Greetings from the lovely New York City. I am absolutely in love with this city – the energy, the activity and the awesome subway system. Mass transit is something we don’t have in Seattle, WA so this is a treat.
Today was the radio show. Here I am at Sirius Radio.
On the air with Mario Bosquez. His specialty is “a little bit of everything Martha,” so he covers food, gardening, lifestyle and of course, crafts. I had read someplace that he had a niece. Picturing her like 6 or 7 years old, I left him a Children’s Soapmaking Kit to play with.
Of course, today, I see a picture of his niece and it’s clear that she is a fully grown, beautiful, adult woman. I sure hope she likes Salamander molds and Watermelon fragrance!
Mario Bosquez was a great host – engaging and genuinely interested in our craft. Plus, he was positively over the top ecstatic about our Oatmeal, Milk & Honey custom mold and fragrance. That did warm this little soapmaker’s heart.
Then, I got lucky. Jen Strang, a long time Bramble Berry customer and entrepreneur herself with RememberThePlaza.com, happened to have an extra ticket to the Grammy Award winning Steve Earle and Allison Moorer. The concert was in a lovely church in Greenwich Village and was a small, intimate and sold out event.
I love New York.
We are so lucky to have a soaper in Ghana. Jeremy in Ghana answered the follow-up questions from these two posts (here and here). A big thank you to Jeremy for sharing his knowledge with the Soap Queen community.
Pooka hits it big with this interview on CBS News. I love what they say about helping others and paying a good deed forward. Prepare to be inspired!
Jeremy Davis: The process to make the two soaps is virtually the same, and takes place over several days. First, my mother buys many gallons of palm oil and has them delivered to her house. Palm oil is very sweet, red in color, and used for many things here in West Africa. It is extracted from the palm kernel. She then takes large pieces of timber, usually split teak, and starts a fire under oil drums. She cooks the oil in the drums for a full day, and allows it to cool overnight. She then mixes soda with water, at a top secret (I just don’t know them, they aren’t really that secret) ratio. The soda water is then mixed with palm oil in a large container. This is where the process splits for the two different types of soap to be made.
BB: Can you tell us about the Banku Soap?
JD: As the mixture heats up and begins to solidify, the women put plastic bags on their hands, then socks, then rubber bands. This is layered about three times, and they go to work. They take the hot mixture and ball it into two different sized soap balls in their hands. They then stack the balls in a pyramid on a table to cool and dry. Once they are cool, the soap balls are white, opaque, and extremely hard. The soap is also very caustic and can burn your hands if you are sensitive.
BB: What’s the difference between Banku Soap and Key Soap?
JD: Key soap is similar to Banku Soap, but the soda used is less, and a small amount of perfume is used. This soap is therefore softer, scented, and a light yellow color. Once the soda water and oil is mixed together, the ‘batter’ is poured into big wooden trays lined with plastic. Once this big wedding cake of soap cools, they take it out of the trays, and place it on a special table. The table has 4 taut strings running from a bar down to the base of the table. As the soap cake is pushed on the table through this contraption, it cuts it into long bars. The bars are then pushed through a metal molder, like a cookie cutter, to give it shaped ridges. They then stamp the soap with a metal stamp, for my mom, her stamp is ‘CM’, for her initials.
BB: You said earlier that soap making is the main source of income for these women. What are their prices like?
JD: The Banku soap sells 3 balls for roughly 50 cents. A full bar of key soap (about a foot and a half long) sells for about a dollar, a bar considered a single serving for about 20 cents. People coming to market buying in quantity get a discount from that. Banku soap is used for washing dishes and clothes, and sometimes people. Key soap is usually used for washing clothes, and sometimes people.
BB: We hear that Ghana is known for being one of the biggest producers of Shea in the World. Do they ever use it in their soaps?
JD: Shea is famous in the western world, but here it’s really only used to lotion up babies. It would make a lot of sense to add it to soaps for bathing; I think it is being done in a few places. However, most of the women producing soap in Ghana produce what is being bought by the most people. Most women’s groups are too small and usually not familiar with packaging and marketing, so they make the most basic soaps. There is a big opportunity for some of them to tap into a larger, more profitable market through marketing-basically making unique soaps with different ingredients, colors, and perfumes, packaging them, and selling them at a higher profit. We’ll see what unfolds.
Thank you to Jeremy for answering our questions! If you have more questions for Jeremy, feel free to post them and we’ll do our best to get back in touch with our new soaping friend!
Bramble Berry: Jeremy, give us a quick briefing on what you do in the Peace Corps and where you are right now.
