Category: Creative Small Business

Grad School Dropout

Community Creating Creative Small Business Identity Inspiration Spiritual Exploration

Grad School Dropout

When I worked in Membership Services for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, I was surprised by the part of that role that I found to be the most interesting, which was interacting with the small business owners. I think about it and didn’t realize that I was so attracted to their work and their stories because they were small business owners.

The thing about meeting an entrepreneur that is absolutely my favorite is learning the story behind what they are doing. A real and interesting story that someone can share with me. Those conversations are so juicy. When I worked in the Membership Services role, I met with owners and creators of all sorts – restaurants, tour companies, event planners and shop owners. It was the couple that started their unique walking tour, City Food Tours, that made me smile with their passion and excitement when they talked about what they were up to. Or the college kids that started a free Philadelphia walking tour because they just loved it. I remember meeting owners in their welcoming tiny restaurants sitting and asking each of them the story of how it all began. That’s all I was ever interested in…how’d you birth this idea and give it life? What was your motivation? How is it going?

Those are my favorite memories of a career path that is now far in my rear view. I even remember writing my “Tourism” college papers on peoples’ motivation to travel. I always want to know the story.

So as I continue to grow a small business while nurturing a growing family, I think back to all those stories that I’ve collected and learn so much from them. Johnathan Fields likened being an entrepreneur to a spiritual journey and it resonated with me because all that is unnecessary must fall away to create space for what needs to grow in both business and life. They both feel like solo trips, where we find and connect with like-minded people, but ultimately I feel that we are all alone, together.

I used to think I needed a business degree to have a business. I’m a grad school dropout who felt a heck of a lot better about it after listening to this episode of freakonomics radio. There were pieces of grad school that I LOVED and the 1/2 of an MBA (which for the record = no MBA, but still) that I have has served me well because I met one particular professor who blasted a whole area of the universe wide open for me that I didn’t even know existed.

So my story of my little startup is still forming, and evolving and changing every day. Like everyone’s. But basically, I was really, really lost and then I stood still, and then I found this activity that makes me really happy and I turned it into a “thing” with the encouragement and support of some amazing people I get to surround myself with pretty often. Things have been rocky lately and last night I called my mom crying. It’s frustrating when you invest your time and energy in things that are supposed to make you stress less…and you still get stress. And then someone shows you love and you remember, yet again, where the path is. It’s a funny thing how everything comes to be.

 

Just for fun, here is some excellent advice, whether or not you consider yourself a “Young writer.” Warning, these words are amazing.

 

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My First Giveaway!!!

Hey there!!! I have exciting news to share. I’m giving away a gift set of my handmade products to a lucky winner!!! All you have to do is sign up for my email list and … that’s it! No commenting necessary.

Kindly look to your right (or scroll down for smartphones) →→→ and find the box to enter your email address and sign up. Click the email confirmation link you receive. 🙂 Then feel a little ping of love when I smile.

If you’ve already signed up, you’ll automatically be included in this contest.

Win my soap, salts and lip balm

 

The gift set includes: 1 bar of soap, 1 small bath salt bag and a lip balm trio (set of 3). Scents based on availability.

The chances of you winning are high at this time as my list is only in it’s infancy.

The contest will be open for 23 days and will close on April 19, 2017 at 11:59pm . Winner will be notified via email and prize will be mailed out the week of April 24, 2017.

Please consider sharing with a friend if you think they’d like a chance to win some natural products full of skin loving butters and uplifting essential oils.

Thanks for your continued support & well wishes and GOOD LUCK!!!

How I learned to Make Soap

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How I learned to Make Soap

Like most things, there needs to be a curiosity and a  passion to explore something. I’ve always been drawn to soap, as strange as that sounds. Every market I go to, every little shop, I find myself sniffing the soap they offer. Soap and scents can take you places. Coconut scents throw me back to that vacation in St. John for my best friend’s wedding. Lemongrass makes me think of the time we stayed at the Four Seasons for another friend’s wedding. Orange bliss takes me to summer instantly. I love the time travel that this little vacation called soap provides. The soap I make can be found here.

One year for Christmas, Sean got me an assortment of soaps from Whole Foods and it is one of my most memorable gifts and I still smile when I think of those soaps even though they are long gone. Picturing him sniffing them and picking them for me is so fun.

I’ve also always loved science class, especially chemistry lab where you got to mix things up and experiment. Making soap is basically the same thing. You wear goggles and an apron and get to do fun experiments!

