Welcome to a new feature on my blog, Amy’s Artisan Spotlight.
Each week (or more frequently) I will feature an artisan here on my blog. If you would like to be considered for my spotlight, please send an e-mail to amykant [at] gmail [dot] com.
First up is Rebecca of Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen. Rebecca first caught my eye when she mentioned her special blend of soap for dry skin and eczema. This time of year, I have a lot of problems with this, so I of course wanted some more information.
My dry skin soaps are a spin off my original recipe. I’ve taken out the coconut oil which, because it is a very cleansing oil that creates a rich lather, some people with more sensitive skin can find drying. In it’s place I’ve used palm kernel oil, added cocoa butter, and used more of both olive and rice bran oils. The result is a gentle, moisturizing bar, that unlike olive oil only soaps known for their moisturizing properties, actually has a nice lather. (I’ve found olive oil only soaps don’t lather much at all.) Many of my customers, adults and kids alike, have told me my soaps for dry skin has cleared up their eczema as well as dry skin caused by chemo treatments for cancer.
Rebecca’s Soap Deli features quality, cold processed shea butter soaps, lotions and milk baths. She has been making and selling her soaps since 2001 and sells her goods both on Etsy and at her local farmer’s market. Rebecca likes selling at the farmer’s market because it’s easier for her to answer questions and interact with her customers. She adds, “It also gives my customers a chance to smell how wonderful my fragrances in my products are and give my lotions a try.” Rebecc’as local sales are general 2-4 times more than her sales online.
When asked why people should buy her soaps, Rebecca says she uses her own unique recipe to create a bar of soap that produces a wonderfully rich lather. “My soaps are perfect for washing your face, body, and even hair and are also great for shaving. All of my soaps contain skin loving ingredients like shea butter, rice bran, and olive oils.”
Rebecca’s favorite product in her shop is her new Lemon Verbena Salt Bar. She says it works well and keeps her skin from breaking out without drying it out.
This experienced artisan has some advice for anyone starting out in the business:
Do your research before you dive in. Keep detailed records and open a separate bank account for your business. Put money aside for self employment tax just in case. While most people don’t make a profit in their first year, you never know, and this will save from scrambling for funds at tax time should your business take off right away. (In the future an accountant can help you set up quarterly estimated tax payments for state and federal taxes.) Promote promote promote. You can’t make money if you’re not willing to spend money. Advertising goes a long way to building your business.