Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Reflection 2012


What a wonderful year it has been.  So full.  So adventurous. I really can’t believe how much we have done in 1 year.  I took my business to a different level and got a studio – a dedicated space for production, as a health and safety requirement here – and shop.  Opened the doors in July.  Learned a ton.  Worked what feels like a zillion Markets. Met so many people. Worked very hard.  Got closer to my husband with his dedication to the business as well. Moved house. Travelled to different areas of Spain. Hosted visits.   When it comes to the business, what are the top 5 things I learned from my experiences in 2012?
1.       Owning and running my own business is hard work and extremely rewarding, probably the 2nd most rewarding thing I have done in my life, the 1st being raising my daughter.
2.       Having a web-site and a shop are one thing, bringing people to them are another thing entirely.  It is rare they just stumble upon us.  Most of the people that come to either the web-site or shop are either from our personal networking at markets, or from word of mouth from other people.  Sitting back and waiting for people to come, does not work. Bringing them in is CONSTANT work.
3.       My clients are not that interested in colours or prettiness of a soap.  They are usually looking for a remedy for something, or fall in love with a scent.   What sells the first soap or product to a new client is either our recommendation for a remedy or a scent.  What sells the next product to a return client is performance of the product.
4.       Doing what I believe in with my heart and soul, feels amazing, and reminding myself to stick with it.  An example - I could have purchased thousands of premade canvas soap bags from China for pennies… but I don’t know if they were made in a sweat shop, under horrible conditions… so, a for a little more money, I have gathered together materials and labour from here, supporting my local economy, providing local work and….. I just never thought I would be so proud of a bag in my life.  I adore those little bags.  I believe in only natural ingredients the healing magic from the natural things offered in this very area where I live. I believe in supporting small local businesses.  I feel best when I stick to these values, when my choices are based on these values rather than simply cost, and I believe most of my clients value this as well.
5.       Building a business is a slow process; it takes dedication, patience, a positive outlook, strength, a lot of energy, a full belief in myself and my product and commitment to my values.  The months when sales have been slower, I need to do extra work to keep myself positive.  But things do come around and sales do pick up.  It is up and down and slowly building.
I hope some of this can help others out there. I love reading personal experiences from others out there, doing similar things.
5 things I have learned in my soap making over the past year?
1.       Environment (temperature & humidity) greatly affects soap making.
2.       Cinnamon Leaf Oil is NOT the same or even remotely similar to Cinnamon Bark Oil.  Cinnamon leaf is like clove, Cinnamon Bark is Cinnamon.
3.       Pure 100% freshly pressed Argan Oil stinks, but it is wonderful.  (My jojoba supplier is bringing in argan nuts from Morrocco and making the oil)
4.       Having a spacious area for soap making is marvelous, it has made the process even more enjoyable for me.
5.       Making liquid soap is very enjoyable as well, just requires a lot more babysitting and time.
Next year for the business? I will get into that in my other blog…  this blog is more personal… so personally? 1) Exercise more, get back into my daily morning walk routine  2) Get to Yoga-Pilates more frequently  3) Spend more time with my daughter 4)  Take a vacation with my family  and I can’t think of much else I would change in my personal life right now.  It’s all pretty good.
I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and are as excited as I am about the adventures to come in 2013.
Happy Soaping everyone!


Moj sapun... said...

It seems that you had really busy and successful year! Thank you very much for sharing your experience and learning.
I had the similar issue with downloading pictures to blogger couple days ago. I couldn’t have downloaded them from my computer which was really strange. Anyhow I overcame this by saving pictures in Picasa and downloaded from there. Hope this will be helpful.

Mónica said...

Hola, lo primero darte la enhorabuena por tu nuevo negocio. Debe ser muy gratificante dedicarte a lo que te gusta de verdad, aunque el trabajo sea duro. Me alegro por tí y !mucha suerte!.
Ayer intenté subir las fotos a blogger y no pude. Al final lo conseguí escribí mi entrada y cambié a versión HTML y así me permitió subir las fotos. Fue la única manera.
Espero que te sirva.

Ambra said...

It's been wonderful to follow your adventures this year. Thanks for sharing this and all the best wishes for a continues success and prosperity.