Jeremy Davis:I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Ghana, West Africa. Ghana is an English-speaking nation in between C’ote D’Ivoire and Togo in sub-saharan West Africa. It is a very diverse country with some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. As part of training as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, a Volunteer will enter into the country, and undergo ten weeks of training before they start their two-year assignment. The ten weeks is spent living with a host family in a small community, intended to immerse the volunteer in the culture and to prepare them for their two-year service.Bramble Berry: So, tell us how you’ve learned about soaping?
Jeremy Davis: My host mother was a market trader. She and a group of women made local soap to sell at the market. Soap-making is considered an effective means of income generation for women in Ghana, and is thus promoted by small business advisors, local NGOs, and government agencies. My mother, Comfort Mensah, received her training in the late 1990s in how to make soap. She then progressively grew her business to a large size, with many other women working with her, and selling many bags per week at market.
Bramble Berry: What are the markets like?
Jeremy Davis: My training group was placed in communities around Techiman, a moderately-sized city located near the center of the country from north to south. Techiman has grown famous for its central market, which has thousands of sellers, traders, and buyers engaging in trade. Everything from farm produce, cloth, animals, housewares, and secondhand clothing is sold there. It’s an amazingly hectic place, something we never in the western world come close to experiencing. A flea market is, well, a flea compared to this giant.
Bramble Berry: What kind of soap does she make?
Stayed tuned! More to come from our over seas soaper, Jeremy.
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?
Bramble Berry: Your photography is clean, professional and very artistically staged. Do you have any sort of art background or photography training?
Lisa: Oh my no. I’m such an amateur. I just do a lot of reading & researching. I’ve learned many tips & tricks about using natural lighting vs. light boxes and it’s helped me to fine tune the color and contrasts of my photo’s. I prefer to shoot images of my products using the ‘hero’ shot (a shot which shows product alone) rather than a styled shot (which uses other appropriate elements along with the product). There’s a great tutorial and how-to article on “The Storque” on Etsy here.
Lisa: You’d be surprised at how far my soaps have come in the 5 years that I’ve been making soap. The very first year I soaped, my bars were so small and skinny, it was embarrassing really. Again, through tons of reading until my eyes were bloodshot, I educated myself about fatty acid profiles (with the help of some VERY talented & more experienced soapers) and properties of oils and butters so that I eventually was able to formulate an incredible recipe for my soaps that made it easier to sculpt the tops of the logs after the pour. I’ve tweaked those recipes to perfection over the years and I’m happy to say that my current 3 soap formulas have been perfected and haven’t been tweaked in a very long time. Depending on the FO or EO used, some batches are thinner than I’d like, so it takes a little bit of patience to wait until the soap batter is thick enough to allow me to sculpt the tops. My trick? Simple, I use an ordinary kitchen whisk. Make the whisk your friend and you’ll be able to get very high whips, peaks and textures. I also purchased a ‘tank’ soap cutter from For Crafts Sake, which was made to my specifications. This allowed me to make sure my bars were all uniformly cut to a very thick bar. Everyone comments on the size of my bars. They’re quite large and heavy in comparison to most handmade soap.
I love to get creative with the tops after I’ve sculpted them, by using raw materials and ingredients that I feel compliment the name or scent of that particular soap. For example, on the cinnamon frosting soap, I thought that putting some cinnamon chips on the top of the soap after I’ve textured it, would be a nice touch that would draw the eye directly to that soap. It worked. Everyone loves that look and I’ve had other soapers ask me if it would be alright to try to duplicate that look themselves. Sure, I say…. “go for it.” There really are no original ideas, only the realization and fulfillment of an idea. Besides, every soaper puts their own twist on things anyway. Have fun, I say. Experiment, play around. That’s what’s so exciting about this craft, whether it’s just a hobby or your primary business. There are so many ways to do the same thing.
Bramble Berry:Tell us a little bit about your solid shampoo! The bars look great!
Lisa: Aaaah, my solid shampoo bars. One of my best selling b&b products. People love them because they’re extremely economical, great for traveling because there’s no leaky mess in a bottle to worry about, and they last forever. I could never understand the reason behind paying for a bottle of water (liquid shampoo). Such a waste. With our solid shampoo bars, there’s no waste, no bottles to clutter up landfills and you’re getting a product that not only is better for the environment, but it’s a fantastic product for the health and conditioning of your hair, if I do say so myself. You get a literal mountain of thick, creamy, foamy lather on your head with only 2-3 swipes of the bar. I’ve been going to an upscale spa for almost 10 years now to get my hair done and every time I go, my stylist remarks about how healthy & shiny my hair has become since I started making and using the solid shampoo and solid conditioner. It’s basically all the same ingredients that I would use in my liquid shampoo, minus the water. I use many different emollients for the conditioning that your hair needs, plus I add in the extra goodies like panthenol, hydrolyzed wheat protein and cocoa butter. The surfactants that I use are very mild and gentle and contain no harmful chemicals or sulfates. These solid shampoo bars will clean your scalp so well that you’ll be amazed at how fast your hair grows after consistent use of the product. We can’t even wait a full 6 weeks in between hair cuts in my household.