So, since I’ve always had a love for sweet smelling soap and have always been curious about how people actually make it, I decided to do some research. The following are the best resources that I found and they are a combination of books, websites, videos and small businesses. I borrowed all of the soap books from every library in Montgomery County, PA and I researched for about 8 months. It doesn’t have to take that long, but I’m painfully meticulous at times (rarely, but you must be with soaping) and I have two young kids so I was basically on their time. I hope this quenches your curiosity if you’ve been thinking about crafting your own soap!!!

  • soap queen tv – This is where I started. I watched all the beginner videos, took copius notes and learned the importance of safety while handling lye.
  • Books – Some of my favorites include:
  • Brambleberry  – An awesome site to purchase supplies and has a blog with tons of tutorials and ideas. I find the discussions to be incredibly responsive, friendly and helpful.
  • Make friends! It’s pretty easy for me to talk to people and I’ve found many local soapers to be so nice, helpful and encouraging. Specifically: earth and sky & Ethereal Soap Co.

If you want to make a business from your soapy adventure, I plan to share a bunch of those resources in the future so stay tuned. There are a ton of awesome people sharing on the topic of creative small business and I’m consuming the info at an alarming rate. You will most likely find me lurking in the library with stacks of books chasing wild children. The adventure never ends! : )

 

The Sweet Spot

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The Sweet Spot

How did this happen? This finding what I love as a stay-at-home-mom which evolved into a handmade, creative business owner which feels a little strange because I never thought any of this would happen. Run on sentence = intended…that’s how my brain works.

Not having a “9-5” felt incredibly strange for a bit, but now I’m used to it and loving it. The biggest struggle for me is continuing to relish in the gratitude I find deeply embedded in my heart while being frustrated beyond belief at feeling as if I have no “time” to do anything at all.

My brain is flooded with ideas on my business, soap creation, recipes, networking and essential oil scents yet I can only grab these thoughts in fleeting moments between screams of “Mommy!!!!” and daily dinner prep. I hurry to write an idea before it evaporates. Frequently the ideas do run away before I can grab a pen (or crayon) and I’m trying to trust that an evaporated idea may not have been a good one so I let it go.

The irony for me is that I feel frustrated at not having chunks of time to create and brainstorm and think and write because of my parenting responsibilities yet being a parent is what got me in this stay-at-home position which led to an abundance of awesome soul-searching and making space for things I actually love. It’s just so ironic.

Sometimes it’s hard to say just how content I feel in my role because the waters chop and I get mad and anxious and then I question things. Or I feel inauthentic because here I am claiming to be in a sweet spot yet I feel stuck on certain days. Am I really happy? How did this happen? But after many rounds of that, I always come back to center and realize it was just a bad day or week. My true nature is not that shaky ground. When the earth moves a little, I just need to stay put and the ground will become still again.

So, I find myself in the sweet spot, day after day, being a stay-at-home-parent and relishing in all that this role has to offer while dreaming and grabbing at whatever scraps of time I can wrap my fingers around to dream, write, think and create.

Creating Creative Small Business Inspiration marjorie sarah's product line Simplicity

Why I love making lip balm, and everything else…

I think I’m addicted to creating things. It’s an outlet for me, like many others. I’ve always loved to scrapbook, read, journal, bake, make just about anything I could get my hands and glue on. Once I start the process, things just flow because I get really excited. I move so fast that I make mistakes but then I laugh at them as evidence that I was in my creative brain and not my critical brain – which is where I really want to be!

I’ve always loved science, labs especially, where you get to mix stuff up. I think that’s part of the reason I’m really enjoying mixing up so many batches of lip balms lately. And bath salts. And lotion. And sugar scrubs. And makeup. And deodorant. Sean couldn’t stop me if he tried! Hehe – well, actually he doesn’t try, he only ever encourages me and supports me and helps me with the recipes when lots of numbers are involved. He’s the best. Remember in high school when you had to convert cm to inches or mL to gallons? NOW I get it! This is why! When I’m converting drops of essential oils in order to perfect the dilution amount, I need to know that stuff so that I can understand the percentages. Ahhh, it’s all coming full circle.

I’m feeling blessed and hugged by life and the energy around me is fluffy. A good fluffy. I’m continuing to search for gratitude and the days when I’m constantly complaining, in my head or with my mouth, I struggle and strive to remember that this life is what I make of it. And sometimes that’s enough to rope me back in. And sometimes I need yoga or a cup of tea to ground my feet and not fall out of the “tree pose” that is my life.

much love this holiday season radiates from me to you!

xo, marjorie sarah