The heady scent of success for Cher’ree
Cher’ree Lambert’s business, The Soap Box, started as a way to decompress.
She loved working as a 911 dispatcher, but found it stressful, at times.
“The doctor said you need to find something that will bring you right down to relaxation mode, so that there is no thought process having to go into it,” Ms Lambert said. “The doctor said whatever I did, didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to alleviate some of the adrenalin.”
At first she was a little unsure what she wanted to do.
“I read and I walked and I took care of my three children,” Ms Lambert said.
But then she thought about how she always admired the organic soaps she saw in high end grocery stores in the United States.
“I thought maybe I could try that out,” she said. “I looked over the web, Pinterest and all sorts of other things and found a YouTube about it. I thought okay, I think I can do this.”
The first soap she made with her daughter Shaun’s help, was a honey and cinnamon soap.
“It came out fabulous,” she said. “I could not believe it. Then my significant other, Antoine Sealey, said, you really like this? Let’s put some money into it and see what we come out with.”
For the first six months she made soap and gave it away to friends and family. Then, one of her testers put his foot down.
“He said to my better half, tell her there is no more freebies with this soap,” she said. “It is time for her to start selling this soap.”
The tester said he had bought a lot of homemade and organic soap, and hers was the first he bought that lathered up.
The Soap Box was born.
In the four years since, the business has grown and grown. Ms Lambert now offers soap, bath salts, body butters and other bath products in more than 20 scents.
Popular scents include oatmeal, milk and honey, lemon grass, Northshore Vibes and blackberry swirl.
Her products are now available at Lindo’s Market & Pharmacy in Devonshire and the delivery app Hook.
“Lindo’s is our first retail outlet,” Ms Lambert said. “We started selling there four weeks ago.”
She said it took a little while for word to get out that her products were on sale at the supermarket, but once it did, they flew off the shelves.
“That has been awesome,” she said.
She has a loyal fanbase. Some customers faithfully buy soap from her every six weeks. Some have fragrances they stick to, while others like her ‘ten box’ offering ten soaps in a variety of scents.
“I have one customer whose sons won’t use any other soap any more,” she said. “That customer makes sure she calls me prior to her running out. It gives me lead time to get it to her.
“The soaps come like loaves of bread because of the way they are moulded when they are setting,” she said. “You get about ten to 11 bars of soap out of that mould. One customer buys the entire loaf.”
For Ms Lambert said, making soap was just what the doctor ordered.
“It is still relaxing,” she said. “I don’t feel bothered by it at all. And it is ever changing. You can do whatever you want with it. If I don’t feel like doing this one today, I can do a different one. If I feel like trying something new, I can. And I get excited about it.”
Ms Lambert makes the soaps on her days off, and during her vacations, if she does not go abroad.
When the pandemic started a year ago, she was unable to work due to a compromised immune system.
Stuck at home, she churned out soaps and then started making candles. When the lockdown lifted in May she was able to offer kerbside pick-up.
However, shipping was so disrupted after the lockdown she struggled to get some of the supplies needed to make the soap. Things are back to normal now.
So far, she is pleased with the progress The Soap Box has made.
“For someone who doesn’t have a storefront or elaborate advertising, we are doing pretty good,” she said. “We also do favours for parties and weddings. Whatever you want, we try to accommodate.”
She works hard to keep her costs down and sells her soap for $6 a bar.
For more information see www.thesoapboxbda.com or Facebook and Instagram @soapboxbda, call 535-0093 to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org