Bramble Berry:Your salt bar looks awesome! When do you add the salt? Is it a lot of salt? A little? Tell us more about the concept behind the bar.
Lisa:Much to my own surprise really, I can’t keep my salt bars in stock. They sell very, very well. I say that I am surprised because I didn’t think that my customers would really ‘get’ what the salt bar is and how to use it. It’s not a regular bar of soap, it’s not a salt scrub. It’s a combination of the two. You won’t get tons of lather like you do with one of my bars of soap. Instead, you’ll get a lovely white, milky, lotiony effect. You won’t feel a lot of scrubbiness, it’s not harsh or overly abrasive. Rather, it’s very much like a smooth river stone would feel if you rubbed that on your skin. It’s very smooth. But don’t be fooled by that, you definitely will be exfoliating your skin and you’ll notice a healthy, radiant glow after stepping out of the shower with just one use. The idea behind the salt bar has been around for ages, but I’m fortunate enough to know an incredibly talented soapmaker who lives in Denmark, that openly shared her methods and techniques to perfecting the salt bar. Of course being the formulating tweaker that I am, I couldn’t leave well enough alone after reading and researching about this type of bar, so I came up with a few extra ingredients that I add in with the salt, to help give the bars that extra ‘umph’. I have my own technique and methods for making these bars, but I’ll have to keep those a secret for now. Haha! But if you want to try your hand at making your own salt bars, I’ll give you a few hints: Use a high % of coconut oil, as this is one of the few oils that will actually produce a lather in a salt environment, calculate the total amount of your oils/butters (NOT including the water & lye) and then use equal amounts of fine dead sea salt (do NOT use the iodized). If the salt feels too coarse to you, just throw it in your food processor or grinder. You don’t want a powder, but you don’t want large, rough chunks of salt either. Always use the FULL water amount suggested by your favorite lye calculator and superfat your batch at least 10%. I superfat mine at 15%. I soap using the cold process method, but for this soap batch, I use the CPOP method. Be prepared to move fast, because of the high salt content and depending on your scent choice, these batches set up very fast. Stick the whole log into the oven at 170 degrees for 2 hours, turn the oven off and let the log sit inside the oven for an additional 3 hours. Once you remove it from the oven, you need to unmold and cut right away, otherwise the salt content turns the log into a hard, solid brick very quickly and you’ll be unable to cut the log into bars. Voila, salt bars! Hope that helps.
We’ll have Part II of the Lissa from Arcadia Aromatics tomorrow.
Soapalya has some unique soap designs and indie style. After discovering her on Etsy a few months ago, I bought some goodies and liked her formulas as well as the look of her soap. We’re lucky that Alex has agreed to do an interview with us! We’re celebrating my husband’s birthday this weekend so expect some fun photos of the party and his gift later tonight.
Tell us how you got into soapmaking as a hobby?
I’m a life-long *maker* of things. Curiosity about how something is made runs neck and neck with the need to meet the challenge of actually learning how to do it. I have a love for color, pattern and design that finds expression through sewing, painting, stained glass, weaving, handmade paper, and, now, soap!
Finding my way into making soap really began out of an urgent necessity mixed with genuine curiosity. The necessity was a sensitivity to commercial detergents, soaps, and shampoos. I spent too many years and way too much money trying product after product with no relief. I bought my first bar of handmade soap while on vacation one summer. That was the beginning of the end of my using commercial products. Once I found relief in the form of a handmade cold-processed olive oil soap the intense curiosity began. I wanted to know *how*!
I began with research and read everything I could find on the subject. I spent the better part of a year just reading about how to make cold process soaps. I bought books, took notes, searched the Internet, scoured the libraries. I’ll admit I was intimidated at the thought of tackling something that seemed so far beyond my abilities. The terminology was intimidating. How can you really understand “trace” if you’ve never seen it? Then there’s “saponification!” There’s a word to intimidate! I would have loved to have had an experienced teacher to walk me through the things I didn’t understand, but, I didn’t find one. So, I broke it down into little bites of information that I could process.
