ACCESSIBILITY MATTERS

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We don't think it's right that for far too long, Disabled people have been left out of the conversation and development when it comes to skincare and beauty. There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, yet product inclusivity is really lacking. We think that at the forefront of design, companies and small businesses should think accessibility; how we can make our products available for everyone to use.  

 

We are a Neurodivergent family and sensory sensitivities are a huge part of our daily life. Sensory stimuli and information is processed differently by everyone - some more strongly than others. Sensory sensitivities can be extremely challenging - noise, textures, smells, tastes, lights, can be hugely overwhelming, dysregulating and cause other unpleasant triggers, emotions, and even pain. Parallel to that, seeking specific sensory input can be exhilarating, relaxing and very satisfying. 

It was crucial to me that i developed not only fragrance free skincare (more products will be launched next week) but that i created beautiful blends of essential oils with real targeted purpose. Based on and inspired by the Chakras, my blends are also hugely centred on the feeling and need of sensory input for a specific purpose. For example, I find a lavender blend is extremely good for that overwhelmed and wired feeling. Peppermint and Eucalyptus are great for giving that uplifting boost when you're feeling exhausted and flagging but still have little people to look after and dinner to cook! Lemongrass for me really eases my stress and anxiety levels - one of my go to oils. I find each blend works in so many ways, and often that boost of aroma fulfills my sensory yearning and resets my brain somewhat. Essential oils really are incredible in many ways! 

We are slowly building our range of accessories. We have received some really helpful feedback / requests, and we have reached out for advice and ideas. Switching to eco friendly replacements isn't 'easy' for everyone - preference / need / financial / accessibility - there a numerous reasons why it is always possible. We appreciate the importance of sustainable and planet friendly materials, but also appreciate that this isn't always possible, accessible, practical or beneficial for everyone. Some of our silicone accessories are sensory satisfying and a wonderfully enjoyable experience. They're not only super stimmy, but they have proven really helpful tools for skincare application or removal, for many different reasons. Some are also brilliantly encouraging and enjoyable for kids who find wash time overwhelming. As well as looking for sensory inclusive products, we also consider their ease of use - handle length, ease of grip, flexibility etc.

Six years ago i was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - I spent months in bed with high level, constant pain, 18 months using crutches and a wheelchair when my mobility was really bad. Among the many things that i couldn't manage anymore and missed, was washing my hair. My young children helped me, which i also loved, but i missed my independence of hair care. Brushes were hard to use, bottles were stiff and routines were just too much. For people affected by conditions which alter mobility skills or strength, an action like twisting a lid, using a pump, pushing down a spray top, or holding and lifting, can pose significant challenges. We have added different options for all our bottles and jar products, including paper packaging and a roller ball top. I have found this way of applying oils much easier and it actually gives a consistent, even layer. 

After much research, brain storming and trial and error, I have designed a soap bar with a handle grip. My vision was to create a bar of soap that people with disabilities affecting their arms, hands, back, head or neck could use. It was also important for me to find a way for people with sensory sensitivities to experience the benefits of natural soap bars without having to hold them - as for some people the texture of holding soap bars can be a challenge. Similarly, the texture of shower gel and other bath products can be sensory horrid. As a soap maker, I am passionate about the benefits of natural ingredients, and want to be able to share that with everyone. Making skincare products that are accessible for everyone is a necessity. Giving people the choice, is paramount.

Anyone should be able to use any skincare product that they choose, there should be no barrier, and accommodation isn't the answer - inclusivity is. Inclusive design can benefit people beyond those with disabilities. Win win we think.

I Braille all of my product labels by hand using a slate and stylus. I've also chosen the Dyslexic Font for all of my labels. If you have any suggestions, requests or thoughts, I wold love to hear from you. Please drop me an email or fill in the form below.

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