This post was originally published on the 4th October 2016
Today we chat with Mei, creator, formulator, soap maker, mousse whipper, scent blender, photo taker, graphic designer, product packer, book keeper and general cheerleader at Vice & Velvet! Mei has been making soap and body products since her early teens, a passion that lasted over a decade before Vice & Velvet was born. Catch Vice & Velvet at our Melbourne market in July!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label.
Since my early teens I was making soap and body products for my family members as gifts and it is a hobby that has stood the test of time. I originally started Vice & Velvet in 2011 to continue to fund this hobby but when I realised how much I enjoyed both the creative and business aspects of running a soap company, there was no turning back. It is still a one-woman business to this day. All my products are made entirely from scratch in small batches, using sustainably sourced ingredients and scented with my own signature scent blends.
What inspires you and your creative process?
I don’t really have a basic formula in my creative process. For example, with my signature soaps, the initial concept/inspiration might start with a person, place, time or feeling – from there I work on experimenting with different scent notes to create a blend that reminds me of that concept. Then, I would consider complimentary visual design, colours and ingredients and of course, a memorable name that is the final touch to tie all the different aspects together. However, I could just as easily start off with an experimental scent blend first, and then build a theme and visual design around what I felt the scent evoked. I don’t follow any perfumery rules when blending my scents – I just follow my nose and my heart and it has worked well for me.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for Vice & Velvet for the next 12 months.
I am constantly experimenting with new blends and releasing new Limited Edition scents so this is something I will definitely continue to do over the next year. I also have lots of custom orders lined up for 2017 so I’m looking forward to seeing my products head off to weddings and other special events all over the world.
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
The internet. Since I haven’t been able to take part in a market for 4 years (for logistical reasons – not having a car), my business has relied entirely on online sales and an online presence. I would love to own a little bricks and mortar studio-store one day but I can’t deny that the internet and selling online gives Vice & Velvet access to the globe and vice versa.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
Picking a favourite product would be like picking a favourite child but at the moment, I am incredibly proud of my Cloud Soaps. As with the rest of my range, I designed every aspect of the product and packaging and it took a lot of trial and error to get the results I was happy with. The scents and formulations are the same as some of my best-selling bar soaps but the whimsical cloud shape makes you want to hop into a bath with one of them even more.