Young white entrepreneur paves the way toward more eco-friendly cosmetics industry

A white student is paving the way for more eco-friendly and transparent cosmetics with a handmade soap company that puts humans and the environment first.

The brainchild of transition year student at Gore Community School, Niall O’Shaughnessy, Klono Handmade Soap has been going from strength to strength since its first launch in 2021. In the months that followed, he has attracted customers from around the world, expanding his range and seeing his products stocked by two local retailers. Niall has also received a few awards for his innovative idea, including the overall senior category in the Student Enterprise Program for Wexford and Best Business Report in the program’s national final.

It was a gift coupled with a gap in the market that inspired Niall to establish Klono Handmade Soap.

“When I was little my mother gave me a soap making kit so I had one at home. I tried it and realized how easy it is to make. If you make a mistake, you can just remake it and go again,” he explained when asked about Prerna. “Everyone in Ireland uses soap so this is something that is needed. There was a slight gap in the market for eco-friendly soap bars so I decided to look into it.”

Early in his business journey, Niall conducted market research to determine what people wanted from a soap bar. They conducted a survey of people around the community, asking them about their preferences regarding fragrance, colour, size and other aspects. This helped him create the products he stocks today – all of which are made using eco-friendly materials sourced from Wicklow.

“I use all eco-friendly materials and colors that more or less everyone can use,” he explained. “The most popular product I’ve sold is the Summer Berries gift set. Was also interested in the shampoo bar which I started with at a later date.”

Being environmentally conscious is important to Niall and apart from ensuring that the soap raw materials are gentle on the environment, he is also committed to using plastic-free packaging.

Niall makes all his products by hand in his family’s kitchen in White. He said sharing the kitchen works out well, as he can do all his work while his dad works on the farm every evening. He said that all his family members have also supported him in making the product.

Clonough Handmade Soap has garnered great reviews on Niall’s Etsy Shop, with customers praising the products’ ‘lovely fragrance’, presentation and skin-smoothing effects. In addition to Etsy, products are also stocked at Refillery in White and Wraithwood in Carlo.

In the coming months, Niall plans to add additional items to its range of handmade soaps.

“A few weeks ago, a lady from America approached me and asked if I did a conditioner bar, which I had never heard of because I didn’t condition my hair. So I looked into that and was able to source the materials to make them. ,

He also hopes to see his products stocked in other stores, with Avoca’s shop at the top of his wish list.

Niall will associate his business with Senior Cycles as he prepares to move into his fifth year in September this year. What advice does he have for other budding young entrepreneurs?

“If you have an idea, just go for it. If you want to bring your product into stores, just ask. The worst thing no one is going to tell you is no one. No one will ask you or do something different.” Not going to give for trying to do that,” he said. “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.”

All the items in Clono Handmade Soap are eco-friendly, natural and handmade, while the material is fully traceable. They can be purchased through the Klono Handmade Soap Etsy page, or from the Refillery in White or Rathwood in Carlow.