A story that goes back a long way

La Saponaria’s story is a tale of a growing passion that eventually turned into a job and continues to develop from year to year.

Luigi was just a child when he started his soap collection and began filling the family home with heady scents. His chemistry studies and his meeting with Lucia sparked the first experiments in the attic, with the supervision and advice of Grandma Gina.

Tradition meets innovation, blending age-old knowledge with a desire to discover and experiment with new solutions and ecological, sustainable ingredients.

Ethical Purchasing Groups (GAS) and crowdfunding: when a passion becomes an occupation

Bar after bar, as we explored the world of essential oils and lost ingredients, our fascination with the soap-making and cosmetics industry grew.

We started taking part in local craft markets and fairs, and began working with our local GAS (Ethical Purchasing Group). Here we found like-minded people seeking a healthy, wholesome lifestyle, with the aspiration to change the world through their own choices.

It was thanks to our fellow “ethical purchasers” that our passion became a job: we set up a crowdfunding campaign (before this was common practice!) to raise the sum needed to start our workshop, earning the trust of many people who believed in our project.

Founding of La Saponaria: a conscious, zero-impact micro-laboratory driven by a boundless passion and a big dream

No massive investments or gigantic, sprawling facilities - in fact, we built much of the equipment and furnishings of the workshop with our own hands, using recycled materials and tools wherever possible. Some of the machinery, for example, came from a small workshop where Adriano produced traditional cosmetics, made with love and with the help of his wife. He was shutting up shop after a lifetime of work, so he passed his equipment on to us, along with the moral legacy of his work!

Juggling bureaucracy and health and safety permits was no easy task, but after something of a rocky road, we officially opened our first workshop!

Making your own cosmetics: good for your skin, your wallet and the environment

Using natural ingredients to create your own cosmetics, enables you not only to know what you are spreading on your body and take care of your health, but also to save both money and the environment.

We believe in the importance of making your own products, and have always tried to encourage this, by organising courses and activities to promote the art of home soap-making and the creation of green, organic cosmetics. On our website, we share recipes (our own and others from those who wish to contribute to the project) and the raw materials we use.

Our mission: to create conscious cosmetics

We seek to produce cosmetics that are good for the user and have a positive impact on the environment and our society.

This was what prompted our first “0 km” collaborations with small farmers who tend to our land with love and without chemicals. Lavender, marigold and extra virgin olive oil are all fabulous, zero-impact ingredients that are great for our creations.

These encounters gave rise to our first contract productions: we started producing soaps for several farms (often trading cosmetics for raw materials) and for some famous organic cosmetic brands.

Created this year: our Original Line, our Organic Hand Creams

Not just soaps

We continued to pursue our studies and experiments in the world of chemistry and organic cosmetics, leading to the creation of the first La Saponaria-branded cosmetics, such as our fragrant, extremely popular Lemongrass and Mint Scrub with fairtrade ingredients, followed, after much experimentation, by the Flaxseed Shampoos, now loved by so many.
La Saponaria cosmetics also began to appear in a number of shops: an honourable mention goes here to our first retailer, Il Tronchetto Naturale in Belluno, and its dynamic owner Nicoletta, who placed her trust in us right from the start.

Created this year: The Flaxseed Hair Line, our first solid shampoo, and the Argan Face Line

La Saponaria is all grown up!

From a dream to reality, with La Saponaria becoming a job, for us and for other young apprentice alchemists!
We took part in events and organised local meetings to spread awareness and knowledge and talk about sustainable cosmetics that are good for the skin and good for the planet.
Our project began attracting some media attention, and in the meantime, our circle of real and virtual friends grew.

Created this year: Our first baby, and the Baby Apricot line for little ones

Our new laboratory and the first La Saponaria store

All these creams, soaps and shampoos required more space, so in 2014, we opened our new laboratory in Vallefoglia (PU).
We renovated an old building, using energy-saving criteria, and purchased new machinery to minimise waste and the impact of our work, while ensuring the highest quality of production.
In December, we opened our first eco-store, the La Saponaria factory outlet.
The Syria ethical soap was created, a limited edition in collaboration with Terres des Hommes, in solidarity with Syrian refugees.

Created this year: Our first Osolebio sun line, and our Hydrolates

A bigger team and more experiments

We never tire of experimenting and our workshop is a continuous hotbed of ideas!
New collaborators joined the La Saponaria team, bringing the right energy to the laboratory for the development of new projects.
Luigi became a university professor of cosmetology, which brought a new drive to our research and quality department.
We created and strengthened new ethical supply chain projects, such as the marigold project and the sage project, set up within the Pesaro Ethical Purchasing Group, with a view to fostering a sustainable agricultural self-entrepreneurship project.

World, here we come!

By this time, we’d earned the trust of many, and our products could be found in many shops, organic perfumeries, pharmacies and top-quality herbalist shops.
We attended our first international trade fair in Nuremberg, where we discovered that we spoke the 'same language' as many like-minded companies scattered across Europe.
We also strengthened ties with projects far and wide, in terms of geography, but close to our hearts, so more and more fairtrade ingredients featured in our recipes.

