Meet Our Local Aussie Makers: Joni and Jethro Sercombe

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Central to our business purpose at Urban Revolution is to source our products from local Australian makers and suppliers whenever possible. Here we continue on with our article series introducing some of our fabulous local Australian makers and suppliers.

Joni and Jethro Sercombe - St James Supply Co

Joni and Jethro Sercombe from St James Supply Co

Joni and Jethro Sercombe are the founders of St James Supply Co.

Based in our neighbouring suburb of St James, Joni and Jethro have developed a range of high quality soaps, solid shampoo and conditioner bars which are biodegradable, vegan, and palm oil free. They don't use any sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), no sulphates, no silicones, no phthalates, and no parabens. 

Their compostable cardboard packaging is sourced from suppliers with Forest Stewardship Council certification.

In June 2021, St James Supply Co were awarded the Town of Vic Park's Best New Business Award in recognition of their hard work in establishing the business.

St James Supply Co everyday soap in a wooden soap dish


St James Supply Co developed an everyday soap that is exclusive to Urban Revolution


Joni shares their small business journey with us:

Background

I was born in Wales and moved to Australia with my family. Jethro was born here. We are privileged to live on Whadjuk country and call this place home. We live in East Victoria Park with our young son and our two cats.

What inspired you to start your business?

My husband and I had been gradually working our way through our house, switching out plastic for other options. We were frustrated by the lack of plastic free haircare available. We wanted a product that used quality naturally derived ingredients, and which would really deliver on good hair. And we wanted that without plastic packaging. We weren’t keen on the harsh soap bars that were being sold as the alternative to bottled shampoo, so we turned to milder soap-free surfactants derived from coconut. We started making shampoo and conditioner bars for our own personal use initially, and then other people kept asking for them. We realised this was something a lot of people wanted locally, so we decided to start a little company.

Joni making soap bars 

Joni making St James Supply Co. soap by hand

 

Career Background

Both our career backgrounds are in social services and community development. Jethro and I met at University- we started out in youth work and have since worked in all kinds of places from Government, peak bodies to non-profit organisations in Perth and overseas. These days we're less in frontline work, and do more of the service design, strategic and funding work. 

Passion Project

Our passion project has been developing products which we love using and which make some small difference in the world. Last count, our gang of rebel haircare customers had diverted over 14,000 plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles from being used.  We’re at a really interesting point in history right now. It can be hard to know what’s right and hard to imagine whether buying one less plastic bottle will make any difference against all the things which are wrong in the world. But we think each action is a decision and a meditation on the kind of people we want to become. The more we exercise those muscles, and add extra actions, the more we begin to realise our own strength and start to pull in a different direction. It’s not about being perfect. It's about getting started in a better direction. Making shampoo bars is something we can contribute to that. 
Hand with green shampoo bar and green conditioner bar

Making solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars is a passion project for Joni and Jethro

Future Plans

Our plans for the future of the business are to keep growing organically, particularly connecting to people in our own community who want to live more simply. We are open to developing other products which meet a need and are always experimenting with new options. We are interested in avenues to connect people to join in locally based manufacturing of useful things which are gentler on people and on the planet.
 

Sourcing ingredients

It is important to us that our haircare delivers healthy, shiny hair in the long term, not just a short term effect that ultimately damages the hair. For us, this means sourcing quality ingredients which are derived from plant-based sources rather than silicones, phthalates and parabens. We chose not to include sulphates as we prefer gentler cleansing options. We use essential oils to fragrance our products, though we do also have some customers with very sensitive skin, so we also do a scent-free range for them. Most of our ingredients are sourced locally, and some we have to get from further afield. 
St James Supply Co clove and lemon myrtle sample pack on wood
St James Supply Co shampoo bars and conditioner bars are available in sample packs, making them ideal for travel.

Unusual Facts

Some quick unusual facts about us:
Joni has seven sisters. She has a phobia of chickens. She has seen actor Owen Wilson in person two times, once riding a bike at Washington Memorial and once at a movie premiere in London. 

Jethro has two brothers. He has a phobia of fruit salad. His handwriting is always in capital letters LIKE HE IS SHOUTING. 

We couldn't afford an electric car, so we bought e-bikes to ride to work, and THEY ARE AWESOME.

What do you think of St James Supply Co. products?

We would love to hear from you and your thoughts about their products.

Quietly, we think THEY ARE AWESOME!

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