Bramble Berry: Now, a little about you as a person – are you married? Kids? What doesyour family think about your soaping obsession? And more importantly, is akitchen for cooking or soaping?
Lisa: Yep, I’m happily married to a man I’ve known for 32 years. We’ve been married for 17 of those years and we have 2 beautiful daughters, ages 18 and 15. Wheeww, teenagers. Haha. My family is very supportive of my business venture with soapmaking. They all help out when I need them to. Since I’m a very small potatoes business, (1 woman operation and that’s the way I like it) there are many times during high production season that I need help unmolding, cutting, wrapping, labeling, etc. Both my daughters help me every summer with my farmers markets. They enjoy getting out, meeting new people, talking about the products that they use and love and earning a little bit of money for themselves too. My sweet husband built my soap display boxes for me and helps me load and unload my van every weekend after I come home from a long day at the market. Although I am a small business compared to some, I stay very busy with retail and wholesale and I couldn’t do all of that alone. I need my family’s help, and they never complain about pitching in where needed. Besides, I spoil them all rotten anyway, so they owe me. Haha.
The kitchen, in my humble opinion, is for cooking. Being Italian, I LOVE to cook (almost as much as I love to eat) and although I started my soaping obsession in my kitchen where I prepare my meals, I very quickly realized that I needed more space, in an area that was more safety conscious where I could really let loose and get creative. Besides, I have dogs and cats that even though we take safety precautions when working with sodium hydroxide, accidents can and do happen. I’d never forgive myself if anything ever happened to one of my beloved pets if they were underfoot while I was soaping in the kitchen. I had my ‘soap shack’ built by the Amish to my specifications and flat bedded onto my property about 6 months after I first began soaping. Now I just walk out the front door of the house, down into the back yard, and I’m at work.
Bramble Berry:Favorite Bramble Berry product! =)
Lisa: Oh wow, put me on the spot…haha……..there are so many that I love and use, including Arabian Spice, Basmati Rice, Cold Water, Energy, Grapefruit Lily,Coconut, Huckleberry, Ocean Rain, Peach, Pearberry, Pumpkin Spice, Rise & Shine and Sensual Sandalwood. But my #1 selling fragrance from Brambleberry is Bonsai, which I use in my soap called ‘Rain Forest’. It sells like hot cakes. I can’t keep it in stock. People adore that scent and the color combo of the soap that I use it in.
Bramble Berry:What’s your favorite outlet for selling – farmers markets, craft shows, wholesale, your own web site, e-bay or etsy? And, why?
Lisa: I’ve done ebay and it just isn’t the right venue for my products. I’ve done craft shows and it’s too hard of a ‘sell’, in my opinion and not really worth the time, trouble & cost to set up a nice display. It’s not always about ‘selling’ yourself or your product. It’s about educating people on the differences between handmade and mass produced. Etsy has turned out to be a very nice place to sell retail because people are there specifically to buy handmade items. They really appreciate all the hard work, effort, knowledge and education of all the vendors who offer up their handmade works of art.
But my favorite avenue for selling my soaps has got to be my farmers markets, hands down. Though I love selling to my wholesale accounts and doing retail sales through my own business website and my newly opened Etsy shop, you just can’t beat the live interaction with your customer base in person. The hands on demonstrations of my products and talking up the different ingredients used, their components and properties, just makes me feel great about what I’m doing in this business. I love people, I’m a people person. I’m very silly and like to joke around a lot. I’m always smiling, laughing and having a good time. I really get the customer involved when they stop by my tent. I project a positive, feel-good energy and my customers enjoy coming and spending time with me underneath my tent in the middle of a hot August day…..just because they enjoy my company and they’re hooked on my products. What could be better than that?