In 2014, Portsmouth resident Samantha Worsey came across an article on The News website about the city’s soap making past. Samantha, a long-time soap making enthusiast, was researching new recipe ideas. She was amazed and delighted to discover that, up until the 1930s Portsmouth was something of a soap city, with two major manufacturers and a multitude of smaller makers. The industry was tied into naval activity, born by the need to keep uniforms pristine.
Fast forward to 2015 and Samantha has begun the process of reviving Portsmouth’s reputation for quality soap. Her new company, Southsea Bathing Hut, has gone back to the traditional cold process method. Their range of artisan bars uses high quality, natural ingredients, reflecting the changing place of soap in our lives. Samantha says, “What was once a household staple is now a lifestyle choice. Many people choose mass-produced liquid soaps. Our bars offer a luxurious, handmade alternative, full of ingredients that are much kinder to skin – but at an affordable price.”
The Southsea Bathing Hut brand ties into a growing wave of proudly home-grown Portsmouth businesses. But Samantha is ambitious to see soap made in the city make waves around the world once more. The company has only been trading since early April 2015, with a big focus on building a presence at Hampshire and Sussex markets. But their online shop is already handling orders from across the country, retailers are starting to get in on the action, and Samantha is working with a range of companies that have come to her looking for high quality gifts for their customers.