The biggest thing that bugged me was the multitude of essential oils available to me….way too many choices! I wanted to try them all! I decided to keep it simple by starting with fragrance favorites. As my skills have developed I’ve ventured into using essential oils based on their specific therapeutic benefits. Making soap was never really a hobby. I’ve had fun, for sure, but I always knew that once I began it was going to become a major part of my life. I need what handmade soap has to offer and I want it to be customized to my specific needs.
At what point did you decide to make it into a business? Was there a trigger point?
For the longest time I was just having fun with the idea that I could actually make soap for myself. It still pleases me very much when I realize I’m actually capable of doing this! I found myself to be quite content just finally having something to use on my face, hair and body that didn’t make me itch! I wasn’t asking for more that that. I enjoy giving my handmade soap as gifts and I still do give away a lot of soap! It never occurred to me that I could sell it! As friends and family used the soap I started getting some feedback – very positive feedback! And so it began. A little here, a little there. On a very small scale I had found myself a market, and, to my surprise, I was the supplier!
What other methods do you use to sell besides Etsy? I initially opened an Etsy shop, Necessities, for my artwork and hand sewn items. It took a while before I entertained the thought of even trying to sell my soap online. I’m still learning the business end of this and too much too fast is not something I want. For now, I’m good at the pace I have going! I’ve started the groundwork for a website and have made that one of my goals for the new year.
I see you sell a Hemp Soap Saver; do you crochet the saver yourself?
With all of the weaving I’ve done on my loom I’ve collected a massive variety of threads and yarns. I recently came across a spool of 100% hemp twine I had used on a woven project. Hemp is a fabulous natural fiber with some really wonderful qualities. One of the best is its natural resistance to mold. I had wanted a unique soap saver for myself and for my shop, so, I grabbed my crochet hook and eventually came up with a design I really like. I used the first one myself to work the *bugs* out of it. The final design is now for sale in my shop! Unlike cotton, it dries out quickly and is both durable and soft.
Your Blowing in the Breeze soap looks complex! Tell us more about it.
One of the newest soap creations in my shop is called “blowing in the breeze”. Before I make a new soap I need to have some idea of what it is going to look like. I tend to have difficulty just making a plain bar of soap! I will start out with intentions to just keep it simple, but, I never keep to the plan. All of those years of stained glass, weaving and art seem to show up in the bars of soap! My husband just laughs at me. He says that I really just can’t help it! Soap is another art form, isn’t it? “Blowing in the Breeze” is just the weaver and stained glass artist peeping out!
My favorite bar of soap, at the moment, is one made with rose clay and scented with Somali Rose (goes by that name). I love anything with rose clay in it…creamy, creamy! Somali Rose, the fragrance, is just wonderful!
The Twilight soap is what attracted me to your store; tell us a bit about the look and feel – how you came up with the color and design.
“Twilight” is a boar of soap that was fun to make. I like to paint and trying to blend all of the colors was a lot like painting (but it kills me to have to wait until the next day to see the finished product!). Mixing the colors is crazy fun….working fast before the soap gets too thick. It was a challenge with a very pretty result! I have a friend that wanted a more *manly* fragrance. The sandalwood and patchouli blend gives it the fragrance and the blending of those colors, especially the black, makes it look less girly than a lot of the soaps I have!
Any plans for 2008 that you want to share? Line expansions, new methods of selling, all of that fun stuff!
Like all of us trying to build a small business, I have some long term goals that I’ll keep under my hat for now! Short term goals include building up my product line and website. I have a good friend that is a handmade soap convert. I’m hoping that she might become my business partner in the future. She and I both tend to be drawn to the more therapeutic advantages of handmade products. It takes an enormous amount of time to develop not only the product line but also the appropriate labeling and packaging for the products. At the moment, it’s just me running the show! I have found a chemist whose brain I can pick when I get to a point where I need to know more. I try very hard to be informed as much as I can about everything in the products I make. I learn something new everyday, but, sometimes I still feel it is all just a little overwhelming! After all of this time I still see myself as a *student* ! I don’t think I’ll ever learn it all, and, truthfully, that’s what makes all of this soap making so much fun!
I recently fell in-like with Savor Soaps. Check out their Flikr Photostream here.
Who is Savor Soaps?: Lisa Salamida from California is the brains behind this brand
What: (Lisa says:) “I specialize in soap that resembles food, and especially desserts. I love to make whipped soap, like my Spun Sugar and Lime Chiffon.”
“I use only the best melt-and-pour base, purchased from a small shop in Berkeley, CA. I love to use dried botanicals, teas, and I really love to use sea salt for its scrubbiness! It really helps the dry patches on heels. I include shea butter in all my soap, and use vitamin E oil and olive oil in certain varieties depending on the effect I want to achieve.”
“I don’t use goat’s milk often, but I found a fantastic base and will begin using it regularly.”
“My husband sells his art prints and he inspired me to take that leap. I opened in October 2007, and the shop has taken off — already a couple hundred orders, and even repeat buyers, in a very short time. I work full time as a computer tech, but with the way Savor has taken off, I’m also putting in 30-40 hours weekly making soap and processing orders.”
Where: “I sell on Etsy alone right now (or in person if I know you!). My shop there is located at savor.etsy.com — I recently bought my own domain and may consider selling directly on my site in the future. But it’s really hard to beat Etsy’s great interface, and lovely customer base that comes with it!”
Thanks for sharing, Lisa! Here’s to great success in 2008 to you and Savor!
We are lucky to have Maggie from A Wild Soap Bar for an interview on The Soap Queen. Maggie is a very successful soapmaking entrepreneur located in Austin, Texas. She’s been interviewed by Co-Op America, and also an interview with the Lifestyle CEO, Donna Maria. Check out Maggie’s impressive press page here. She is on a positive trajectory with her company.
- First things first, why soap?How did you fall so passionately in love with soap that you decided to turn it into a business?Well why not?I’ve always liked to do things with my hands so I decided to try soapmaking back in 1995.I was inspired after reading by The Soap Book by Sandy Maine so I dove right in and started making soap. I quickly became addicted, and the rest is history.
- Do you have any business background that helps you in your business?No, but oftentimes I wish I did!I ran a YMCA afterschool program for 80 kids before turning to soapmaking full time.That definitely taught me the virtues of patience!
- What’s the best part about being self-employed? The worst part?There’s something extremely satisfying about knowing that everything you’ve achieved is the direct result of your own blood, sweat, and tears. Of course if your business falls short in some areas, that’s a direct reflection on you too.I guess the worst thing is the long, and I mean really loooooonng hours.But if you’re passionate about what you do, you get totally absorbed in it and even the long hours don’t seem quite so long.
- How much time do you spend making soap versus doing other administrative tasks? About the only time I make soap these days is when I’m formulating custom test batches for wholesale customers.This is a wonderfully creative outlet, but it doesn’t take up much of my time.My son Jory has been making almost all of our soap for years now.I taught him well.
- How much time do you WISH you spent making soap?I don’t have much time to think about it really.I love what I do!On top of custom formulations, I also do all the marketing, label design, customer service, website work, bookkeeping, ordering supplies, UPS shipments, paying bills, writing newsletters . . . and a gazillion other things.Occasionally, I pitch in to help my employees get a stack of orders out, but 90% of my time is spent in the office on the computer or on the phone.For someone who has no business experience, I’ve studied hard and I think I’ve managed pretty well.
- How do you decide what fragrances/essential oils to use? Do you follow trends, listen to your customers, go with your gut, a combo? For the most part,I follow my intuition when formulating our essential oil blends and I think I have a pretty decent nose for what works.The more you play around with the oils and the more you get to know them, the better you get at blending.I think a lot of people get too wrapped up in trying to follow the textbook recommendations.I just follow my nose and don’t get too uptight about it.I also sniff soap wherever I go (don’t we all?) and I pay attention to what other soapmakers are doing too.I read trade magazines as well, but I’ve never been one to hop on every trend.
- Did your Black Friday Thanksgiving sales promotion increase sales? I sort of “borrowed” that idea from another newsletter, but yeah, every time I send out a special newsletter deal it increases sales.People LOVE to save money!
- What’s your favorite product to make? I’m kind of partial to body balms these days.I mean who can’t resist filling up each little tin to the brim with this hot, wonderfully creamy, wildly aromatic concoction?I don’t especially like burning my fingers though.
- How often do you data mine your sales reports to figure out what items you’ll be carrying again? Or, do you go by gut feel?I know when something isn’t selling well and it doesn’t hang around for long either.We still do a few larger craft shows and that’s when I get a really good feel for what sells and what doesn’t.I look at sales reports occasionally to confirm what I already know.
- Do you have any hobbies outside of soap? Do tell! =)Soap and balms pretty much consume me, but I do get to incorporate my life-long interests in native plants and botanical medicine into my business and that’s pretty sweet.
- Totally optional question: If you could have $3million in venture capital but you would have to give up 75% of your company and you’d have a boss and a board of directors to answer to, would you take the money?Now that’s a toughie.I’d like to think I’d say no . . . but I wouldn’t put it past me!
Thank you Maggie for sharing your wisdom and experience with us!