Laois Chamber CEO Caroline Hofman caught up with Samantha Moloney Murphy, one half of S&S Soap Sisters.
The business was founded during the pandemic in 2020 by Samantha and her sister Sinéad Moloney.
The sisters recently opened their new store at 82 Main Street, Portlaoise.
Tell us a bit about S&S Soap Sisters and how you came up with the idea for your business?
My sister Sinéad and I are originally from Cashel but we now live in Laois and love it here. Around the start of the pandemic in 2020, we couldn’t find any vegan, paraben-free soap to buy.
We identified a gap in the market and I had lost my job as a result of the pandemic, so together we built up our business.
We began by selling our handmade products to friends and family, and then started selling wholesale. We then sold our products at markets such as SOLAS in Portarlington and in Breslin’s Pharmacy in Parkside, Portlaoise.
We were also delighted to start supplying the self-care packs for the Abbeyleix Manor’s Girlie Getaway package, and we continue to supply these packs.
What kind of products do you stock in store and where do you make them?
All of our products are organic and handmade in my kitchen at the moment! But we are hoping to start making them here in our new store.
Our range currently includes body scrubs, bath milk which is really good for eczema, pillow mists, bath salts and bath bombs and lip balms, reed diffusers, soy wax melts, soy wax candles, sumptuous soap bars and pillow mists. We also stock organic dried seaweed from Co. Clare which is really popular!
What made you choose on Portlaoise and this particular location?
The shop front really appealed to us with the large, bright windows, and it was exactly the type of place we were after.
We heard about the Vacant Commercial Property Incentive Scheme and we couldn’t have opened our store without this scheme.
We have availed of a number of supports and grants available to us which have been a huge help, including the Shop Front Grant Improvement and Accessibility Scheme, Façade Enhancement scheme, Shop Fit Out Grant, and HR advice session with Iridium HR.
What has been your proudest moment with S&S Soap Sisters?
We really have had so many milestones since we started our business in 2020.
Being on the Elaine Show on Virgin Media One during the pandemic was certainly a major highlight, but every magazine we have featured in and every new stockist that has come on board has been a milestone.
Opening our new store is definitely our biggest and proudest moment to-date though!
What are your plans for the future now that you have opened your very first store?
We’re really looking forward to hosting candle making workshops for adults and bath bomb workshops for children in-store in the future.
We also have plans to update our website with lots of new products that will be added to our range. We will also be creating a click and collect option – So watch this space for lots of exciting developments!
S&S Soap Sisters is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday, at 82 Main Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.
Visit www.sssoapsisters.com to view their full product range online, or check out Facebook and Instagram: @sssoapsisters
If you are interested in availing of the Vacant Commercial Property Incentive Scheme, please contact Denise Rainey, Business Support Unit Laois County Council on 057 8664103, visit www.laois.ie, or contact Laois Chamber on 085 2566522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Are you a Laois property owner or leasee of residential/commercial premises? Laois County Council invites you to improve and paint the exterior of your properties, with funding to help you improve the attractiveness and tourism potential of Portlaoise Town. Find out more here: https://bit.ly/PLaoiseFacade
- A fantastic opportunity with the National Connected Hubs Voucher Scheme, a new initiative making remote working even more accessible! Under the National Connected Hubs Voucher Scheme you will receive 3 free days of hub use per person. Register here: https://connectedhubs.ie
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What’s Coming Up?
- Laois Chamber’s June Networking Event will be taking place on Thursday, 30th June from 8.30am to 9.30am in Solas, Eco Garden Shop in Portarlington. Meet with David Maher from Solas and network with fellow Laois businesses over tea and coffee.
All welcome to attend but registration essential. Please e-mail email@example.com to register.
- Need to start planning your Christmas marketing campaigns for 2022? Get the skills, tools and knowledge to develop digital marketing campaigns for the next 6 months and understand how to achieve a higher return. Join Local Enterprise Office Laois’ FREE workshop on July 12th from 10am to 12.30pm. Book your place here: https://bit.ly/LaoisDMJul
- Save the date! The Inaugural Laois Business Awards will be taking place on Friday, 4th November 2022 in The Heritage, Killenard, celebrating Laois business with a gala awards ceremony and dinner. Nominations open in July, with more information on ticketing in the coming weeks.