By Z. Golden
Life is what you make it. You can either lay down and take it or pick everything back up and start new. Alexandra Durante chose to take the latter approach after losing her business in Hurricane Irma. Her company and products are now in every large and small hotel in the British Virgin Islands.
Founded in 2016, EC Soap Co. began as a result of the closing of another business run by Alex and her parents. Pearls VI was a jewelry company where the three casted silver, and hand-threaded jewels and pearls. They secured a location in the Moorings, where Nutmeg Co. used to be, and ran strong for eight years.
After they opened, they were asked to sell local products like honey and lemongrass, and so they added them to the inventory. Soon, there was a growing need for supporting locals and having local products to sell.
Alex took up soap-making in 2014. She always had an interest in smells and being creative, and when she saw people on Pinterest doing different colors, scents, and styles of soap, she went ahead and got a soap-making kit. After that, she was hooked.
Alex said she uses all-natural ingredients that leave the skin hydrated and smooth and help to get good nutrients into the skin as well. Ingredients in many other soaps contain toxins from dyes, scent, and other additives, but at E.C Soap Company we use quality oils and essential oils, never artificial dyes, colors or preservatives.
She wasn’t alone either – her soap products quickly caught on in Tortola and pretty soon, she was able to pay the bills just from selling the soap.
Slowly but surely, she decided that the focus on sustainable and all-natural amenities for hotels was really taking off. In the BVI, where sailing tourism is a major part of the economy, she saw a need to be a part of that market.
EC Soap Co. has the basic core amenities in every hotel: shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, lotion, and small soap bars. The company also carries mosquito repellants and reef-safe sunscreen made from natural ingredients. The retail section of the store includes scrubs, fun soaps, lotions, lip balms, lip scrubs; anything a bath and body shop would have.
Her products won the Department of Trade’s Business of the Month in October 2015, and Business of the Year and Most Innovative Business in 2016.
After winning those competitions in 2016, she won $17,000 which she directed into EC Soap Co.
They manufacture bath and body products for hotels, charter boats, and villas. They also have a retail section where retailers can buy the products for resale.
Though Alex hadn’t always known what she’d want to become since she was a kid, being a business-owner is fulfilling in ways she never imagined. She goes through ups and downs but cherishes the days where she is amazed with herself and her work.
Alex has encouraged a lot of people to go into their own businesses and she thanks her support system for keeping her going. Meanwhile, it’s the belief that the people in the Virgin Islands have in EC Soap Co. that keeps the company going.
Currently, EC Soap Co. has six employees in an 800 sq. ft. space and is rapidly growing. They have retailers on other islands and can be found in boutique stores, but the company is looking to expand into a new location on Tortola.
Photo captions: EC Soap Co.
Photos by Z. Golden