by Jim Brown
Pieter Ijsselstein has big plans for the Stanley Bridge Centre, which he has leased for the summer months and will be open for business on June 16.
The co-owner of White Gables at Hope River, Mr Ijsselstein recently returned from a taping of Dragon’s Den to pitch his potato soap themed products.
He says the new Stanley Bridge Centre-based retail sales outlet (bearing the iconic White Gables name) will offer Island landscape paintings, pottery, weavings, and, of course, his burgeoning lines of Island Potato Soap and Skin Cream made with Potato Juice and Island Oils.
He also plans to have two Island market days, which will feature products from several other vendors, on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout July and August.
It’s an exciting time for Pieter and Geraldine who have seen their certified organic potato soap products, including skin creams, sold in 225 locations throughout the Maritimes. All told, they have created more than 40 varieties of potato soap (including beer soap) and more are under development including a sunscreen made with Potato Juice.
“A lot of people in the US are ordering online and there are retail outlets in Ontario, BC. Maine, even the Yukon,” says Pieter
Pieter also has an order of 4,500 bars of soap from the Leezen connection in Taiwan, which are to be shipped out before the end of June.
The shipment involves four varieties of soap – Certified Organic Coffee, Anne’s Baby Soap (unscented), Lavender essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil soaps.
Right now, Pieter is waiting to hear from Dragon’s Den’s producers when his segment will air in the upcoming new season. So until then, everything is under wraps.
But even without news from Dragon’s Den, his lines of potato soap and skin cream sales are creating a lot of interest.
He estimates he will produce anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 bars of soap this year. Sales have doubled this year, he said.
Among his 40 varieties of certified organic soaps are such popular brands as Lucy Maud Sweet Pea Soap and Sea Kelp Soaps, as well as eight Lighthouse soaps featuring beautiful illustrations (by Geraldine, his wife) of lighthouses including PEI’s famed West Point Lighthouse and the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse from Nova Scotia.
All the work is done at his home-business just around the corner in Hope River, though the bulk of his certified organic potato purchases come from various Island growers.
His soap-based skin creams are sold in 100 ml pump bottles, which are great for tourists who can easily take it in their carry-on luggage if they are flying.
We are all looking forward to another great summer at the Stanley Bridge Centre!
by Jim Brown