Life in the Soap Lane — challenges

| Danielle Vincent

Grand Soapening and the new store!

Some big news happened since the beginning of this month and I haven't said ANYTHING about it here on the blog. This is actually quite insane, but the reason is because we have been working our tails off and haven't been able to sufficiently focus on the store, the grand soapening, or even maintaining regular hours. It may surprise you to know that opening a retail store hasn't ever been a big dream of ours. But...

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| Danielle Vincent

Happy Holidays!

Yep, it's that delightful season when we're working on the holidays months before other people even think about 'em. What does that mean to us? It means we put together a little press guide in hopes we'll be featured in some news outlets. (that would probably work a lot better if I actually pursued any press outlets) It means we have started looking at forecasts for our regular customers like The Gift Oasis, ThinkGeek and UncommonGoods, and even pitching new ideas. It means that I've been courting potential new customers like Dot & Bo and The Grommet to see if they'd be interested in picking up our line. It means that we've been looking at Amazon sales in Q4 of last year and figuring out how early we can send stock without assessing long-term storage fees. It means that we've been scrutinizing our own website sales and trying to eyeball how many of...

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| Danielle Vincent

The things I'm glad I didn't know when I started my business

After spending a couple days moping around about not knowing what I didn't know, and reflecting that maybe I wouldn't have started my business had I known... I realized this: I probably wouldn't have startedmy business if I knew that it would take 3 years to achieve profitability. I knew that 50% of businesses never made it to their third year and 80% never made it to their fifth, but I thought I was a special snowflake. Certainly, my marketing and enthusiasm and sheer gumption would overcome any statistical odds. I bought into that old "the universe will catch you if you jump" mantra that new agey people constantly spout. I didn't think about the fact that 100% of small business owners take a jump, and the universe doesn't catch 80% of them. My ignorance brought me to this place, here, where we have finally begun to achieve profitability. Even though by...

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| Danielle Vincent

When Major Business Blunders Happen

Whenever I talk to entrepreneurs, most of them say something like "Oh believe me, if there was a mistake to be made, I have made it." In the past two weeks, I learned that I had made what I consider to be a pretty serious business forecasting error based on a simple lack of knowledge when I started the business. I had my costs covered and got my pricing right, but I didn't know something really fundamentally important: my break even point. That's the number of units we need to sell in order to cover our expenses.

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| Danielle Vincent

How to help!

THANK GOD FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND ENTHUSIASTIC CUSTOMERS (and especially specifically thank you, friends, family, and enthusiastic customers) Without y'all, we wouldn't be here, period. And the reason is because you (be you customer, friend, family, or all three) are so passionate about helping us... whether that's going to your local stores and asking for our products or reposting your favorite products to your friends. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "Hey! Can I come by and help you, you know, cut soap and fill orders and stuff?" Another very frequently asked question is, "When are you going to hire someone?"

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| Danielle Vincent

The art of jumping.

I take a lot of risks in my life. I risk financial security, career stability, stability of my heart and mind, and a stability of living situation. To me, life is messy and unstable. Whenever I have made decisions based on what is the most stable, I have always reflected on that as a bad decision in hindsight.

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| Danielle Vincent

I don't like anything. I mean, on Facebook.

Last week, I shared this article about not "liking" anything on Facebook as a way of building more meaningful interactions and getting a better newsfeed. Me before last Thursday: Me now: ...

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| Danielle Vincent

How to stop criticism from ruining your day

"Have you lost your damn mind. I tried to order products from your website and was never able to do so. You sent a message saying trouble with sight [sic] currently. Get a job." - a real email response from a real person in response to our email newsletter This post is going to be kind of hard to write because it deals with the not-so-glamorous side of running a business: unhappy people. I will never be good enough to meet everyone's needs.

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| Danielle Vincent

Like in Fight Club?

“It’s kind of like if you mixed Fight Club with Breaking Bad, and then turned that dark storyline into Pushing Daisies,” is what I tell them. See, at the end of March 2013, I quit my job at The Oprah Winfrey Network to start my own soap company with my husband. Before that, I worked at ABC, and before that, I worked at ABC Family... I’ve been an Entertainment Product Manager for about six years and a web Product Manager of various other types of websites for about eight years before that.

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| Danielle Vincent

The biggest disappointment in our early business

Everyone wants to hear stories where I've struggled through and not done well, so here you go. Two years ago, we didn't win the Martha Stewart American Made competition. I imagine you have one of two reactions to hearing that:

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| Danielle Vincent

I waited my whole life for this moment: The Ultimate Tribute to my Favorite American Hero

He may not be everyone's idea of a hero, but he sure is mine.Why is Hunter S. Thompson my hero? No, it isn't his reckless lifestyle, ample consumption of bourbon and cigarettes, wildly enthusiastic use of fast vehicles and powerful firearms, or confusingly potentially-lethal quantity of mind-altering substances. Sure, those are all admirable on some level, but there are hundreds (if not thousands) of deadbeats on Hollywood Boulevard pursuing that heavy dream.Thompson is my hero because of his vision and his writing. Because of the relentless and ruthless dedication to the truth.After his coverage of the 1972 Presidential election forRolling Stone, McGovern's campaign manager called his reporting "the least factual, most accurate account" of the election.His writing reflects the same kind of hopeless optimism and grim resignation that we see today in "The Daily Show."He covered a time when America was recovering from slap after slap in its patriotic face. Our...

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| Danielle Vincent

I made writing painless and easy WITH THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK

I've spent a lot of time working on how to write, and the only thing I've learned in my 30 years of focused practice is that it only gets harder the more you practice. Why do so many highly practiced writers talk about how hard it is? As I was...

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