Lockdown’s soap-making hobby turns into a business

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Left to right, Xime Carrillo, Nicky Freeman and Karen Blanchfield launch the new Severn Soaps charcoal range at The Engine House

Karen Blanchfield, mother of three, who lives near Stourport, and her friend, mother of two, Xime Carillo, 47, officially launched their latest products at Engine House in Highley.

Karen said: “We attended a soap making workshop in 2019 and then the pandemic hit and what started as a hobby turned into a business.

“Initially we sold to neighbors and friends, but in April last year we decided to make it a business.

“We only use natural ingredients and for the soaps placed in the Severn Valley Railway stores we have used cosmetic charcoal so as not to replace the charcoal used in the locomotive hearths on the line and red clay representing the red rock around Highley. .

“One bar contains rosemary and the other contains lavender.

“The soaps are also made using Droitwich salt as an added ingredient which pairs perfectly with the charcoal.

“We are delighted that the Severn Valley has chosen us to produce these special soaps and it was wonderful to officially launch them at Highley.

“Severn Valley approached us to make the two bespoke soaps using charcoal to help with their selection of souvenirs across their three stores.”

Michael Dunn, Head of Visitor Experience at the Railway, said: “We are delighted to be working with Severn Soaps on these new products and on our soap making workshop in July.

“It is important for us to work with and support local businesses, especially after the effects of the pandemic.

“We are keen to use sustainable local produce in all of our stores and outlets and expect more of these partnerships to appear across the Severn Valley Railway.”

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