Monday, May 18, 2015

Q & A: Tiggy Fiander of FuturePrimitive Soap Co.

Tiggy Fiander is the passionate driving force behind FuturePrimitive Soap Co., a well known and well loved bath and body purveyor hailing from the United Kingdom. Her botanical background, creative eye and attention to detail result in high quality products with evocative fragrances. FuturePrimitive boasts a comprehensive selection of handmade bar soaps, body whips, whipped soaps, hair rinses, aromatic oils, bathing grains and scrubs. I have tried them all in various scents and highly recommend them. Tiggy generously agreed to an interview and it was a joy to read her responses. 

1. What was the catalyst for you that gave birth to FuturePrimitive?
      I used to work at a nursery where I learned a database of 10,000+ plants. I used to do the admin for the company as well as many other things. 
      After about 7 years, and a ton of experience in running a business, I set up my own mail order service selling the more unusual plants, and then I began to study the botanical properties of them. 
       I always had a passion for handmade skincare and of course, the two combine together very well. 
I was able to combine my love of essential oils with my love of skincare and I made salves and herbal baths. Yanno, simple little things I found pleasurable. 
Eventually I tried my hand at soap making.

2. Your handcrafted soaps appeal to all the senses, including their back stories and scent description. What inspires you to create these cohesive elements into a single soap?
Inspiration comes to me every single day, mainly from my surroundings. I live in a small market town where there are lots of quirky little buildings and back alleys, and we have a lot of countryside around us. I spend a lot of time alone so I tend to get lost in my own thoughts. When you have complete peace you can excel in things which interest you. Ideas stem from the colours of the plant life, of the bricks used to build the structures we have around us, the colour of the river, which always changes depending on the weather, flower colours etc. I constantly breathe in scent, be it from trees, plants, shops, books. Everything. I have always been scent obsessed, ever since I was a little girl so it helps when developing a new bar of soap.

3. You have curated an amazing high quality product line. How do you decide what products stay, leave or become reformulated ? Would you consider creating wax tarts again?
I like to keep things pretty basic. The soap will always stay because it's my main passion. The other products have become must haves for many of my customers so sales kinda make things stay in the line! My customers and the orders that come in are the main deciders of what stays and what goes. If something gets reformulated it is usually because I have fallen in love with a new ingredient or have found a better replacement. Wax tarts? No, not at the moment. I think the market is pretty swamped with them right now. I have my favourite companies I buy those from, who do it so well.

4. What is your vision for FuturePrimitive Soap Company?
Well, at the moment I have a lot of ideas I want to put into practice so the vision for my company is currently changing. I have a little app on my phone called Color Note. I use it to record new notes for soap names, scent blends etc. and I have a bunch of new ideas to work with right now. What I want to do is incorporate more of the Old England theme into the products. I am very much drawn to the history of our country, particularly the Victorian era but also going right back to the medieval period. I live in the Vale of Evesham where the Battle of Evesham was fought so I have been reading about that for some time, but currently I am studying the history of the London and Portsmouth mudlarks. I hope to develop more General Catalogue scents with these new ideas in mind.

5. What scents do you personally crave for yourself?
I love earthy, rich scents.Patchouli is always a must for me so I wear perfumes like Tom Ford Black Orchid, Clinique Aromatics, Paloma Picasso. I also love clean and fresh. There is a brand I have fallen in love with recently called Laboratory Perfumes. They have two scents in particular that I HAVE to have some day soon. One called Amber, which is the most beautiful blend of amber mixed with deep, warm spice and earth. My partner, Matt swooned when I came home from a shopping trip. I had sprayed some onto my neck and it had lasted all day. He was beside himself!
Then they have another one called Samphire, which is the freshest beachy kind of scent I have ever smelled. It has citrus, lavender, basil, juniper and rosemary with oakmoss at its base. It is incredible. Other than the higher end perfumes I am a huge fan of Haus of Gloi and Valhalla's Soap Co.'s blends. Oh and my good friend Heidi from Bodygoodies recently sent me a perfume called Cavendish, which is her own tobacco blend. I love tobacco scents. My Grampy used to smoke a pipe and he'd let us take the thick flakes of tobacco out of his tin and put them in his pipe for him. I used to sit and huff the tin every single time!

