sink or swim

Posted by heidi goldberg on



brace yourselves, ive got quite an announcement. 

14 some years ago i was doing spa services and answering phones for my fathers business for a living, supporting myself and my daughter, doing my thing.

i never really set out to be a business owner... it just kind of happened, with a pretty big nudge from my sister, and support of my friends and family.... i wound up starting to sell what i enjoyed to make. i have to be honest, it has been anything but easy, and if ive learned anything about having your own business-- its that things often come to a point of sink or swim, and i think i might be part fish now. but seriously, if you love what you do, quitting just isnt an option and you figure it out - there is no other option than that. 

anyhow, here we are 14 years later and ive been a full on business for that time now. i have sure faced some crazy things in those years. the thing about being in business that cant be taught, well, there are many things but one of the biggest for me was realizing it truly comes down to you and how you get through the things you are faced with. 

there are no cliff notes on how to handle 2000 bars of soap being ruined by a flood that burst through the ceiling from a frozen pipe from a neighboring unit, theres no one there to tell you how to handle things when your mom is losing her battle with cancer and entering the end stages of life literally in the 3 busiest days for the business out of the entire year. Ive learned that if im going to get through anything, it falls on me do to so. ive had to learn to trust myself to make big decisions all on my own. Ive had to learn to accept if my decision was a mistake and how i will get through it, change it, and turn it around. 

i could go on for days with all of the ways ive had to sacrifice, all the ways ive hurt, all of the ways ive felt defeated and also proud and accomplished, and all of the ways i still wonder am i doing this right?

ive taken some turns in business, trying to please a variety of people with either product or promises. at the end of the day, if i had trusted my gut every time - id have had less stress. i now tend to trust my gut straight away and pass that along as advice as well lol 

anyhow, bodygoodies is faced with something currently, and has been, for a while now - since covid really. Ive been fumbling through just as everyone else has with the twists and turns and aftermath --- from the shut downs, to product availability, to now, the aftermath with crazy price hikes and a failing economy. 

guys, i purchased lye yesterday, the same amount i always do. in september it cost me $269, yesterday it was $435. ( not including shipping). listen, we all know how terrible things are -- this is just one example. everything for me has gone up. my oils have nearly doubled, my utilities, the paper towels i sanitize all of my equip with, the gloves i wear to make everything, the everythings it takes to run this business has gone up. it has been going up for a while now, but ive just been biting it, eating the costs, losing across the board, hoping that eventually it will come back down a bit--- but thats not happening. and the forecast for the financial future with banks and markets isnt looking very good for quite some time. 

in august when i purchased my big order of oils to make all of the holiday products, my olive oil went from $66 in march, to $92 in august. palm, 44 to 78, safflower, 71 to 95. i didnt freak out, i just knew then if things didnt get better id have to start coming up with some sort of plan to stick around. because for one, i know as a business it cannot survive if it had to endure these price hikes and never raise prices, thats unrealistic, however... i also feel its unfair to put all of the price hikes on all of you --- thats why we are stuck in the financial crisis we are in. eggs are freaking $8 a carton. who can afford to eat like that?  how are things ever going to get better? inflation is brutal. everyone is feeling it. but i do have to be honest, and i do have to adjust some product, and i do have to raise some prices... i do need to change some things. but i want to find a fair way, the best way, the most beneficial way for bodygoodies, and for you.

someday soon ill get into a blog about the nitty gritty of why what i make is so expensive to make, why i use what i use, why i choose to still buy only essential oils and organic ingredients even though conventional is cheaper. there are things im not willing to compromise and id rather lose the business entirely than compromise the quality of the product that has my name behind it. 

so what can i do about it?

well, ive been thinking long and hard about this. and yes, its going to be different... but it is a change im willing to try ... and we will just see how it goes. if it ends up being a mistake, as stated above, i will revisit my decision and find a new way around it to make it something that works. 

something ive been thinking about is how can i make my soap available for an affordable price, without compromising the quality? well. heres what ive come up with

 - i can make my soaps, with the same oils, same bases, in an easier way, with less design and attention to detail, with less " extra" goodies in them, without the use of essential oils that cost 719.00 a lb, and stick to the ones that are about $90. i can do this, i can make great soaps with that. i can make them a little smaller, i can make it a little easier, and because its not needing my design time or detailed attention for elaborate tops and such, someone else can pour it and someone else can cut it. and i can be busy, working away on the luxury bars that do have the super expensive things in them, with all of the attention and extra bits that make them so special. 

bodygoodies is known for beautiful soaps, but aside from beautiful, theyre known and trusted because they are GOOD soaps. what makes them good is the formula. what makes them good is knowing what to use, how much of what to use and when to mix and when to pour, when to cut and when to sell. getting the balance right, between conditioning and cleansing, getting the balance right between being long lasting and yet soft enough to do your skin favors. theres a lot that goes into making a great bar of soap. making soap is easy, making good soap is science. 

bodygoodies is also known for its skincare aspect -- we treat a lot of skin here! ive been a licensed esthetician for nearly 17 years now, and although i love helping people with their skin, and being a trusted place for product for your skin, at the end of the day, i was a soap maker before i was an esthetician. i will choose to be a soap maker over being an esthetician every time. every day.

and although we do treat a lot of skin, we also dont :) there are so many people that use bodygoodies simply because they like a nice bar of soap!! its not about eczema or acne, they just like real soap that smells good and works good. guess what?  we have that! and i like that aspect of the business a lot. i dont always feel like talking acne, or psoriasis, sure, i can help you with it.... but i dont want that to be all i do. i dont want every product i make to be " FOR SOMETHING" i just want to make some kickass stuff that is healthy, safe to use and works awesome. for anyone. skin issue or not. 

thats something i had to recently take on board. i have such a huge sense of pressure and responsibility to deliver all sorts of products because people depend on me for their skin care. people trust, love and want what i make, and that is such an incredible, amazing, rewarding feeling!! but at the end of it all, i just love making soap. thats where it all started, and if it ends up coming back to just that, i will still sleep at night. its my first love, its my real love and its what i will choose to do every time. 

you know, i have dreams of actually retiring someday but i know im too much of a busy body to ever really not work... and in my little dream bubble floating over my head i picture a barn, a soap barn...next to my barn of all of my animals... and in my soap barn i am putzing around with all of the fresh herbs ive grown on my little farm making tinctures and crushing bits up to use in my next batch of soap that is whatever the heck i feel like making --- and maybe once a week, open up my barn door and letting people come in to get their soaps. no pressure, no demands, you get what i made if you want it and if not oh well ill go feed my little piggies and round up some sheep with my 8 australian shepherds. lol  my point, i dont think ill ever quit soap. 

enough about my dreams, lets talk about my plans. the real ones happening now. i plant to launch a line of these simple type soaps coming relatively soon. production on them starts this week. once i have them all made, and cured, they will be released for sale. they arent made, cut or cured yet, so i cant give you a price until then, however, i can tell you it will be less than the 12.50 our bars we make now cost. and i can also tell you that once these are released, our other bar prices will be going up, because they have to. 

the bars we currently make will still be made. i will always be dreaming up bars using ridiculously expensive essential oils, take way too much prep work and time, all sorts of things i can add to it, milks, clays, botanicals etc. I have way too much creative energy to burn than only make the simpler soaps. but they will be priced accordingly. they will be more expensive, as they should be.  they are special. they will be cut in the same big chunky size soap cakes with all of their artistic beautiful tops and design throughout. they will be the bg bars youve come to know and love over the last 14 years. they will not change, other than just throwing some new ones out there in the mix because i cant not. 

the other soaps i am planning to start making will be more streamlined, im going to make quite a few initially and we will see what sticks. what the demand is for, what the feedback is. heck, it might be real short lived if it isnt well accepted, or... it could be something potentially so popular that i have to increase production... dont know until we try. right? right. i just want to be able to offer everyone something affordable, and great, without it having to break the bank -- i hope you all can bear with me and the business as we take this little detour on these untraveled roads until we see where we are getting to and if we like it here or not ;)

any questions or comments feel free to drop em in the facebook post.

 until next, ill be busy swimming!