Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Roberta Michaels, Founder of Herb's Daughter Custom Soaps, located in Beaverton, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Herb's Daughter Custom Soaps. I make custom soaps, lotions, shampoo and hair condition bars, deodorant, salve, and shower steamers. My customers tend to be women, but I do have a few regular men who order from me.
Tell us about yourself
I have always enjoyed making pretty yet practical things--and then giving them away. I started making soaps and lip balm in 2002 and gave some as a gift to one of my student's moms. She asked me this question: "Have you considered selling these?" My background is in education, and the only things I had sold were ideas! I began selling three different soaps and lip balms, and from there, I started adding products as people requested them. I have studied with many people, including herbalists and an ethnobotanist who goes around the world studying how native women use natural products to heal themselves. I love hearing from clients when my products have helped solve a particular skin challenge.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am proud of my salve. I call it Salve the Planet! In the spring, I collect all the herbs and plants that grow here in the Willamette Valley. I dry them for at least 48 hours and then put them in gallon containers of olive oil. These are placed in the greenhouse to "bake" by the sun for three months. After this time, I filter out the herbs and add local beeswax. I have quite a few clients who use the salve for all kinds of skin issues and being able to provide a product that is local and 100% natural is very special for me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being able to predict the market and upcoming events. I participate in a lot of crafts, art, and holiday fairs. The needs of the crowds change from year-to-year, and knowing how much to bring to these events and WHAT to bring is a challenge. In addition, when I do want to add a new product to the line, will it be something that people want or need?
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Watch and learn from others. Find other people who are doing what you want to do and take notes and ask lots of questions.
- Give yourself grace. There will be missteps along the way. Just take a breath and learn--and then make your next steps to move forward.
- Set goals to achieve. You can always adjust the goals, but having a direction is important!
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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