I’m slightly ashamed to say, but when it comes to my artwork I am not a great capitalist. I don’t follow the “rules” and do not follow others.
I can create many things, however, making those things into a salable item goes against my creative inclinations. When I say “salable” I mean like others; others who have gone before me; who have successful (whatever that means) businesses and seem to be making a life in this industry. (I becomes a huge cluster when I think I understand how others are living. Its best I stay out of that thinking entirely.)
Making things that delight me is my first goal. How would I know what will please others? Should I look at what sells the best? And, then where do I look? Commercial businesses like LUSH? Contemporary soapers? Where?
When I see what soaps I make that sell the best I think, I never would have guessed. For example, I made the Chicken Soaps on a whim.
It started because I began pinning chicken photos and art on Pinterest then, I found a group on Facebook and realized many people like chickens. There were even people who wrote about chickens. Being so inspired by a blogger and author, Lisa Steele from Fresh Eggs Daily, I asked myself if I could make a chicken in soap.
I did. I sold hundreds of bar in 3 days.
Wow. Who knew?
If I make soaps for others then this job is no different from working for someone else. I’m still doing what others want, or what I think others want.
I worked for Joann Fabric for a short time. I grew up sewing, designing clothes and projects.
I worked the fabric counter. My cup of tea! I love material. LOVE IT!
When people came up and asked if I thought their fabric would look good with a certain pattern I took the time to consider it, was cheery and polite and kept the long lines moving, smoothed ruffled feathers and stood at that counter for hours without a break for the bathroom.
They continued to pile more and more stress on my position. I would work late and be scheduled very early the next day. I worked my scheduled time, and arrived early. My work was filled with tedious and boring work, but I liked having a partially enjoyable job and helping people with their crafts. No job is perfect, so I continued.
I saw many unhappy employees in the break room, when I did get a break.
When I asked the managers to schedule breaks, to have a decent schedule where if I worked a late night I wouldn’t be scheduled the very next morning, they ignored me. Well, not entirely, the began scheduling me exactly the amount of hours so they didn’t have to give me a break.
All this for $8.70 an hour. I am not kidding. I needed a job and this was the only place that would hire me. Not because I have a criminal background. Not because I was confined to a strict schedule, but for unknown reasons. Was it my age? My work history? My personality? I struggled to understand how I could not find a decent job. I changed my resume, dressed appropriately, and did everything not to let my fears get the better of me during the interview. One man, during an interview for a hotel front desk ($10 an hour), questioned my ethnicity and my name. I wanted the job so I didn’t tell him how a proper interview should be conducted. I did not get the job.
I do the very best job I can, without excuse and without argument. (Oh, I know so much better now.)
I ran a construction company for 8 years. One I created and built. I was good to my employees. I faced choices of taking a vacation or sending my employees to school. How could I enjoy myself on a vacation when I knew my guys would greatly benefit from a formal education, not just on the job training? They went to school.
I helped my employees by being honorable, good as my word and speaking clearly, quite literally doing what I said I would do. I supported them to excel at their strengths and work with their weaknesses. I made mistakes, took responsibility for it, as I believe all fault has to lie with the boss. Strove (and still strive) to take praise and criticism with equal measure and did not (and still don’t) make excuses for my existence. I chose to do all that I could, above and beyond average, to create the best work environment possible. I also wanted our customers to feel our dedication to above-average work. My guys had company shirts, which I paid for, company trucks which they could take home and many other benefits to having a life worth living.
Our rule of thumb was to promise what we knew we could deliver and strive to make that even better; offer fair bids and then come under the bid, not charging the full bid, which the client always loved.
I was truly sad when I sold my share and divorced. I was tired. I was tired of no one looking out for me. I was tired of working sick, no sick days EVER. I was tired of working 12 hour days to ensure my guys had work to feed their families. I was tired of working for others. I was tired but mostly I was incorrect. On so many levels.
I thought of everyone but myself, expecting somewhere along the line I would get what I needed from the scrapes left over. I was, truly and most sincerely, wrong.
I’ve learned a lot since that time. I’ve learned that I am no one’s responsibility. My first and truest responsibility is to take care of myself.
If I do not honor my own internal voice, my wants and needs, no one will. I am my own advocate. I am my highest authority. I am the only one who will stand up for my wants and desires. As it should be.
Now, I have a loving, honorable and responsible partner. He does look out for me. And… that is not the point. It took being with a man who doesn’t sacrifice, but respects himself and me, to more fully understand what this looks like in action. He naturally takes care of himself and our little family. He showed me what it looks like to not expect others to take care of you.
Soap is where I can offer all I can imagine and even help others with my blogging, videos and how-to articles.
After all, this life is a grand experiment. I might as well try and enjoy this adventure and treat myself better than I treat others. If you feel well treated by my efforts you know it comes from a genuine heart with energy and enthusiasm for giving. It is sincere without expectation. When you receive your order and share your joy with me I feel it. I take a moment to imagine how you might have perceived the package, ask how I can make it better and even more joyful. I have asked many times, “what would I feel opening a Sorcery Soap order?” That joy, that delight is my motivation, the above-average, the moment you know how much I care. I might have made many mistakes in the past, but I have also learned so much… And some of that is that joy shared is some of the most delightful magic in this life. (Oh, I wax poetic at times.)
It took all those years, experiences, joys and heartaches to understand these things I have shared. And now, I pour all that into soap. Truly, who knew?