Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katherine Babcock, Founder of Sargent Bubbles, located in Centennial, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sargent Bubbles creates handmade soaps, lotions, scrubs, bath bombs, and lip balms. We are also getting ready to roll out an exciting new line! Our products are all-natural and locally sourced when possible. I lovingly create every product that leaves our soapery. Our customers are anyone who has skin! Whether looking for a beautiful, funny, or realistic decor item for your home or to give as a gift, or an excellent product to treat a skin condition (acne, eczema, dry skin, etc.), we have what you need. We are also proud of our line of custom creations - we can make just about any soap or other skincare item to cure what ails you, colors you want, or fragrances you are looking for.
Tell us about yourself
Sargent Bubbles was the brainchild of my daughter and me. She had just been laid off at the beginning of Covid and was freaking out about what she would do for work. I invited her over to help me make the rest of the soap, taking up space in my kitchen so that I could get rid of the soaping supplies. I wasn't really into making soap, and the supplies were taking up valuable space in my kitchen. After four days of having a blast making soap and making so much, we had no more neighbors, friends, or family to give our creations too; my daughter suggested we open a business. I wholeheartedly agreed - working with my daughter would be so much fun! I got busy ordering business cards and applying for an LLC. When she returned for us to catch up and make more soap, she sheepishly admitted she had gotten a job and couldn't help with "our" new business. I was too far into things to back out, so I decided to carry on alone! I had been a mixed media artist for the last 25 years, and although I loved it, I was up for a new challenge. (Little did I know what I was in for!)
My motivation comes from a genuine love for what I am doing. I love getting those custom orders and knowing I created something that made someone laugh or conveyed a message someone couldn't find another way to say. I love helping someone overcome skincare issues with a product I designed and created. I also love surprising people with hyper-realistic soap creations - I find pure joy in people's disbelief that my creation is soap and not food!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been showing up every day. My days vary widely from one day to the next, and the need to be flexible can be challenging. But I keep showing up and meeting orders and deadlines, even when I think I can't or am overwhelmed. Continually creating new soaps, scrubs, lotions, etc., that people love is my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest part is continuing to work out of my house. We have grown to the point of desperately needing a space to work out of, but the company has yet to afford it. Whether it's a retail store with a workshop in the back or simply a workshop where we can run the business, it doesn't matter - my house looks like a hoarder house because I have a full house and a full business in a 1500 sq ft dwelling. It's challenging and difficult. I feel like I spend most of my time moving things around and rearranging things, so I have little space to work. It's a total time suck.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- The business should be something you love enough to do for free. If you love it enough that you would do it for free, go for it because you'll basically be working for free as you start out. Owning a business is all-consuming - it will take up all of your time, energy, and money. If you love it enough to do it for free, it's your calling. You have to have a great drive to start, run and grow a business because it will be hard. At times it will make you question your sanity. It's a lot easier to show up for an eight-hour shift and collect a paycheck while letting someone else worry about all of the things a business owner has to worry about!
- Be willing to learn. No one knows everything. If you are always willing to learn - more about your business, more about business in general, more about the economy, more about business forecasts, more about everything - you will be in a much better position to run and grow your business. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Continuing to learn will keep you fresh and at the top of your game.
- You do you. Don't worry about what Sally or Jim are doing. You have a vision for your business (or should have!), and only you know how you want to run your business. Worrying about what your competitors are doing won't serve you well. Use that energy to freshen your own policies or the way you do things. Your business is unique - make it that way! Offer things your competitors don't offer. Strive to give your customers outstanding customer service. Do things to make your business unique - don't be like your competitors. There's already someone like them. Stand out. Be brave. Be you. You're the only one who can be exactly like you.
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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