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Who, how and why

Diving for ingredients to make natural soap

Who I am

I LOVE sea swimming with friends and spearfishing with my fiancé. This summer we were at sea with our boy’s lots and started foraging seaweed. I have been using this in my cooking and skincare formulations. I am also interested in fitness and coaching. My other passion is to help motivate people and give them the confidence to enjoy fitness.

Hi. I’m Sophia. I am a mother, maker, fitness coach and chemist. I am creative and find a lot of enjoyment in learning new skills to create functional, beautiful and environmentally friendly items. From knitted jumpers and sourdough to natural soap. I studied chemistry and was awarded my PhD in 2008. I decided academia was not for me and went to work in a laboratory. This was also not for me. I learnt early on that I am a much happier person when I play at work (rather than work at play) and from then on my goal has always been to make money doing the things I enjoy.

I am local to Exeter in Devon. I grew up in the region and dragged my French fiancée to live here. I have travelled a lot but always knew that Devon is home. The sea and moors nearby influence me the most because of the beautiful colours, calmness and wildness. I love the variety! 

Me diving in the sea to look for ingredients for my natural soap

How I make soap

Soap making is something I have been thinking of doing for years but have never managed to find the time to do it. Enter 2020 lockdowns and voila, let’s do this! I now have a range of Salty Soaps inspired by the sea and a range of nourishing shea butter soaps too.

I make my natural soap in St Thomas, Exeter. I have a small separate area next to my kitchen and safe storage for my ingredients. My soaps are made using cold or hot process methods. This is the traditional way of mixing Lye (aka caustic soda or sodium hydroxide) with oils. When these ingredients react it is called saponification! The mixture emulsifies and reaches trace (thick enough to draw a line in) and then you pour it into a mould to set. Once the loaf is set I de-mould it and slice it into bars. These bars are not quite ready to use yet. Depending on the recipe they take 2 to 6 weeks to fully cure and be ready to use. Lye needs to be handled with a lot of care, I recommend going on a course if you’d like to try this out. Did you know that soap making has been around for ages? Babylonians were making soap from fats boiled with ashes (essentially lye) 2800 B.C!

Some hand made natural soap containing carbon

I am a member of The Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers. This means that you can be assured that my soaps are compliant with all the standards that are required. I pH test my soaps before releasing them and have friends test them out and provide feedback.

Why I started Tappermade

My natural soap business is completely independent, 100% mine and therefore like me, totally unique. Tappermade is authentic and represents my chemistry studies and being an environmentally conscious maker. The products I produce evoke the calmness I find while being at sea. I’m excited to be working on some new products and will be broadening my range soon.

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