Interview with Janet Darrow of Soap Making Group
Janet Darrow is the moderator of one of the largest Facebook soaping groups around, Soap Making. Janet manages over 36,000 members, daily and does it with kindness, decrement, and a healthy does of wit. Janet does all this and makes her own soaps.
Learn more about Janet Darrow in this first-time interview. – Bee Iyata
When did you first get introduced to the Soap Making Facebook group?
Viktoria Grace Lindskog created the group August 20, 2010. I was added to the group by Lee Davies on September 11, 2014.
How did you become moderator of the Soap Making Facebook Group?
At the time I was added there were approximately 3000 members and Lee Davies was the only active administrator. He was on the other side of the world so his days were my nights because of this the group was kind of unruly because it was most active while he was asleep. I told him once that he was deleting the wrong people and that it was the same mob causing friction over and over, he then asked if I wanted to help him admin the group. I waited a few days and told him I could try and help for a while until things got smoothed out, so he made me admin and left the group.
For the next couple months it was pure hell. I have never been called so many awful names; I had never felt so hated. I even managed to be mentioned in a bully video. I’m not looking for sympathy but I really wondered what I got myself into. Things started to work out when I stopped trying to reason with the unreasonable.
Every day a lot of people were asking to join I spent most of the winter trying to keep up and the drama was much less by now. I finally felt confident in adding more admins to help, these poor girls (especially one of them) got to hear it all and they will never know how grateful I was for them lending me their ear helping and for putting up with me.
What does your day of being an administrator of one of (if not the biggest) soap group on Facebook look like?
It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last before I go to bed. This has become such a part of my life and I have learned so much from this group and met so many unique creative people made friends and I feel privileged to have something in common with them all.
What skills do you possess that help you manage this group?
That is a really broad brush… I think the skills I have that might help in the soap making group is that I try my best to stand solid and treat everyone with the same respect, I like problem solving, helping people and sharing as much knowledge as I am able to. Also, helping members to search and navigate the page. Maybe tag them in something they need help with or sharing a file or even commenting on (bumping) a post I know nothing about so others might help. In a group with this many members there is no reason for a question to go unanswered.
How long have you been making soap, Janet?
Three years ago a friend and I wanted to learn how to make beldi soap to use on tadelakt, plaster. My friend made soap first and sent me homemade soap. It all started there and I got so involved in soap making. I never did do the tadelakt.
I like making cold process soap and anything to do with soap. I have made soap decks, several cutters, several molds and a planer.
What are your favorite butters and/or oils?
Before I knew what I was doing, my favorite was any exotic oil. I just knew they had to be better than lard or tallow something we always had plenty of on the farm. My favorites now are Shea butter, lard, tallow, rice bran oil and of course I experiment with new oils once in a while, lard and tallow are very luxurious in soap.
Who is your favorite type of poster in Soap Making Facebook Group?
My favorite type of member might be happy they made their first soap, or happy when they understand something new. I like positive people it sets the tone for the rest of the group.
What do you want members to remember when posting in this group?
I would like members to keep in mind the rules and to have respect – most of the members do.
What is your favorite part of moderating this soap group?
My favorite part is meeting so many good people from all over the world with one thing in common. We all need soap ;). Being thanked or appreciated for helping someone. To see someone helping someone else in a kind or fun manner and so much more, I can honestly say, all of it is my favorite.
Thank you, Janet, for taking time from your busy day of help all of us communicate better in the Soap Making group.