Skin & Fragrance Blog by Thom Watson


The Yorkshire Soap Company Store in York

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I’ve spent the last three days on a trip away in York, staying at a wonderful guest house and seeing many of my favourite city sights. The Yorkshire Soap Company Store was an incredible find and this gorgeous new store is in York, The Yorkshire Soap Company is actually based in Hebden Bridge, around 20-25 minutes away from where I live in Huddersfield! This is real local stuff.

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Regular readers will know that retail is my big thing, I did it for 6 years in various capacities since I was 16 right up until last year and I still deliver retail training from time to time. I’ve written articles on it and my passion lies squarely with it. Now this store and The Yorkshire Soap Company brand has it bang on. The store is just incredible, themed on Alice in Wonderland meets Easter in Paris meets Japanese Lolita with old toy bunnies dotted throughout an entanglement of glass, old woods, crystal, mirrors and flowers. They’ve taken soap, which in its essence is just, well, soap, and transformed it into an exciting, luxury lifestyle product.

I hadn’t initially noticed the store as I walked down the street only a few metres away from the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms. It was only as I noticed the sporadic dancing of bubbles through the street thinking to myself “Where the hell are all these bubbles coming from?” that I pinpointed the source and excitedly ran over to the store. I hope that whoever’s idea it was to attract potential customers with the bubble machine, if they’re reading this, will be pretty smug with themselves as it worked like a charm.

Inside it’s like another world, as you can see from the photos the store environment is more than spot on, it’s above and beyond most of what you’ll have ever seen before, particularly in cosmetic retail. The thing that I did notice was the fragrance as even though packaging is minimal, the store doesn’t smell like you’ve been smashed over the head with a bottle of essential oil; here you can really breath.

The soaps are pre-cut and terrific value, retailing at between £3 and £5, of which the latter will get you a pretty big slice. The brand seems to centralise around beautifully crafted soap cakes. You can buy slices of a whole cake or even have a cake designed for a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding. I was a bit more boring however and purchased two of their simpler looking, cut-soaps (still very beautiful I might add) – the Orangery, fragranced with my favourite scent of all, orange blossom, as well as an exfoliating soap, Honey and Bran. You’ll also find small bath truffles designed to soften and scent with beautiful fragrances as well softening with cocoa butter and almond oil; I purchased the Lemon & Vanilla truffle.

When I entered the store it was incredibly busy, which seemed to come in bursts but luckily there was a lull where I was able to take the photos above. I think the rushes were a bit overwhelming for everyone involved as there was only one till which took a while to get to. This also meant the labelling was a little fast and furious, resulting in a little mis-labelling with the same occurring the next day when I took Garry in to buy a present for his friend’s birthday. Every single staff-member in the store was so pleasant, polite, professional and welcoming but at no point over-bearing and pushy which can so often be the case.

I was welcomed with a warm and genuine “Hello!”, as was everyone who entered and after I’d looked around for a good 5 minutes, I was approached and asked if there was anything I was looking for. I think in this store, even if you knew what you wanted, you’d be whisked away by the atmosphere and lose track of all time and reality, possibly resulting in a total over-spend so be warned! I escaped with two bars of soap and a bath truffle, which set me back just £8.50.

As well as their own products, there were also a few other brands in there, including Cow Shed, True Grace Candles and a company I’ve seen before that sells bath bombs and solid shampoos. These were all great products and well-selected but I felt they detracted from the incredible core product, the whole reason I wanted to go in and look.

The store buzzed, but I felt content and cocooned throughout my whole experience and left feeling calmer than when I went in. The products are wonderfully affordable for regular use and their slightly more luxurious collections, such as the soap cupcakes, make excellent presents and all come with beautiful gift-boxing. Finally, which I didn’t have enough time to fully look at, was their blended ranges of shower gels, bath salts and other ancillaries which seemed gorgeous and again, really well priced. It was the relaxing range that took my fancy as it reminded me greatly of the Clarins Tonic collection. Oh and the Cherry Bakewell line really smells of Cherry Bakewells!

So what do you think? The stores are located in York as well as Hebden Bridge where the brand originates. If you’re living ‘da’an sa’af’ then you can order online from their website, here’s the link. Stay tuned as over the next week I’ll be reviewing my purchases.

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