|Posted on October 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM|
When Planet Soap was the featured business with Shop Scotland the following interview took place:
• What is your background?
I’m a veggie-growing, chicken-keeping, fiddle-playing soapmaker, who watched too many episodes of ‘The Good Life’ during her formative years.
• How did the soapmking start out?
I started making soap while off sick and bored after an operation in 2009 and quickly became hooked. The magical cold process soap-making feels close to alchemy and I love blending essential oils and researching their properties. When the soaps started taking over the house, I started selling them at craft fairs, and that was the start of Planet Soap. I still love doing fairs, and watching people breathe in all those different scents. We neglect our olfactory senses so much, and I love watching people rediscover them.
• Where did your business name come from?
I am passionate about the environment and wanted a name that reflects this, without being overly earnest. I hope that the name and the little bathtub and earth-bubble logo will make people smile (and want to buy some environmentally friendly soap).
• What jobs did you have before?
I’ve had lots of different jobs, from trip boat Captain, to residential social worker, to Parliamentary Information Officer. I’ve had lots of great experiences, but I love having my own wee business.
• Can you describe your "typical" working day?
There are soap-making days, wrapping days, website days, selling days, admin days.... I typically work long hours but often in freeing and enjoyable ways. For example, I drafted most of this sitting under birch trees on a sunny afternoon, with my dogs beside me.
• What do you enjoy most about your work and being self employed?
Making the soap, being my own boss, working from home, and the variety in the work.
• What have you found to be the hardest parts about running your own business?
Clearing up after myself. I would love to be tidy but am naturally messy, and I hate having to sort out the chaos I create every day. And I am not a fan of tax returns.
• Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Usually I let my nose lead the way, or sometimes people suggest ideas to me. And sometimes I think of the name of the soap first and then try out the oils. I made the Lemongrass & Lime soap this way and it is a great hit. Doesn’t always work though. Birch & Heather sounds lovely, but smelt more like Burke and Hare. Bottle of birch oil anyone? Going cheap...
• What are your greatest business achievements to date?
I think for anyone just now, staying in business and growing your business is a great achievement. Hats off to all the independent makers and small businesses out there doing just that.
• What are your goals for the coming year?
Keep going, keep growing, keep making lots of amazing soap.
• What are the most effective ways you have promoted your business?
An attractive and user-friendly website has helped bring in business contacts as well as direct customers. Getting out and about and meeting people is important too – eg via the craft fairs and markets. Faceboook is great for further interactivity with customers.
• With hindsight?
I’d say – Be brave, go for it. What kept you so long?