Seeing her business expand to the point where her products now are available in a major grocery store is a dream come true for Leigh McFarlane.
But The Soap Company of Nova Scotia Ltd. would not have reached the level of success required to make that leap without early support of Truro-area customers, the Eastern Shore woman said.
“Truro was super important in building our business because we spent quite a bit of time at the Truro Farmers’ Market in our early years,” she said.
McFarlane recently secured a partnership with Sobeys that enables her to place her collection of specialty soaps, shaves and shampoos on the shelves of 23 stores across the province.
“Without our experience here in Truro we couldn’t have gotten to where we are, so it’s pretty important,” she said.
Although her business is located in Cherry Hill, McFarlane said she gained great local support in this area when she started coming to the Truro Farmers’ Market in 2014.
“Without Truro, well number one, our deodorant wouldn’t have been created because it was one of our customers at the Truro Farmers’ Market that kept asking us to make one,” she said.
When McFarlane told the woman she couldn’t get her deodorant to work in a dispenser, the woman responded with a suggestion that turned out to be a workable solution.
“She just looked at me and said, ‘put it in a jar.’ So now our deodorant is sold far and wide.”
Another important connection to the Truro area, McFarlane said, is her annual participation in the Festive Craft Market at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill.
That is one of the first craft shows they participated in, she said, and she continues to learn and gain experience at each event.
“And that is one of our absolute favourite shows of the year,” she said. “It’s just a great joy for us to be able to come and do that show.”
The company’s natural products, which also include bath and foot soaks, are handcrafted in small batches at the company's studio in Cherry Hill.
The deal with Sobeys resulted in McFarlane’s largest sales order since the business was launched five years ago and required several weeks of “full-on production, packaging and delivery activities” to complete.
“I can’t thank the kind people at Sobeys enough for helping me understand what was required to be a supplier partner and welcoming me into their community.”
McFarlane said she has developed products with a goal of one day being able to display them on Sobeys’ shelves. And after recently securing the deal with the grocery retailer, she is looking forward to sharing in that success.
“Building a business from scratch and experiencing it scale at this rate is an incredible feeling,” she said. “My mission is to create 10 meaningful, full-time jobs on the Eastern Shore.”
But McFarlane added she wants to have a greater overall impact by creating jobs in other parts of Atlantic Canada.
The company’s products are available in the Truro area at Ohealthy Market, Alderberry Village, Enchanted Forest and Masstown Market.
“So, there’s really awesome representation of our products here,” McFarlane said.
More information on the company and a full lineup of its products can be found online at: https://soapnovascotia.com/pages/our-story .