The Soapmaker’s Sweet Spot
What kind of soapmaker are you? Do you plan out your offerings far in advance? Do you spend time developing intricate designs and precise colors? Or, do you make soap as the spirit moves you? Do you prefer soap with simpler colors and patterns, either because you’re not the fancy kind or to speed production?
A more important question to consider is whether it’s important or not to plan far ahead, to make artistically designed soaps, to be a free spirit or to keep it simple.
The answer, of course is, it depends–on a number of factors.
For some of soapmakers, simply making soap is the satisfaction, be it fancy or simple, unusually shaped or rectangle, scented or not, it doesn’t matter. The magic of combining the alkali and oils and getting lovely soap is a reward unto itself. For others, the design part of making soap is a large part of the attraction. Artistic souls are moved by the possibilities of making patterns in striking color combinations and it keeps them going.
As for planning, well, planners know whom they are and free-spirits know whom they are! For some, planning is painful and stifles creativity, so they make what they want when the spirit moves them. Others find that careful planning is the only way to get soap made and made well.
So then, should we all be striving for the same outcome? Absolutely not!
If you’re selling soap, you realize that all things about your nature must be tempered by business demands. It’s a simple fact that you cannot run a successful business without a good degree of planning, regardless of whether you enjoy it or not. You also realize that you need to produce soap as quickly and as efficiently as possible in order to maximize time and thus, profits. This realization usually forces us to streamline our creativity into something that we can do easily and can reasonably replicate. Hobbyists, on the other hand, you have the freedom to spend as much time as you like to develop your skills and put your artistic abilities to work.
Even so, I hope that each soapmaker finds his or her “sweet spot.” Gorgeous or utilitarian, rectangular or round, full of additives or not, well-planned or by-the-seat-of-your-pants, all have a place and a purpose. Finding your purpose and working with your personality is the key to success, however you define it. The Saponifier’s goal is to open you up to the possibilities to help you on your way.
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles & wax.
Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier