Soap Bush Soap is a business with a vision doing things a little differently.
The newly-opened, Newman-based business is owned by Cheryl (Dolly) Drage, a Nyiyaparli woman living in Newman.
As a Traditional Owner and Indigenous Business, Soap Bush Soap is a store and an experience rolled into one! It caught the attention of the Local Buying Program in December, when Newman Business Development Advisor Georgie McInerney attended the business’ official opening.
Providing the community with a range of hand crafted soaps, bathbombs and scrubs, all the ingredients are natural and/or things people can find in their pantry, and they are cleverly put together to create wonderful aromas and textures while still doing the job they’re meant to: clean!
As part of the opening, Newman Chamber Of Commerce and Industry’s team were invited to see how the soaps are made with members choosing colours and fragrances and then watching Kelly (Dolly’s soapmaker) create the soap right in front of their eyes.
With plans to provide not only a retail experience, and learning space, Dolly hopes to be able to engage young people in her community to develop creative, retail and business skills under Soap Bush Soap.
While her story – and business – is exactly what stokes the enthusiasm of those involved in the Local Buying Program (and already they have registered as a supplier!), Dolly’s own personal story is compelling.
Here is what she had to say, in her own words, to our C-Res BDA, Georgie:
“My name is Cheryl (Dolly) Drage. I am a Nyiyaparli woman living in Newman, Western Australia. I am the sole owner of Soap Bush Soap. I created SBS to alleviate the after effects of my chemo.
In 2016, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. At the time I was studying at James Cook University to complete a double major in criminology & human service, however, I ended my studies to have treatment.
Since completing the six months of chemo treatment, I have had side effects and my feet and hands were numb and tingling.
I have tried almost everything to rid the pain, but nothing worked and still nothing works for me.
I began researching homemade products, initially to make creams for relief from the pain. I found recipes to make soap and with further research I found recipes for creams.
I make those products now and will eventually include traditional plants into the creams for people to use all year round. I use basic ingredients people have in their pantry.
Using the basic ingredients, I know what’s in the products and have finally had some relief, through applying the soap and creams, more as a cleanser, to apply every day.
One day I may get some relief from the soaps and creams I make myself, using the plants and oils in a formula such as soap and creams.
The oils and plants that have been tried and tested over thousands of years and used by my people.”