When I was starting to change my lifestyle into an environmentally friendly one, ditching liquid soap in favour of a solid one was an easy and accessible choice. After trying out a few different soaps, I discovered Werfzeep . I was drawn to their soaps because they are handmade in Utrecht from natural materials, and they do wonders to my skin. Therefore, I was more than curious to learn about this company, its products and the people behind it!
How it all started
Werfzeep started in 2009 when Evelien, the founder of Werfzeep, visited a family farm during her trip to Canada, where the locals made handmade soap from natural and local ingredients. Evelien always had a passion for craftsmanship and natural products but she was advised not to use solid soap bars because of her skin condition. However, after trying one of the soaps from the family farm, her skin looked and felt absolutely fine. This personal experience convinced her that natural, handmade products are better for people and the planet. In this interview Choiceful talked with Rinske about soaps, natural ingredients and their brand new Zeepboek!
Fun facts about Werfzeep
- They offer 24 sorts of soaps
- They sell Bubble Buddy , a dish soap that also works as a soap grater, in collaboration with Foekje Fleur
- They also have Special Editions, Seasonal Editions, Gift boxes and Minis
- They work with more than 200 stockists online and offline
You pick most of your ingredients for the soaps locally. Where do the other ingredients come from?
Yes, we try to use as many local ingredients as possible. Evelien keeps a herbal garden where we harvest a lot of the herbs we use in the soap bars. If that is not enough we buy herbs from local, organic providers such as De Blauwe Molen. Next to that, we go wild picking in the Wickenburgh forest in Utrecht as well.
Other ingredients, such as cocoa or tea tree oil, come from abroad but with the fair trade or organic trademark. We try to source most of the ingredients within The Netherlands or Europe and we carefully select distributors who share our values. We try to be transparent about that and we research the origin of the raw materials as much as we can.
It is great to hear about these natural ingredients. What is your position regarding synthetic materials and other polluting ingredients?
Making soap is very simple. It is mixing fats with water. The fat can come from animal or plant-based products as well as from extracted pure acids. The quality of the soap depends on the kind of oils and the working methods that are used. Natural, handmade soap is made with cold-pressed oils, therefore glycerin is created naturally. Glycerin has nurturing qualities that makes natural soaps very soft for the skin. At Werfzeep, we only use 100% plant-based oils. Therefore, the skin is directly nourished by washing it with Werfzeep. By doing so, the lipid bilayer stays healthy and protects the skin from any damage.
To learn more about the process, please read here.
Werfzeep comes in paper packaging. Can you tell me more about that?
Yes, all our soaps and soapboxes come in paper. The brown paper which protects the soap keeps the smell of the soap and the soap itself good for at least a year. The outside wrap is recycled and can be recycled again.
The only thing that is not recyclable is the tape on the brown paper. Our soaps are packaging in a social working place where this kind of tape is used. We cannot change this fact yet.
Can you also tell me about the Zeepboek?
We created Zeepboek for the 10th anniversary of the company. In the book, Evelien shares her perspective on traditional soap making and creates awareness. There are 10 unique recipes designed especially for the book. It is a DIY soap bible. At Werfzeep, we like to share the wealth of our knowledge as much as we can.
Have you noticed more or fewer sales because of the COVID-19 situation?
We have more sales than before. We are busier than ever but I am not sure it is because of the COVID-19 situation. Our customers are interested in the organic, natural and sustainable approach we have. We try to keep a good relationship with our community and we notice that it is growing faster than before.
What is the next step for Werfzeep?
Werfzeep is growing and we are currently expanding our existing soap workshop. Next to that, Werfzeep is in the process of making its ‘soul’ transferable. The goal is to keep the company philosophy so clear and prevalent in everyone’s mind that all of us together can keep it going, even when Evelien isn’t around. Of course she will always be our anchor woman, but it would be fantastic if Werfzeep can be something that’s bigger than any one person!