Nfld. & Labrador

A love of the Titanic fuelled this Labrador soapmaker's latest scent

Heather Bursey makes soap, and her latest product was a big undertaking, dating back over 100 years.

Heather Bursey recreated the soap used by the 1st-class passengers of the famous ship

Heather Bursey is the owner of Spruced Up Labrador, and wanted to replicate the soap some passengers would have used on the Titanic. (Alyson Samson/CBC)

A history buff and soapmaker is combining her two loves to produce a special scent that's a throwback to the legend of the Titanic. 

"I really love anything to do with history so I'm always looking at different things that I could incorporate with the soap that I make," Heather Bursey said.

She is the owner of Spruced Up Labrador, her handmade, home-based business.  

Her latest product is Vinolia Rose — a re-creation of the soap the first-class passengers used on the infamous ship in 1912.   

"I've always watched all the Titanic movies, read about the Titanic, and I [wondered] if that's ever been made. Because, for sure, first-class passengers must have had a product that was special to them," she said. 

The finished product of Spruced Up Labrador's Vinolia Rose Titanic Recreation soap. (

Bursey began making soaps as a hobby four years ago and launched Spruced Up two years later.

Now she can barely keep up with demand, on top of her day job with the Nunatsiavut Department of Health & Social Development.

A new challenge

Bursey said she was up for the challenge to replicate the soap, with a few modern updates. 

It's scented with rose and lemon, and she imagines it's more gentle than what would have been used more than 100 years ago since the development of lye calculators, a tool commonly used by soapmakers.

"I wonder if maybe [the soap on the Titanic] was a little more harsh than what we have today," she said. 

"I looked up the ingredients and they said that there was animal fat in their soap, so that's one thing I've substituted also."

Heather Bursey began making soap for members of her family with sensitive skin. Her latest creation reflects her love of history. (Alyson Samson/CBC)

Apparently, there is a market for possibly smelling the same as the first-class Titanic passengers all those years ago — Vinolia Rose Titanic Soap sold out about eight hours after it was released. 

The project made Bursey fall even more in love with the whole story of the Titanic — if that's possible — and its doomed fate, and the romanticism that accompanies it, too. 

It's a feeling, along with a connection, she believes others in the province share, too. 

"It sunk south of the island of Newfoundland, so people are really fascinated with that."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Alyson Samson is a journalist working with the CBC in Newfoundland and Labrador.


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