ideas take life in Words
A blog following the works (and shenanigans) of J.E. Klimov
Authors Supporting... Artisans! #11. Special Edition: Maker of Soaps that Keep You Clean on Your Quest!
I support creativity in all spaces, not just novels. Over the last few years, I've run into some amazing young, independent artisans who had the courage to sell their creations. Today, I want to special feature Erica Stockwell, founder of Critically Clean.
Through a chance encounter at Barnes and Nobles, I met Erica who gave me business advice without hesitation. She was supportive and very pleasant. When I discovered she had a business of her own, I HAD to ask. I'm already a fan of creative soaps and bath bombs, but ones that have gaming themes brings it up a notch of awesomeness.
If you like soaps and bath salts OR want to garner some wisdom about starting your own small business/product, read this interview!
Why did you start this business and why these particular products?
Erica: You’re probably going to think I’m crazy when I tell you this story, and honestly you aren’t wrong. I was driving to work one day headed from Franklin to Waltham, so I had quite a bit of time to kill. While stopped at a red light I had a thought, “There aren’t any soaps shaped like dice-- I should do that thing”. When I got to work, I started looking at molds and the rest is history. After I finished the soap, my friend asked about bath bombs so I looked up how to do that, then another friend asked about salt scrubs.
[Julian's comment; It's amazing- you never know when ideas strike you! Nice!]
How did you learn to make such wonderful soaps and other amazing products?
Erica: Google searches and Youtube tutorials got me started. I learned pretty quickly that the actual process of making the stuff wasn’t very hard. The hard part was deciding which ingredients and scents I wanted since my whole thing was making sure every product had a gaming feel to it.
[Julian's comment: Even the hard part sounds wicked fun....]
What was it like setting up your own business?
Erica: Setting up the business was scary, exciting, frustrating, and boring all at the same time. Scary because I was sinking in money and putting myself out there with no idea if my stuff would even sell. Frustrating because in the beginning we weren’t selling at all online and when we went to craft shows our reception was lukewarm at best. Boring because of all the research and paperwork involved. Exciting when we started getting sales consistently and people were posting positive reviews. After we took the plunge and did Market of the Moons for the first time, I was overwhelmed with how much people loved our stuff. I took everything I had made that weekend and left with almost nothing.
What do you love best about CriticallyClean?
Erica: Two things, I love putting together high quality products, and I love talking with people who use them. In December, I was working a craft fair in Worcester called Craftershock and a couple was looking at the salt scrubs I had on display. A young woman came up behind them and said, “You know those awesome scrubs of mine you like using? This is where I got them”. That put the biggest smile on my face.
You clearly have a creative side- what is your "one-liner" advice for those that are too afraid to take that leap?
Erica: Start off slow and find your niche. I’m not going to lie and say everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows. In the beginning, it’s hard. Just take pride in what you do and don’t give up. Also, you are your biggest source of advertisement. Post about what you’re doing, blog about it, tweet about it, tell people about it. Folks can’t enjoy what you’re doing if they don’t know you’re doing it.
Where can my readers find more information about your wonderful products?
Finally, I have to ask. What is your favorite book?
Erica: Oh wow this is a hard one. I guess it depends on how you define favorite. If by favorite you mean the book I’ve read the most that would be "Polgara the Sorceress" by David Eddings. However, if you define favorite as the book that left the most profound impact on me I’d say "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair.