Debbie van der Merwe

Debbie van der Merwe is our winner of the Fab Ideas Christmas Fair Competition. We loved her story and looking forward to seeing her business, Skoon Skaap grow. We wanted to know a bit more about her business and the mother of 2 almost 3 children

Tell us a bit about your business…

Our business is Skoon Skaap, an all-natural soap company. We make cold pressed Soaps, using only the finest (and gentlest) ingredients including, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and essential oils. We have now extended our range with our Bath Fizz and Barrier Cream.
My husband and I make and package all the products ourselves and it’s fast becoming a full time business!

How did it start?

Having been through a personal journey, learning about what we were eating and what we were applying to our bodies, not to mention the unceasing issues with our son’s eczema, we began to change our habits. My husband Rick and I both have a love for natural products. Coupled with my husband’s scientific background we have researched in detail the ingredients we use and believe them to be beneficial. Out of that Skoon Skaap was birthed.

Why do you live in the deep South?

We moved here nearly two years ago when my husband got a new job in Cape Town. I am originally from the UK and my husband was born and raised in Port Elizabeth. Ironically my husband’s family originates from South Pen, so we feel we’ve gone full circle to end up here just metres away from his aunts and uncles whom he hadn’t seen in years!

Growing up in a small village in England, I was used to the feel of community – and that’s what I love in South Pen. The community feel is there and exactly what I wanted for my own children to experience.

How many children do you have and how would they describe you?

I have two children, with our third due just after Christmas. My son is four and my daughter is two. Perhaps fortunately, given their age, they may be a little young to be able to describe me! I hope they find me fun and firm at the same time. I want to be their confidant, someone that they come to with their problems and who they enjoy spending time with but also clearly their parent too. I’m not here to be their best friend, but to nurture them and when necessary bring correction.

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in the deep South?

We love reading so our trips to the library are always fun. We also enjoy being outdoors, so walks on the beach and at Noordhoek Common are also family favourites.

What is the best advice you ever received from your mother?

I can’t think of advice as such… more the example she set raising four children. She was a good balance of  firm but fair and I had a happy childhood.
One other thing I can think of is her amazing baking! We ate lots of lovely puddings and desserts growing up, which I’m sure contributed greatly to the happy childhood I remember!

How does the community benefit from your involvement in it?

That’s a hard question to answer, as I don’t think I am ever doing enough. It’s hard to see the heartache and poverty so close to home and yet allow the busyness of life to get in the way of really being involved.

In a very small way I hope Skoon Skaap can at least reach people as far as helping them look after their skin. It sounds a little silly put like that, but so many people have already said to us that they can’t use conventional soaps and products because of the chemicals. Our soaps have already been commended as being gentle enough to use on problem skin and, so far, we’ve had no negative feedback (long may it continue!).

Why did you enter the Fab Ideas and Christmas Fair SPM competition?

We have tried and tested our products on ourselves, family and friends, and built up our stock to the point where we are now ready to sell! With our third child on the way, day jobs etc, we have not had much time to sell up until now, but are looking for a great outlet like the Christmas Gift Fair to introduce our products to our area. Winning this competition would be a great step for our new business venture.

Please support Skoon Skaap at the Fab Ideas and Christmas Fair which will be at Kommetjie Primary school from the 11th to the 14th of December.

Skoon Skaap

If you can’t make it don’t worry you can get hold of her You can take a peek at her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/skoonskaap/ or  email her at debsmerwe@gmail.com