SOUPED UP SOAP: Tara, business owner of Trees n Bees Handmade Soaps at the Gladstone City farmers markets.
SOUPED UP SOAP: Tara, business owner of Trees n Bees Handmade Soaps at the Gladstone City farmers markets. Julia Bartrim

She's come a long way from the ugly soap days

When Tara Tucker got sick and couldn't work several years ago, she wasn't prepared to just sit around.

Instead the Calliope mother of three built up a handmade natural soap and body product business from scratch and turned it into a success.

She first started making her own soaps when her children were little because their skin reacted badly to store-bought products.

Her initial bars, for use around the house, were, in her own words, "very ugly”.

Now Tara creates beautiful rippled, patterned bars of soap using a rainbow of colours and she adds scents as well.

"I treat it like an art form, she said, "I like the fact that people enjoy my products.”

Her soaps are crafted using natural ingredients: coconut oil, coloured clays, essential oils and fragrances.

"It's a very delicate process,” she said.

As well as making natural, easy on the skin soaps, Tara makes aluminium free deodorant (which she says is effective in the summer, and based on diatomaceous earth, balms and a range of soaps especially for men.

Tara says the "fifty shades of man” soap bar sells very well.

The soap business has encroached on her living space at home.

"As the kids grow up, I've taken over their bedrooms,” she said. "I have floor-to- floor drying racks.

Tara enjoys the market vibe and can be found at most markets around the region.

"I love it,” she says, "the atmosphere, the people, you meet some incredibly unique people.”

While her products are also stocked in a couple of local stores, Tara has no plans to create a mega business.

"I don't want to be global, she said, "I just want to support our local (community).”