Since launching Tiger Muffin Soaps with his sister Becky, it has become a staple at most of Lancashire’s farmers markets, craft fairs and other marketplaces, and has blossomed offering not just soap, but home-made shower gels and hand creams too. Matthew got the idea to branch out in to this unusual line of business while he was working in the pub trade.
At first he offered just five different scented soaps, but over the years has added many other fragrances and products, including shower gel, bubble bath and hand cream. They now aim to add two or three new products a year. Popular fragrances on offer include jasmine, geranium, lavender and sweetpea.
“Although we offer soaps in a wide range of colours I only work from a base palette of five. It is hard mixing them correctly to get the perfect colour. This is actually the part I find most difficult. “If you put too much colour, or all of them in, you just end up with brown soap. I found that out the hard way at first! “It is a delicate process where just one or two drops are required to colour 2kg blocks of soap.”
While Matthew is responsible for manufacturing the soaps, his mum has stepped in to help him produce hand creams. “Luckily my mum is a pharmacist, so she has the skills to make the hand creams and bubble baths.” Matthew’s sister, Becky, handles marketing and helps with research.
One of the keys to Tiger Muffin’s success has been innovation in fragrance and the ability to make bespoke products on demand. “In the run up to Christmas we always get quite a lot of people coming to us to ask if we can make this flavour or that, and we will make whatever people want.”
The business is currently focusing on developing a strong market in Lancashire. It regularly holds stalls at Penwortham, Houghton Tower and Cedar Farm farmers markets, and craft fairs and exhibitions throughout the North West.