In 2016, we also published our first book explaining to readers how to make their own natural soaps. At the same time, we continued to hold informative encounters throughout Italy, as well as pursuing our experiments in the laboratory.

Created this year: baby number two, our Constitutional Facial Line, and Hennetica, our organic, fairtrade line of herbal dyes
Awards received: BioAwards 2017 for Best Conditioner and Mask - Moringa & Linen Organic Leave-in Conditioner

Biostorie: time to take organic a step further

Our organic, conscious cosmetics were gaining in popularity, with more and more people loving them and using them with joy. We began working with associations fighting in defence of the environment, such as Sea Shepherd, or supporting women who suffer violence, such as Percorso Donna.

We found that our dream of creating a cleaner, fairer and more equal world is shared by many people, and entered into a growing number of projects with AltraQualità, which supports small local producers in the Global South.

We discovered that when it comes to doing good, there’s strength in numbers, and that together, we can achieve so much. We opened our first Biostorie flagship store in Bologna.

Created this year: Our Like a Dream BB Cream, and the Roots body line

Our new headquarters

By this time, we’d outgrown our old laboratory, so it was time to move! We adopted a green building approach, renovating an old, abandoned warehouse and giving it a new lease of life, powering it exclusively with energy from 100% renewable sources.

Our team also grew: in the About us section you can see all the faces of those wonderful people who are part of it. One of the things we take greatest pride in? Many of the same faces are still here working with us, after all this time.

Created this year: Fitocell In&Out, the Inner hair line, and our book 'You never forget your first soap'
Awards received: - BioAwards 2019 for the Best Charity activity, with the two-step Wondermask and the #sonowonder project for the Percorso Donna association

Plastic free and zero waste

In the year of the pandemic, which was very difficult for everyone in many ways and which, as collateral damage, saw a disproportionate increase in disposable waste, we sought to be even greener and more sustainable. We expanded our range of solid, plastic-free cosmetics, comprising everything from shampoos and solid conditioners to natural soaps and facial cleansers.

What about all those cosmetics that can’t be made solid? We sought to make our packaging lighter and more sustainable, and to eliminate virgin plastic from all our lines: we use bioplastic bottles made from sugar cane and re-bottle recycled plastic, i.e. post-consumer recycled plastic that comes from separate household waste and from sea plastic, i.e. plastic recovered from the oceans, processed and made available for use again.

We continued to prefer more sustainable materials, such as glass, aluminium and recycled paper, and we moved to a larger, eco-friendly laboratory, powered exclusively by energy from renewable sources.

Created this year: The Solids, the Wonder Pop line, the Medicinal Ointments, the Wow line, the legendary Pure Actives line, the SativAction men's line, the Bio&Smile line
Awards received:
- BioAwards 2020 for Best Body Treatments: Medicinal Ointments
- EcoPackaging Awards 2020 for Pampering Butter
- Orgànics Clean Award 2020 for CBD Anti-Ageing Face Cream-Gel
- BioAwards 2021 for the Best Charity Activity: Black Friday with Doctors Without Borders, in support of the Covid fund
- BioAwards 2021 for Best Anti-ageing Face Serum: Vitamin C
- EcoPack 2021 organised by Conai for the new re-bottle plastic packaging of our Hydrolates

Our first 15 years

It’s been 15 years since we opened La Saponaria, 20 since we started doing the first markets: we are ready to celebrate.
We pay increasing attention to details, because we know the difference they can make: we promote energy saving and respect for the environment every step of the way, from the laboratory and warehouse through to shipping. For example, we use only recycled paper and scotch tape for our parcels, and we use recycled paper pallets to deliver the goods to our retailers, so that they can easily be recycled, as well as saving a tree destined to become a wooden pallet.
We continue on the path we set out on, never losing sight of our mission: to make cosmetics that are good for their users and for our Planet.

Created this year: The Stretch Marks Line, the AHA Peeling, the new Osolebio Sun Line, and the Solid Creams

Awards received:
- Ki-Life Sustainable Awards 2022 for Wonder Pop, the zero-waste facial line
- Growth Champion 2022 for the Affari&Finanza supplement of Repubblica newspaper
- Growth Leader 2022 for Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper
- 1000 Europe's Fastest Growing Companies 2022 for the Financial Times

La Saponaria becomes a Benefit Company

In 2023 La Saponaria SRL no longer exists: it has been transformed into La Saponaria SRL Società Benefit.

Benefit Corporations are companies that decide to pursue goals of common benefit and operate in a responsible, sustainable and transparent way towards people, communities, territories and the environment.

To become a Benefit Company we have changed our statute: we have formally integrated the traditional economic activity (producing cosmetics!) with the aim of having a positive impact on society and on our Planet.

As you well know, sustainability has always been a priority in our daily lives: we wanted to make our commitment official, give it concreteness and measurability. For this reason, every year we will have challenging goals which we will keep track of on the website, in the Sustainability section.

On this occasion, we also presented our new purpose, the motto that distinguishes our actions:

Together to make a difference, one shower at a time.