The last five days off have been glorious, filled with family time and much laughter. I feel less stressed out than I have since my honeymoon! The time off has been delightful. Thanks for the break. But, it’s time to get back to work (inventory at Bramble Berry and Otion this week) and get focused on what will help move me forward in the New Year. Like last year, I’ll be soliciting you to tell me what your goals are for the new year. Fifty-four of you chimed in last year and I’m hoping for even more this year. Expect this upcoming week to be filled with tips on best practices for meeting your goals in the new year. And, like last year, I’ll randomly award one commenter a goody packet of essential oils, overpoured and underpoured colorants and random mis-pours from the Bramble Berry warehouse.
I’m telling you this now so you have a few days to plan the upcoming year and spend some time thinking about the things that will really move you forward in your personal and professional lives. Quality goals take planning, effort and quiet contemplation. Take some time in the next few days to plan your goals out and then, on Wednesday, hopefully you’ll share a few of them with the Soap Queen community.
I also have goodies for those of you that comment faithfully and often on my posts. I really appreciate the feedback (and need it to know what you’re interested in!). I know it takes time and effort to read this blog and comment. I don’t take your participation for granted. In the last week, 36 of you have given of your time and commented on posts. In a randomly drawn number (by my husband), Mary from Annie’s Goat Hill will get a little package of Bramble Berry love headed her way, including samples of all five of our Lavender Essential Oils, three Labcolors, our latest fragrance Marrakesh and a sample of our not-yet-released Salty Marinerr fragrance. Thank you for participating in the Soap Queen blog. It’s an honor to have your readership.
Mary, I’m flattered that you would want to hear about the Bramble Berry story. =) One of these days, I’ll definitely post about it.
It was a slow and painful process to start Bramble Berry – to answer your questions. But, I love being self employed and wouldn’t change it for much of anything. =)
I do blogging at night mostly. I do dinner with my husband and when things are settling down, pull out the laptop and sit beside him and write drafts of projects, articles and find new soap to buy and try.
Ha ha! I would love to have a Bramble Berry East. It would be so amazing. It’s definitely a dream project but one that’s not happening in 2009 as far as I know. =)
Sandra Starnes says
Thank you for your blog…I get so many great ideas and inspiration from you. I have been thinking about my goals for this year and my number one goal is to get a job and keep it. I just can’t seem to find a job that really fits with my life and my family. Secondly, I would like to have more patience with my kids (two are teens and one is a tween!!). Most of all I just want to gain a sense of balance and peace in my life overall.
Thanks and I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. Sandra Starnes
E-Scentual Creations says
I just wanted to comment on the anonymous poster above. I too for a while worried about becoming “overwhelmed”. I work 40 hours a week and I’m raising a son solo. However, I have a wonderful support system called “family and friends”. Don’t worry, they’ll be there if you need them. Being overwhelmed in this business is a good thing. It means you are doing something right.
I read a wonderful book last year called Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. It’s about a woman who’s husband is suddenly unemployed and she finds herself wondering how she can bring in some income, so she starts a cake making business. (They have copies for 4 cents on Amazon.)
So, take a deep breath. Jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride!
This year I am going to really listen to people when they talk to me. My mother always listened to everything my brother and I said, insignificant as it may have been, and that always meant a lot to me. Oh, and I’m going to lose that last 10 lbs (again) Happy New Year!
Vinca Leaf Quilts says
Goals for 2009? Have a Brambleberry East open up, and the Soap Queen come to me personally and ask me to be the official scent-tester. No Experience Necessary.
OK, maybe not this year. One could dream though, right?
For me? Find *the* recipe I truly love, like 2-3 staples, and then start soaping with a drill mixer instead of a stick blender.
Mary @ vinesoap says
Wow, you own Bramble Berry and Otion! If you have a moment, could you please tell us how it all started. Your faithful readers might already know all of this, but I have not heard your story. Was it a slow process or did you get into business quickly? How do you have time to even blog?
I have 4 kids, work very part-time at another job, home school, and have a little soap business. I never accomplish everything I want to in a day. I find the fact that you are a woman with a family and a life very encouraging in terms of being able to do not only one business but two! Thanks for sharing.
