Life in the Soap Lane

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The growing gang of Outlaws

The growing gang of Outlaws

This week, we interviewed several people for a few new positions at Outlaw HQ here in Grass Valley, California. The weekly newsletter has been assembled by our new associate, Stacie, who has taken over the weekly email as well as...

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Thanks for the loot!

Thanks for the loot!

Wednesday, we launched a Kiva loan for $10,000 to support Outlaw Soaps growth and proliferation! I was FLABBERGASTED that the loan was fully funded in under 36 hours... that's TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in under 36 hours!!!! (with a matching fund...

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Outlaw Soaps and how I keep going even on tough days

Outlaw Soaps and how I keep going even on tough days

This is me at work! You may recognize this photo from the other day's tour of the Outlaw Soaps safehouse. As the head of this little operation, I am responsible for the company strategy (including everything from sales channels to...

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The Great Location Saga: The Outlaws officially land in our new location

The Great Location Saga: The Outlaws officially land in our new location

The new warehouseI'm very pleased to report that we signed the lease on our new production facility building!

It has been a real journey, and I know the journey isn't anywhere near over, but it feels like a big step and a lot of worry is beginning to clear like clouds over our heads.

Christmas is our biggest season, and unfortunately this drama started in the middle of us ramping up our production for Christmas.

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Colfax, California: how things are going in our small town

Colfax, California: how things are going in our small town

When we opened the Colfax store
Because this struck such a nerve, I didn't want to leave you hanging about the outcome of this situation. I was at the City Council meeting last week, and I will likely attend all future City Council meetings until the end of the line.

The fact is that we're still kind of hanging in terms of the outcome of the situation. I have no real news or updates. I'm hoping no gnus is good gnus in this case.

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Made in the USA: What it's like to have a small business in rural America.

Made in the USA: What it's like to have a small business in rural America.

Outlaw Soaps is based in Colfax, California.
When we first told people that we wanted to start a soap company and move to a small town, we heard a lot of negatives:
"People will be all up in your business."
"People in town won't accept you."
"Aren't you more of a desk type?"


And then when we selected Colfax, on the first Transcontinental Rail Line, in Gold Country, we heard many other negatives:
"I hope you're not planning on having a retail business. There just isn't enough business here."
"California regulations are going to kill you."
"Those people aren't going to buy artisan soap."

This past couple weeks have been particularly rough on our little business (and employees), so to honor what we're going through. and also to share a little insight into what small business ownership is like, I wanted to tell you a little about our experience: the challenges, the unlikely friends, and where we are right now.

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In Los Angeles, where this all started

In Los Angeles, where this all started

It has been a whirlwind of travel in the past few weeks, finally landing me in Los Angeles for LA Mart, a West Coast gift show.

Back in 2013, we started Outlaw Soaps in a warehouse in Los Angeles (where we were living with six of our friends). Russ and I had been looking for a way to move out to the country and maybe have a goat or stock photos of people on decks drinking coffeetwo, have some gravel under our boots, and drink steaming coffee on our deck in the cool morning air, just like in the stock photos and Instagrams.

At the time, our lives resembled the exact opposite of that. Our loft didn't even have a window, let alone windows large enough to be sliding doors. But it was a dream, and we were pretty dang clear about it.

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Will Smith, Work, and Dedication... and how I woke up at 4AM so I could drive to Gilroy and back before my conference today.

Will Smith, Work, and Dedication... and how I woke up at 4AM so I could drive to Gilroy and back before my conference today.

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die." - Will Smith

Outlaw Soaps at UNFI

This morning was pretty rough. I went to bed obscenely early (8ish) last night so I could wake up at 4 in the morning and drive an hour and a half from San Francisco to Gilroy, where the UNFI Distribution Center is.

I'm in San Francisco at an all hands meeting for Mozilla, my contract job. Yep, I totally still have another job, even though we hired people and have a profitable business. The bottom line is that it's worth it for me to work for Mozilla and pay someone else to take care of things like packaging soaps.

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Fire in the Hole explosively awesome campfire soap: Inspired by friends, whiskey, explosions, and good times

campfire soapThe first attempt at making Fire in the Hole soap came on a weekend in May. I know this very specifically, because I wasn't camping that weekend, and it was our annual May Trip.

We had planned on going camping with friends -- one of those crazy weekends of drinking and shooting and lighting things on fire -- but it was our first year of Outlaw Soaps, and small business ownership being what it is, we couldn't see to drag ourselves away for the day-long drive to meet our friends in an obscure corner of the Mojave.

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