Trusted Since 1999 | Family Business

★★★★★ Customer Reviews

Free SOAP DISH* >£40

★★★★★ Customer Reviews

Have you had a chance to visit The Soap Bar Café? For those of you who aren’t aware, the Soap Bar Café and Gift Shop is in its second year of operation and located within our head office in Clutton, North Somerset. The café offers a fantastic selection of lunch items and freshly made cakes as well as award-winning tea, coffee and fizz. Located in the gift shop is an extensive range of Somerset Toiletry Co products and giftable items which vary year-round.

We know what you might be thinking – how did an independent, family-run toiletry company end up operating a café and gift shop? To answer this question, we sat down with our Chairman, Sakina Buoy, to give us the story of how SBC came to be.


Opening a Café was never our plan

When my husband Roger and I created the Somerset Toiletry Company back in 1999. We set our sights on creating a small toiletry business to keep us busy during the week. We never imagined our little passion project would eventually turn into an international toiletry company. I can safely say the idea of owning and operating a café and gift shop never crossed either of our minds. It was just another one of those things we fell into. Pure serendipity!

The birth of Soap Bar Café

For twenty years the Somerset Toiletry Co’s head office was located at Clutton Hill Farm, an old pig shed which had been converted into a handful of office spaces. Over the course of twenty years we went from renting a single office unit, enough to fit two desks and a conference table to eventually outgrowing the estate altogether.

We knew we needed a new place to call home and so we started searching for offices in the local area, however we found it near impossible to find something suitable. It was after a year of searching for a new site (and maybe a glass of wine) that I came up with the idea of converting a derelict pub into the head office of a toiletry company. We decided to take a look at the old pub, known formerly as The Warwick Arms, which had seen several changes in ownership and experienced little success in the preceding years. We agreed that with planning permission from the local council, renovations and a little TLC we could turn a pub into our HQ. This was also when we realised there might be some extra space available for a café and maybe even a gift shop to proudly display and sell our wide range of bath and body products.


A Café for the community

We purchased the site in November of 2019 and started to produce a plan for renovations. I knew from the start that I wanted our café to embody everything that I usually look for when on the hunt for a good java. The space first and foremost had to be open and inviting so that you could sit down for a warm coffee or mouth-watering bite to eat and really get comfortable. I met with the local parish council to understand how we could best serve the community. During this discussion, it became clear that the local community was in need of a private space to book and organise events, parties or meet-ups. At the time, there was not any spaces for local creatives in the area.  In my opinion, a good café should be the pillar of its community. A place where we can host charitable events, private parties, afternoon tea for book clubs and everything in between.

With our vision in place, we got our designers (who usually spend their time designing and art working the beautiful bath and body products you see on our shelves) to design a sophisticated, contemporary café. With the café’s layout and design devised, we sought planning permission which was finally approved in the Spring of 2020.

It was now time to begin the necessary renovations in time for an October 2020 opening…and then COVID pandemic hit.


COVID struggles halt our opening

Just as we got the wheels turning on the Soap Bar Café, the world was thrown into a lockdown. After several delays, renovations began in May 2020. The process of turning a pub into an office space and café/gift shop was understandably labour and time intensive. In order to get our new home ship shape, a collective effort from the Somerset Toiletry Company team as well as experienced trades people was needed. From painting to decorating, everyone pitched in to do their part during a difficult time for all of us.

With renovations complete, staff hired and our waistlines bigger from taste-testing cake, we were ready for an October 2020 soft launch. Friends and family came in to visit, closely followed by members of the local community. All of whom had long waited to see what became of the Warwick Arms. People loved the little nods to toiletries that we had placed around the space, from glass bubble light fixtures, tap shaped coat hooks and a bath tub full to the brim with sale items. We were growing steadily and receiving good feedback from customers until the UK was thrust into a third and fourth lockdown.

This sudden stop to business, although incredibly frustrating, provided us with ample downtime to consider the feedback we have received and put new practises in place. We even had a chance to grow our menu offering, with the inclusion of afternoon tea and seasonal offerings. Since May of 2021 we have been fully open for business and haven’t looked back!


Proud to serve you

The result of our efforts is a café we are incredibly proud to call our own. You enter The Soap Bar Café and are greeted with smiles as you choose to peruse through our gift shop or kick back in the café. Splendidly designed, expect to be looked after by our devoted team of café staff. Our menu items are all made to order and include paninis, frittatas and highly acclaimed homemade cakes (we are all obsessed with the carrot cake).

We use local produce wherever possible, most notably award-winning coffee from Clifton Coffee Roasters and milk from the Farmhouse Dairy Somerset based in the Chew Valley. We also serve cider brewed right here in Clutton, Proper Drop.

Our boutique gift store is the perfect place to find a wide variety of gifts for loved ones. From Somerset Toiletry Co scented goodies to gifts made by other giftware manufacturers, including jewellery, cards, handbags and much more.

Found within the Soap Bar Café is the Think Tank, a private space for members of the community to book for everything from book clubs to baby showers. The Think Tank has the capacity to seat twelve, so don’t hesitate to book for an upcoming event!

Exciting Events & Future Plans

We continue to be committed to our goal of providing space for our community. We have had several exciting events organised here too, including reflexology days for the public hosted in the Think Tank.

It has also been a privilege to host charitable events including a recent Jenny’s Rose event and several Billy Chip  fundraisers.

As we look ahead, we look forward to a partial refurb of the gift shop to provide more space for goodies to grace our shelves.

We also look forward to continuing our tradition of stay open for late night shopping during the Christmas period in order to provide everyone with ample time to search our shelves for Christmas bargains and to become acquainted with gorgeous new Christmas body care ranges. Expect an announcement in late September for amended Christmas hours.


Thank you for taking the time to learn about our beloved Café & Gift Shop. What a journey it has been! We hope to serve you soon.

Written by Zantore Buoy

Newsletter Sign-up

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive 10% off your first order.