My passions are soap and candle making. I also love to dabble in jewelry and paper crafts. I am a banker by trade, but a crafter at heart. I developed my passion for everything handmade from my late mother who believed that if it's made by hand, it's made from the heart. I never appreciated that sentiment when I was younger because I always associated something handmade with being "poor." I spend all of my free time making soaps and candles, not only to develop my craft and potentially make a living off of it, but to relax. For fun, I like to make jewelry. It's wearable, but I hardly think it's sellable. I run two blogs right now: Crazy, Crafty, Cool which is all about my craft addiction, and Fat, Black & Losin It with my sister Myia.
I've been crafting seriously for about a year now. It started as a joint venture with me and my late fiance Spencer. I was the creative mind, and he was the marketing guru. Together we started to create some buzz surrounding our soaps and candles, but now that he's gone, I've become the crafter and the seller. Selling is not my strongest point, so I rely on social networks and forums to get the word out about my crafts. I decided to sell because I made some homemade body scrubs for co-workers, and they were so impressed with them, that they asked me to make them more. I knew at that moment that I was on to something, and it just naturally evolved into soaps and then candles.
I get my inspiration to create from the fragrance oils I buy. My soap specialty is MP (melt and pour) crafting, but I also make CP (cold processed ) soap as well. I love FO's, and I'm always buying them. I then search for molds that I think would best suit that fragrance. Also the FO helps me decide if the soap is actually going to be MP or CP. It's weird, but it works for me.
Right now, my biggest challenge is organization. My head is constantly flooded with ideas, so I make sure that I keep my trusty notepad with me at all times so I can take notes, jot down a thought, or just make to-do lists.
Right now I promote on my own website, The Soap Seduction, my blog, Twitter, and Etsy. Etsy has been wonderful because it has a built-in audience. The traffic is already there. I make sure to actively participate in forums at least once daily. I also try to blog at least 3-4 days a week. Twitter right now has become an obsession. It's quicker and easier than blogging. You can just drop a line or two at any time. You can announce sales, giveaways, new products, new blog posts, whatever. I also buy select ads on blogs where I know there's a solid readership that will attract site visits.
My plans for the rest of 2008 is to are to close out strong. Right now I'm preparing for the holidays-packaging, products, website layout, promotions, everything. I haven't decided if I'll do any holiday craft shows this year. They're way too stressful for me.
Blog link: http://bubblesandflames.blogspot.com
Thank you Patrice for taking the time out for this feature!