Produced in and inspired by the countryside of County Clare, we speak with the company's owner about their unique quintessentially Irish beauty range.
Originally from Spain, Raquel Ruido's artisan company The Moher Soap Co. creates a wonderful range of soaps and other luxury products that are inspired by the wild beauty of her hometown Kilshanny, County Clare. A Moher Soap Sample Pack is just one of the wonderful Irish products featured in the newly launched, The IrishCentral Box, available now by subscription.
IrishCentral is delighted to bring you inside The Moher Soap Co and to give The IrishCentral Box subscribers just a little taste of what kind the wonderful products featured in our quarterly boxes.
The Moher Soap Co's origin story
I moved to Ireland from my native Galicia in the mid-2000s.
Heart-wise this was a simple move as I was coming here to be with someone, but the practicalities of earning a living were complicated as this rural part of the world is big on cows and a short tourist season, with little else available for someone like me.
I ended up running a small farm-shop but before long it became clear that I would have to create something for myself so I began to learn how to make soap in my kitchen and accidentally started The Moher Soap Co.
Daily life inside the business
Up until this year, I have had to be everything from Soap Maker to Photographer to Accountant to Delivery Driver, but I have reached the point where I’m clutching onto a tiger’s tail with a loosening grip and I need help!
My husband helps out with some things but also has his own business making surfboards. My workshop is beside our cottage and I try to start the day with production and if that is a batch of 440 bars of soap it will take me through to lunch.
After cleaning up I try to spend a few hours with my kids after they get back from school but often find myself with my head in the computer. Every evening I end up back in the workshop until past midnight picking and packing orders for the following morning. It is a lot, but very rewarding.
The Moher Soap Co's product range
From raw ingredients, I make natural soaps, body scrubs, lip balms, bath salts, and solid moisturizers. These all get combined and packaged in various ways.
What products are popular depends on what time of years it is, with the festive season, Mother’s Day, and so on driving demand. Recently the 320g jars of bath salts are proving very popular, the Burren heather blend most of all. One of the enduringly popular products, though, has to be the wild rose soap bar. We definitely lots of repeat custom on that one!
The creative process and new ideas
Part of the reason I like to do my production in the morning is that my mind is as fresh as it gets. During the methodical practice of creating the soap, I find plenty of periods of headspace where my mind can seize on ideas and work through them.
We live in a wild and beautiful place that can inspire lots of ideas but I also have a strong sense of the type of products that I want to associate with my brand and the way that they are presented to the customer. A lot of the process is the working out of how to make my grand ideas possible at the right price.
My products have been inspired by the beautiful landscape of northwest Clare where I live. The Burren with its secret meadows and hidden flora, the sea cliffs around Doolin, and the magic of the Aran Islands. But most of all, my products are made by hand, my hands, here in Knocknaskeagh at the end of a small road with grass growing up the middle of it.
Working through the COVID pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, I was heavily involved with wholesaling to outlets associated with tourism around Ireland. This was immediately hit in March 2020, before the season even got going – which was a worry but thankfully, in 2019, I had put a lot of effort into my online presence and this area has grown through 2020. This tends to mean more, smaller orders, but orders nonetheless.
Another interesting change has been a growth in one-off large orders of one or two individual products. These have been driven by an increase in subscription box companies and organizations wanting to give their members token-like thank you gifts amid all the disruption.
Mostly, though, the current pandemic situation has forced me to adapt and I am very grateful that my products remain in demand.
For more information on The Moher Soap Co visit www.themohersoapco.com where you'll also find a full list of stockists across Ireland, UK, USA, and Canada.
* Originally published on Oct 30, 2020.