Stallholder Profile for Scentstations by Tash
Your name: I’m Tash Grace.
Your business name and facebook/website name and link: Scentsations by Tash, which is the catchall name for my various lines of products, Scented Suds, Soy Frosties, Party Paws Pampering. You can find my website here: http://www.scentsationsbytash.com/ My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scentsationsbytash/ and my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scentsationsbytash/ . My website is currently in the process of having beautiful new photos being applied to all the products available, and I am about to release my Summer and Christmas collections, happening very, very soon. People can order through my website and have items set aside for pickup at my market stall, to ensure they don’t miss out. My Facebook page talks about some of the products, shows off some candid photos and is a place where I explain about ingredients and processes. My Instagram shows off some wicked cool photos of my products in unusual places and allows me to show off my products.
The suburb/town you live in now: I am originally from Cooktown. I’ve spent the last 4 years in Cairns, in White Rock.
What is it that you make and what skills do you use? That’s a fun one! I love things that smell nice. So, let’s go through those. I make soap from scratch, which requires me to be equal parts chemist and artist. For my Luxury Artisan line, I have created formulae of specific blends of oils, butters and other additives that care for and nourish the skin, and let loose with colours and fragrance to create beautiful smelling, aesthetically pleasing soaps that feel great and look wonderful too. My Goat Milk Glycerine line was what started the soaps off, I had a purchased a bar of it that I liked, and then retro-engineered a similar formula, then played with it until I got it just how I like it. I tend to leave those as fragranced only, releasing special edition coloured ones at significant occasions. Both soap lines are incredibly popular. Soy Frosties is my line of soy candles and melts, made using my special blend of soy waxes, soy a natural renewable resource that takes fragrance well, is suited for the environment up here and burns cleaner, releasing no nasty petrochemicals into the atmosphere. I choose beautiful pieces of glassware to make my candles in, and these are items you can proudly have on display in your home. I’ve just introduced reed diffusers, choosing a classic cubic glass and natural reeds, to fit into anyone’s decor. These diffusers also come with a beautiful flower made from rice paper to add a little whimsy to the diffuser. Mini car diffusers are also available in a similar, smaller design. Party Paws Pampering is my line of cosmetics and bath fun- bath fizzies, sugar scrubs, lip balms, with more to come. All these different products require me to be vigilant and careful with my measurements, and require me to have a good eye for detail. I enjoy making beautiful things, so I’d say that my skill with my hands is essential. I hand paint some soap products, and hand mould others. Attention to detail is critical. I used to decorate cakes, but have turned my piping skills to soapmaking now. I’ve always been crafty, and jumped from craft to craft. I love science and chemistry in particular, and this allows me to combine the two.
What inspired you to start your business? This rather funny… I was looking for tins to make a magnetic spice rack. Through an internet trawl, I came across a candle making supplier that sold tins, began to read about the fragrances they sold… and with the scratched up bit of savings I had, put in an order, forgetting all about my magnetic spice rack. Once I started making candles, I was hooked. I branched out into soap in a slightly different manner. I am in my twenties, and I have severe allergies and skin sensitivity. I carry around an Epi-pen, they’re that bad. I washed my hands often, using supermarket liquid soap, and one day, I looked at them. And I thought to myself, my hands looked older than my mother’s. She’s in her sixties, and mine looked worse. Scaly, cracked, just plain old and unhealthy looking. I started researching, and began formulating. I’ve watched my skin become revitalised again, reflecting my actual age. I like to say that my soaps are 100% tested on me, the willing human guinea pig. I have customers that thank me for getting them hooked on my products - they’ve seen how it’s benefited their skin, or been able to burn candles again without getting migraines.
How long have you been creating? I’ve been creating for a little two years now, starting off with 6 tea light candles being made in my kitchen. I’ve since expanded into a workshop!
Is it a full time/part time hobby or business? Good question. It started out as a hobby. It’s full time now - but here’s the kicker. I’m an accounting/business student with a full time study load, I have a part time job and I work full time on my business. I don’t know what sleep is anymore. I’ve actually used my business as examples in my university assessments, and have received accolades for these, since I’m engaged in active learning and teaching others through my examples.
Where do you sell your creations? I have my website of course. I have done a few markets here and there. My mother does a market every weekend in Cooktown, and I have three retailers in Cooktown. I tailor my products to their different needs, by asking questions about their business and their customer base to work out what products will sell well for them. Each one has different specific needs, and I am there to fill that gap in their product line. I’m always looking for other spaces to showcase my products. This will be my first Handmade Expo. I’ve created some special products just for it!
What makes you so special or different? I specialise in unique designs, often food inspired. I use as much Australian produced products as possible, supporting other small businesses, and have an eye on sustainability and ethical production. I’m also very unique in that when I mentioned to my allergist that I made soap and candles, he asked me to bring my products in. We did scratch tests and trials on my own skin, yes, under the supervision of a specialist - and he became a customer of mine. My products are used by an allergist and his wife - and have been recommended by him to others with sensitive skin! That’s a pretty big tick in my book to have that kind of support behind me.
I cater for everything: ultra sensitive, nut free, palm oil free, cruelty free, GM free. There’s a product in my line for everyone. If I do choose to use something that might be controversial, say palm, I ensure it is sustainably grown, in a country that doesn’t have orang-utans, and the plantation is making use of land that was not clear felled, but being cared for and repurposed. My suppliers are big on this, and that’s why I choose to support them over others. Other products, for example, my virgin red palm and unrefined shea butter - that comes directly from small African communities, and my dollar goes directly to helping them, not through middlemen that take their cut. I am big on giving back to the community and helping others out. For the silk in my products, I’ve raised my own silkworms, let them hatch from the cocoon and used the silk that remained. I also have a range of products for kids, products that appeal to them, and products that are priced for a kid with $5 in their hand can buy Mum a gift and still have change for an icy cup. I recently had a Young Mister, about 8, commission me for a custom order for his Mum for Christmas. He’d dressed for the occasion in smart shirt, longs and shiny shoes, with Dad hovering in the background. We had a good conversation, I took him seriously, and his Mum is going to have some marvellous gifts for Christmas.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do? I love hearing that people who have visitors over that say their house smells great - and that it’s my candle, my melts, my reed diffusers that enrich someone’s living environment. The feedback I have about my bath products is wonderful - I love hearing that others have found my products nourish their skin and that speaks for itself. A quality product has repeat customers.
What is your favourite product to make? Lately, that is my cake soaps. Big, round cakes, each one over 3kgs in weight, that have intricate designs inside them them and then the top is piped decoratively with hand moulded soap details added after. They look good enough to eat, and I package them in cake boxes. I’ve been on a cupcake kick lately as well. So I’d say piped soap is my favourite thing at the moment. I love seeing oils and caustic soda come together, undergo their chemical reaction, and turn into beautiful soap.
Do you teach classes or workshops? Due to the nature of the products, no. I work with hot, sometimes volatile liquids, and strong caustic solutions. Not only do I have to be 100% aware of what I am doing, I also have to follow good manufacturing practices to ensure the quality, consistency and safety of my products. I take the risk on my own head to work with solutions that are pH14. I keep my required certifications current at all times and conform to all Australian standards applicable to my industry. There are a few of those - and they’re traps for the unwary with massive fines attached. If someone’s knitting project unravels, it doesn’t hurt anyone. There’s just disappointment. If a cosmetic product fails, it will hurt someone. My attention to detail and practices minimise any risk, but adding a class into that mix adds uncertain variables. I won’t risk anyone else. However, despite not being able to view what I do in person, you can view me working from my Instagram videos and photos, and witness how I do things from the safety of your own home. That’s the next best thing.