After family members found that skin conditions were aggravated when using supermarket products, Narre Warren mother, Deb Terkely took the problem into her own hands – literally – by making her own soaps that are chemical-free and made with high-quality natural oils. The desire to better care for her family's skin has now blossomed into a successful small business in L'ada Soaps & Scents.
L'ada Soaps & Scents started organically in the way many small businesses do, and was born out of a common challenge - how to fit returning to work around the demands of a young family.
Husband and wife team Deb and Andrew Terkely run the business from their Narre Warren home, with Deb busy making the products and running the business's social media acounts. Andrew's responsibilities include "website creation and development, photography, labelling and packaging designs, accounting, product costings, graphic design, postal costs, and most of all being my biggest supporter and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone " says Deb.
“I'm a mum of two young boys and it was difficult for me to get back to working again. Soapmaking has been in our family for over 20 years, and it was something that I really loved doing. I would give some of my natural soaps to friends who had kids with sensitive skin and they suggested that I start selling it because it was amazing for their kids skin. That gave us the nudge to start it as a business."
"Being a home-based business, there are unique challenges", acknowledged Deb. At the moment, "going through lockdowns with kids at home, is definitely a challenge", "I've been challenged by everything from where to start, how do I reach an audience, how do I connect with them, how do I build brand awareness... and doing it all with two young boys!"
"There are many distractions working from home, but I try to stay focused and when a job needs to be done I need to apply myself 100% to ensure that it gets done - it's something which I am learning to do."
“Working my own hours and around my kids and family life. I can work after the kids go to bed if I need to, or only half a day if needed. It means that I don’t miss out on anything that the kids need me to do. I also love what I do, helping people by providing good quality products that help them and the environment.”
L'ada soaps are made from Australian ingredients and suppliers are checked to ensure claims of sustainability are genuine, giving L'ada's customers confidence and trust in the brand's commitment to producing high quality products. "People are very conscious of what's going in and what they're using" notes Deb.
"Soapmaking has been in our family for over 20 years, and it was something that I really loved doing. I would give some of my natural soaps to friends who had kids with sensitive skin and they suggested that I start selling it because it was amazing for their kid's skin. That gave us the nudge to start it as a business. "
The City of Casey has so much support to offer small businesses, including micro and home-based businesses.
“Casey is an incredibly vibrant place to locate a business, with wonderful local publications including the Casey Cardinia Family magazine, Casey Cardinia Kids and Star News, who have all published stories on our business.”
“We've taken advantage of plenty of business development opportunities from City of Casey too. From business coffee clubs, the Casey Business Awards program and small business mentoring, each opportunity has helped our small business to develop and grow.”
"I've learned you need perseverance, determination and a genuine passion for what you do. Our soap recipe has been perfected over two decades and we test each batch before they're sold."
"You have to remember to be your own biggest supporter."