For any regular readers of this blog you may well be aware that men have come under some feminist abuse over the last few posts. It hasn't been contained to the blog - it has spread into the chat-room of Craftfest... Ladies, you know who you are!
Men being objectified and at the same time being ridiculed for talking about doing the washing, the cleaning, the drying. As if?!
Well, well then - let me tell you a story about how we got into soap-making...
(by the way - for any sensitive types out there) no offence was taken!
Having left community/charity work here in Ireland we went away to Brazil for a few months to be with family. I was struck by the entrepreneurship demonstrated so readily in Brazil. People with no money and in deep poverty trying to make things to sell in order to make a living.
One thing that really struck me was the ability of people to make their own cleaning products. I got curious. Candles and Soaps I knew could be made at home - but how on earth did a person go about making cleaning products?
As an anti-capitalist I have always resented spending money on big brands that make massive profits so they can advertise and sell more. I've always supported fair-trade and justice. I began to see potential ways to undercut Procter & Gamble, Lever bros and make things for myself. Surely if poverty stricken people in Brazil could do it - so could I? Perhaps we could even sell the products and make an income? Become self-employed? I began thinking of different ways to create a social business that may involve cleaning products.
This was the beginning of ScENT!
And here are a few of the things we make. Mostly for ourselves but sometimes to sell. We make everything from floor cleaner to detergent, scouring powder to granite cleaner and much more to the side.
Lemon and Pine - floor cleaner
Peppermint& lavender laundry powder, (and softener)
Frankincense, cinnamon & bergamot granite cleaner
Lavender and Rosemary all purpose cleaner
Lavender & tea-tree all purpose cleaner
Grapefuit & Clove mildew spray
Peppermint & eucalyptus shower spray
Lemon Scrub and scouring powder
In the last year I have become an expert in how to use Bicarbonate of Soda, Cornstarch, Soap, Vinegar, Lemons and essential oils among other things in such a way as to create an environmentally friendly cleaning range that uses both fairly traded and organic ingredients.
I haven't needed to buy a laundry powder in over 2 years - and we use washable nappies!!! The stuff works.
A word of caution though to the novice. The internet is full of recipes that don't work. Made by people who have obviously never tried making them. Anyone that suggests putting castile soap together with vinegar is a Looney Tune! It simply creates the most awful scum!
Now granted - cleaning products aren't quite as an attractive idea as say, soap. Carla makes beautiful soap, but one of the purposes of the soap-making is to generate enough income to kick-start social business'. We want Scent to offer employment opportunities to the disadvantaged, work with people who suffer disabilities or perhaps those seeking re-habilitation from prison.
One possible avenue we are pursuing is the idea of making cleaning products for schools, offering classes in justice, organics, enterprise and health & hygiene. The pupils then make some of the products and we sell them as a fundraiser for the school.
All this is in its infancy but we are currently looking at whether or not it is viable.
So, not only do men do the cleaning - but whilst cleaning we dream. Dream of changing the world. Dream of creating change, dream of the day when we can work with people rather than clean my house (although) I may not be able to do much about the latter dream.
So there you have it - the dangers of becoming a house-husband!