I promised you a new featured on the blog for today......
Well here it is.....
It is about Hand Made from all over the world.
Over the months that I have been on Etsy I have meet some wonderful people, and I felt it was time to honor those people and the craft they do........
So to kick this awesome feature off ........... I would like you to meet Dan and Kate.
Dan and Kate are from my Beloved England and Dan is the hands behind this awesome shop and Kate (and I know Dan wont mind me saying this) is the driving force. Yes she drives Dan day after day to make more shop.
I first meet Dan and Kate while featuring them in a treasury I made........ They are now very valuable team mates.
So without further a do..... Let me introduce BarSoap.
So, an unexpected by-product of being a curmudgeonly, semi-professional soap-maker is, bizarrely, the amount of blogs and interviews I find myself writing. Apparently it’s not enough to merely create a saleable product; I must advertise and I must publicise. Much as I find this process bewildering (I don’t like talking about myself) I’m going to lay it all on the line in the name of commerce, baby! This is raw Soapmaking; uncut, uncensored and wild!
So, it’s a gracious thanks to TatterBeans for allowing me the floor for these few precious paragraphs where I’ll lay out a brief synopsis of BarSoap as it has come to be. As I write this I am currently in negotiations with a chemist about assessing new products (he wants more money I want to give less money, an age old struggle) and I‘m sitting in a suburban Manchester flat. For those who don’t know, Manchester is amongst the greyest cities in England (Seasonal Affective Disorder is like an actual punch in the crotch here) and we also gave the world the band Oasis (… I’m so sorry) Free space in our flat is being converted into soap and related accessories; it’s not practical but it does smell great. Such is the measure of my existence, cocktail themed soap is creeping up all around me and Kate and I desperately find new ways to sell it.
Manchester By Day & Night
At the moment we don’t have anywhere we regularly sell in the Manchester area, though sites like Etsy have been great for helping us to track down Craft Fairs and one off Vintage and handmade sales around the country, that along with word of mouth with other traders. Fortunately, Kate chats with them too. She’s better at discussing necklaces and suchlike because she’s a girl; it seems a little disingenuous for me to have a lengthy discussion with people about bracelets (forced emasculation almost)
Basically, hand-made soap isn’t as ingrained into English culture as it is in the U.S and most of our internet sales have been to America. That said, we’ve managed to pique the interest of fair-goers in the U.K by intrinsically pairing our soap with alcohol (something that is very much ingrained in the U.K culture, I might be drunk whilst typing this) and this has led to BarSoap’s burlesque theme and, conceptually, has made expanding our range relatively easy. It’s also, frankly, terrific to tell people about the skin benefits that Guinness as an ingredient provides in a bar of soap.
TatterBean has asked about what support I’ve received for this enterprise… Hilarious. My parents constantly questioned the likelihood of ever being able to turn a profit on soap (it’s a world of bath salts and gels, apparently) they then questioned our pricing (supermarkets sell soap cheaper than us, apparently) and they’ve also yet to buy a bar. My friends mostly just reference Fight Club as there are no other notable Soap-makers in popular culture (that I’m aware of, feel free to correct me)
Fortunately Kate has been a little trooper throughout, constantly networking and generating new sales opportunities (I wouldn’t say that’s support as such, more a division of labor) and remaining steadfastly positive; she generates ideas whereas I remain relentlessly (depressingly) in the real world (trying to buy cheap coconut oil is the hardest thing I’ve ever done with learning Japanese coming a distant second)
So, for the time being we’re building up stock and selling when we can – Kate works as a Lawyer and I do some kind of “work” at Manchester University… that is up until the point when BarSoap is profitable enough to allow us to quit. We’re trying to build it up to the point where can relocate the business to America (it’s a big country, they can’t defend all the borders all the time) as I think that’s a much larger customer base.
Anyhow, if you made it this far, thanks. Please feel free to browse our shop…
and my blog about Soap-making (everything you’ve ever wanted to know about making soap) here…
Confessions of an English SoapMaker
Love and hugs,
So there you have it..... Soap making in England.....
A big thanks to Dan for kicking of this new feature........ Dont forget to pop on over to their shop and blog.... and let me know if you know any handcrafters from around the world you would like to see featured