Undercover with Wickham Soap Co

Traditional wet shavers! Our dropbox has been alerted to our next top secret mission, undercover with British shaving soap maker Wickham Soap Co. So, we ask the questions you want to hear! Who is Wickham Soap Co and what can we look forward to this year?

Wickham Soap Co

Wickham is the Village in Hampshire which I lived when I first formulated Super Smooth, so it seemed fitting that the business should take this name.

I consider myself to be an easy-going person who appreciates the simple things in life. I am a single parent with a seven-year-old son who I love very much, he is just amazing! My hobbies and interests include so many things, but photography and learning new skills are the two main things that make me tick.

Darron Barnes - Wickham Soap Co | Agent Shave

Being dyslexic has pushed me since leaving school to battle against the frustrating problem I am faced with. It's been a long hard slog but I know I have made good progress and it's this that drives me now. You know it amazes me just how much this world has to offer, with its diversity and seemingly endless amount of skills one can learn. In a way I have to thank my dyslexia really for making me pay attention to the smaller details in life. :)

Breakfast is oats! Love ‘em! Oats with cold milk, something I was introduced to at a young age. It really is tasty and something I look forward to every morning. I also enjoy toast and thick cut orange marmalade. This for me is a special treat, it reminds me of my Great Grandma and the wonderful smelling toast and marmalade she made me as a young lad. This is the most comforting childhood memory I have.

When & why did you start traditional shaving?

I started back in 2009 after buying an old Gillette DE razor from eBay. I remembered my Granddad shaving with a DE razor when I was a young lad. I think curiosity and too much free time on my hands led me to initially search eBay for one. It conjures up in my mind an appealing show of artistry to be shaving this way. I also feel it somehow connects me more to the past, and strengthens the bond I had with my Granddad.

My soap of choice back then was Cella, I could almost eat this Almond goodness! In case you are wondering, Wickhams will never produce a straight Almond scented shave soap. Why? Because I believe Cella has it perfected already and to try and better it would be a waste of time.

When did you start soap making & why?

Back in 2010 I unfortunately started to suffer with Psoriasis, a very unpleasant non-contagious skin disease. By about 2012 my face was covered, and wet shaving became very problematic and painful for me. Around the same time I had not long completed night school GCSE chemistry with the view to making photographic developers for a niche market. This proved to be quite a tough market to break into so I turned my attention to a new project … a shaving soap that would not aggravate my skin. In 2014 Super Smooth was born and trialled by the Shaving Room forum. It received encouraging reviews and the rest, as they say, was history.

What is your favourite Wickham scent?

Wickham Soap Co - Club Cola Shaving Soap | Agent Shave

My favourite has changed over the years but Club Cola was my first favourite. Have you tried it? It fills the bathroom with sunshine. Looking in the mirror each morning at the psoriasis on my face was upsetting but the smell from Club Cola would just lift my spirits. It became my tonic to kick start each day.

Classic 24 is my favourite today with Magnum and Shamrock closely behind. I use three of my soaps in rotation. Classic 24, Club Cola and Magnum. The last two are nearly finished and I don't plan to replace them. Being a bit OCD, I don't like seeing too many tubs by the basin in the bathroom. So I think Classic 24 will become my everyday go-to soon.

Is there a scent that you would really like to try making that you haven't yet?

Oh many! I do a bit of mountain biking in the Summer and some of the smells I wish I could bottle. Jasmine comes to mind and is one I wish I could incorporate into a masculine scent. Wild garlic is another, it's so pungent and very dominating, you know when you have stumbled on this out in the countryside. 

What is your secret to achieving the perfect lather from your soaps?

That's number one on my list of conditions to be met when formulating a shave soap, not to make a shave soap a secret. It has to be effortless to use and produce an abundance of dense slick lather in all water conditions. If it fails this then it's not worthy of a Wickhams label. 

Coming soon? 

There is a new breed of Wickham 1912s in development which will be released as group buys. The first one is near completion and will be ready for mid-Summer 2018. They will be known as the 1912 DE range - not DE for “Double Edge” as the wet shaving community has become familiar with, but DE for “Dark Edition”. If these prove successful then they will be incorporated with the main line of soaps and made available to Wickham stockists. 

I have just created a packaging policy as part of my commitment to reducing plastic packaging for Wickham Soap Co. The first steps have been completed which was to stop using bubble wrap and plastic based cello-tape, labels and wrap. I am pleased to say that all Wickham Soap Co. delivery boxes are now 100% recyclable as a result. 

The next step is to stop using plastic tubs for the 1912 shave soap which will be achieved by making it a hard puck shave soap. Work is underway, it’s still in the shave soap reformulation stage, though I am making good progress.

Colourful labels are on their way and there is also a plan to produce a Welsh themed fragrance to join the 1912 range of products. 

We are very excited to hear some of the new developments, Agent H is particularly intrigued with the idea of a Welsh themed fragrance....hmmm!!! Thank you Darron for letting us agents into the world of Wickham Soap Co.