05 March 2011

What did I start?

I don't think that when I started to make soap, I knew what I was getting myself in to. I certainly had no idea how much of the house would be invaded by soap, soap making ingredients and soap making kit.  More to the point, I did not know how much of my conscious, and who knows sub-conscious thought, it would consume.

I think about it, I trip over it, I make it, wrap it and label it. I have successes and I have failures, and boy, have I had failures. Batches which are the same as umpteen batches I have made in the past, for some unfathomable reason decide to go oh, so horribly and so spectacularly wrong.

Ploughing through all the delightful regulations, designed I am sure to make things as complicated as possible, there are times when I wonder if there is a point. Regulations are important, they safeguard the public, but there are so many people who sell their products without adequate labelling, it makes my blood boil.

Then, there is the business side of the business. Sales, marketing, paperwork and don't mention the packaging. All these things take up so much time and effort, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it.

I could sit here and mount a good argument that it is not, that it is better to keep making soap as a hobby or to give to friends, and to give it up as a business, but I would be lying. The buzz you get when you receive an order is incredible. To know that someone likes your products enough to give you money for them, is a real fillip. Working for yourself is not stress free by any means, after all there is no passing the buck, but you also have a freedom that is impossible working for someone else.

I started my business about a year ago, and so much has happened in that time, culminating in two recent orders from two National Trust properties. This is far beyond anywhere I thought I could go, and could potentially mean big business for me. I have also met, in person and virtually, a lovely, supportive community of like minded people who understand the issues, the products and the problems involved in owning this kind of business. Stressful? Yes it is, but it is also fun and exciting and an outlet for my creativity which also helps to pay the bills.

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