As I did inventory yesterday, I realized a good goal for this year would be to use the scents I have that have not been opened yet! So many scents, so little time…..
Also, this year is the year to work more on our wholesale accounts. Thanks to the whole Brambleberry team for great service.
One of my goals for 2009 is to increase my sales 10% like I did this year! And, of course, be more organized! And to EXERCISE! (totally failed at this one in 2008)
Marion, NC says
I have several goals for 2009 the first of which is to develop a detailed long-term plan to meet my primary goal – a transition from my present corporate job to a position which will allow me to utilize my creative talents. The initial draft of that plan will be to do some indepth research and traning into owning a successful small business.
Mary, I almost missed your question with all the great comments to read and get inspired by. Yes, I own Bramble Berry and Otion. I do not have any other partners in either business.
Shiloh, I need to get organized too. I stay up too late and read. Maybe great minds think alike in this case? My little messy tired brain can get a lot done. =)
Teresa R says
Congratulations to Mary! What a wonderful post-Christmas surprise. 🙂
Oh man, do I have to think about goals?? You’re such a slave-driver, Anne-Marie! LOL!
Cindy – Not to worry. I know no one posts here because of freebies. They’re too often and few in between (the freebies). I’m so glad you’re fan of the blog.
Artist – I hope that your girlfriend has a great time at the shop. We’d love to host you in person.
Shiloh Prairie Farm says
My goals for 2009 are to be more organized. Also to make more soap and branch out with lotions or other items. Also to build up a bit more of an inventory so I can really start to promote my business. Another one is to get to sleep earlier, I have a very bad habit of staying up way too late and feeling tired the next day. I also have a goal of adding another dairy goat to our goat herd this year. I have ordered from Brambleberry several times and the service and products are excellent!
The Artist says
My girlfriend is flying down to Seattle for a business trip mid January and she is gonna bring me all my brambleberry goodies and she is planning to visit Otion and sample some fragrances for me,I am so jealous I cant go,school will be back and I need to be here with my son!!!Maybe next time I can come in person!!!!!!!!!!!
After reading your post today; I see a fault here, with me that is. I faithfully read your blog everyday and somedays more than once, follow you on twitter and never have I commented. I am NOT commenting to get free goodies but…. after reading. I do realize that bloggers appreciate this. So… my apologies for not commenting AND will make a resolution to do more of that. I know that there is alot of thought and planning that goes into each post.
Job well done Anne-Marie even though I don’t always let ya know.
Happy New Year,
Wow, you guys are starting to post your New Years Resolutions and goals early. I better get crackin’ on my post so that you have a real place to discuss and gain some inspiring momentum when you read everyone’s goals. I know I get inspired reading other people’s goals.
It is easy to read your blog. You all are so upbeat and positive.
Michelle in NV
koinonia community says
It has been so long since I have had a chance to check in on you. I’ve been a wee bit off the grid here lately.
I pray you had a fabulous Christmas, Anne-Marie.
btw- my only goal is to learn to enjoy the moment and take one day at a time.
My goal is to become more organized. I can never find that bottle of FO when I need it! I think that with organization will come more creativity.
Mary @ vinesoap says
I have been reading your "Soap Queen" for several months now, and I appreciate the encouragement and advice you give so much! I have been making and selling soap for about 2 years now, and I am really enjoying it. I am the last person I would have expected to be self-employed. My husband has spent most of our married life self-employed. I saw how difficult it can be and was not drawn to it. Sometimes I laugh at how much he has worn off on me in this area.
Your attitude and enthusiasm is so helpful to people like me! I love your business advice and am amazed at how much you accomplish. I especially found the article on focusing on sales pertinent.
I have not set enough goals in my life. It certainly is crucial, but something I have not been encouraged to do until fairly recently. Your e-mails have a lot to do with that.
This year my daughter and I would like to expand our product line. We make about 20 soaps and sell in 8 stores. We would like to offer mineral makeup, lip balm, lotion, & shampoo. We would also like to increase our stores to 20, God willing! All of you know, 20 stores isn't really that much when you consider what retail sells per month as they deal with so many vendors. One of the stores we sell to has 140 vendors in 2 aisles. Even if they say a products sells like hot cakes, it isn't as much as you would expect.
