When things get tough and money gets tight, it’s amazing how a bit of poverty can get one’s creative juices flowing. It seems logical that Christmas is a time of year that spawns hundreds of DIY craft projects that require time, patience and a few raw materials, rather than shop bought items, which too easily eat up your cold hard cash. Pinterest was made with Christmas in mind I’m sure. That’s why it came as no surprise that Sharni Rosser instigated the creation of her own vegan body care range, Oh Deer Sugar, out of desperation when funds were low during the festive season of 2013.
Sharni, with the help of her partner Nikki Merritt, started out by researching Christmas crafts and ended up gifting gorgeous glass jars filled with their original body scrub recipe, in scents such as Gingerbread, Candy Cane, Lemon Sorbet and Strawberry. Family and friends were so impressed with the quality of the gifts that they encouraged Sharni to start selling her wares and as they say, the rest is history.
The name for Oh Deer Sugar came to Sharni randomly one night and met her criteria of using the word ‘sugar’ as a homage to the original sugar scrub that started it all. The logo idea followed quickly, which cemented the branding and made it possible to start up a Facebook page and begin to produce products to sell in January of this year. Since then there has been no looking back for Sharni and Nikki.
Today Oh Deer Sugar has a cult following among the vegan community who access the range via market stalls, Adelaide stockists Have You Met Charlie and Bliss Organic Café and from the website that Sharni designed and developed herself. “We send out between twenty and thirty products a week,” she says, “all over the world.” The success of the brand continues to surprise her and it was the sudden influx of interstate and overseas orders that forced Sharni to look into replacing the quaint glass jars and find a lighter and safer packaging solution.
Preferring to support local industry Sharni sourced the plastic tubs that now house the scrubs, body butters and face masks from an Adelaide based business and she frequents the Adelaide Central Market, sometimes several times a week, to gather her supplies. She says that it’s a never ending process and when she gets home from her job as a cook, she spends every afternoon and evening working on Oh Deer Sugar, whether it’s making products, posting on social media or responding to enquiries. Nikki’s expertise as a project manager has come in handy in terms of managing their time but getting to where they are now has still been a lot of trial and error. They try to keep their weekends free for other things in order to avoid becoming all consumed with the business.
Sharni and Nikki attribute the success of Oh Deer Sugar largely to the vegan nature of the product. “The vegan scene is so huge and vibrant in Adelaide,” Sharni tells me and they were excited to be offered the opportunity to include a body scrub and bath bomb in the (first ever) Vegan Beauty Box in June. Why vegan? Nikki has been a vegan for two years and she and Sharni keep a strict vegan household. Together they spent a considerable amount of time emailing all the companies of the ingredients they source to ensure that everything included in Oh Deer Sugar products are vegan and never tested on animals.
It’s taken Sharni countless hours and baths to develop the secret recipe that she’s happy with, and she is still tweaking the products to make sure that customers are receiving the best she has to offer. With the cooler winter months upon us here in Australia she upped the amount of shea butter in the body moisturiser to counteract the coconut oil and cocao butter, which have the tendency to solidify. She also has lots of ideas for future Oh Deer Sugar products, with a hair treatment at the top of her wish list.
It’s Sharni’s dream to someday quit her job and work on Oh Deer Sugar full time with a store of her own, but for now you can find the range at Have You Met Charlie in the Regent Arcade and Bliss Organic Café. Oh Deer Sugar have also been invited to That Dapper Market on August 30th and will be in the line-up of other vegan vendors at the Vegan Festival in Victoria Square in November. She’s also looking at interstate resellers and hopes to increase the number of stockists in order to service the wider Australian vegan community, and all lovers of natural, handmade body and skincare products.
Are you still with me? Haven’t rushed off to ohdeersugar.com to place an order yet? Good, because I’ve been putting some of the products to the test and I want to walk you through them. I suggested Sharni send me a selection of Oh Deer Sugar’s signature products and for my $50 I received a body scrub, body butter, 4 bath bombs and a face mask. Beauty blogging is a tough job you know!
(OH) Exfoliator – Strawberry and Coconut
This scrub comes dry in the tub and you simply take a small handful and rub it all over your body in the bath or shower. It can make a bit of a mess so best to do it in a confined area where you can wash away bits that fall. It’s pretty harsh and even though technically you could use it on your face, I would say proceed with caution. This stuff packs a serious punch. What I love about this scrub, besides the delicious scent (I’ll get to that in a sec) is that it contains various oils and vitamin E so it leaves your skin hydrated as well as smoothed. Did I mention it smells divine? It smells like coconut ice with a definite tang of freshly picked strawberries. Perfect for pre-tanning or to take your mind back to summer on cold winter days.
(OH) Loco Coco – Coconut and Vanilla
The first thing I noticed about the coconut body butter was how light the tub is. I’m guessing it’s a whipped formula which makes it so light and coupled with the acrylic packaging makes it much cheaper to post around the world. The top of the product was dry and quite solid, owing to the coconut oil and cocao butter in the chilly winter weather however, if you dig some out with a spatula or your fingers the crumbly texture melts as soon as you press your hands together. This body butter sinks right in and the scent doesn’t linger, although technically this could pass for unscented (maybe a hint of vanilla), so if you’re looking for something that won’t offend your nose, this is it.
I wasn’t convinced on these little guys when I opened the package because they are exactly that, little. Compared to a Lush bath bomb these things are miniature but, as ‘they’ say, don’t judge a book by its cover. I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely scent the green one gave off (green apple) and it was enough for my small bath. Sharni tells me that they come in a larger size as well and if you have a large bath I think you would do well to order the larger one or use two smaller ones.
(OH) Turkish Delight Face Mask
I love face masks! I use a clay based mask for my oily skin around twice a week and I was so glad that the Turkish Delight one was included. This is a winner for me because it is really easy to remove. It dries quickly, sucks up the oil and it didn’t take a whole lot of rubbing and scrubbing to get it off. With the signature rosewater scent of Turkish Delight, which I adore, this mask is a winner for me.
If you’re looking for something pampering that is vegan, natural and handmade right here in South Australia, for a gift or for yourself, then check out Oh Deer Sugar now:
Oh Deer Sugar Website
Oh Deer Sugar Facebook