Jenny said...

Congratulations on all of your success, Jen! Running a business is hard work, but it sounds like you are enjoying every minute of it. I loved seeing photos of your gorgeous soaps. The stamp is beautiful and I love the canvas bags, too.

Jennifer Young said...

Moj Sapun, Thank you for your lovely comment and tip. In the end I posted photos through HTML instead of the compose mode. Hassle... hoping that it rights itself soon. If it doesn't get sorted easily, I may start using Facebook more than the blog... xoxoxo Jen

Monica, Gracias por tu comentario y ayuda!! Tu consejo me funcionó!!! muchisimas gracias! xo Jen

Ambra, Thank you for your sweet comment!! Happy new year. xo xo Jen

Jenny, Thanks for your awesome comment. Glad you enjoyed my photos. I really want to learn more about taking product photos this year. Wishing you all the best. xoxo Jen

Mika said...

Hi Jennifer! what a wonderful post!!! I'm very impressed about your success and working. I have always been inspired by your passion. thank you for sharing your experience with us always!!
gros bisous

Cee Gee said...

Wow, what a great year you've had...but you've worked very hard too! I enjoyed reading the recap of your year, so many valuable lessons, thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Young said...

Mika, Thank you for your lovely comment. Happy New Year!!! xoxoxo Jen

Cee Gee, Thank you for commenting. Always nice to hear from you. xoxoxo Jen

Natural Aroma Handmade Soaps said...

Love your photos Jen, they look wonderful. Boy you've sure had a big year, so glad to hear that everything is going so well for you. Really enjoyed your post and your little bags are adorable! hope this year is a fantasic one for you.

Jennifer Young said...

Natural Aroma, Thank you so much!!! I hope you have a fantastic year as well!!! xo Jen

Jane Eden said...

I am so proud of you for what you have created. You started with a vision of what you wanted to create and you persevered. You set your standards high and have remained so respectful of the environment. I am amazed with the ideas that you continue to conceive. Bravo! I wish you much continued success.

Jennifer Young said...

Jane, Thank you so much for your amazing comment!!!!! xo Jen

Connie said...

I am so happy for all of your success. I remember earlier this year, how you were afraid that following your dream might not turn out well . . . and look at you now. I am so proud of you. You really dug into the dirt, rolled up your sleeves and got busy. Businesses do not just happen, they take lots of hard work and you really have put everything into it. Do you mind if I say it again, "I am so proud of you!"
Your shop must smell like heaven on earth.
Have a marvelous day.
Your blogging sister, Connie :)

Zikhona Tefu said...

Hi Jennifer

Thanks for sharing your journey of soapmaking. I love your blog, you have inspired me to start my own blog. Your packaging is very similar to mine. I was going to stamp my bags with my logo so as to keep the costs low, but its not working out to great as the stamping smudges. I have now decided to also print, and seeing your printed bags, I know I'm on the right track.

I'm new at blogging, started yesterday, please visit my blog at www.olivehandmadesoap.blogspot.com

Cape Town South Africa

Jennifer Young said...

Connie, (my blogging sister!!) Thank you so much for your awesome comment. Would love to get together around a campfire on a lake with both guitars and just play something together with you!! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Zikhona, Thanks for your lovely comment and email. I have accessed your blog from this comment and it looks lovely. I am not able to follow. Could you add the "Follower" feature, so that I can sign up? Your bags sound wonderful. I look foward to a photo!! xo Jen

soap dispenser for bathroom said...

one year is very good achicvmint own your bussnis i suggestion you more and more strugle amprove this bussnis cumpny

this bussins help many pepols becous youe compny produt is very low price

AMOF said...

Em primeiro lugar tenho de elogiar, gostei de tudo que eu vi em seu blog, sua historia, produtos, seu amor pelo que faz!

Voltarei mais vezes para ver mais.

Abraços AMOF

Jennifer Young said...

Amof, Muchas gracias por tu comentario tan bonito!! Thank you so much for your lovely comment!! xo Jen

Zikhona Tefu said...

Thanks Jen, will add the feature. Still figuring my way around this blog thing. :)