A great opportunity!

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sunflowerb

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This post offers no advice or discussion BUT a wonderful thing happened to me today! I was able to meet with a local very established soap maker in my town! My town is not known for it's diversity or organic type thinking so meeting someone like this was great in and of it's itself. She sells her soaps all along the coast and even does orders for whole foods :O ANYWAY she said if I'd be interested she'd have me do a little work for her around her farm/house and trade for soap, knowledge, and fresh chicken eggs! I feel so happy and excited to have someone to learn from! I wanted to share this here because it's hard to understand the struggle and reward that is soap if you don't make it! I thought you all would understand my excitement!! Hooray!!!
 

lenarenee

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Have you seen and used her soaps - and were happy with them? Then this really is a great opportunity! I do suggest making some sort of
agreement of how much work you do would equal how much soap, eggs and knowledge - to prevent anyone from being taken advantage of. (It happens, even with the best of intentions, people have different ideas in their heads of how much things are worth)
 

cmzaha

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I do not want to sound negative, but I will mention that I would not be so highly impressed with someone that has a wholesale with Whole Foods. I have never seen a great soap at Whole Foods and they are very overpriced. Any soap knowledge you want you can get in this forum for Free. How much work do you have to do for the fresh eggs? Sorry some days I can be such a kill joy....:shark: Get you some lard, shortening, olive oil, some lye and make yourself some soap. It will be as nice as any she gives you and you will have the fun of making it. Only thing you would most likey have to order online is fragrance unless you have a local candle or soap supplier that has body safe fragrance, or if you have a Walmart I hear they sell essential oils
 

Dahila

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zmzaha is right, you do not need to work for someone to learn the art of soapmaking. I would never pay or attend classes when i can learn in a comfort of my house. Youtube will show everything starting from building a home to end on lotion making ;))
 

lenarenee

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Sunflower may not "need" to, but she might want to, especially if she's a very new beginner. I know I would have started soaping years earlier if I had know someone who could have walked me through the process. She said she was excited, so this offer does mean something to her.

(just a reminder Sunflower, you can absolutely rely on the SMF members to help you. And make some concrete agreements regarding how much work gets traded for specified amounts of soap, eggs, lessons)
 

Gerry

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I do suggest making some sort of
agreement of how much work you do would equal how much soap, eggs and knowledge - to prevent anyone from being taken advantage of.
Last time I worked on someone else's organic farm for "educational rewards" we had to pay them! It would have been so cool not to pay big money, and to get an egg or two free of charge? Just wow!

I did learn a lot though, certainly more than watching YouTube videos. There's something about doing something and have someone watching to correct you while explaining things. Like really, how can someone watch YouTube to learn how to plan the placement, growing varieties, and size according to specific microclimates and local geography of trap crops for insect pest management? :???:
 

sunflowerb

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yeah I wasn't expecting any negative feedback. I do make soap at home. all the time. I was just happy to have someone who's made a life out of making and selling to observe and learn from. and get some nice soaps (sorry if you don't like whole foods soaps I don't shop there but hers are nice) and fresh eggs in the process. I already use this as a resource seeing as...i'm here. just wanted to share my excitement.
 

kchaystack

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yeah I wasn't expecting any negative feedback. I do make soap at home. all the time. I was just happy to have someone who's made a life out of making and selling to observe and learn from. and get some nice soaps (sorry if you don't like whole foods soaps I don't shop there but hers are nice) and fresh eggs in the process. I already use this as a resource seeing as...i'm here. just wanted to share my excitement.
First, congratulations. It is always fun to find someone who shares your values in a place where you feel isolated. And if you are not in a situation to work in a garden or raise your own hens for eggs, this kind of thing sounds like alot of fun.

I would also love to have a soaper around that I can talk shop with in person, so I really envy you meeting another one face to face. And if she is successful at marketing and distributing, you can really benefit from that knowledge. If you have tried her soaps and like them, you are in a win-win as far as I can see.

Second, don't take what people say on here personally. Many of them come off as really gruff and cynical. I have had my share of times I have been excited about something only to have a couple of comments on here really get me down. I do not think they realize that sometimes they come across as very condescending without meaning to be.

Third, I am just as excited for you as you are for yourself! :D
 

toxikon

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That is exciting. I always get very excited when I meet another face painter (that is my side business). I enjoy working with and learning techniques from fellow painters! I'm sure it's the same with soaping! Even if it's just someone to commiserate with over a failed batch lol.
 

Scooter

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yeah I wasn't expecting any negative feedback. I do make soap at home. all the time. I was just happy to have someone who's made a life out of making and selling to observe and learn from. and get some nice soaps (sorry if you don't like whole foods soaps I don't shop there but hers are nice) and fresh eggs in the process. I already use this as a resource seeing as...i'm here. just wanted to share my excitement.
When I read those responses I perceived them as being protective, but I can see why you might see them as negative. I don't know about a lot of other people on here but I have worked in the creative professions and have tired of working hard at something, only to be promised that I would get "exposure" or "contacts."

