My name is Kerry Burrows and I formed Phoenix & Beau in 2015. Like many I have very sensitive skin, particularly beneath my jawline and when I took to traditional wet shaving I found it difficult to find a soap that could protect and moisturise my face adequately. I wanted something that had reliable and consistent performance; something that would let my razor glide over my face without irritating it and also something that would leave my skin feeling silky smooth. I wanted those properties combined in a soap that produced a rich, dense and voluminous lather that was both a joy to create and use.
Unafraid of a challenge I set about my research and spent nine months building and testing a formula that led to the creation of a vegan and, some way behind it, a tallow based soap. Part of my process involved verifying my soaps properties via an audience who I felt would be 100% objective and quite possibly my strongest critics; I felt that if I had a soap that was loved by wet shaving aficionado's I probably wasn't far from the mark.
Feeling sufficiently brave enough I took my vegan formula to the online UK shaving fraternity The Shaving Room (TSR) and shared samples with its members. It performed well in some areas but it didn't hit everyone's targets, e.g. it didn't give everyone a stubborn and dense lather. Armed with this information I went back to my design and developed both the vegan and tallow versions further. This involved the burning of many midnight lamps, a legion of test batches and enough soap to last a lifetime.
I returned to TSR and shared the evolved formulas with a larger group of testers and eagerly awaited their feedback. They reported how the vegan version was much improved and to a lot of peoples taste. Then feedback began to come back in for my tallow version and things seemed good. In fact, things seemed very good. It soon became evident that folk were as happy with the tallow version as I was and that it was hitting (and for some, exceeding) all of their targets.
Here is our soap as lathered by TSR member @Nishy
To see the TSR community engagement, feedback (warts & all) and evolution of my soap, please click here. We are very grateful for all of the comments (good and bad) from our TSR testers and extend our sincere thanks to each and every one of them who helped shape our shaving soaps.
As a consequence I launched Phoenix & Beau in February 2016 from my home based studio situated in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. We are a family run business; my wife and I work together and share responsibilities fairly evenly, although Sarah would say that she leans more towards the design and branding aspects of our soap. If I were to give myself a title I'd have to make up a word and use "Saponificationist"; I am the chief soap creator and scent maker. I have the awesome job of not only making our soap but I also get to distil my inspiration from various sources (nature, landscapes, my travels, music, etc) and use those ideas for scent creation.
We take pride in making all of our products with our own hands here in our Hertfordshire based studio and have designs to expand our product range. For example, we aspire to venture in to the world of fragrance and scents and have a range of prototype solid colognes that are small, powerful and neatly fit in to a pocket; we hope to share these with you as soon as we've finalised them.
*None of our products are tested on animals, only willing homo-sapiens *
Please get in touch if you have feedback, questions or suggestions on what you would like to see us providing.
With kind regards,
Kerry Burrows - Owner, Chief Soap Maker & Conjurer of Scents.