Born in a kitchen, The Australian Natural Soap Company is now a multimillion-dollar business

Karen Pham

Karen Pham

Australian Natural Soap Company

When Melburnian Emma Cook started handmaking soaps in her kitchen back in 2013, it is unlikely she envisaged her passion would become a multimillion-dollar business – The Australian Natural Soap Company.

Cook was one of the first in the market to create solid bar versions of shampoo, conditioner and skincare beauty products. After three years of selling products at the South Melbourne Market, Cook yielded to constant requests from wholesalers to take the products on. “By 2019 our wholesale business began to rival our direct sales.”

In 2020, the company secured a $104,000 Manufacturing Modernisation Grant to upscale all manufacturing facilities, allowing it to boost production four-fold – to 40 tonnes of solid and liquid soap a week nowadays.

At the end of 2021, Cook decided to shut the company’s market shop and focus on online and wholesale. 

Meanwhile, while the company operates from two manufacturing plants in Melbourne, it continues to make each product by hand.

The Australian Natural Soap Company describes itself as a naturally-formulated personal care brand, using premium natural ingredients and unique oils, sourcing 95 per cent of its ingredients from fellow Australian businesses.

The company says its soaps are biodegradable because they do not use petrochemicals, palm oil or animal fats, like most commercial soaps.

From such modest beginnings, the company has turned over more than $3.7 million during the past three years and expanded its stockists to more than 500, including Myer, Nourished Life, Go Vita, and Flora and Fauna, as well as online.

Cook says while The Australian Natural Soap Company “makes great soap” the key to its success is natural Australian ingredients and their ability to improve skin health.

Those natural ingredients the company sources locally uses include:

●      Olive Oil sourced from local Aussie farmers.

●      Eucalyptus sourced from Tassie foliage forests.

●      Fresh Peppermint, sourced from the Yorta Yorta lands by the banks of the Murray River.

●      Lemon Myrtle thoughtfully gathered from Dainggatti, Gumbainnggir and Bundjalung lands.

●      Real hand-picked Lavender from Tasmanian vistas.

Born in a kitchen, The Australian Natural Soap Company is now a multimillion-dollar business
Born in a kitchen, The Australian Natural Soap Company is now a multimillion-dollar business

The company has just revamped itself, introducing a new logo, packaging, website, new products –including popular ingredients Geranium and Patchouli – and a new skincare range that naturally detoxifies and cleanses the face and body.

“As we approach 10 years as a national brand, we are looking at the next decade, and our new branding is the first glimpse into that,” said Cook.

“It’s a beautiful translation of our brand’s evolution and our purpose. The new logo shares a map of Australia using bubbles and leaves. An acknowledgment to the diversity of the Australian landscape and the ingredients we use – the green and blue of subtropical rainforests, the orange of the desert, the blue of the ocean.”

The Australian Natural Soap Company has also committed to achieving zero plastic in its packaging. As a result, the brand has saved more than 1.3 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.

Karen Pham

Karen Pham

Karen Pham is a marketing and branding enthusiast with a major in legal English. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, she is a contributor to Viable.Earth.