Tuesday, February 1, 2011

5 years.... they've been exciting, that's for sure!

5 years ago this month I was working full time, adjusting to motherhood, and tingling with excitement over my new hobby - glycerin soap crafting.  During a family walk in the neighborhood, I discussed the possibility of starting a website to sell my soaps and my husband encouraged me to give it a shot.  Here's a picture my sister took of one of my first items, called the Rainbow Stacker. 

Every year has been action packed, full of excitement and sometimes intense heartache.  I had an incredibly lucky break in November of 2006.  One of my soapsicles (that's what they were called until I was sued by Uni-someone - heartache #1) was featured on the Etsy homepage the day before Thanksgiving.  Back then the homepage items were picked by Etsy admin and Friday items would stay up all weekend.  Since it was a holiday weekend, my soap was featured from Wednesday before Thanksgiving until Monday.  As you know, this is retail gold, so I worked my tail off relisting and making soaps all weekend!  My soap was in the top 10 best sellers on all of Etsy.  That's how I got a lot of new wholesale inquiries and my business really started rolling.

Press opportunities were fast and furious.  I appeared on Craft Lab on the DIY Network, my soaps were photographed for a feature in O Magazine (which was cancelled at the very last moment - heartache #2), presented for consideration on the Martha Stewart Show (turns out she's not so into glycerin soaps - heartache #3), and many fabulous blog features (super high moments - all of them!).  Magazines from Japan to Amsterdam have loved Soapylove, and I love them too!

As a result of appearing on Craft Lab, I was approached by a publisher to write a Soapylove book.  This was an amazing opportunity, but I was so amazed that it took 2 years to get published!  So in the meantime I launched Let's Get Soapy, which has been a very gratifying part of my business.

Speaking of business, I have learned a lot about that, too.  From contracts to hard negotiating, I have learned from trial and error.  For example, when I wasn't able to lower my prices enough for a UK customer, they went to China to have them knocked off.  Luckily the UK customs noticed that all of those items said "made in the USA" and seized them.  I found out what Chinese factory made them and contacted the owner, who kindly told me what company had ordered them.  Sadly, it was an employee of a trusted business contact who was trying to swindle money from her boss and handle the order without her knowledge.  It's amazing the kind of drama that has happened as a result of Soapylove!  As my friends and family will tell you, there's never been a dull moment.

So as my 5th year of business begins, I feel like I've earned my stripes and have clear perspective on where I want Soapylove to take me.  I'm going to steer this ship - not the other way around!  :)  So, first I want to celebrate!  Look for lots of newness over at the Soapylove site this month, from new photographs, to new products, and an incredible sale week starting February 14.  Don't miss a thing and sign up for the SoapyClub here.  It's going to be a great month and 5 more great years!!

Thanks so much for the fabulous friendships and support I have gotten through my adventures.  You've always been there for me, and I couldn't be more grateful!  Hugs and kisses!!!
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