Why have a business?

Businesses take work and a lot of skill sets, willingness to learn, willingness to risk. And risk sometimes goes south. So why have a business? What attracted us to what we do, and why should you consider starting one?

You guessed it. this is the next installment of Meet the Maker March.

Our story started unexpectedly, with the economic reversal of 2010. For us we began the year working at our career jobs. Steve was in urban planning, working in non profit with developers as the liaison to the city, assisting with the bureaucracy, and all that goes with development. I was working at a hospital in the information technology area. Suddenly the funds dried up for Steve’s position and he was laid off. Then the hospital decided to downsize and regroup. We went from a comfortable income, able to cover our mortgage and bills to barely squeaking by, struggling to cover living expenses. All avenues for sourcing the next career job dried up, and we had to do something. As you may know, we took Steve’s mom to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for mothers day weekend, and while we were waiting for her as she shopped Steve spotted a rack of handcrafted soap. As he read the label the question was how hard is this to make? Oddly enough a year before i had purchased a few books on how to make soap as i was considering it. I hit a hard stop because I was afraid of lye. Steve read the books cover to cover and made his first batch. Figured out the mistakes and made a second batch that was incredibly wonderful.

We began making soap, small batches, in only 4-5 scents. But the neighbors were eager to get more, and told friends. Then our big break came when someone i did not know invited us to sell our soap at her Artist Market for Christmas. Two days and we made more than our bills for the week… and we were so excited. And in the interrum while we both continued to look for full time employment we continued to build this business. Expanding into supplying local shops, and developing a customer base, the business has grown so much. 11 years into it and we are thankful that we persisted and refined our business plan, adapted practices, and pivoted especially during the pandemic.

So you ask why have a business?

  1. Financial independence – there is a great sense of accomplishment to be able to finance your own life using your skills and knowledge. I must say after our traumatic job loss of 2010 we were both mindful of how employment situations can change in a heartbeat, but when you work for yourself you eliminate that possibility.
  2. Creative outlet – Utilizing our creative skills, and connecting with patrons and customers that appreciate our work is both satisfying and edifying. We work hard to create the best soap we can, and when we get feedback that others feel the same it is only a reinforcement why we are doing this.
  3. Mentoring – some of the unique skills we have we like to offer to others, to help them find their footing in business. The artists community is an open, friendly group of fellow travelers on the journey to support ourselves through the art we create. Each of us have gifts to share, or receive. We intentionally are open to sharing what we have learned, and receiving what others are sharing.
  4. Local economy support – when you set up a business locally, the local community benefits from the commerce through taxes, and we benefit and keep our earnings local.
  5. Its hard work yet it is fun.
  6. You are building a legacy for the next generation.

We are listening to a very interesting podcast that has covered the topic of freedom from large corporate interest, of returning to a solid financial footing and establishing a strong local economic community. This podcast has fueled again the passion we have for our business, and encouraged us to encourage others to find their stride and start a business that they can throw their passion into. We love the idea that when commerce and production are local we learn our neighbors, work with each other and we develop deeper friendships, connections. That is why we started our business. What is your why?