“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Back in November 2013, I used this photo of a key as my Facebook cover photo. I had just registered my business, Jezebel Soaps and the key represented my newfound understanding that achieving one's dreams was within one's power - that achieving my dream of owning an artisan business was within my power. I could use my creative energy to generate income in a way that brought me self-satisfaction and joy. The key was within reach, I just had to extend my arm and grab hold. And so I did.
In today's world of self-help gurus and motivational memes, that may seem like an awfully trite realization, but it felt HUGE to me at the time. Life Altering. I was someone who "let life happen" and always tried my very best to maneuver my way down the road that arose before me. I had put my faith in God or destiny and had been willing to passively watch my life unfold as it would. So to grab that power for myself, to take control of my life, and to choose my own path, felt like a giant shift in my reality.
Then I went to work. I registered my business, designed my brand, created my packaging, and started producing and selling soaps. I forced myself to overcome my natural shyness and grew in confidence. Soon, I had built a little side hustle company that quickly prospered. I was selling my soaps at many markets, art shows, and festivals each weekend, traveling to Toronto and Sarnia and places in between. My soaps were sold in stores as far away as South Carolina and California. What had begun as a cleared workspace on a bench in my garage had turned into my own little studio and retail space.
But financial prosperity remains elusive. I have mastered the "artisan" part but not the "prosperous" part. Faults and excuses are plentiful. My original labels with their fun names of "Trollop", "Hussy" and "Floozy" etc. had outlived their charm - so I discontinued them. And with them went my wholesale clients. My beloved organic perfumes found only a teeny tiny niche market when the general population shunned perfumes. And my dear little shop, (as much as I love it), just doesn't draw the numbers of customers I'd hoped for. Mostly, I blame my own lack of focus. I let myself become distracted by outside influences and erred too many times in an attempt to please others instead of being true to myself.
You might think, that as I edge closer to 60, I would be looking to unwind my business, to slow down, and to "pack it in". But the very opposite is true. My creative energy is overflowing, I am filled with new ideas, and I am determined to find the prosperity I am seeking. This has all led to some sleepless nights and a lot of introspection. My soul searching has led me back to the fall of 2013, and the original dream I had for my Jezebel Soaps. I summoned the dream vision from my memory and examined it closely. I discovered it wasn't visions of markets, art shows, and festivals. It wasn't visions of interacting with people, trying to sell them my products. It wasn't even a vision of owning a cute little apothecary shop (although I do love my little shop). It was a vision of soap curing on drying racks; of countertops lined with soap cutters and soap molds; of shelves loaded with jugs of oils, jars of herbs, and bottles of essential oils. I could see it clearly - my dream was never SELLING the soaps, it was MAKING the soaps! And there lies the key!
So say goodbye to Jezebel Apothecary and say hello to The Village Soap Factory! I am rebranding everything. I will continue to create all the same products, but my focus will be on soaps. Natural, utilitarian soaps, infused with herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Skin-friendly, earth-friendly all-purpose soaps that can be used daily in your shower. I'm making soaps for faces, soaps for grubby hands, soaps for acne, shampoo soaps, and shaving soaps. I am formulating laundry soaps and dish soaps. Lots and lots of new soaps that I plan to wholesale to other businesses. I will be keeping my cute little apothecary store (because I really do love it), but I hope that one day, I will outgrow it and move into a REAL soap factory. That's my dream.