I’ve assembled the Hutcherson clan together in the Freshwater Farm packing room, adjacent to their large warehouse and factory in the industrial belly of Cromer on the Northern Beaches.
Theirs is an instantly likeable vibe of awkward/nervous and successful/knows their stuff. One of the family, son-in-law , Grant is missing as he is doing some very-busy-and-important-things while countless staff pass by with a similar air.
Allan and wife Jane are posed at the back in their Sunday best, the ‘kids’ are more casual in the front. Before the camera starts rolling Sam, now Freshwater Farm’s national sales director, confesses he once vowed to never work in soap.
He laughs as my eyes are drawn down to the logo on his shirt. It reads, “Soap Solutions”.
“I went off to do my own thing but as I matured, I realised the value of what dad had started to build here, and I got more excited about what we could do with it as our own brand, as a family,” he explains.
Dad Allan has spent most of his life in the soap business, making suds for the big guys in the market. It’s something he still does, but at some point, probably around the time they came across a beautiful property in the mid-north coast on which they could grow and work with their own plant oils and honeys, that they realised they had everything they needed to make something of their own.
“What is new to us is having our own brand and launching our own brand and being in control of that destiny over the last four years, three and a half years really. We are making these really high-quality products and selling them directly to supermarket – currently Woolies. It’s a top quality product but sold for a lot less because so much of it we do ourselves.
“Our job is always to get people to trade up and buy Australian and buy quality. I think if we can tell the story that it’s local, that it’s family, that it’s quality shampoos, soaps, hand cream… It employs lots of local people from the beaches that are proud to work here and they are well looked after.”
As a local family, using the name Freshwater was an ode to their local haunt as well as a fitting moniker for a product that prides itself on quality and cleanliness.
Have a watch of our tour of this local factory and if it seems like your kind of product (and you love to support local) readers get a whopping 25 per cent discount when they shop directly from them using code LOCALSONLY.
Manly Observer would like to thank Freshwater Farm for sponsoring this article and supporting the sustainability of free local news on the Northern Beaches.