When Alex was a baby and I stopped working outside the home, I needed something to keep my hands busy. So I took up a crochet hook and relearned what to do with it. When he was about four years old, he had decided baths were something Satan invented and the only redeeming value was being able to play with bars of soap. With extremely sensitive skin all around, this amounted to me having to choose between watching $5.00 or more go down the drain every time I bathed him, or listening to him scream. We didn’t have that kind of money. I didn’t have enough strength to listen to the screaming. Maybe bathing was invented by the devil?
Along comes a Facebook page post about frugal living and saving money. The admin posted a link to how to make your own soap from scratch. I had one of those light bulb moments where I’m sure there was an actual bulb above my head. I could handle making soap!
Challenge #1 was finding a source of lye. It used to be readily available in grocery and hardware stores. Not anymore. I found a source online. Hooray!
Challenge #2 was finding a method that didn’t involve me letting the soap cure in a well ventilated place for six weeks. I don’t have that kind of space in my apartment. Hot process soap would work. I’d only need to take up space for a day or two.
Then people started showing an interest in the soap and oohing and ahhing over the crocheted things. Could I sell this? Hmm. I started an Etsy shop and held my breath. I haven’t had a lot of sales there, but I’ve had people buy stuff from me outside of that. I may close the Etsy shop. If I keep it open, I’ll have to give it an overhaul and do some serious editing. I’ve repackaged my soap to what you see below. It’s been tough not having an Internet connection to our house and trying to have an online business. Now that we’re back online, I think I may give it another go.
I have had some wholesale soap orders from another crafter. That seems like the way I’d rather go. It’s less money in my pocket, but less dealing with direct sales. The older I get, the less I like the general public. There are plenty of individuals who are wonderfully gracious, but those few jerks out there grate on my nerves more and more.
I’m trying to stay focused and let the business grow little by little. I’ve seen people try to do too much all at once and crash and burn. I want to keep a job where I can work from home. So, I keep reminding myself that I need to do what I do and do it well. As I get more orders and more money to put into more equipment and supplies, I’ll expand. And as I sit here with a check in hand, I’m trying to decide whether to upgrade supplies, or join a few craft shows. I’ll let you know.
UPDATE: I made several changes to the Etsy site. I’ll continue to add better photos and see what I can make of it. Someone go buy something and support my writing habit?