Coconut oil firm launches new soaps range

A natural food and coconut oil brand has teamed up with a Yorkshire-soap based manufacturer for its first range of soaps.

Lucy Buckingham with James Clews, of Stephenson Group, at the group's manufacturing plant in Horsforth, Leeds.

Lucy Bee is diversifying its product range to include a range of ethically produced coconut oil soaps for the first time.

The company has joined forces with specialist Leeds-based manufacturer Stephenson Group to produce the new range.

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The Stephenson Group, which has its global manufacturing plant in Horsforth, was one of the first manufacturers to successfully use 100 per cent coconut oil in any soap formulation.

The company, which has a £25m turnover and 92 employees, has previously worked with The Body Shop, Traidcraft and the Yorkshire Soap Co.

Launched in 2012, Lucy Bee now offers a range of natural products.

The business, which has a £1.5m turnover and 12 employees, was founded by entrepreneur Lucy Buckingham, a 27-year old beauty therapist with a love of healthy living.

Diagnosed as a coeliac at a young age, eating a well-balanced diet has always been the driving force behind the family-run company based in Hertfordshire.

An interest and love of the healthy properties of coconut oil is what led Lucy to start the business and all of its products, with the exception of the bath salts range, are organic and, where possible, Fair Trade which is at the heart of the company’s ethos.

Ms Buckingham was in Leeds recently to watch the first eight tonne product batch finalised following the manufacturing process. The batch will be used to make tens of thousands of bars by Soapworks in Glasgow.

She said: “Coconut oil can sometimes be difficult to work with as an ingredient so it was important to ensure everything was perfect and the formulations with Stephensons featuring completely pure organic essential oils have really brought out the best our ingredients can offer.”

James Clews, sales and marketing director at Stephenson Group, added: “This has been a fascinating and challenging project. It’s so satisfying to see the finished product after 18 months of intensive development work.”