6. In scenting your own home, what vendors and fragrances do you enjoy the most?
I love Sugar and Spite's wax and Front Porch grubby tarts. I also love Crabtree & Evelyn. Other than those kinds I very much enjoy incense. I make a lot of my own blends up using resins, woods, and oils and I also buy Satya Sai Baba's Nag Champa and Shoyeido incense.

7. Please recommend to us some of your favorite handcrafted soapers.
Ok! Bodygoodies, Haus of Gloi, Valhalla Soap Co., Comfort & Joy Soap Co., Haunt Bath (I'd wish she'd come back.), Sugar & Spite, SV Soaps.Those are my all time favourites. I keep my circle small as you can see. However, there are many more I want to try which include Handmade in Florida, Aunty Clara's, Royalty Soaps, Alchemic Muse, Oakmoss. I have orders on their way to me from Bomb Diggy Bath and Witch Baby so I'm excited to try those. 

8. Do you have any hobbies that you derive happiness from?
Yes, I very much enjoy herbcraft. I walk with my whippet dog every single day so I gather lots of wild plants for making tinctures or teas etc. I read a lot too and enjoy my nightly bathing ritual. 
Matt is a potter so naturally I have developed a keen interest in pots as well as shard hunting on local open fields. We get very excited about old slipware shards!
Other than all that I absolutely love the gym and going out to watch bands. I don't do that half as often as I should. I plan to change that though.

9. How do you splurge on yourself?
I buy makeup, clothes, & shoes quite often and of course soap and perfume.

10. What are your top 3 Favorite Books?
1. Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless
3. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Only 3 is hard so this can change up some.

11. What are some of the challenges you face in your job? What about your business brings you the utmost pleasure?
The main challenge is never having enough time.Other than time, the soap making process can be a bit of a bitch at times, especially when working with tricky fragrance oils. Also, formulations and the cost of getting them just right. You throw a lot of stuff in the bin when working on new creations. 
The biggest challenge of all is all the damn paperwork we have to do within the EU. Every single product we produce has to be entered on the EU portal. We have to create and upload our formula, a picture of the finished product in the packaging and a pdf of the label. It's very very time consuming. 
The part which brings me the most pleasure is the soap making process. There isn't one part of it I dislike. Whoever reads this, I hope it inspires you to give it a go. 
The thing about soap is you can incorporate so much into it. This is where your ingredients can shine. From the base oils, the superfatting butters, the colours, clays, salts, herbs, flowers, essential oils, fragrance oils, embellishments, embeds. This is where us soapers get to play like children. 
I have a huge catalogue of ingredients that I use just for my soap. I have a vast collection of colours, which include clays, muds, micas, algaes, oxides etc. as well as jars and jars of herbs & flower petals. I am also about to add in some fruit powders. I just have to wait for my cosmetics chemist to update my soap assessment then I can start using those. I have seeds, nut powders, coloured sugars, resins, etc. And then we have our collection of essential oils, absolutes, and fragrance oils. This is where it gets tricky with my spends! I'm an essential oil whore so I do spend rather a lot on those. I like to buy really good quality oils and I also like to try different types of oils, such as all the different lavenders, geraniums, etc. They all have different qualities and scents so I like to try them all. 
From designing the bar, to pouring the batter into the mould and swirling in colour, or chocolate, or whatever ingredient I have chosen. That is what makes me happy. Very, very happy. And then comes the best part the following day... the cut! Ask any soaper, the cutting is the absolute best part. To see the design you have made as you slice into each bar is so satisfying. I can't explain what that does inside of me. It's very strange, but very comforting thing indeed.

