Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Happy New Year!
I hope you have all had a good start to 2017.
The change of the year is always a time for reflection and I thought this would be a great opportunity to share a little bit more about how things got started.
As some of you may know Butter Bar Soapery only launched in December 2016 and the whole process has been an incredible journey.
What I haven’t shared before now is that I spent 13 years in the administrative field, working in offices, which is actually how I met my husband 12 years ago.
I was always slightly envious of people who knew what they were good at, not just career-wise, but in their personal time. I’ve never been creative, although always aspired to be, but I often gave up on things too quickly. I loved a project, but after investing in all the gear/equipment I’d get halfway and stop. One example which makes me laugh now but I could have died of embarrassment at the time, was back in my mid-20’s (which wasn’t too long ago!). I decided I could be a ballerina. So, the day came and I turned up at a well-known dance school in London after booking myself onto an adult course. I was feeling pumped and excited until… I noticed I was the only one in a leotard, pink leggings and pink skirt! Yes, I looked like a ridiculous giant-sized 5 year old. I didn’t run out though, I held my head up high, got on with the class…and never returned again. Thankfully no photos were taken to haunt me, just the memory I have now willingly shared with the world!
There came a point when I realised I needed to make a change. Although I didn’t particularly want a career change, I wanted to do something more for myself and to find something I could be passionate about and have as a hobby. My favourite pass-time before having my son was having long lazy mornings at the weekend and dabbling in a bit of retail therapy – not exactly motivational is it?
In January 2016 I started researching soap courses. It came to me that I had a long-held interest in learning about soap-making, but I’d never had the courage to do anything about it. Finally a few weeks later I managed to book myself onto a soap making course, specifically “cold process” which is the traditional method. Fast forward to the day of the class and I realised “this is it”, I had found what I was looking for. I absolutely loved every aspect. It was scary, but my adrenaline was pumping and I had never before felt such enthusiasm. There was so much to consider but the possibilities seemed endless.
A few days later I decided to start practicing at home and began to research starting up a homemade soap business… if I could actually get over the fear of making the soap on my own! Coincidentally that same week I received some upsetting news that I was facing redundancy in my day-to-day job. However, at the same time I was thinking that my career situation could give me the push I needed to do what I really want to do. Parting on good terms, I decided to go home and study about my new potential venture (ok, not immediately - I took 24 hours for everything to sink in and ate some chocolate to get over the shock!!). From day two, I studied hard every day for weeks.
Around the same time I had started using Instagram and began to follow fellow soap-makers, both professionals and hobbyists. It was from this wonderful bunch that I gained inspiration and guidance. The soap making community is filled with friendly people who are happy to share their stories and advice. The great thing with soap making is that everything is unique and everyone has their own ideas. There are so many small scale handmade soap makers and the passion with which they apply themselves to their craft is really clear. What is really refreshing is seeing how many are happy to showcase their technical knowledge and techniques, in order to encourage others to make soap too.
Once I found the recipes and had received approval from a certified chemist, I quickly realised things weren’t going to get any easier. I had to start building a brand…