It was a three and half hours journey as we set off at the crack of dawn last Saturday from Canberra to the Llandilo in New South Wales where the House of de Carteret was situated.
Elsa Robyn who owns the House of de Carteret is the proud soap-maker of the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap. The House of de Carteret produces, distributes and retails a wide range of natural handmade soaps for both pets and humans under various brand labels locally and internationally. The “Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap” is one of the labels owned by the House of de Carteret.
Hailed from a long line of traditional French soap-makers dating back to the late 1800s, Elsa relies on ancestral recipes in the era before chemicals were used to make 100% natural soaps for both animals and humans. Her business is founded on the holistic philosophy that the use of natural and essential oils will heal most skin allergies naturally.
We arrived at 9.30am and were warmly greeted by Elsa in her soap farm. After having a quick tour around the house, we went straight to her work area where we were greeted by the fragrant aromas of essential oils and trays and trays of freshly made soaps.
Elsa’s great- great grandmother had an olive farm in France and traditionally made soaps from 100% pure olive oil. She grew up in Australia making soaps with her mother and grandmother as a way of life. A serious psoriasis sufferer, she could never use any commercial soaps, including hypo-allergenic ones and also cosmetic products. Everything she used on her sensitive skin had to be 100% natural and chemical-free, with no artificial brighteners, perfumes, dyes or lathering agents.
After persistent requests by friends and acquaintances that have benefitted from her handmade soaps plus the unfortunate family event where her husband suffered a heart attack that resulted in the loss of their truck business and family properties, Elsa began making soaps as a business under the old family name of de Carteret in 2008. Her passion and dedication in hand-making her soaps using the highest quality ingredients combined with her self-belief have enabled her to become a full-time soap-maker as her a new means of making a living to rebuild her family’s life. The House of de Carteret has since garnered a loyal customer following in the local markets scene spanning from New South Wales to Queensland amongst individual pet owners, dog rescue groups, farmers, dog and horse show rings. For testimonials of the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap from the soap-maker’s customers, please click here.
Without further ado, here’s a sneak peek of my visit to the House of de Carteret below:
Meet Elsa, the soap-maker of the House of de Carteret and myself. We went straight down to business on our much anticipated meeting exchanging ideas on how we could take her awesome soaps to an international level. We discussed at great length the business plan, target markets, marketing strategy and new packaging ideas.
Being a professional soap-maker is not only a full time job but involves one’s utmost passion and dedication in the art of soap-making. This is Elsa’s work area where her soaps are handmade from Mondays to Fridays on a disciplined schedule to make sure she never runs out of stock. This humble work shed can produce an average of 500 bars of soaps a day. Using a precise formula to make her soaps by blending her natural oils and essential oils together, the soap-making process requires the ingredients to be mixed and heated at the right temperature before allowing them to cool down. Elsa hand makes all her soaps and uses all natural ingredients from oils, essential oils to waxes in its production. It uses a gentle, natural formulation where the soaps contain no artificial brighteners, hardeners, lathering agents, dyes, phosphates or animal fats. At mid-week and on most weekends of the year, Elsa travels around the New South Wales region to sell her soaps at the local markets and fairs. The House of de Carteret consistently aims to provide only the best quality soaps and skincare products at affordable prices.
This is Elsa’s packaging and labelling work station. Each bar of soap produced by the House of de Carteret is done the traditional way with much tender, loving and care. The entire process is made in-house where Elsa hand makes her soaps, hand cuts the soaps to individual bars and hand packages each bar of soap before they are ready for sale. As machines are not used, the production process leaves minimal carbon foot-print. The House of de Carteret aims to be a socially responsible business, which The Man’s Best Friend Animal Soap is proud to be an exclusive international and local distributor.
This is the current simple packaging for the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Dog Soap for the local Australian market. This soap is Australian handmade and 100% chemical-free. The secret recipe uses a precise blend of nine natural and essential oils that was handed down by an old Australian country vet to the de Carteret family in the early 1900s before chemicals were used. Suitable for all pets with dermatitis problems like paw licking, itching, flaking, sores and ulcers, as well as pets with arthritis and gout to improve blood circulation. The essential oils also helps to ward off fleas, ticks and botflies naturally. The Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap will leave your pets with a smooth and shiny coat. Because it doesn’t have caustic chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in its production, you can also be assured that cleaning after your pet doesn’t leave you with a mess of hard-to-clean-off soap scums in your own shower or bathtub.
We were experimenting with packaging ideas for the international market using bio-degradable material. After speaking to a number of prospective retailers in the international market, we have decided to improve on the packaging of the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap, whilst retaining the integrity of our joint business philosophies of being socially responsible to the environment. We will be using only bio-degradable packaging material and will try to keep the packaging simple to minimise any further impact on the environment. This was all we had for paper in the office. We were working on a more rustic, old fashioned look. This is NOT it. Stay posted for THE new design:)
This is where we think we should position the back label on the bar of soap. We have since refined the label wording. The glue gun was out so we did a slip shod work at wrapping the soap up with sticky tape to get a rough idea. Sorry for the tardy job done!
As someone whose dog, Brandy has benefitted directly from Elsa’s Man’s Best Friend Medicated Dog Soap as well as for myself, an eczema sufferer with Elsa’s unscented Down the Lane Goats’ Milk Soap, I am a true convert to soaps made by the House of de Carteret. The high quality and healing properties of the soap products are second to none and I believe in its effectiveness on sensitive and problematic skin as much as Elsa herself .
So after six hours of intense and passionate discussion on how Elsa and I could take the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap to the next level and how the plan could be executed, we said our goodbyes with much to take away from the meeting and to work on both ends. We aim to share this wonderful soap product in a big way and share it with the world to all pets out there.
Stay posted as we will be stocking the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap in retail outlets and vet clinics in your area soon. If you are interested to be a stockist internationally (out of Australia) or within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) state in Australia, please feel free to contact The Man’s Best Friend Animal Soap at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I started this business on sheer serendipity and my love for stray animals, especially dogs. In beloved memory of my late rescued dog, Prissy, for each bar of the Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap sold online from my website, AUD$1 is put aside to be donated to a self-funded animal shelter.
If you love animals and would like to find a way to fund for your charitable cause, why not consider becoming a Man’s Best Friend Medicated Soap stockist and START NOW?
Take action and be empowered to know that any little contribution you make for a cause you strongly feel for will go a long way.
“We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.”
– Louisa May Alcott