12. So.... I am a huge Potter fanatic... and Deb at It's Always Something has tempted and teased me over her Marauder's soap from FuturePrimitive that she hauled many moons ago... could a Potter series ever make it back on the drawing board? If not, how about a summer mermaid release? I had to ask.
Harry bloody Potter! Yes, Midnight Marauder was a good soap but I fear HP has had it's day for a while. That's not to say it's no longer an interest for some (I am aware of the obsessions) but right now I feel that it should be left out of my range. A Summer Mermaid release would be great but I am still a one woman show. Producing the current range for summer really takes it out of me and right after I'm done with one release, it's right onto the next before we are even close to it arriving. Cramming in new stuff just kinda happens if I find a minute to do it. I don't plan ahead for the one off's. You can always make suggestions on the Facebook page or group and I can make a note to come back to it maybe. It has to spark something within me for me to actually take action and do it though. I'm very picky!

Thanks for letting me do this. I enjoyed that!
Tiggy xxx

Join FuturePrimitive's Facebook group for fun chat and reviews of her fragrances and products. Some of my favorite FP scents include: Indian Attar, Tombstone, Jilted & Crushed, Rook and Raven, Shadow Show, Warrior, and White Witch. I have to say I am quite excited about the potential for a scent built around mudlarks. I think it would be great fun to get to treasure hunt like that. I hope you all enjoyed reading about Tiggy as much as I did. Do try her stuff! You won't regret it. 


  1. what a fantastic interview!! I looove my FP stuff! the bubbling sugar scrub is AMAZING!!! I have it in Shadow Show & it has helped my face clear up & even cleared up some dry skin that a doctor said had no treatment available!!
    Have you tried Festival yet?? I have it in bathing grains... sooo wonderful!!
    saving my pennies to reorder the scrub.. got the hubby addicted, he actually asked me if I could get more!! umm YES!!! lol

    1. Thank you! It was great fun to do! Aren't FP products just amazing?! I love your bubbling sugar scrub testimony! And Shadow Show... Mmmmmm. I HAVE had Festival! It was the first soap I bought from Tiggy last summer. It is so darn good. I bet it is stunning in the bathing grains. You are gonna enable me. Glad Daniel is on board! Makes ordering much easier! When you order please let me know what you get. I got a box from FP today for the giveaway >_<

  2. I received my first order from FuturePrimitive, two bars of Lemonade Lounger (anticipating needing a backup) and a spicy coffee soap called Arabica, about five years ago. I had been a lurker for most of that year and when the package arrived I was incensed for not acting sooner. HIGHLY scented chunks of all-natural goodness. These were TATU and I indeed didn't use them for a while, keeping them in their shipping envelope so they would retain every molecule of their scent.

    Soon after that Tiggy mentioned that she was considering discontinuing her handmade business because money was tight unfortunately, but then a beautiful article was written about her work in The Telegraph! With a boost in sales from publicity and broadening her appeal with more fragrance oil creations in addition to the all-natural ones, she thankfully kept going and over time increased her reach even more by expanding the types of products in her catalog.

    I'm glad to hear that she wants to continue to pull from English history for inspiration, for those of us who are international it is fun to get that window into what life is or was like there. I hope maybe someday she is able to come visit America. I know Heidi would like for her to come to Ohio, which brings possible collaborations to mind. Soap nerd daydreams. :)

    1. Yes! I find her soaps to be TATU (Too Amazing To Use) most of the time too. Then I break down and use and bask in its amazingness. Thank you for the cool background Jean. I am thankful Tiggy kept on and overcame the obstacles.

      I totally agree about her giving us a peek into British history and culture. I read a lot of UK fiction and nonfiction but smelling it makes the whole experience multideminsional for me. I like your soap nerd dreams and share them too. We need more soap nerds up in here. <3