The Palm Journal met Hanna Olzon-Åkerström, Co-Founder of the Soeder Collective. Her company manufactures 100% natural soaps with outstanding quality in a small factory near Zurich.
Hanna and Johan Olzon-Åkerström both come from the creative industry and have always had an idea in their heads, or rather an ideal: Creating high-quality products with a transparent production process, timeless design and all at an affordable price.
In 2013 Hanna, Johan and their friend Karl Westbom founded the design collective Soeder. Their products are anything but expensive and yet organic and made of high-quality materials. This is made possible by selling the furniture, apparel and textiles without any intermediaries. However, Soeder produces directly in Switzerland or in neighbouring European countries.
They have always designed their products themselves, but they even wanted to produce the products themselves. The collective spent a long time thinking about which product was suitable for their own production and what they really wanted to try. They decided on soaps, an everyday life product. And as they couldn’t find any comparable soaps with a similar organic approach the idea of Soeder Seifen was born. Their approach: 100% natural ingredients. “For us value means to produce something useful, durable and sustainable. Real goods, the right natural ingredients and honest recipes”, Hanna explains.
“The basic recipe was the result of a long test phase, because there was none to adopt. We asked for advice, but it didn’t meet our expectations. The advice we got was never 100% natural. But that is what we wanted.”
It took them six months, from the first idea to the finished soap. In a small soap factory near Zurich this exceptional product is manufactured with great attention to detail and a lot of work. During the development process the team even studied books from the 19th century to expand their knowledge of natural soap production. Due to Soeder’s holistic approach on sustainability, the soaps should not contain the slightest trace of toxic or non-degradable ingredients. These days most of the odours are created synthetically in a laboratory. Lavender scents do not really come from lavender branches. Soeder is different. Cold-pressed precious oils like jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil or hemp oil are processed in the Swiss factory. Johan Olzon, who founded Soeder together with his wife Hanna, knows the exact origin of the ingredients he works with every day. His job only works with a lot of passion.
“All who work with us are not interested in unbelievably high income, growth or profits. Of course, we need to run the company economically. So we work hard and we work a lot. But sustainability, enjoyment, creating value and working with good friends is more important to us.” the Swedish-born explains.
The collective is pleased about how that the idea of sustainability is becoming more important for many and a lot of people understand that good holistic quality has its price.
Soeder’s range of products keeps growing. Now there is a cosmetics line consisting of deodorants, shampoos and detergents. Furthermore, they cooperate with Swiss Air whose business class customers can enjoy Soeder products during their flights. A face cream with nuances of Alpine herbs is part of the Swiss Airline’s regular range.
Since the beginning of 2020 Soeder’s products are listed in various stores within the EU. An expansion into Japan and the United States is already planned.
Due to the collective’s holistic approach to sustainability, they also consider moving production to the respective country if there is sufficient demand. But one step at a time. This credo always worked at Soeder which is counting almost 20 employees today.
The most important thing is passion and dedication. “We find self-fulfillment in our daily work. That’s the reason why our output is so incomparably good.”