Natural, handmade soaps for healthier skin Lucinda Layton, owner of Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps & Gifts in Co. Laois, is the mother of two children who have sensitive skin. Being a ‘chronic itcher’ herself, Lucinda recognised that there was a gap in the market for high quality skincare products that are kind to your skin.
The Rose & Alice range is made from only the best organic and all natural ingredients and without the chemicals and irritants found in mass-market soaps. Following extensive trials and research, Lucinda has created a wonderful collection of products that smell great, and are wholesome and healthy for skin.
Having run a busy real estate company in Silicon Valley, Lucinda moved with her family to Ireland seeking a better quality of life. It wasn’t long before she sought the challenge of starting another new business.
Rose & Alice was launched in April 2015, and by September of that year Lucinda’s products could be found in markets and fairs throughout Ireland. Lucinda was surprised at how well her products were received.
“I was doing so many markets and events, building up momentum weekend after weekend”. Phenomenal demand meant that this Christmas has been Lucinda’s busiest ever.
Feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. “Customers contact me, saying that their skin is softer, less prone to irritation, and that they’re using creams and lotions a lot less. I am delighted how quickly our customers discovered the difference that a fully natural product can make”. Rose & Alice products have proven especially popular with mothers whose children suffer from eczema, as Lucinda’s soaps don’t cause the same irritation that normal soaps can.
Showcase 2016 VIDEO
The 2016 Showcase tradeshow was Lucinda's first big break. Rose & Alice took part in Showcase as part of the Local Enterprise Boards' Enterprise Zone. Lucinda's expectations were set modestly low, maybe an order or two and some leads from the show.
"As I was preparing for the show, a friend advised me to get my products barcoded. I got on the phone to GS1 Ireland and they talked me through barcoding, explaining it in a way that made sense to someone with no retail experience, like me." Soon enough, Lucinda had her products barcoded and ready to show to buyers at the trade show.
Two days before the event, Lucinda and her husband Brian went up to RDS to paint their stall. "We walked into the main showroom and we saw major Irish retailers setting up their stalls, and there was me with my bucket of yellow paint! I was absolutely paralyzed with fear. All I could think of was that I was in way over my head and I needed to get the heck out of there, fast." By the time Lucinda got upstairs to her stall, she could barely breath. She was terrified that she was going to look like a real amateur next to all of these companies who seemed to know what they were doing. "I thought my best option was to fake a serious illness and call the organiser to say I was too ill and wouldn’t be able to exhibit, ... and I was really going to do it. See how damaging a moment of self-doubt can be?" Thankfully, Lucinda's husband, Brian, reassured her. “Don’t be an eejit. Come on, help me paint.” So Lucinda cried as she painted her stand walls and got over the fear.
"The show started on Sunday and I was back in the mindset that I WAS going to finish the show with an order." Sunday was the slowest day in the tradeshow, so Lucinda used the day to practice her pitch, collect leads and watch how buyers reacted to her products. But, by the end of the day, she had an order. She called Brian to tell him the good news and reset her goal for the show. Now she was aiming for five orders.
Monday was crazy. Rose & Alice was swamped with buyers from large and small companies. Lucinda engaged every single buyer that walked by the stall. The days flew by in a flurry of activity. By the end of the show, Rose & Alice had nearly 20 orders. "When I was approached by any retailer of any significance, the first thing they did was flip the box over. They’d say “ah good, you’ve already got your product barcoded”. Those boxes were flipped over every trade show, again and again. Many of the buyers that we got orders from wouldn’t have even consider us, if our products hadn’t been barcoded."
New Retail Ready Packaging
Following her success at Showcase, Lucinda’s business has developed at a blistering pace, and shows no sign of slowing down. “The focus for 2016 was on expanding the business into retail which has been an enormous success”. Lucinda’s ambitions include extending domestic listings for her products, in addition to finding interested retailers abroad. Fortunately, GS1 barcodes are accepted in any country, so you may find Rose & Alice products on shelves all over the world before the year is out! #showcase2017
You can order Rose & Alice products online from Lucinda’s website at http://www.roseandalice.com/or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoseAndAliceHandcraftedSoapsAndGifts