Introduction to company:
I can’t remember how I first heard about Sudsatorium. I think it was on twitter. But as soon as I learned about them I was immediately intrigued. It’s not often that you find a Canadian company that makes fair trade, vegan, organic and cruelty free products! Every box on my list got checked off and then I learned that they also donate 5% of proceeds to grassroots charities. Wow! I really admire their ethics. Most recently I saw Sudsatorium at the Green Living Show where I bought a bunch of their soaps. I’ve also tried their conditioners, which I love! Lucky me, Olive agreed to let me interview her for the blog. I hope you enjoy this interview!
How did Sudsatorium come to be? Was it something you had always wanted to do or something you fell into?
Sudsatorium is a passion project that started out of necessity. When diagnosed with a series of adult-onset restrictive allergies in my mid-teens, life suddenly became a struggle. I came to the realization that not only did I have to reassess what I was putting in my body, but also everything I was putting on my body as well, so I began crafting natural beauty products out of my kitchen purely for myself.
How did your education in the world of natural beauty products start?
We like to think of our education in natural beauty as more of a crash course, spurred on by necessity, immersing ourselves entirely into the process and learning as we went. Keep in mind that it took well over a decade before we ever even thought about turning what we were doing into a professional endeavour, so we’ve all had plenty of time over the years to fill in the knowledge gaps through traditional schooling; because curiosity and pluckiness could only get us so far!
Was it difficult to find the quality of ingredients you wanted for your products?
We’ve always been strongly committed to ethical sourcing, which for us means seeking out organic – and ideally – fairly traded raw materials whenever possible. We’ve been lucky enough to have plenty of help from various fair trade organizations who’ve helped connect us with the right people around the world. It is all about fostering positive relationships with the farmers and workers who are responsible for growing, harvesting, distilling and all the other arduous work that goes into producing the brilliant ingredients that make Sudsatorium what it is.
What products do you personally use besides the ones you make?
By far and away, aloe. We have potted aloe vera plants all over our shop kitchen, to have on hand to quell the flames of sunburn, moisturize dry bits and pieces (especially our hands which are constantly taking a beating), take care of untimely blemishes, whatever the case be. We’ve even been known to nibble on a leaf after meals to help keep tummy troubles at bay! LOVE IT.
What one ingredient or product would you never, ever use and why?
‘Fragrance’ which isn’t really one ingredient, but complex mixtures of dozens of chemicals, none of which are required by law to be listed amongst the ingredients. We read a recent study by Environmental Defence saying that laboratory analysis of top-selling colognes and perfumes identified an average of 14 chemicals per product not listed on the label, including multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or interfere with hormone function. No thanks.
Where do you hope to see Sudsatorium in the future?
Hopefully (fingers crossed) continuing to do what we love, right here in Toronto, our home and constant source of inspiration. If we stay true to our principles and keep doing everything with passion, we’re confident that we’ll find ourselves in a good place.
My thanks to Olive Pendergraph and John Luther of Sudsatorium for taking time out of their busy schedule to answer these questions. To stay in contact with Sudsatorium you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! If you live in Toronto they will be at the Bellwoods Flea, Leslieville Flea and Annex Flea this spring/summer!