SHETLAND Soap Company is to launch four new product lines in a bid to rapidly expand its existing operation.
The new ranges will see the company diversify its current operation by targeting new consumer markets through the development of products designed specifically for men and babies.
Black Ice, the first men’s skincare range to be launched, will include body wash, soap bars, traditional shaving soap and foam wash created for men in fragrance and strength. Honey Baby, a range of products enriched with aloe vera and organic honey, will see the company promote soothing natural products for sensitive baby skin.
The company’s other two new ranges, Winter Berries and The Night Before Christmas, aim to strengthen the existing service by providing regular customers with more choice for Christmas gifts. Shetland Soap Company was founded in 2002 as a social enterprise, dedicated to providing training places for people with disabilities in the local community. Thanks to the traditional soap-making processes and unique recipes, the company is now known throughout the world. The decision to launch the latest new lines was cemented after employees logged on to view a virtual conference aired over the Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) Learningworks website in May.
By logging on taff could listen to the experiences and advice of branding expert Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones without leaving the workplace.
Shetland Soap Company manager Alexis Odie said: “Our operation has already grown significantly since 2002 thanks to the overwhelming popularity of our products. “When we first began, we were a team of seven working from a manufacturing and retail outlet in Shetland. Now we have 34 staff members, 23 of whom are disabled people involved in the enterprise, 23 of whom have a disability, and we have set up a second outlet for manufacturing and retail in Orkney as well.
“Growth is now our primary objective for the future, especially as recent figures indicate that the number of school-leavers with autism is set to double in Shetland in the next 10 years alone.
“The Learningworks virtual conference was fantastic, because it really got us thinking about brand development and marketing. And it was all done without staff having to leave the island to attend a physical conference, which can be so expensive and time-consuming.”
Learningworks was launched three years ago as an on-line portal designed to make skills training and development easy for businesses in the Highlands and Islands.
By visiting www.learning-works.co.uk, users can search through over 3,000 training courses currently in operation in the region to find a training opportunity which meets their needs. Development manager Graham Young said: “As Learningworks regularly receives over 35,000 visitors every month, we believe we have created a tool which really does help businesses organise their workforce development programmes.
“Staff training has so many benefits for businesses and it is an area HIE are determined to invest in. Not only can employees gain increased job satisfaction, skills training can be a direct route to business growth, as seen with the Shetland Soap Company.
“I would encourage employers and individuals alike to log-on to www.learning-works.co.uk and see how training can help to develop you and your business.”