Gary Phillips Bellingen resident: 10 years Soap Maker


Tell me about this business you call Soap Maker?

Keri and I make and sell a natural soap that is an ethical alternative to the mass produced stuff created and sold by the large commercial manufacturers. We aim to use high quality ingredients including Australian olive and macadamia oils, avoiding the use of palm oil.

Who do you sell to, and how?

Members of the public, who decide to make ethical choices, which benefit them and the wider environment.
We distribute at farmers markets in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Armidale.
We also supply a number of retail outlets in the area.
Our new website has just gone live.

What made you come to Bellingen?

We had passed through here a couple of times on previous trips from the UK. When we made the decision to move to Oz we had no desire to move to a city. Instead, we wanted somewhere that was blessed with a beautiful natural environment. Forest, beaches and rivers plus a great community.

What is your real passion in life?

I am a very keen ornithologist.

Is that someone who likes bell ringing?


You like ringing birds?

No….I am an avid bird watcher.
There is nothing more relaxing than wandering the great outdoors with my binoculars and camera.

Do you have a best childhood memory?

Riding my pushbike everywhere, including the early morning paper-rounds. I loved the peace and quiet.

Is there anything you like to avoid?

Spiders and meeting people I don’t like.

What else annoys you?

How mainstream media can get away with blatantly misrepresenting the facts, to further the agenda of the owners or editors.

Don’t stop now.

I wish the world would wake up and realise that the pursuit of money and growth is not everything.
Ban all homework for school children.
Remove subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry.
Easy tiger

And get rid of lobby groups from our political process.

So who inspires you?

Bob Brown & David Bowie.

What are you currently reading?

The Sea, by John Banville. A writer who has great knowledge and use of the English language.

Best holiday experience?

High Summer in the Orkney Isles, off the north coast of Scotland. The sun sets at 11pm and is back up at just after 4am and it barely gets dark.

Is that it… must really love Finland.

It also has a shop.

Favourite Bellingen eatery?

Purple Carrot for food, Gelato Bar for coffee.

Favourite movie?

Monty Pythons Life of Brian.
So much in it….very clever.

Do have a project you are currently working on?

Renovating our bathroom and rejuvenating an old claw-foot cast iron bath tub. It weighs a tonne and I am only tiny.

Previous career you would like to forget?

Factory cleaner…it involved cleaning out all the swarf and fluid from a myriad of lathes.
But I was good at it.

In the movie Garygate, who would play you?

Danny Devito.

I was thinking Angry Anderson Gaz

Don’t call me Gaz.

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