Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew Braithwaite, Owner of Soap Chef - Made to Order, located in Amherstburg, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We make natural health and beauty bath products. Using the utmost natural and non-processed ingredients possible. Our customers, who are awesome, vary from infants to the elder. We help people with psoriasis, eczema, acne, oily, dry skin, stress, and anxiety... naturally. We never state we can cure or get rid of their conditions, but we offer a natural way to help lessen some symptoms.
Tell us about yourself
The business first started out shortly after my wife was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, CML for short. She wanted a soap-making kit for Christmas. Figuring it was a good way to reduce the chemicals we put on our bodies. With my career choice as a Chef, it was like making a pancake batter. Some chemistry background helped, but following a recipe is second nature to me. My wife, who is a Spec Ed teacher, brought some to her co-workers, and they gave good feedback. That's when the snowball effect started.
The biggest motivation we get from the business is the need for our amazing customers. We understand the importance they have for us. Also, we encourage anyone going through cancer treatments to try our products. They are getting enough chemicals to stay alive. Let's not add to it through daily self-care.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In 3 short years, we now ship worldwide, process over 30 orders online, and many more at the Downtown Windsor Farmer's Market a month. But above that, the trust our customers put in us. Without them, we wouldn't be as successful as we are. To each and every single one, we are so grateful to have you!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
TIME! The whole family is involved. My lovely daughter, Nevaeh, is our label girl. My caring son Noah helps prepare recipes for me. My hero and strong wife, Laura, helps by cleaning up my messes, cutting the soap loaves into bars and trimming them, and organizing the shop to help me stay on track. Myself, I make every product by hand, from cold process soaps, bath bombs, body butter, lip balms, body wash, deodorants, etc. The list goes on.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you know and are aware of everything that is involved. It's not just about making products and selling them. You have taxes, overhead costs, labor costs, tracking sales, and so much more.
- Make sure you enjoy what you're doing. Have fun every day at work.
- Learn from mistakes and try again.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If your business deals with customers directly, make sure you wholeheartedly appreciate their support. I make sure every customer knows they are important to me. I remember names, faces, even the last thing they bought.
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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