Recently, it was #StudentVolunteeringWeek! Meet our volunteer superstars that worked with us last summer.
We have had volunteers going back to 2015 and they have had such a huge impact here at The Soap Co., and we are extremely grateful for this. Our mission is to build people’s skills and confidence in the workplace from all walks of life.
Camilla Marcus-Dew, the founder of The Soap Co. is incredibly passionate about our volunteer programme.
“Our volunteer programme is a super important part of what we do here at The Soap Co. It’s twofold for us, firstly we love to get new energy and ideas into our organisation to help us become a market leader in the beauty industry – and ultimately this allows us to grow and employ more people with disabilities. Secondly, we see our position as quite unique as it ties back into our mission to help people build their skills and confidence in the workforce.”
Volunteers here at The Soap Co. always say that they have had a great experience, and we would like you to meet two of our volunteers that were with us in the summer of 2017.
Sam, a 3rd year Chemistry undergraduate at Imperial College London volunteered at The Soap Co. as New Product Development Coordinator and thoroughly enjoyed his time at The Soap Co. as it was a new experience and thought it was "a much better and meaningful way of spending his summer than sitting at home on the sofa".
I started off by building up a profile of key ingredients the company was using, explaining them in a way which was more understandable to the layman. I then moved on to helping finalise all technical documentation for the eco bee-friendly range ready for its launch, identifying the key benefits of each ingredient and making sure we had all the required technical files.
By the end of my time, I started the groundwork for a new body oil project, while simultaneously leading an effort to source new gift box packaging. Aside from the main projects, I helped wherever needed in numerous general design, marketing, operational, lab and product development tasks.
I think the skills I learned were not so much technical, but more general in the context of working with a team, which are applicable in any commercial situation. For example, being the primary worker on a project with dependencies on a network of colleagues requires interpersonal management skills. Forming relationships with suppliers is another example of a skill which is fully transferable to any business situation.
The best part was having the opportunity to meet so many new people. It was very refreshing to get outside the university bubble and get to know people from many different backgrounds with their own unique outlook on life.
Nana, also a 3rd year undergraduate Chemistry student at Imperial College London, volunteered during the summer as a Lab Assistant and helped us create a more sustainable eco hand wash by looking into alternative antibacterial ingredients.
The role I had taken on within the Social Enterprise involved working as a lab assistant and conducting desk-based research. My research was focused on finding an alternative to an antibacterial agent that is used in some of The Soap Co. hand washes. Although there are various types of antibacterial agents, finding an alternative was slightly more difficult than expected. This is due to the sensitivity of the formulations currently used to make the hand wash, any slight changes could completely alter the stability of the product. With the looming deadline for the release of the new product line hanging above us, we were constantly creating, reformulating and improving the products to provide our customers with the best all-natural products that are amazing for your skin and environmentally friendly at the same time.
Through this experience, I have realised that when it comes to cosmetics, a lot of the work done is mostly trial and error. For example, say, you had a viscosity issue when it came to your products, you would conduct some research or call a chemical supplier to obtain a chemical that might solve the issue and would make a sample of your desired product with the acquired chemical at a recommended concentration. If this works, you’ve solved your viscosity issue. If not, you would adjust the concentrations of the additional chemical or find another alternative. Such circumstances truly do try your patience, and at times you feel like forgetting about the product and moving on to the next one, but nothing can beat the satisfaction you feel when you persevere and fix the issue.
I enjoyed making eco-friendly and vegan products that are great for your skin and the fact that I am supporting employment for the disadvantaged makes it all the worthwhile.
Sam and Nana were involved in developing our new eco range and started getting the ground running for the newly launched bath and body oil ranges. They are 100% natural, vegan and bee friendly, created in small batches, and we are very proud of them.
Thank you, Sam and Nana! And a very big thank you to all of our volunteers since 2015, we are so grateful to have had you on board and we wish you the very best for the future!
By Aleasha Vekaria
[Update: position closed]
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