Sóley Elíasdóttir, a mother of 4, decided in 2007 to make a radical change in her life. Moving away from her successful career as an actress, she decided to start her own business. She wanted to use her knowledge of wild Icelandic herbs, passed down to her from her ancestors, and to make a new line of sustainable, high quality organic and natural skin care products.
“I have been making my own healing balm and other salves made from Icelandic wild herbs for years, using an old family recipe and giving them to friends and family. Using wild herbs is something that is just in me. Since I can remember I would go out into nature and pick wild herbs to use rather than going to the pharmacy. I've always used the herbs. I know how powerful they are”
A social entrepreneur at heart, she started in her kitchen, mixing oils and wild Icelandic herbs, testing and learning.
“It seemed like a natural way to go. I love cooking and I'm told I am a good cook. I am very focused on making nutritious and fresh food from scratch. And that is probably why I started with making the formulations for the products myself in my kitchen where I feel good"
Since Sóley started in 2007, her Soley Organics has grown rapidly. She still goes herself to pick the herbs and continues to formulate new products. Soley Organics products are sold in several places and on a small scale in many different countries, there’s even a spa. The focus remains on creating a high quality product, using sustainable organic ingredients and local as much as possible. All the production is also local as it is a priority for her to create something within the community
"It is possible to have a business that is sustainable and that is also profitable. The main thing is to be passionate about it"
In this way, Sóley continues the tradition of generations, with her own personalised twist. She has the drive, ambition and courage to follow her dreams without compromise and the positive attitude to push things forward. And the way she describes her process makes it sound like the most common sense to do. As she says:
"If you are really passionate and eager about something that you really love to do, I think you can almost always turn that into your business and make a living out of it. If you are true to the root of what it is supposed to be. And of course you have to have fun as well and to be creative, and you can be creative in so many ways"