"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I've been making M&P soap since 1999 and feel that I'm pretty experienced in it but your blog has taught me a thing or two... Again thank you for a great informative blog for this addicted soapmaker."
I met the woman behind this post, Linda Nigro, and fell in love with her web site soapier.com. I've pictured a few of her soaps in this post, but you really must pay a visit to her site. It's inspiring as is the interview she so kindly granted. Read below how Linda got started in the biz and glean business insight from a pro.
Denise: What about soap making intrigued you enough to turn it into a real business?
Linda: I'm a 59 year old and for as long as I could remember I just wanted to make something that others would buy. Back in 99 I started looking at message boards for different crafts and came upon the soapmaking forum. I really wanted to do cp but was a bit afraid of the lye (at the time I was in a small apartment) So I started doing m/p and haven't looked back since. It's a wonderful way to be creative and release those desires.
Denise: Businesses generally evolve. What evolutionary processes have you gone through to be where you're at today?
Linda: I could write an essay on this. I'm still evolving and besides learning about business you end up learning so much about yourself. In the beginning I did wholesale and I thought it was the way to go today I find it very difficult and time spent reproducing soaps leaves little time for creating. So now I'm cutting down on wholesale and doing more creating. One thing personally I've learned is that even if you think you are doing what you love (creating soap) I wasn't because of demands on production.
Denise: What advice do you have for others just starting out in business, or those wanting to start their own product lines?
Linda: Be clear on what you want to do. I believe very very strongly that the desire we have in our heart (for me was to create) is what we should be doing. Then find a way to do it that it will bring income. Don't be fooled and follow the $ first follow your heart. I followed the wholesale because of the bigger dollar and for quite a few years got tied up in it and lost what I loved to do.
Denise: What kinds of start up costs are involved in owning a soap making business?
Linda: You can start very small and then use your earning to add to it. Recognize if you become addicted to things Iike I did. I have about every color there is out there, plus a really really large inventory of fragrance oils. This cuts into your cash flow.
Denise: What makes your company unique?
Linda: No matter how many steps there are to making a soap I'll still do it for the creativeness of it. I want to be known for wonderful looking soaps that make you smile.
Denise: What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
Linda: Wearing every hat. You are the marketing person, the cleaning woman, the advertising expert, the bookkeeper, etc
Denise: What thoughts would you like to leave our readers with?
Linda: Love what you do, that's what we should be doing. It's wonderful to get up in the morning and be happy to get to work.
Denise: Thanks, Linda. I certainly wish you continued success! Your an inspiration to many aspiring soapers.