Natural, Handmade Artisan Soaps & skincare Products


Escaping to a creative world of soap making during her time as a high-performance swim coach gave Kareena Preston the outlet she needed to switch off and relax. Initially making soap for herself and then friends and family, her products were soon in demand and she took the leap into business ownership by launching Kri:ei’tiviti, producing small batch, natural, handmade soaps and skincare products. Here she talks about her business journey so far and her hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business? 

I had a very long career (29 years) as a high-performance swim coach. Long days on pool deck, travelling with my swimmers and teams and not much downtime. I began making soap as an outlet to switch off from swimming and tap into my relaxed, creative brain. I had also been using natural soap from a local soap maker and felt like I could try and make soap myself to cater to my highly reactive skin. So, in the Easter break of 2017, I made my first batch of soap and I never looked back.

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?  

At first, soap making was a hobby to force me to slow down and switch off from a demanding job. I made soap for myself, my family and friends. Soon, people wanted to order soap and lip balms and bath salts for themselves and as gifts. So, I registered a business name, increased production a little, registered myself as a soap maker and started selling. By September 2019, I had transitioned from High Performance Swim Coach to Owner and Maker at Kri:ei’tiviti Natural Handmade Artisan Soap.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?  

COVID-19 was the breakthrough I needed to jump to the next level with my business. I had already gathered a solid support team of mentors for various areas of my business and it was the collective brains trust of these mentors I drew on when the event industry in Perth was shut down on Friday 13th March 2020. As a small business that relied heavily on market exposure and sales, I had to pivot quickly and efficiently if I was going to survive the next few months. Supermarket shelves were empty of soap and kids were home due to schools being closed. A few pieces of sage advice from these friends and mentors saw an increase in production of my DIY kits and a drive towards taking my workshops online.

I focused on the SEO of my website and spent the time in lockdown doing some incredible product development. Throughout March, April and May, I developed 1 new soap, 4 new shampoo bars, a laundry bar, a dishwashing bar and I launched an entire range of ‘Mums n Cubs products’. I also completed 6 online courses, as part of my own professional development and have now created a range of online courses that will become available over the coming months. My social media marketing got the boost it needed and people were beginning to really see me and recognise my product.

Now, with the event industry re-opening, I am booked for a handful of markets in the lead up to Christmas, simply because I enjoy the market atmosphere (who doesn’t?!) but if I never sold at a market again, I would 100% survive now!

Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family? 

Moving on from a demanding career where personal time does not exist (long weeks and months travelling with teams, sharing rooms, dining halls and work spaces 24/7), it has not taken me very long to ensure that Kareena is No. 1 and I cannot care for others if I fail to care for myself. My week consists of swimming, gym and yoga, the occasional bush hike, camping trip and bike ride. I cook all my own food (or chef hubby does) and I make regular social catchups with family, friends and business colleagues over coffee, lunch or dinner. I ensure I keep all these appointments with myself like any other appointment that is made within my business. Of course, it is not perfect and from time to time I overload in the work department, but I do get myself back on track and settle into my routine again. This is what keeps me and my business sustainable. 

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