JOSH Lawlor and his partner Jason Moore have always been big fans of body scrubs, but when they couldn’t find the perfect product they thought they’d make their own.
“We were using one brand and we loved it but we found it oily, so we started playing around at home with ingredients,” recalls Mr Lawlor of the moment two years ago.
Mixing ground coffee beans, coconut and almond oils, cinnamon and salt, the duo came up with a version they loved and began gifting it to friends and family.
The feedback was good. So much so that Mr Lawlor, a service manager, and Mr Moore, a chef and teacher, decided to found Scrubba Body, working until all hours to expand their range to five body scrubs.
In 2016 they held their first Hunt & Gather stall and were blown away by the response.
“We underestimated how much we would sell and sold out in an hour and a half and had to stand there and look pretty for the rest of the night,” laughs Mr Lawlor. “We thought ‘this is amazing, we could leave our day jobs’ but of course it was the Christmas rush, when people are buying lots at once.”
In 2017 the men took their developing range to the markets and drew on the feedback of their customers for inspiration to make a range of salt scrubs for clients who didn’t like their coffee-based scrubs.
They then made sparkle scrubs (the natural stone of micra adding the crucial shimmer) and added candles, wax melts, bath salts and lip balms to the range.
They turned to The Business Centre in Newcastle for advice for a Christmas pop-up they were planning at Charlestown Square and learnt strategies on how to maximise sales.
“We slept little because we were up all night making product, but it was fantastic,” says Mr Lawlor, adding with a laugh that when there was no space to move in their home their mantra was “it’s a good problem to have”.
But the struggle for space is now real so the men are toying with getting a warehouse or a manufacturer.
“We are leaning towards the latter but many of them have big minimum orders, so we’ll see,” says Mr Lawlor.
He says Scrubba’s point of difference is in its large variety of scrubs and the fact it’s not as oily as its rivals and is all hand-made, with customers saying it has helped skin conditions like excema.
As for the name Scrubba…
“It works with us doing body scrubs and then I remember my friends and I all calling each other scrubbas at school,” laughs Mr Lawlor.
“We've even got a little catchphrase on our business cards saying ‘Are you a Scrubba?’ It gets a lot of comments, but it also turns out no-one under 20 has any idea what a scrubba is anymore.”