In 1998, I was a stay at home mom with one daughter reinventing the soap wheel while catapulting my products internationally. The Internet was exploding and I was fascinated by it as a tool for education and communication. I decided that the Internet was a great way to keep my mind from turning to mush, and so I set out to use it to learn as much as I could. I have never taken a business or marketing class in my life. I have a Fine Arts degree from The College of New Jersey, and my PhD from the school of hard knocks.One rainy day I decided to make soap with a kit I bought at a craft store with my daughter MaryEllen. I thought this is the perfect product to create and sell on the Internet. I said, “This soap looks like candy how about we call it Sweet Soaps?” I spent weeks testing products,
colors, fragrances, and molds. I researched everything online, finding sources for soap making. Start small and build the product line as I make money. Packaging was a challenge at first because I was trying to create a professional look without having to order custom boxes. This was a challenge in 1999 as sources were limited as well as variety.
Like most entrepreneurs, I thought build it and they will come. I soon found out there is much more to it than that. In 1999 pay per click was all the rage, I did not see how this made sense monetarily. This was around the same time that the dot com bubble was exploding. I kept thinking what am I doing wrong? Like all good things on and off Wall Street, the bubble popped and then came the era of the dot bomb! This was the first moment in business where I felt confident in my business sensibilities. I resigned myself to the idea that old school business tactics should always be a part of my plan. The Internet was promising and I knew there were good things ahead but keeping my head out of the clouds while allowing myself to dream remained paramount.During all of these discoveries I had to become the queen of multi tasking. There were times
where I would be waiting on soap to cool, while giving MaryEllen a bath, while cooking dinner, and planning my long night ahead. The part that most do not know is that I was awake all day caring for a child, working as much as I could around her schedule, then up until 3AM doing all the things I could not get done during the day. I had so much to learn about marketing, packaging, and taking orders online. I think that my blind faith is the reason I was able to make it this long. The road less traveled is also a road that can emotionally crush you with rejection , growth is painful. You need to develop a thick skin and look ahead to overcome negative experiences.
In order to survive the bumps in the road, and there are many. You need a really strong support system of family and friends. I was blessed with wonderful parents and family that cheered me on. You need others to believe in you in the time that you can’t believe in yourself. They will be the one’s who peel you off the floor kick you in the ass and say get back in the game. One sad thing you will also discover in your entrepreneurial endeavors is the people who REALLY aren’t your friends. These people will not encourage you; some will mock or question your efforts. The good and the bad of such a situation is you will leave them behind. If you have a dream no matter how bizarre, a friend will always support you. Growing up, I was told “you can be ANYTHING you want in life”, and I tell that to both of my daughters. All of the things I was able to accomplish were possible because of my family and friends.
I realize that Social Media is mysterious like the evolution of the Internet back in 1998. Twitter is a fantastic network, and it‘s full of the worlds smartest, most tech savvy people. It allows you to breathe personality and authenticity into your brand. An innocent joke about making Bacon Soap created such a big response on Twitter that I created the product and it grew to be one of my top selling products. It‘s the place where customer service can be pioneered if used correctly. In addition to engaging and sharing business help on Twitter I tweet product photos to gauge popularity. This is free market research and I find it to be a reliable source of information. Engaging your existing and potential customers is a priceless opportunity for marketing new products and crowd sourcing. Getting a leg up on your competition is easier than you think so don’t let fear and here say rule you. Your American Dream is waiting for you, make it happen.In January 2012 Sweet Soaps is launching new partnerships and launching new product lines through major retail stores internationally. Sweet Soaps is officially a product development think tank specializing in consumer goods. In other words say good bye to years of blood,
sweat, and tears and hello to the “Sweet Life”.