UPDATE: We are NOT closing down completely! We will still be doing online sales, so please check us out at www.oldfashionsoapco.com and https://www.facebook.com/oldfashionsoapco/
In February 2016, I became a victim of the sudden downturn in the oil and gas industry. Like so many others, I walked out of that building in the Energy Corridor wondering what was next for me.
An Idea Is Born
The next month, I decided to start my own business. On March 15, 2016, Old Fashion Soap Co., was born, and I set to work trying to build my business empire. I made some soap and started to consider what marketing outlets I wanted to pursue. Ultimately, I decided that craft markets would be the most viable way to sell my soaps.
Over the next year, I attended dozens of shows, met hundreds of people and made more soap than I ever thought humanly possible. I added lotions and night creams, and dabbled with other skin care products like toners and cuticle care. The products were well received, and I was truly enjoying what I was doing. I had dreams of becoming the next Lush.
The Business Plan versus Business Reality
Throughout the Fall of 2017, and the holiday season, we did decent business. However, it never really reached the levels we hoped it would. We knew that January, and possibly February, would be fairly quiet. Still, we hoped that after having attended dozens of shows and selling hundreds of bars of soap that we would see increased traffic on the website.
Our plan was never to continue doing craft shows indefinitely. We wanted to build a customer base that would come to us and purchase online. What we found, though, was that most people are unaware of brand when it comes to handcrafted items. People aren’t really brand loyal when it comes to small labels, so they will often buy from whoever is selling the product without realizing it’s not the same person they bought from last time.
More than once, someone would walk up to my booth and say, “We bought your soap last year. Do you still have that scent … ” Since I wasn’t doing shows a year ago (at that point), I knew that whatever they bought then didn’t come from me. I was always up front about it, but most people don’t really seem to care. They wanted handcrafted soap, and there I was, so they bought whatever I had available.
That Leads Us To This
After a lot of consideration, discussion and prayer, we have decided that it’s time to shutter Old Fashion Soap Co. This is truly heartbreaking for me, because I had really high hopes of this business becoming something more than it is. I dreamed of opening a shop, and offering classes to teach others to make soap. I wanted to see this business grow and flourish and become a community jewel.
We considered a lot of alternatives to shutting down. We discussed everything from subscription services to scaling back. Then Chris was offered a job that requires him to work on Saturday, and we decided he should take it. It offers benefits and a steady paycheck, something we haven’t had in over a year. I’m looking for a job, and hoping to get back to work soon. All in all, shuttering Old Fashion Soap Co., is the right way to go.
That means that I have a lot of soap I need to sell. I don’t have the space to continue to store all this soap indefinitely, and I don’t know that we would ever be able to use everything I have ourselves! Effective immediately, all of our soaps are $4 each, including the foaming liquid hand soaps. Lotions are also $4. Wax bars are just $2.
I will continue to make soap for the family, and I will offer any left over bars for sale. I’ll post them on our Facebook page when I have excess. If I make a soap that you just cannot live without, you can contact me for details on purchasing a loaf (ten bars). I will also make a batch of lotion, which will make two 8 oz bottles. So I guess in effect, I’m not completely shutting down, because I will do that. But the larger scale production will stop effective immediately.
What’s Next For Me
Hopefully, I will be able to secure a job in the near future. Until then, I will be doing all the things I haven’t had time to do – quilting and sewing, hanging out, getting some deep cleaning around the house done in preparation for when I do go back to work. What I’m hoping for is the chance to improve my garment sewing and document that process here on the blog. In short, I want to return to a more normal life, whatever that is.
We met a lot of people over the last year and a half and it’s been a lot of fun. But now I’m looking forward to reclaiming my time as my own. One of the things I definitely do not want to do is continue the craft show circuit alone. With Chris back to work, and no longer available to help me on Saturdays, it does not make sense to continue that line of marketing. And without that line of marketing, I don’t have a viable business.
I want to take a moment and thank everyone who has purchased from us over the last year. Your support has been invaluable, and we truly appreciate it. This was not a decision we came to lightly, and it wasn’t something we wanted to do. But at this stage in our lives, it’s the right thing for us, and we appreciate your understanding.
At some point in the future, the Old Fashion Soap Co., website address will point back to this blog. That way, if you want to place a special order, you can still find us. So bookmark this blog and follow us to keep up with what we’re up to in the future.
Thanks, everyone! <3