Life in the Soap Lane — maker culture

| 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

Unpack your bags and stay a while! - or - Starting a business makes you effin' cray cray

"That's it. We're never going to sell anything ever again. No one likes our products. We should just give up." - Me after getting 0 orders in one 24 hour period "GREAT HORN SPOON! We're going to CRUSH this year! WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE!" - Me after getting 10 orders in one 24 hour period When people think of entrepreneurial life, they often envision a happy, self-assured pioneer! If they've met any actual entrepreneurs, they also probably know about the long hours and unsteady income, sleepless nights, abandoned family, and sometimes financial ruin. And that's all superficial stuff...

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| Danielle Vincent

"When are you having a sale?" The answer's pretty simple

We probably will never have a sale on the above products. Here's why: we have to stay in business. It comes down to pricing. Side note: I wrote an article about product pricing for Pyragraph and you might be interested in it if you're interested in our business. Our production is 100% handmade...

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| Danielle Vincent

How handmade soap is made

f you're curious about our ingredients and process, please see our page about that very topic. Back when we were just starting out, I filmed this video of how I make Fire in the Hole Campfire Soap:  It's kind of funny to watch that video now, because I'm making only one batch at a time (that's 35 bars), where as now we routinely make five batches at a time. This efficiency

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| Danielle Vincent

DIY Display (or, rather, DIO - do it ourselves)

A couple weeks ago, I got a source on some amazing wine barrels for only $60 each (usually, they're lots more). I drove up to Napa and picked them up right away, because, hey! Wine barrels! Today, I did some fancy stencil work on the barrels and some crates, which you can check out here:

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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

There Will Be Stuff: cleaning the fulfillment room means you get free goodies

When we got back from Renegade LA, something clicked in my head that made me go on a frenzied organizational push. I walked into my fulfillment room and knew everything had to be re-arranged. Since the dawn of the business, I have been collecting little odds and ends for subscription...

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| Danielle Vincent

Renegade: day 1

OMG I am SO tired. Today was awesome! One of the best things about these events is that I get to see all my friends, and meet many people who become customers. I LOVE our customers! Talk about fun people. Seriously, I could spend all day with them, and these...

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