A pre-teen with autism has been busy creating a variety of beautiful soaps that are free of animal products, palm oil, chemicals, and any plastic or unnecessary packaging.
Amelie Parke, 12, is the young lady behind the soap company Grace’s Generation. She created the company with her mom, Sue Parke, and is based in Knebworth, which is a village located in Hertfordshire, England.
Amelie was diagnosed with autism at 11. Now, at almost 13, she says that she won’t let the diagnosis hold her back.
“I want people to know you are not too young or too old to make a difference and that, even if you are autistic or disabled in any other way, you are totally able to be a hero,” Amelie said. “Not all superheroes have capes, you just have to open your eyes.”
Amelie plays around with different colors, scents, engravings, and shapes for her soaps. The soaps are colored with botanical ingredients including flowers, herbs, and clays. One combination is olive oil soap infused with turmeric, thyme, and paprika. Another is a combination of fresh orange and patchouli. Others are chamomile, lavender, rosemary and lime, geranium, lavender, and peppermint. Some soap needs to cure for weeks, while others take months.
“It’s as pure as it can be,” Sue said.
Some soaps have beautiful designs, some boast simple, fresh scents, and others have unique colors and shapes.
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“When I was younger I would watch nature documentaries. I watched Blue Planet, Planet Earth and things like that,” Amelie said. “I guess that’s where it started, the idea of, ‘There has to be change.’ Seeing the world fall apart and knowing that in just a few decades this world could be nothing but pollution, and knowing that it wouldn’t be long until so many animals could simply become extinct just because their habitats are destroyed to make way for factories and palm oil farms.”
Amelie learned a lot through these documentaries, like how devastating palm oil farming is for the environment and how many products on the market today still use it. She was horrified by how much plastic packaging companies use and the pollution taking over our planet.
She dreamed of starting a company that could help reduce pollution and be environmentally friendly.
Amelie and her mom have been creating soaps, bath melts, knit and crocheted items, and other homemade products for years. What started out as Christmas gifts for each other grew into gifts for other people. They’d begin making soaps in October and stocking them in a room until December. Then they’d wrap them in recyclable paper and brown paper bags and give them out.
After a couple years of this, Amelie told her mom that she’d really like to open up an eco-friendly shop with her.
Together, they decided to make it happen and Grace’s Generation was born.
Before they could sell the soaps, they needed to be tested professionally to make sure they were safe for use on the skin. The mother-daughter duo also needed to get funding to help them get the business off the ground. So Sue pursued a small business sponsorship and underwent 12 weeks of courses. As a result, half of their funding for the business was covered.
Then the soaps underwent cosmetic assessments. Amelie and Sue had to provide detailed information about what products they used and where they bought or sourced them from, as well as ship off samples to get assessed.
“You have to essentially do your recipes, weigh everything, add everything and then it’s sent off to a chemist and they will make the assessment,” Sue said. “They might say, ‘You can’t use this, have you used that?’ etc.”
After a lot of hard work, the Parkes got their certificates! However, just as they were getting prepared to launch, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As of this writing, they’ve only been able to sell locally, but they’re hopeful that will change soon.
“Just because I’m young and ‘disabled’ it doesn’t mean that I’m unable to make a difference,” Amelie said.
“I’m now almost 13. I’m still surprised that in just a couple of years my dream is at its beginning. The dream of saving planet Earth. Our company is existing because we are passionate about saving this generation and others to come.
“I don’t mind if this company doesn’t become viral and famous because that’s not a very high chance. But I do mind if people ignore the fact that the world is crumbling down right in front of us.”
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.