Handmade with Love – The People’s Soap Co.
I’m in love with handmade products and eager to find more and more small businesses!
Not only because I find them much closer to nature, being environment friendly, but also because they have a personal touch.
I like to see the person behind the products I’m using. That’s the whole idea of my new interview series with Etsy sellers. I want to show you some lovely people with amazing, special, one of a kind products.
Let me introduce you Rachel, the owner of The People’s Soap Company.
I so much enjoyed reading her answers and I’m sure you’ll be inspired too! She is such a creative, adventurous soul and looking at her handmade soaps make me want to try them all!
I chose a few of my favorite items from her shop, each picture leads directly to her product on Etsy.
Enjoy this little interview, handmade with love from Rachel!
Please, tell a few words about yourself and about your shop!
I recently spent three years traveling across the United States and Canada with my boyfriend. We got rid of our apartment, downsized and tossed most of our things, boxed the important stuff in storage, and loaded the car with essentials. We rented furnished apartments in different cities and towns, and paid the bills by telecommute-working on websites and marketing projects. Over that time I was searching for more creative outlets for myself, and started experimenting with natural and homemade beauty products.
When did you start making handmade soaps?
While I was traveling the San Francisco Bay Area, I met a new friend who gave me a bar of her hand made soap, and I loved it. Not in that “oh this is nice” way…I was shocked! It felt wonderful on my skin. When I asked her how she made it, she shrugged and made a “oh it’s no big deal” facial expression, and I think that was the exact encouragement I needed. I set the idea in my mind but didn’t act until a year and a half later when I decided to hand make all my holiday gifts — and I chose soap as the item. It became a delightful obsession. The family loved it, I loved it. My soapy enterprise was born.
How’s your creative process look like?
I do a LOT of research (aka surfing the web) and I give myself space to think (aka daydream). I read soap forums and blogs, I research trends, I seek artwork and design concepts on Instagram, Facebook, and blogs. I read Etsy’s how-to blogs about marketing and I listen to entrepreneurial podcasts while I’m making soap in my studio. I put creative intention in every aspect of what I do: soap formulas, packaging, shipping, website text, product photos, even SEO — to me, they all require creative problem-solving. That makes the day-to-day a lot more exciting. I don’t want my soaps to be “boring,” I want them to speak to my customer in a unique voice; and every aspect of my process informs that voice.
What inspires you the most?
Instagram. I follow feeds that provide a lot of verbal inspiration and visual inspiration, and feeds that provide humor and small business inspiration, and I love seeing creative designs, botanicals and color palettes. I take screen caps of great Instagrams and save them on my phone!
Tell a bit about the place you live and what you love the most about your city?
I live in Southern California. Although I live in Santa Ana (Orange County) right now, I’ve lived in Long Beach for years, and have lived in nearly all parts of LA, ranging from Glendora to Marina Del Rey, so I consider the entire region a big part of my adult life (I grew up in Kansas). I love getting into the parks, beaches and undeveloped wild areas. And the food here is amazing! Mexican, Peruvian, and El Salvadorian cuisines are my favorites.
If you should write a bucket list, what would be the first 3 things on it?
1. Learn to make music
2. Write a book
3. Meet the Dalai Lama
Your products look beautiful and I’m sure they have an amazing smell, which one is your favorite?
I do love them all, haha! But one of my favorites are my travel soap sets. I offer mini muslin bags filled with single-use thin slices of soap. You can throw the little muslin bag in your suitcase and use a fresh slice of soap every day. It’s lightweight and doesn’t have any liquids that could leak or get held up at the airport. I also put single-use and mini bars in a box set. The mini bars are a little larger and last longer. I donate boxed sets of single-use travel soaps to shelters in my area, which is amazing. It feels so good to give a gentle, healthy handmade bar of soap to someone who could really use that extra bit of comfort every day.
What’s the most beautiful / lovable /memorable place you have ever been to?
Road trip up the northern California coast to the Olympic Peninsula: it’s an unbelievably beautiful scenic route. I’d recommend starting in the Bay Area and ending at Hoh Rainforest (or vice versa). Hoh Rainforest is a temperate climate rainforest in Washington, and one of the most gorgeous natural places I’ve seen in the United States. But I must give a shoutout to New York and New Orleans, my two all-time favorite cities in North America, for their uniqueness, their elegant decay, their intricate layers of culture, their people, and breathtaking scenery.
Papillon Apothecary (www.etsy.com/shop/PapillonApothicaire) is a new Etsy shop with the most amazing body sprays and roll-ons! I love blogs for creative entrepreneurs: FreshRag (www.freshrag.com/) and Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters (academyofhandmade.com/) are amazing. I’d recommend joining their email lists. Soap making tutorials run aplenty at SoapQueen.com, and Crunchybetty.com has wonderful natural recipes for everyhing from window cleaner to face masks.
Can you share any inspiring quotations with us that you find true?
Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” I do this exact thing every day. Running a business isn’t “Running A Business.” It’s a million little tasks: sending emails, reordering coconut oil when I get low, washing soap equipment, editing photos, etc. The first “little thing” I do every day is choose the select set of little things that must get done first. Then I do them.
I’m sure all who read this interview feel like trying these lovely looking handmade soaps, I can almost smell them when I look at the pictures!:)
You can find her also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as @PeoplesSoap !
I’m soon back with some more Etsy sellers and their inspiring stories! x