Jane of All Trades. 😉 Like most of my clients and soapmakers in the industry, I’m also a solo-entrepreneur. I handle everything from graphic design to marketing to customer support, and then all the real fun: teaching soapmaking & business workshops, and mentoring soapmakers to help them take their businesses to the next level.
How did you get into the natural soap industry?
I’ve been making soap for eleven years now, and would consider myself a serial entrepreneur from the perspective of throwing myself at a lot of my ideas and seeing what sticks. Before I started my first soapmaking company, I was freelancing graphic design and print work for small business owners on Etsy. I wanted to find a new outlet for my creativity and energy that didn’t involve graphic design, so I turned to soapmaking and opened my first company in 2011.
What are you currently working on that has you all “tickled pink”?
Right now, I’m finalizing the last of my live events in 2015. While I love the ease of connecting with thousands of people around the world online, live classes and events are the bee’s knees because I really get to know the soapmakers I serve online.
What about your business makes you loose sleep at night?
Keeping up with email! I receive hundreds of emails every week asking for help with soapmaking, formulating, and business, and I can’t physically keep up. I hate not being able to respond to everyone right away, or knowing that there are tons of emails in my inbox every night. Wrangling the email beast is my biggest weakness right now and it drives me crazy, because support & service are so important to me.
What makes you wake up each morning motivated to continue building your business?
The immense number of soapmakers that Modern Soapmaking has reached or can continue to reach throughout the industry. On average, Modern Soapmaking’s website is viewed by 50,000 people a month and that is absolutely astounding and motivating all in one go!
What book are you currently reading right now?
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators by Chris Brogan. It’s been on my reading list for awhile now (let that freak flag fly, y’all!), and I happened to win a copy in HubSpot’s Summer Reading Giveaway so I’m currently soaking it in.
If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your dream travel destination?
There are a slew of places on my bucket list, but with my family’s lifestyle (we live minimally in a travel trailer and are converting a school bus into an RV!), I know that we’ll get to cross them all off someday. I’d love to hit up England or Switzerland again, but some of the other international places on our list are Ireland, Morocco, Thailand, Australia, and Tasmania.
As an industry educator what are the most common mistakes you have seen micro businesses make when first developing their business?
The biggest mistake I think is starting a soap company or bath and body company thinking that you get to spend all your time making product, when the reality in business, is that unless you have a business partner to handle the business, you’ll spend the least amount of time making product and a majority of your time marketing and selling that product.
What are you looking forward to most about SoapCamp?
Soap Camp features some of my favorite classes to teach, including the Formulating section of the Saturday classes and the Business of Soapmaking on Sunday. I love dispelling myths about soapmaking, and helping people see the light when it comes to running a successful business.
Where do you see the natural soap industry in the next five years?
In the last ten years that I’ve been involved with soapmaking, the industry has grown and evolved so quickly. I hope that in five years the evolution continues but that as an industry, we become more focused on having a positive community to run our businesses in.
How do you see an existing and emerging soapmaker benefiting from attending an event like SoapCamp?
The beauty of Soap Camp is that the topics can help almost any soapmaker, whether a hobbyist or a biz owner, depending on what their previous training is. Many soapmakers have trouble with formulating, expanding their prowess in ingredient usage, or running a smart business, so Soap Camp covers all those bases and more!