ShipTime Customer Feature
Presenting The Soap Company of Nova Scotia
As the creative force behind The Soap Company of Nova Scotia Ltd., Leigh McFarlane is very proud of the natural soaps, skin care and cleaning products they make that really work and help folks feel content.
The products that Leigh’s team of amazing Soap Pros make are available throughout the Maritimes and central Canada at gift shops, health food and baby stores, Sobeys and three iconic Maritime markets (Stirling’s Fruit Farm, Masstown Market, Noggin’s Corner Farm Market).
Leigh believes every person has a right to feel great in their own skin!
After a lifetime of chronic issues caused by synthetic ingredients and growing up with a dad who was even more afflicted by the same things, Leigh was inspired to create simple, gluten-free, nut-free products that were both unscented (guaranteed!) and scented with essential oils.
Sought out by folks suffering from scent and/or chemical sensitivities, these products make a meaningful difference for those who must avoid scent, synthetics, nuts, gluten and latex reactive ingredients.
Tell us about your business, what does The Soap Company of Nova Scotia Sell/Offer?
My name is Leigh McFarlane and I am founder and CEO of the Soap Company of Nova Scotia Limited.
Here at the Soap Company of Nova Scotia we make soap, skin care, pet and home care products that are so pure and natural, basically we test them on our grandchildren so they’re all grandbaby tested and Nana approved.
Everything is made in small batches by hand and we believe that the energy from our hands is an important connector to the people that use our products.
How does The Soap Company of Nova Scotia help Customers
When I started the company, I was really committed to making things that were pure and natural, that was super important to me because that’s what I needed.
Since having started in 2013, we’ve not only continued to do that but we’ve also eliminated a bunch of ingredients. So now all of our products are made for one group of people – people with scent and/or chemical sensitivities. Which means it’s good for anybody, so all of our products are gluten free, no nuts, no latex allergy reactive ingredients. Those are all things that people were telling us over the years were important to remove from our products
So basically what you are getting from us are products that you can trust to use right from top to bottom on all the products
When did you start using ShipTime?
Well it was when Canada Post went on strike because at that time, we are very very very rural and so Canada Post with our main shipper for all our retail orders and then they went on strike and I was at a loss I did not know what to do.
Somehow, I found out about ShipTime and went and checked it out. Not only was it less expensive to ship through ShipTime but also they came and picked it up!!
So it was like “this is amazing” because I no longer had to drive 20 minutes and make it in time for the guy who was going to be coming to the post office. I could just get the products ready, get them by the door and then the courier could pick them up, so I think it was 2018 when that happened.
What made you choose ShipTime Vs courier direct?
What made us choose ShipTime over going Courier direct was, I actually went to all the couriers and asked what the prices were going to be?
The prices were a lot higher and what’s interesting is that the couriers are coming and picking up the orders for ShipTime but I guess that’s just how the arrangement is made and we end up saving money.
It means that we can offer free shipping to our customers and it’s like this win-win-win so there’s all kinds of products that can go out at less money, less effort on our part, we don’t have to spend as much money in gas or time or greenhouse gasses getting to the post office with stuff.
So that’s all really important and goes to the bottom line of being a good member of the community here.
How has using ShipTime helped The Soap Company of Nova Scotia?
Number one, we like accessibility is like our number-one value for the company so what that means is can you get the product when you want them as inexpensively as possible.
So because we’re using ShipTime we are able to offer free shipping Canada-wide and that allows us to be able to get product out to people and they’re only paying for the product and they aren’t paying for the shipping, and it’s affordable for us to do it.
Number two: it saves time for us because we don’t have to get in the car and drive 20 minutes to the post office in order to get the orders there to ship them out and then drive 20 minutes back
And third, it also saves money, it saves money for our customers because they don’t have to pay for shipping, it saves money for us because we don’t have to pay for the time and the gas to get stuff to the post office so it’s like this “ginormous” win-win-win, it’s just wonderful!
Has ShipTime ever helped you when you were in a crunch or is there one? If So, please elaborate.
When the Canada Post strike happened, and this is when I first found out about ShipTime, I was sitting on 3 weeks worth of orders that I couldn’t send because I knew that they were going to end up sitting in the back of a truck somewhere in a parking lot.
I just didn’t want to do that to my customer’s orders, so that was when we started using ShipTime. You guys got the orders flowing again and I have never really looked back at all since then.
