Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in soap making but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Trisha Trout, Founder of Prairie Sage Soap Co, LLC., located in Pocatello, ID, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Prairie Sage Soap, each small batch of soap that is made is as unique as a piece of artwork. Soap is a very creative medium for an artist. In art, you can purchase only one original. No one else can own it, and it won't ever be duplicated. The same can be said for PSS handmade olive oil soaps. It takes as much time to design the look of each batch of soap and to make careful notes as it does to make it. PSS soap is hand-stirred in a small soap pot and then poured into a small block mold that yields several unique pieces of soap at once. No two bars in any one batch look the same. Every batch, and every bar in it, is a limited edition piece of soap art. So once a batch is gone, it can't be duplicated. You might visit the PSS website and find the same scent again, but it will look a little different each time, and in some cases, it will look a lot different! You can buy knowing that when you open up your box, you are getting a unique experience. Thank you for choosing Prairie Sage Soap!
Tell us about yourself
1999 was a very good year. I was on vacation with my husband and my two young sons. At an herb farm in San Diego, there was a little soap shop that sold kits that taught how to make a basic brick of soap. It seemed to me that soap making would be a peaceful process and would lend itself well to my creative side. I bought the kit, and that was the beginning. It has been a fun hobby/business for many years. But as life often does, I was thrown a curve ball in 2008. I lost my husband of 31 years very suddenly to Leukemia. The economy crashed at the same time, so consequently, I lost my home and almost everything I owned. My two sons and I started over again. So the little soap business is no longer just a hobby but a necessity to make a living. Little did I know that the small vacation purchase would eventually have to lead to my living! I am still working on that, so thanks so much for purchasing PSS!!
UPDATE: My two little boys did what little boys do. They turned into grown men. Now it's just me and my little business. I've grown it slowly and organically. It has helped me in so many ways - financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I am very thankful for everything that PSS has given me. And I'm so very thankful for my customers!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surprising myself! I have been wholly dependent on first a father and then a husband my whole life. I have found out that I'm smarter, more driven, and stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
All the minutia. Every. Single. Day. A million little things need to be done to keep a small business afloat. I produce my product in my home, and the city ordinance dictates that I am not allowed to have help. Trying to wear all of the hats and keep up with everything is hard.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Research. Research. Research. Before you start, you have to spend time doing that. Take it slow and easy. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don't be afraid to pay for professional advice in your field.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Having your own small business is both a blessing and a curse. Your hours are not predictable. Yes, you have the freedom to work for yourself. But you are not always free to do what you want when you want. Consider it carefully before diving in.
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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