Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Claudia DeFouw, Owner of Sweet Abode Artisan Soap, located in Asheville, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is Sweet Abode Artisan Soap, and another division is Sweet Abode Amenities. Our customer is a person that is concerned about the quality of their bath and their beauty. Sweet Abode Amenities provides local vacation rental owners with bath amenities to provide their guests with locally handcrafted products.

Tell us about yourself

Nine years ago, before retiring from my 9 to 5 job, I knew I wanted to do something creative that I loved. I loved handcrafted bath products. I equipped our home to accommodate and comply with all Good Manufacturing and FDA regulations. I purchased the equipment to produce quality handcrafted bath products.

To ensure that we make products to be inclusive to all groups, I choose to use plant-based ingredients, and most of our products are vegan. I did this not only for our vegan community but also, there are 17 religions that do not allow the use of animal products in bath products. I research who the manufacturers are and if they are sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am Certified in Advanced Soap and Cosmetic making through the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild, an International Organization that advocates for small soap and cosmetic makers to ensure regulations are not restrictive for small businesses. At the HSCG Conferences in 2022, my River Rock Soap won in the "Something Different" and "Best of Show" Categories.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest part is that you work seven days a week. You meet wonderful people because networking is the lifeblood of a company. And in the bath and beauty industry, you have to research and know that an ingredient won't be harmful to your customers.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If you don't have a lot of money to launch your business:

  1. You have to know bookkeeping and keep really good records.
  2. You have to know your cost of goods, profit, and overhead.
  3. If you make products, only 20% of your time will be spent making them.

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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