The second time that it helped us when we were in a crunch was right now, we had a ginormous fire in November of last year and our entire operation and my home burned to the ground.
ShipTime is helping us right now to help us spread the word about our company. I think that is a pretty awesome collaborative way to be as well, so THANKS!
What does having a Heroic Support Team available from ShipTime mean to your business?
It takes a lot to build a team and when you can add to that team by having someone like the Heroric Support members of the ShipTime team that’s just this win win.
Having access to these folks at ShipTime means that we don’t have to have a person sitting here at a desk for those things, we can pick up the phone and call or we can get on chat and get the help we need in order to get orders out to our customers.
There are times when you need to get help with your business and being able to call in to ShipTime and be able to track an order for somebody is really helpful.
Here in Nova Scotia there are a lot of rural places that products get shipped to and in one area here on the Eastern Shore where we’re located, for a period of time when there was a real back up.
I think it was when the pandemic started we were having problems with people getting their orders.
The folks at ShipTime, we sent I think three or four different tickets and they stayed on it. They talked with us, they kept emailing us and kept us in touch and kept us in the loop until those orders were found.
That was invaluable because it was totally out of our control, there was nothing we could do about it and we needed their help because they had access to the people that could find out where the parcels were and ultimately they were delivered. That was great.
What are your future goals for The Soap Company of Nova Scotia?
So, here in Guysborough County, we’re located on the beautiful Eastern Shore is like the most rural part of Nova Scotia and we’ve had historically the biggest out migration of our young people to go work elsewhere. The oldest population and the poorest household income.
So when I started this company in 2013 my goal was to reverse all three of those trends by creating at least 10 meaningful full-time jobs here in Nova Scotia, on the eastern shore.
We are already at three full-time and three part-time people and the goal is to achieve that by 2023, we are on our way and it takes partners like ShipTime working with us to give us the economy of scale that we need to be able to achieve those goals.
Tell us about the fire that devastated your business and how you got back on your feet?
On November 22nd of last year we had 31 orders all packed and ready to go, shipping labels were going to be ordered the next day for them to go through ShipTime.
It was the lead up to Christmas, we had 5 weeks left of the year, everybody who is a producer knows that that’s an important time of the year.
Making soap creates a lot of laundry, so I had gone to switch the laundry around and to make a long story short the washing machine was on fire.
We were located right on the edge of the ocean and it was a night when there was a real weather bomb coming through so there was no precipitation, there was a lot of wind really strong winds.
The entire structure including our full business operation and my home burned to the ground entirely. It was surreal watching that happen, seeing the flames going up in the air, thankfully nobody was hurt, none of the firefighters were hurt, the propane tanks did not explode.
It meant that immediately, number one there was never an option that we weren’t going to keep going, we got together the next morning at 9AM with clipboards and pens, likely still in shock I’m sure!
We just started making list of what all the things that we needed to do and I’m very happy to say that now at the beginning of our 10th week we’ve got about 50 or 60 orders that already are ready to go out from our “Rise Up” collection and more to go tomorrow amd later on this week and they’ve got their labels on them and we’re back!
Getting back on our feet so fast, well number 1, we knew that we had to, because there were people that needed our products and were relying on them. It was really important.
That week I had planned a meeting in St John, New Brunswick, I said to Anne as the house was burning I said “Obviously I’m not going to New Brunswick” and she said “No – now is when you need to go to New Brunswick”
My phone had burned in the fire and all our Electronics everything, so it meant that I was completely out of touch, which was really good so I can kind of stay in my head.
While I was gone, Anne had put together what we call the ‘Rise Up Collection”, it was basically all of the things that we could make that required the least equipment and the least amount of ingredients to do.
Within two weeks the community just wrapped us up in this great big hug. It was unbelievable. We had offers of spaces to work in and then eventually within 2 weeks we had started up in the old fire hall in Sherbrooke in a garage bay making soap right back to the way it had been before at the beginning.
So that we had soap curing, which is really important is that then gave us the confidence that we would be able to ship in January because soap needs time to cure and today as I speak right now the last two products that need to be made to meet the order to the “Rise Up Collection” are being made, those are a deodorant and a bum balm, so they will be made and shipped right away.
A couple of weeks ago we moved into this space where I am now we’re now in a 4,000 square-foot former factory using 1/3 of a 12,000 square-foot space and we’re here for at least 1 year and this is where we can fully reestablish.
The community helped hugely and we just dug in and got to work!