Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skincare but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leah LaFera, owner of Sweet Sprig, located in Schenectady, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sweet Sprig is a luxury brand of all-natural soap and body products that are designed to engage your senses and pamper your body. Each product is made with all-natural, local, and eco-friendly ingredients that are always vegan and cruelty-free. Our products are made in small batches to ensure high-quality freshness with a unique scent combination that will leave skin feeling amazing.
Give your body and soul the care it deserves, whether it’s been a long day, a special day, or any day. At Sweet Sprig, each product is hand-crafted with care, love, and artistry to support the sweet moments of luxury in your everyday life.
Tell us about yourself
I have always had a passion for creation. Motivated by the desire to create, I began crafting my all-natural body soaps at the age of 14. For the past 25 years of experimenting with different botanical materials, the soap business has expanded to include candles and artisan bath and body products.
With a Bachelor's degree in Art, I parlay my education and personal passion into every product's design, creation, and testing. As a dedicated environmentalist, I believe the products we put on and into our bodies should be gentle for ourselves as well as the planet. That's why every product uses only plant-based ingredients that are always cruelty-free and designed to minimize waste.
I put my heart and soul into every design to create long-lasting scents and unique botanical combinations. By using my products, I hope every customer treats their mind and soul while nourishing and hydrating the body.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Definitely leaving my career as a librarian in 2020 (a month before the start of the pandemic) to pursue running my business full-time. It was always a goal of mine, and the timing felt right. Little did I know that there would be an urgent demand for soap and powerful support of small businesses by consumers a month later. All my revenue streams halted, with the exception of my online stores. I focused on selling that way, creating fun and engaging social media content, and designing limited edition kits and products to keep customers entertained.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Having your friends not fully understand your day-to-day life is like. There are times of the year I have to turn down social invitations to get work done. The daily pressures of running all facets of a business are not one most people can relate to. I've developed some incredible small business friends over the past few years. These relationships are invaluable. Having friends who understand exactly what you are going through at any given time is crucial to keeping your sanity. I love sharing tips, resources, problem-solving, and kvetching about small biz issues with my business pals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Read! Your local library has a ton of incredible books to teach you how to start, grow and maintain your business. Some even offer free classes like Excel computer classes, small biz meet-ups, and more to help you get your business off the ground. They can also connect you with other non-profits in your area that offer free services or loans to businesses.
- Focus. It can be overwhelming to limit your business to just one product category or service. The more you can focus on what your business is and what you sell or create, the more you will attract the right customer for your brand. It is common and understandable to try to do too much, and maybe you want to make and sell all the things. I get it. But if you give yourself some boundaries and guidelines to operating under, you will be setting yourself up for success.
- Get to know other business owners in your field and community. It can be as easy as developing a mutual Instagram admiration for a business you look up to. Start out by commenting genuinely and creating dialogs. In-person frequent companies you admire and get to know the owners. Making friends as an adult is certainly hard but not impossible!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.