Words By
Lottie Cordery

Interview With
Grace Berge

Date Published
8th April 2019


fatcatbathandbody.nz

@fatcatbathandbody

We love to celebrate New Zealanders that are creating a positive impact, which is why we are proud to have connected with Grace from Fat Cat Bath & Body.

Grace handcrafts artisan soaps using natural, plant-based ingredients to steer clear of all those harsh chemicals in most commercial products. We asked Grace a few questions about the driving force behind her products and how she promoting the wellbeing of others…

“I grew up near Taupo on a dairy farm with my Mum and Dad. I have five siblings, three brothers and two sisters along with 12 nieces and nephews. We’re a big but close family.

After high school, I went on to study Hospitality and Tourism in Hamilton. After studying, for about six months I lived and worked overseas in Florida at Disney World as a character performer, mostly dressing up as Winnie the Pooh!

 

I am currently working at Waipoua Lodge with my Mum and fiancé Jonty. Mum and Dad bought the lodge in 2017 after 30 years of farming. Unfortunately, in August 2018 my Dad passed away due to a heart attack, and we now have the lodge on the market.”

  • What is Fat Cat Bath & Body and what made you passionate about creating this business?

 

Fat Cat Bath & Body is a business that handmakes soaps and body products, focusing on using all natural ingredients.

“In 2018 my family lost some very close people; my 14-year-old niece due to mental health, my Dad, my Mum’s uncle and my fiancé’s nana. All within four weeks of each other.”

It became a dark time for myself and my family and I needed to do something to keep myself busy and help with the grieving process. I decided out of the blue to make soap! I created my first batch in October and haven’t stopped since.

 

I started to become more and more passionate about making my own soaps after doing a lot of research into the bath and body products we buy and use every day. I couldn’t believe the types of chemically man-made ingredients we were using and putting on our bodies. From then on I wanted to use and make products that were moisturising, healing, natural and good for your skin and the environment. The name of the business is inspired by my big, fluffy cat Roy, I really didn’t think I would use that name but it just stuck!


  • What is important to you when creating your products? What kind of ingredients do you tend to choose?

 

There are many things that are important to me when making my products, but overall I want my products to be of high quality and I want to my customers to enjoy them and for them to have a little piece of luxury in their homes.

“All of these ingredients have different levels and types of fatty acids and help with different skin conditions.”

I make my products in small batches to ensure that they are of the high quality I want them to be. Some of the main ingredients I use in my products are Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Hemp Seed Oil, but the list is much longer to name. Those are what I would call my ‘staple’ oils and kinds of butters. All of these ingredients have different levels and types of fatty acids and help with different skin conditions. I then create a recipe depending on what I would like the product to achieve based on the different fatty acids in each of the oils. It really is like a chemistry class! To add colour or scent to the products I use Brazilian clays and essentials oils along with body safe micas and fragrance oils. I don’t use any palm oil, parabens, sulfates or preservatives in my products.

 

 

  • What goals are on the horizon for you and Fat Cat?

 

I hope to expand and grow my business but I also want to be able to educate people about the ingredients they may be using now. I think it is so important that we look after our bodies. For me, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and with mental health in our country being at such an unacceptable level, it’s important that I can help make a difference, even if it’s just for one person.

 

“For me, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and with mental health in our country being at such an unacceptable level, it’s important that I can help make a difference, even if it’s just for one person.”

I also want to help different charities or foundations by the way of donations. Right now I have made two different soaps in honour of my Dad and niece, with half of the proceeds going to the New Zealand Heart Foundation and Lifeline New Zealand. The donations at the moment may be small but I hope to continue making a different soap each time for these foundations and charities.

  • Final words of advice?

 

A handmade bar of soap may be more expensive than what many people might be used to, but the difference it can make with your skin and health in amazing. In my eyes it’s an investment in your health and wellbeing. Instead of putting chemicals onto your body you are using natural products derived from nature. It can’t be much better than that!

“I didn’t think that handmade soap would be much better for my skin, but the changes I’ve noticed have been huge.”

Natural products help in a number of ways for many people for different skin issues, it just takes trying it once to notice a difference.

 

  • Where can we find more information on Fat Cat Bath & Body?

 

To find out more and to purchase any of the products you can head over to the website fatcatbathandbody.nz or our Facebook and Instagram pages @fatcatbathandbody.

 

Photography Supplied By Fat Cat Bath & Body

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