I'm a regular browser at Etsy. An online community of crafters and a marketplace for all things handmade, the website is buzzing with interesting products and inspiring interviews. It was while rifling through a sheaf of interviews on the site that I came across a post titled 'Quit your Day Job', where Lisa of Savor Soaps told readers about her delicious soap business. 'Savor' sounded fascinating, and so did she. Here at Cookie Jar, she chats with us about the business of soap making and life as an entrepreneur.
q. Please tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and professional and craft background.
a. I live just outside of San Francisco with my husband, daughter, and four cats. I went to school in NY and have a degree in English, and came to SF to be an editor. After working as an editor in a newsroom for a few years (where I met my husband) I transferred to the tech department and did tech support until I left to run Savor full time.
q. I read that you started your company in 2007. How did you choose this unique art, did you learn to make soaps from somewhere and what made you start Savor?
a. I just fell into soapmaking as a hobby. I didn’t learn it from any particular place, did a lot of reading online and a lot of it I just learned as I went.
Princess Bride Olive Oil Soap
q. What were the initial years as ‘soap artist and entrepreneur’ like?
a. The business took off very quickly, so I was working 40 hr weeks (on top of my full time job, so 80 hrs and commute time). My husband helped out a lot -- we were constantly busy and didn’t have a kitchen any longer, it was just used to make soap.
Ruby 8 Creme Fraiche Whipped Soap
q. What kind of products did you start with and how has the product line grown?
a. I made only bar soap. Now I make whipped soap, lotions, scrubs, body mist, and I used to carry lip butter. I’ll be making bubble bars and bath truffles in the future.
q. I’m sure you experiment a lot, while expanding your product line. What inspires you to create these absolutely delicious soaps and body butters?
a. I like to look at cookbooks or websites that collect photos of beautiful food.
Indian Clementine Olive Oil Soap
q. Tell us about some of your favourite Savor products.
a. My current favorite scent is Pacifics -- coconut milk and papaya. It is so creamy and warm -- love to use it on my daughter in the bath!
q. How do you promote your business?
a. Right now I’m not doing much promotion at all. I maintain my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/savorsoap and send out a semi-monthly newsletter with a coupon or sale inside. I buy advertising space online but only a few times per year.
q. What is it like running a full time business from home and being a hands on crafter and creator?
a. It’s perfect. My success is tied directly to how hard I work. It’s an incredible motivator. However, my daughter is at an age where it’s very tough to get work done when she’s being playful. She goes to a neighbor’s house for two hours in the morning while I work.
Soft Parade Shea Butter Soap
q. What is your day like?
a. We’re usually up at 6:30, breakfast at 7 and she’s off to the neighbor’s at 8:30. I work in the studio making items, and when she’s back she nurses and takes her morning nap, and I try to get my shipping done. She’s up again at noon and we have lunch, then pick up the house and we play for a while or go out and run errands, go to the park, etc. I do some more work during her afternoon nap, and then start dinner around 5. After we all eat at 6, she gets playtime, a bath, and I do more shipping while my husband and daughter play. She’s in bed by 9 and I’m usually asleep by 11.
Badedas Creme Fraiche Whipped Soap
q. What do you enjoy doing in your leisure?
a. I don’t have much leisure time. I like to read and Rowan and I go to swimming class on Saturdays.
q. Do you have any advice for people out there, who love to create things and would like be their own boss?
a. Being a crafter is not enough -- you really need a good head for business. I think it’s essential.