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Lisa Marie Griffith Interview 2019

Lisa Marie Griffith Interview 2019

From "HER" magazine, 2019

Who is Lisa-Marie Griffith?

I’m an introvert/extrovert if that makes any sense, lover of all things coffee flavoured; pretzel flavoured and popcorn like.

The real me is very self reflective, contemplative and I think it stands to reason that I’m very much a loner. I have a group of close friends who I stick to and who understand my need for separation.

I’m a big believer in knowing your history. I am a history teacher after all. Not the surface, agenda filled garbage you see every so often on facebook. I’m inspired every day by the knowledge that sacrifices were made for me and on days that I’m lethargic, it is that thought that gets me going.

I was born on the beautiful island of Tobago. I’m a Caribbean girl at heart and when I leave the Caribbean I have a longing- an urgency to return. The Caribbean inspires me. Our people, smells, colours, sounds, voices-everything. I don’t take it for granted.

I am a mother of two girls and at the moment I’m grappling with the idea that that role is changing very quickly as my girls are now adults and I find myself sometimes at a loss because I no longer have to do the same things as before. I do love this stage of my life. It’s like an open book and it’s a stage of re-discovering

When other people look at me, they may see a middle aged woman, but I don’t define myself that way because I don’t know when I got here anyway. Over the years, I’ve become quieter because life quiets you and able to understand profoundly, that people are doing their best to be at peace with themselves, using the tools that they have.

I am very accepting of ridiculousness, radicalism and whatever the truth presents itself to be..

How did you get into the soap making business?

I started making soaps 20 years ago because I suffer from eczema which was chronic at the time and I was desperately searching for some relief. I started to do the research online and eventually after much trial and error came up with soaps that made a huge difference on my skin.

My business started as a teaching business rather than a production one, but demand necessitated that I start creating healthy bars for sale. I still don’t do large production runs of soaps, but smaller batches that have been carefully formulated to improve issues on the skin.

What attracted me to soap making?

It was a creative task that yielded something very useful. I’m a lover of art of beautifully crafted things and at the time I was doing all kinds of creative things- painting T-shirts, macramé (yes macramé), but early on I was advised to specialize and I chose soap making because there were just 3 other people making soaps at the time - it seemed exciting and filled with possibility.

How many years have you been doing this?:

I started soaping in 1999- 20 years

I am self taught because it was really the only option in 1999. There were no classes in soap making then.  Over the years and thousands of bad soaps later I came to master both formulation and the art of soaping itself. 

I was always researching, keeping notes and liaising with soap makers in the US to eliminate mistakes.

What sets my soaps apart?

I formulate my own soaps. I never use recipes that are imported and so my soaps are designed with very careful consideration for the health of the skin first. I recognize also that buyers of handmade soaps want to feel amazing after they’ve used the soap and this is achieved with lots of lather, pure essential oils or the very best fragrance blends. While the soaps are healthy, they are a joy to use.

WORKSHOPS: I offer workshops not just in soap making, but in candle making, lotion making, body scrubs, liquid soaps. It’s the full range. Classes are very heavily subscribed, especially soap making which is the most popular workshop.

Workshops are always sold out and I’m grateful for the confidence people have placed in me and Rhonda, my colleague, who hosts workshops with me. 

Women make up the majority of participants, but more and more, we’re seeing men, sometimes accompanying their wives or girlfriends which is always nice. I enjoy teaching classes that include men as they always bring another perspective to creativity.

The most popular age bracket 34-45 , but of course we get people of all ages. We do not usually teach participants under 18.

In workshops we cover conceptual things and do practicals as well. It is our aim that when participants leave workshops they are inspired to begin this journey of creativity through soap making, candle making etc. Our focus is on the understanding of the craft. How are soaps formed? What are the conditions necessary for this to take place? What makes one soap healthier than the other?

Many of our participants really latch onto the craft and excel at it. We do a lot of sharing in our facebook group and I’m always so inspired by how some people can master this, sometimes in a very short time. When people come to workshops, not everyone is interested in taking this to the level of business. 

Quite a few have started as I did, because of skin challenges which they are hoping to solve through natural means.

Many others are in fact selling and I’m sure you see them in the various farmer’s markets I see happening in Trinidad regularly.

What are you currently working on?

A few years ago I launched my website and my business really quadrupled with that online presence and so at the moment, I am working on a series of online courses aimed at persons who cannot make the face to face workshops. Anyone can sign up, even if you don’t live here, so the possibilities of that are endless. My Online Candle making course is already available.

I’m always working on e books -that is books with spa recipes and a few of them are already available on the website. I’m very excited about my blog which is always a work in progress, but it aims to support artisans by giving information and projects.


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