Of course a true mentoring relationship that is non-exploitative is a great and satisfying thing. I hope you really enjoy your time spent with this person and benefit a lot from it. Congratulations! :)
 

TeresaT

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I too saw them as protective, not negative; however, we all have the choice to react the way we want to words and actions of others, be it written or oral. I'm glad and excited for you. I hope your experience is everything you hope and expect it to be. I also hope you heed the well intended advice given to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by someone that may not have your best interest at heart. Your new friend may very well be your new soul mate--or your new slave driver. I do hope it is the former. Happy new year and nothing beats fresh eggs. BTW: if they have ducks, try duck eggs. They are amazing. Far more nutritious and tasty than chicken eggs. Because they're more nutritionally dense, they also satisfy hunger longer.
 

cmzaha

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yeah I wasn't expecting any negative feedback. I do make soap at home. all the time. I was just happy to have someone who's made a life out of making and selling to observe and learn from. and get some nice soaps (sorry if you don't like whole foods soaps I don't shop there but hers are nice) and fresh eggs in the process. I already use this as a resource seeing as...i'm here. just wanted to share my excitement.
It did not sound like you are getting this for free, you have to work for it. And I hope she is not using your help to make her wholesale sales account. Sorry I live in a very high competitive area and no soapmakers share much. I also sell and have been doing so for quite a few years, so I am certainly not jealous. Sorry if you think it was negative of me, but I am old and very realistic. I learned on my own with one little book and lots and lots of failures and successes, and they were all mine... I also know good from bad soap, which I see a lot of here
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I also saw it as protective, because your description might not have done this person justice at all - she has soaped for a long time and sells it. From experience, she could be awesome but there are many people who make terrible soap in terrible ways who have done so for a long time and sell. There are people who would also fit your description but really would have nothing good to teach you, unless you knew that you should do the opposite of what they are doing! Plus, it's not just chatting over a cup of tea about soap and soaping. Not to mention that she is just one person, so while you are getting hands-on help, it is from the perspective of just one person who could well have missed something along the way and does or doesn't do something that you should or shouldn't do.

This is a soaping forum, so soapers will give you their thoughts even if it doesn't agree with your current level of enthusiasm. It is what it is. As has been said, you can view it many ways when it is written by someone you don't know from a different area where tone and choice of words might well be different from yours (the Austrians are much more direct than the British, but they aren't being rude at all, it's just how they are, as example, I had to get used to that) and I always think it best to assume things were heartfelt and helpfully-meant
 

Gerry

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It did not sound like you are getting this for free, you have to work for it. And I hope she is not using your help to make her wholesale sales account.
Why do you hope she's not helping with her wholesale sales account? If she chooses to do it and learns how to fill high volume orders and make soap in large batches, then what's the harm? She has the chance to learn the full soap making workflow - including supplies, production, equipment, packaging, storage, and distribution. Honestly this kind of reaction is really confusing to me! :-?

What's the worst that could happen? Seriously. If she (an adult I assume?) starts working there and finds herself locked alone in a room only cleaning soaping equipment and utensils, she can just walk away!

And for goodness sake people. What's wrong with learning from this one person's perspective, who incidentally it seems runs a successful business? It's better than zero persons. Yes perhaps despite her success she's doing something terrifyingly wrong. But it's not 1970 anymore. We have the internet, and even a soap making forum that offers the perspective of a collective community. She's not going to be imprisoned and shielded from outside influences.

It may be just me, but I see way more jealousy than protectionism in some of these responses. sunflowerb may have the opportunity to learn things about the soap making business in weeks what some of you have had to spend years learning through trial and error. Well just too bad for you! :mrgreen:

And if not? No harm done.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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....and people were just pointing out that there IS a "what if" side to it which is worth thinking about if the OP hadn't. It's not a wrong thing to do, and I know that at least one of the people who did offer a word of caution has seen countless people who are successfully selling soap who are not good soapers - that, coupled with the adage "we don't know what we don't know" means that the OP could be thinking all knowledge gained would be good knowledge when that might not be the case at all and if it never comes up on the forum then she doesn't get that corrected.

The original post did seem to suggest that successful soaping business + supplying whole foods = good soaper and people were pointing out that it isn't always so.

As for the wholesale account I want to liken it to a barber or hairdresser. Often you can pay more or less depending on the level of the person who is cutting your hair (less for a beginner, more for more experienced people) - the wholesale account was based on the other soaper making the soap and yet someone else could be making it, albeit (hopefully) with direction (but how much direction) which may or may not be acceptable to the wholesale customer.
 

Gerry

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Perhaps it's just me but given the preference I'd rather learn the soap making business from someone who runs a successful soap making business rather than an unsuccessful one. I'm pretty sure that formulating and creating product is only part of it. The OP already mentioned that she likes her soaps and gave no indication that she would suddenly consider this person to be her only source of information on the subject. And I know that many people who sell seem to think so, but making soap is not rocket science. Learning basic safety and what a balanced recipe looks like is easy. It's not that hard to make a good soap. Soaping is the most simple of my current hobbies in that if I make a little mistake with some of my other pastimes, it could result in serious injury or even death. Armed with basic knowledge and internet resources provided on sites like this one, killing your customers with your soap is unlikely.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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But again, you're reading too much in to the post - she said she will be getting soaping knowledge from a soaper who runs a business. Doesn't mention business knowledge or that the op even wants to get business knowledge at all.

And yet a-bloody-gain, people were merely giving a word of caution for the op to bear in mind rather than just clapping and dancing and saying "yay" - some might call that being pessimistic, others would call it being realistic and I really don't think it's fair to use some of the adjectives used in this thread to describe those who did give a reasonable warning with a view to making sure the op goes in to this with eyes clear and wide open rather than rose-tinted
 

CaraBou

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Well there is life outside the internet... It's called REAL life. Caution is good, but so is exploring opportunity. No one said you have to jump up and down. But what does sunflower have to lose? Time, pride, a little sweat? If she doesn't learn anything then maybe she'll teach something.

Sunflower, you're on post #14. I hope to see 100, including updates on how it's going. And don't forget to post pics!
 
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