MEET STEVI LOWMASS THE FOUNDER OF THE CAMEL SOAP FACTORY
By The Beauty Hub | October 10th, 2016 | Editors Pick,Interviews,News
Tucked away in the industrial area of Al Quoz lives The Camel Soap Factory, Dubai’s very own manufacturer of hand-made soaps using camel milk, olive oil and natural butters.
Named Sustainable Business of the Year at the 2015 Gulf Capital SME Awards, an accolade bestowed on an organization that can best demonstrate on how it positively impacts local society, the environment or the economy, you can instantly tell why Stevi Lowmass, the Founder of The Camel Soap Factory and her team come out tops.
Their soap is handmade by century’s old, traditional processes using only natural and pure ingredients. This slow method of soap production takes around 5-6 weeks to cure after being poured into the moulds and hand cut. Once the curing process is complete, the soaps are individually hand stamped, ready to be hand packaged and shipped to their final destination.
Behind this little gem is a warm and welcoming work environment with a wonderful team of people that put all their love, care and attention into creating, packaging, distributing and selling their beautiful handmade soaps.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with Stevi to find out more about her sustainable award winning business and take a tour around her factory to learn more about the soap making process.
What made you come up with the idea of incorporating camel milk into your soaps?
There is a reason why Cleopatra used to bathe in milk. It kept her skin soft and beautiful. So after researching the benefits of camel’s milk I found my USP. It was always very important from the onset to incorporate a piece of Dubai into our brand, and camels are a key part of the UAE’s heritage.
How did you determine the addressable market for your business?
I would attend small markets in and around Dubai to sell my camel milk soaps mainly to tourists and as gifts to the local market. Initially I signed up to sell at two markets but the feedback and response from consumers from the first market was so overwhelming that I sold out and had to cancel the 2nd market as I did not have any soaps left to sell.
How many bars of soap is your factory able to manufacturer per month?
Over the course of an average period we manufacture 15000-20000 per month. During our peak period we have manufactured 25000-30000. We are able to reach 40000 per month at our current capacity.
When sourcing your ingredients sustainably do you turn to local providers or do you have to source internationally?
70% of our ingredients are sourced locally however the olive oil is sourced internationally, the essential oils are sourced in the UK and our moulds in Wales. The milk we use comes from Dubai’s own camel milk plant, Camelicious.
How much camel milk do you use for a batch of soap?
We measure volume to oil so 25%-33% is used per batch depending on which range we are making that day.
Has your team been trained locally or internationally in the soap making process?
I was trained internationally with Melinda Coss and my staff are training locally under my supervision.
Who has been the biggest consumer of your product in the GCC?
Tourists makeup 60%, then followed by local consumers which makeup 30% and 10% we export.
Who is your biggest export market and why?
China is currently our biggest export market. They actually have a long history of using camel milk.
Describe your average day?
Every day is a learning curve for me and my staff. We start off the day with a morning meeting. Then my main focus is on lean manufacturing principles, quality control, production and efficiency.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
My work life balance has become a lot easier to manage and that is purely because I have the right team of people around me whom I trust.
And finally where do you see the Camel Soap Factory in the next five years?
I want to go global. We are continuously developing our soap ranges and introducing new products. Two of our newest additions is a Camel Milk Face Cream infused with Omani Frankincense and a baby soap range made with almond, coconut and castor oil. We are also looking to expand further into contract manufacturing.
To find out more about The Camel Soap Factory, book a tour of their facility or shop any of their hand made soaps visit www.thecamelsoapfactory.com.
The Beauty Hub is an online news and information platform covering the beauty industry in the Middle East.