Making Progress

This week I have talked about progress a couple times. The first instance was in a soap making group and the other on my social media sites. Often times I judge myself by comparing where I am to someone else’s progress. I look at how successful they are. It’s very discouraging at times. This kind of thinking can be unfruitful in the long run. Progress simply takes time.

The quote I post on my Instagram and Facebook was ” Slow progress is better than no progress.” This a great reminder at this point for me. When sales are not coming in at the rate I would like and I see others selling out within hours, l start to question myself. “What am I doing wrong”, ask myself. However, I have made progress in this journey. At one point I was barely selling anything. Today is a different story. That’s something for me to be proud of.

This is a marathon not a sprint. I have heard that so many times in life. With running a business, I have to believe that it’s true. The fact is that I don’t want to accept is that growth takes time. When I look at all aspects of life this is true. Growth from conception to adulthood takes 15+ years. Growth of tomato plant from a seed take six to eight weeks. Depending on the process the time for growth is different. This is true for business. Everyone runs their business a little different from others. Therefore, affecting the rate of growth.

I am not like every other soap maker. I may be similar in certain ways, for sure, but my differences will cause me to grow differently. I have to remind myself of that factoid. The other person is ready for the growth and expansion and I am simply am not there yet. However, I am continuously growing. I am reaching new customers, expanding my knowledge of advertising, learning more about SEO, etc.

My time will come. I just have to continue to work hard and continue learn how to improve my business. With this mindset there is nowhere to go but on and upward.

Cold Process Soap: My first time.

My first batch of soap.

This was the day I fell in love. Once I worked up the nerve, there was no turning back. It was far far from professional. I’m the type person that when I decide to something, I just go for it. In this case I started working on getting all my materials.

First, I download a free soap app and gathered oils. My oils were left overs from previous projects. Olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, and cocoa butter is what I had on hand. Actually, the olive oil came from the kitchen. It was the end of the bottle. I passed on an fragrance oil, colors, and any other additives. I wasn’t ready to buy or experiment with those just yet. With my oils determined and use of a soap calculator, I was ready to move to the next step.

I then went to a local hardware store to buy sodium hydroxide. That was quite an experience. The employee there grilled me about why I was buying lye. He asked me sereval questions. I kept my cool, but I was almost afraid he wasn’t going to let me buy it. Come to find out his aunt was an avid soap maker and sent him soap all the time but he never used it. Anyway, I checked lye off the list. While out I picked up the distilled water from a grocery store that was on the way home.

Most of my bowls and utensils were things from around the house. I gathered items that we no longer used. One of the molds that I used was an old mug lined with a plastic bag and the other was a small silicone mold from the dollar store. I got the cheapest stick blend I could find. My safety gear, safety glasses and mask, were from the dollar store as well.

With all my materials gathered, I got started. I was excited but I was very cautious. I took my time weighing out oils and lye. Even though I wasn’t using any fragrance oil, I was afraid the soap would seize on me. I paid close attention to how the soap batter looked. I kept asking myself if the lye solution was completely mixed into the soap. Therefore, I blended the soap batter a little longer than necessary. I eventually got the soap batter into my molds. Everything was fine.

Now was the hard part, the waiting game. I couldn’t wait to unmold and slice it up. I’m sure I checked that soap every few hours. When the time came, I used an old kitchen knife. Everything worked out. I made soap! It wasn’t pretty but still soap.

My first batch sliced up. This portion came from the red silicone mold.

Like I said at the beginning, there was no turning back. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to do it again. Now I was thinking about all the different colors and fragrances I wanted to try. Immediately, I felt the need to buy a proper mold. I became a soap maker that day.

This is who I am and I love it!

Making soap. What does that mean? Obviously, it means to create soap. What does it mean to me? I know that it’s something that I’ve come to love. I stumbled across soap making in the summer of 2016. It took me a year to get up the nerve to make my first batch. I’m so glad I took the plunge. I’ve been in love ever since. It’s always on mind.

I am a soap maker. It’s one of the hats I wear. Most people think it cool or at least interesting. However, some people think that it’s stupid or useless. For whatever reason, those people really get under my skin. It’s not stupid. I’ve had to tell myself that every time someone gave me “that” look. I’m proud to be instructor. I’m proud to be a wife. I’m proud to be a mom. I am proud to be a soap maker. Why shouldn’t I be? It’s a useful, necessary skill. It’s something I can share with my kids. If nothing else, it brightens up my world.

It’s been a few years since I started this journey. There have been days that have been filled great achievements. Some days have gone well but ended in disappointment. Then there are the days where I just want to throw everything away. There are hills and valleys in all aspects of life, including soap making. I am grateful for all of it. I love this life!