As a small business owner I have learned that the story that brought me to the place to start a business is as important as the products we make. Our story is unique, and the value it adds to our products carries beyond what we really understand.
About 12 years ago I bought a couple books on making soap. I love handcrafted soap, and when i spent $9 on a bar of lavender soap i realized i needed to learn how to make it if i wanted to keep myself in this delightful habit. But i lost the courage… Chemistry is not a strength of mine. In fact i got through that mandatory class in high school and vowed never to take another. Ah, but soap making is an art – a good recipe, precision, and wonderful results. I knew it could not be incredibly difficult. I put the books on my shelf, and left them sit for nearly a decade. It was mothers day weekend several years ago that I took my mother in law to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens for a lovely glass house and garden tour. She had a blast, and my husband discovered his passion. While waiting for us he was wandering in the gift shop where he spotted handcrafted soaps…. incredibly expensive for a bar of soap he picked up the box and began reading the ingredients. Apart from the lye, he had all of the ingredients right on our pantry shelves…. so a vision was concieved. Within a month Steve made his first batch of gardener’s soap and it was incredible.. turned out amazing, and we immediately loved the process and outcome.
He made so much that we gave a few bars away… and then we knew there was something to this process and product. It was late November when a woman invited us to set up shop at Lakeland Community College for an Artist Market… and wow, we sold a ton of soap. (I think we had all of 6 flavors then) Since that December 3 years ago we have been growing, learning, and finding our place in the market with our vegan soaps.
Our story comes from a time of unemployment, and the need to remain active and create revenue streams. We love our little business, holding high hopes for growth and expansion to hiring others to work for us. The idea of growing when all around us the economy is forcing shrinking, reduction, outsourcing is another part of our story that we hope soon can be actual, rather than planned and dreamed.
So what is your story? Do you tell others about your story? We believe so much in our story that we include this in our marketing materials.