Of wool and soap

As promised, I’m here to give you some more info about the cool products I saw at the cheese fair earlier this month.

My opinions are my own and I wasn’t paid for them!

I found out about Ecolã, who have unique wool products, in 2010 when I was in Manteigas, enjoying what the Serra da Estrela has to offer in the early Summer (plenty of flowers, sun and bugs. I’m not being ironic, I actually liked all the bugs; it was like a Biology class out of doors). The first thing I noticed when entering the factory was a cardboard box on the floor: the delivery address ended with “Tokyo – Japan”. Wow! Really? Really!

bag
Woollen handbag.
Photo credit: Ecolã Portugal

What can I tell you about them? Ecolã take their work very, very seriously. Check this out: Mid-May is when the people at Ecolã buy wool directly from the shepherds (they use only one specific type of wool in their products). This is then selected and only about 50% of the finest wool is used. What happens next? Well, the wool is then washed with crystal clear spring water (which has the constant temperature of 7ºC). This makes for high quality wool that is gentle on the skin and retains its natural shape even if you twist it and use it to dance the cha cha cha – it’s obviously also very long-lasting!

écharpe
A stylish écharpe.
Photo credit: Ecolã Portugal.

The wool is then made into blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, slippers and shoulder bags. Besides all the care they have during the production cycle this company has been in the same family for three generations, so yes, they know what they’re doing.

baby blanket
A fun baby blanket.
Photo credit: Ecolã Portugal.

You’ll find Ecolã at fairs all over the country, but also abroad – when I last met them, in Oliveira do Hospital, they had just recently come from a fair in Paris.

coat
I think this is really, really cute.
Photo credit: Ecolã Portugal.

So far so good, but I’m not so sure yet... The fact that they’ve been so successfully exporting to Japan and other countries should tell you something about the quality of their products. If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell you that my mother in law loves their products. And if she’s happy with them, any CEO will be – trust me on this!

Contacts: info@ecolaportugal.com

Facebook: Ecolã Portugal

Website: http://www.ecolaportugal.com/

————————

Filhos da Terra were at the same fair and at first glance it was just another stall selling handmade soap. Taking a closer look I saw that they had other products and that everything was carefully and beautifully labelled. Talking with Denise and Ruben made me realise I had found something unique.

IMG_6951
Their stall at the fair.

What can I tell you about them? Their products are 100% handmade and they do most everything themselves: taking care of the plants they use in their products, doing their best to preserve their natural healing properties; picking the leaves and flowers that are going to be used; making the macerated oils; making the soaps; cutting and wrapping each soap; designing the labels; making the stamps for the packages and the molds for their soaps. That’s what I call hard work!

They gave me a small bar of lavender and honey soap when I bought their cinnamon deodorant. I can tell you that I’ve been using it to wash my face (my skin is tricky so I really wanted to give it a try) and I’m very happy with it: it leaves my skin clean and comfortable, not “stretchy” like most soaps do.

pomada de alfazema
Lavender ointment.
Photo credit: Filhos da Terra

Most of the plants used are grown by Denise and Ruben, except for a few that are picked in places with no houses and no pollution. The olive oil that they use is produced in Portugal and the honey and beeswax is also locally made and bought from carefully selected producers. As much as possible they strive to use only natural local ingredients that are good for you without harming the environment .

Sabão de cerveja preta, óleo de esteva e farelo de trigo
Soap made with beer, wheat bran and “esteva” (cistus ladanifer, if you’re curious. It’s a flower found in Portugal and Spain).
Photo credit: Filhos da Terra

Here is some info concerning product size:

  • soaps: around 80 gr (there are some limited edition soap boxes with 4 soap varieties each weighing 15/20 gr);
  • ointments and creams: available in 30 gr and 50 gr formats;
  • deodorants: 30 gr;
  • oils: available in 30 ml and 100 ml formats;
  • lip balms: 20 ml.
handmade wooden box with goodies
Handmade wooden box with several goodies (soaps, candle, loofah and lavender sachet).
Photo credit: Filhos da Terra

So far so good, but I’m not so sure yet... 100% handmade products that are biodegradable and actually good for you, not tested on animals and made with local and carefully selected raw materials – all of this at very nice prices. And they can make you a product based on your wishes and preferences, as well!
You can buy their products whether you’re in Portugal or abroad, just reach them through their Facebook or e-mail account.

Contacts: filhosdaterra.geral@gmail.com

Facebook: Filhos da Terra

Website: http://sabaofilhosdaterra.blogspot.pt/

Don’t miss the next post about more cool products – this time it will be all about food, glorious food!

The website: http://www.beyondlisbon.pt/

You can follow me on: Facebook – Pinterest – TripAdvisor – Instagram – Youtube

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