Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carolyn Agopsowicz, Owner of Woolly Bath Soap Company & Body Care, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I make bath and body care that is palm oil free. Everything from shampoo and conditioner bars, soap, lotions, creams, scrubs, lip balms, bath bombs, natural deodorant, and tattoo aftercare. My customers are all humans interested in the environment and/or having the best skin possible. Mainly the latter, as the deforestation of the rainforest to harvest palm oil is not widely known. How dry Edmonton is, however, we are all aware of and seeking products that actually work which contain natural ingredients safe for humans.
Tell us about yourself
I used to be a Felter, which is someone who takes wool fibres and turns them into a textile. I was always taught that the best soap to use in this process is Castile which is traditionally 100% olive oil. When I went to purchase more of the soap that I've used for several years, for some reason, I felt drawn to look at the ingredients as it stated to be 100% pure. Upon looking, I discovered it was filled with both palm oil and coconut oil making it at Bastille soap, not Castile as advertised. I then looked at the labels of every commercially available Castile soap and found the same thing. This prompted me to start making my own. I enjoyed making soap so much that I stopped felting, and now I just make soap that branched into lotions, lip balms, scrubs, shampoo, and conditioner. Basically, as I ran out of my commercial products, I replaced them with natural formulas that I developed myself to replace them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Educating my customers about the negative effects of palm oil on the environment and informing consumers of the cancerous effects of sulfates found in commercial shampoos, along with providing not only safe alternatives but products with some of the best ingredients for skin and hair health.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I cannot speak for all businesses; however, for a small single-run business such as mine, the hardest thing is finding a work-life balance as you have to do everything yourself. For three years, I've worked full time alongside building my business which takes a lot of stamina.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Branding matters! From your logo to your labels. If you don't have a logo, get one. There are even free websites that you can create to get started.
- Research!!! Do your homework, and make sure whatever you want to do is something people want. Review your competition- how are you different- if you're not different, then how can you be different??
- Be passionate! If you don't have the passion to the point of stubbornness for your business, why are you doing it? There are many ways to make money, so if you think your own business is the way, then make sure it's for something you give a shit about. Your customers will see through you if you're just there to make a buck. Those days are over; consumers have options.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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