Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skincare but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brenda Reid, Founder of The Happy Hippy Soap Company, located in Gabriola Island, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Happy Hippy Soap Company® is a grassroots soap company specializing in the traditional cold process method of soap making. I help nature lovers and music fans who love soap get terrific products with simple ingredients at affordable prices - Shower to the People!
Tell us about yourself
Hi. I’m Brenda, the founder, and creator behind Happy Hippy Soap. The idea for Happy Hippy Soap was born in 1989 when my addiction to all things soap and bath collided head-on with my need for a final project in business school. So, I started my own soap business… on paper, it would be a few more years before I put it into action!
A conversation with my parents about my school project led to a discussion on how everyone, including my grandmothers, used to make their own soap “back in the day,” which further piqued my curiosity about soap making and solidified the trajectory that I am still on to this day. Fast forward a few years, after a move to the big city and a day job, I was thrilled to find a continuing ed. class offering a one-day course in soap making, and so I started making! At first, it was just family and friends, but then it grew into a fun little side hustle!
I had always wondered if I could turn my passion for soap making into a full-time business, and so in 2010, when my husband and I moved from big city life to rural Gabriola, it seemed like the universe was saying – here’s your chance! - and I have been a full-time soap maker since. I got the idea for The Happy Hippy Soap Company because I felt we could use a little more of that passion that was so prevalent in the 60s in our present day.
What’s not to love about the Peace and Love movement? What’s not to love about people who love without prejudice, stand up for what they believe in, would prefer not to wear labels or be labeled, liberate sexual stereotypes, question materialism, care for the environment, promote peace and love and equality instead of violence, hatred, and injustice?
Plus, I love music! I grew up with everything from 40’s swing to country and rock – we listened to music constantly in my home! My dad was in a band, and as a kid, I was taken to whenever and wherever he happened to be playing. When it was time for bed, a sleeping bag would be pulled out, and I always requested to sleep by the drums. And so you’ll find this love of music and the 60s throughout all of my soap names and descriptions.
I am also passionate about growing my own food, the environment and dialing it back a little. Having grown up on a farm – these things are at my core and part of my very nature.
"Keep it simple" was what I was thinking of when I started making soap. I wanted to make a great product from nice natural ingredients and price it so that people could feel good about using it every day, not put it on a shelf for “special” days; every day is special!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have a really great group of retailers that love and promote my product - I am so very thankful for all of them!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Finding that work-life balance!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start. It doesn't have to be perfect - plus, it's fun to learn and grow your business.
- Know what makes you squirm and ask for help. For me, that's social media, so I recently asked a professional for help, and she's helping me come up with a plan!
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and farm out what you are not good at and focus on the things you are. By getting a professional to do my accounting, I freed up hours in my week!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I've always wanted to work for myself and absolutely love it! It feels good to provide a product that other people love. I also love connecting with others, so feel free to reach out and say "Hi!"
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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