THE owner of a fledgling Stourbridge based company that sells traditional handcrafted soap bars has celebrated winning a top industry award recognising natural beauty products.

Kirsty Thorpe began setting up Cocoa Avenue, which specialises in natural and organic, vegan, cold process soap bars, skincare and bath products, during the Covid-19 lockdown in May 2020.

Kirsty, who has a background in beauty therapy and recently completed a degree in occupational therapy, makes the products at home using luxurious plant oils, butters, clays and botanicals that are “super kind to skin”.

She sells mostly online and to retail and wholesalers and also attends events around the Midlands and the UK and she said: “The business has taken off great. The products are formulated with the environment in mind and 100 per cent free from plastic or earth toxic chemicals, palm free, and cruelty free.”

The products have already proven popular with customers and last month Kirsty, aged 35, was overjoyed to discover Cocoa Avenue’s rose and lavender soap had won a bronze award for best bar soap at the Free From Skincare Awards.

Stourbridge News: Cocoa Avenue's rose and lavender soap barsCocoa Avenue's rose and lavender soap bars

She said: "I'm over the moon to receive an award so early on since opening my little business, the competition was so fierce...with many other brands UK and Europe wide entering the same category."

She added: "The products go through weeks of rigorous testing and inspecting in all aspects, from ingredients to the labelling and effectiveness. So when I found out I'd won bronze I was completely speechless."

The awards recognise smaller skincare brand owners whose skincare products are free from the many skin irritants in mainstream skincare today such, fragrance, allergens and preservatives and Kirsty said: “These awards are a great platform for the public to source products that are genuinely kind in every way possible to our skin, health, and the environment.”