Confessions of a Soapmaker (Business Edition)

So. I embrace all the hats of being a solo entrepreneur. Mostly.  Sort of.

What am I trying to say? Here goes the Confessions part of my blog. But focusing on aspects of business.

Parts of me adore making product. I hate the mess. I love packaging. Until I have 500+ soaps that need a sweet little wrapper , label and packing. I adore getting lost in numbers, but hate the time vortex I get caught up in doing accounting and paperwork. I love doing fairs and markets and festivals until I’m on the couch after a long day, too tired to do much more than drool and watch TV that has no value beyond primitive entertainment. If that.

Why do I sound whiny? Cuz. Every year at this time I have a desire to be better at keeping track of my inventory. I have a laptop and software. I have the desire. It’s marrying the two I struggle with. I fear I have to wipe out all the previous years’ information and wipe the slate clean, take a complete inventory, and try to carve out time to record purchases AND sales to have a much better handle on what is coming in and going out of my biz. Last year, you might have seen me do an inventory before and after shows to help me track it. Yeah, that lasted a whopping 2 months.

So here’s my confession: I need help! I want to be able to do it all, but I don’t have the time or energy as the business grows. And this is such a good thing to recognize. My challenge is bringing someone on board is terrifying to me! Truthfully,  I need a Girl Friday. Someone who knows what I need, has the determination to learn the software (I taught myself and fear I don’t know enough to teach someone the right way) and someone to organize the business end of things. That would allow me to do more of the development and selling of my products.

The scary part is…while I know this would help my biz grow, it’s hard to come up with the funds to pay someone to do this. Who else has been in this crazy catch-22? Do you know someone else who has been in this situation? How did they handle it? How do you choose the right person to be able to do this?

I’m determined to make this business as big and profitable as possible – someday my goal is to sell it (altho the thought of selling my baby is scary!) These are all signs of growing pains of a healthy business. If you have advice or resources to share, I’m open to suggestions!

Thanks for letting my pour my heart out and share what’s up behind the scenes.

~Karen

 

What’s In Your Soapmaking Pot Today?

I belonged to a soapmaking forum ages ago (well, I still do but rarely, if ever, visit any longer). One of my favorite threads was a weekly “What’s In Your Soap Pot” thread, where any and all would post what soaps they were making. It was so inspirational – I was in awe of those full-time soap makers who listed an endless list of fabulous soaps they were making. It would be weeks, if not months, before I’d make soap for my various few fairs and festivals I did back in those day. However, now that I do this as my full-time passionate gig…

Since January 1 I’ve made over 3,000 bars of soap prepping for my spring shows so far.

Those numbers even knock ME out! Happy day!

Today, I made another 700+! Today, in soapmaking history, I made batches of Sexy Woman, Sweet Cherry Blossom and Dazzleberry. I’ve still got some of the men’s line soaps to make (yes, I’ve created a men’s line called Handsome Devil Sundries!)

Not to mention the new booze-themed “On The Rocks” soaps made with salts!

Lots of stuff humming along. Have to prep and pack a bunch of soaps for wholesale orders in coming days…it’s all good.

And the house smells lovely, btw. 😉

~ Karen

 

Losing Weight the Low Carb Way

Might as well call this my accountability blog. 😀

I’m a lifetime Weight Watcher. All told on WW, over the years, I’ve probably lost 75lbs following the diet. Most recently, I joined back in November and diligently measured and tracked my food. Lost a few pounds, but as a full-fledged diabetic my blood sugar numbers soared and I lost a little weight, but I didn’t lose as much weight as I expected or wanted, and I was STARVING.

For years I have dabbled in low carb/moderate protein/high-ish fat. It’s kind of controversial because we have been so conditioned by the medical community and diet corporations to believe fat = bad and low calorie is best. But when you look at the simple diets of our ancestors, they got their carbs from plant-based foods and ate meat laden with fat. Granted, they we much more active than our sedentary lives today (as I sit here, pontificating from my comfy chair…) but we can take some lessons from their eating habits.

Weeks ago, I quit weight watchers and went all in on low carb/high fat way of eating (notice I didn’t say diet…). I’m  not losing weight as fast as many people as insulin is a fat storing hormone, and I seem to have lots of stores of it. But this morning, my blood sugar was 90 when I woke up. It was as high as 118 yesterday, and a few weeks ago a staggering 198. With medications. And I saw a little blip on the scale in the right direction. So far, I’m down 16.5 lbs, with a bunch more to go.  I’ve got a little more pep than usual, feel less creaky and cranky, and am looking forward to my steaming cup of coffee with heavy cream in it this morning. 🙂

If you want more info on LCHF, I highly recommend dietdoctor.com or the reversing diabetes facebook group. There’s also a pretty interesting video on youtube called “Butter Made My Pants Fall Off” that explains a little better than I can how it all works.

By the way, I’m moisturizing the heck out of my skin this week…soooooo dry and trying to minimized the appearance of saggy baggy skin. I’m using TONS of No Drama Mama Cream. Get you some!

~ Karen

 

So…I’ve been making a lot of soap!

It’s been a while, but I’m determined to blog once or twice a week this year. It might happen, it might not. But since I last blabbed here, much has happened!

But before I rehash all that, going forward this is a place for me to yap about the things I think are intriguing and might just interest you, too. All two of you who read my blog. Some days it might be a story. Some day, it may to be tempt you into purchasing one of the many amazing handmade soaps I make and sell on my website  (*cough cough HemlockSpringsSoaps.com).  Maybe I’ll share some business stuff happening, and I even have some research and educational stuff about the things I make that might be of interest to you, too.

If you’re pleasantly surprised and like what you read, I welcome comments and shares as I build my little place on the big open innerwebz.

~ Karen