I am wondering…are you part owner of Bramble Berry and Otion? It is amazing how much you accomplish! By the way, Bramble Berry is my favorite supplier! I love the products and the customer service. More and more of what we need is available at Bramble Berry.
Thanks for all you do! It is really helpful and appreciated!
Last year’s projects were abstract — I wanted to be better with money and to set and maintain firm boundaries around my time and energy. I needed to work on those goals as a foundation for this year.
This year’s goals are far more concrete. I want to finish my chemistry course, start and complete my math course, and start my university level chemistry classes in September. (I had hoped for May, but I’m getting married then, so planning academic pursuits for that time is probably a bad idea!)
As for our tiny business, I really need to figure out what we want to do with it. We’ve kind of stumbled on our steady stream of retail and wholesale orders through word of mouth, and I think we have the potential to be bigger, but my best friend and I have stressful jobs we love and we need to figure out the work-life balance. And I would like to integrate the products my fiance and my mother make into our business, help them distribute and promote them.
Oh, and I need to not brush my teeth so hard! (Yeah, that one seems silly, but I burn out electric toothbrushes at an alarming rate!)
Wow, I didn’t realize I had such a busy year ahead!
Peace, Love & Soap says
Hi Anne-Marie, I so appreciate your guidance and encouragement to all of us soap lovers. I started my business this year and so far I’ve had a great outcome. When new things come up for me I often think, “what woud Ann-Marie do?”. For the first time in my life (career-wise) I feel like I’m doing what I love, for me! What an awesome feeling! I can’t wait for wed. I have already started my tentative goal list for ’09! I did my first tv appearance last week, I was so nervous, check it out if you get a chance- it’s on my blog. Thanks
E-Scentual Creations says
First I want to say that I have been a customer for the last 9 years. You and everyone at Brambleberry are simply amazing and I want to thank all of you for everything that you do.
My goal for 2009 will be to introduce 20 new scents to my soap/candle line as well as making incense in those new fragrances as well. I have an Etsy store so I am going to find new ways to promote that. I will also be trying to find ways to better photograph my products so they look more appealing. I am also going to be doing at least one major craft show this year (Buckler’s). I did 3 small shows this year with very little sales and decided my money was better spent at shows where people actually do come to.
Have a wonderful New Year *HUGS* Vicki
I need to inventory and get my business going strong,I have had all kinds of customers in the last 2 years,but I have been scared of being serious about my business and how time consuming it can be,not that I dont love soaping but what if I got overwhelmed??
So I think I need to take the risk and get it going strong!!!!!!!
Carmen Rose says
Love this! My hubby and I are adopting this year, my goal is to be ready. LOL! How can anyone be ready to become first time parents of three at the age of 40? And along the way I’ll continue to make some awesome soap! 🙂
I appreciate your insight,humor and sharing of ideas. One goal for me it to stay the course even when the going seems so slow…
Body Natural Soap says
congrats Mary. I hope this will be a banner year for everyone.
Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill says
Annie-Marie, I am almost speechless! I truly enjoy reading your posts. I admire you for helping others, and for sharing your wonderful zest for everything you do in your life as a friend and as a businesswoman. Thank you!
Congratulation Mary! Have fun creating!
Lynn, thinking about her 2009 resolution(s)
I”m new to this…and want to do this part time from my home within the next year or so. My dream is to exit my full time job and have more control over my life. Hopefully I can learn from you..right now I”m practicing with bath fizzies and body scrubs. Soaps are next!
I was inspired at the ASM as well~ I’ve since gotten my business insurance, set a theme for my biz, developed new soap names and have a logo in mind, now need a logo designer~ lol~ have revamped my work space, getting my last item installed next week (a stove) and setting up shop. Working on my business plan this week while kids are out of school~! Thanks for all you do kiddo~!
My husband and I have a big goal for 2009. We want to get pregnant! We are finally ready and we are so excited.
Anne-Marie, your words here remind me of your talk to the Alabama Soap Meeting in June about setting goals in a holistic manner. Now is a time to reflect on those goals set then, and readjust for the goals in 2009. Your encouragement has meant a lot to me personally and to my business. Thank you!