to plan ahead. Now I don't go to bed without having a to-do list for the following day.
Lastly, a big challenge was getting to a place where Sooth can sustain me and my team. This is still a work in progress, but I would say the best way to overcome this, is to dream big, explore new options and develop new products.
How many people do you currently employ and what are their responsibilities?
On the farm we employ Aaron and Paulos, who work in the fields, ensuring we get the best quality lavender and rosemary plants from which to distill the essential oils. We also have a team of ladies that help us in the distillation process. Sooth would not be where it is today without this fantastic team.
Where do you ideas come from? Do you dream about soap at night?
My soap ideas all came from experimenting until I was happy. So most of my ideas are self made, but Pinterest is also a place to get inspiration. I don't dream about soap every night, but there are definitely nights I do dream about the to-do list for the next day. But I can say dreaming about soap makes you sleep more peacefully - you should try it.