I have loved to make things my entire life. As an adult, I always had some sort of craft hobby (my career was fairly technical and corporate so I always lacked a creative spark from my 9-5).
I went through all sorts of phases – pottery, jewelry design, leather handbags, knitting, crochet, clothing design and one day stumbled upon soapmaking.
It was a random thing too – I did not know any one who had ever made soap. I had accidentally bought a gallon size jar of extra virgin coconut oil, not realizing it would taste like coconuts and had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t bake much, and had no interest in making fried chicken that tasted like coconut, so I googled “uses for coconut oil”
And soap showed up on the list. I got bit hard by this crafty hobby, and within a few weeks had made more soap than my family could ever use in a lifetime.
Within a few months, the day dreams started. After posting a photos of my swirly designs on Facebook, people asked how they could buy the soaps, which opened up a window of possibility.
At the time, however, I was content in my career and had been with the company I worked at for a long time. No plans to leave – until one day, everything changed.
My wonderful 100-person company was acquired by a 40,000 person mega corporation and not a single thing was left unchanged. Many of my friends were fired on that day, but I was given a new role on the new team. While thankful for the paycheck, I was very unhappy.
Soapmaking took on a new role that year – not only was it my salvation from a miserable 9-5, but I saw it as my future. A fire was lit within me, and a determination to forge a new path began.
As the business grew and I created connections with other soapmakers, I did my best to lift up and encourage others. I had worked in marketing and in leadership roles for so long that I was able to leverage that experience.
And one day I was asked to formally mentor another, just as a volunteer, and after on a short phone call, I knew that had happened for a reason. What if I took all that I had learned, and packaged it with the skills I had spent decades developing, and created a way to help other emerging business owners succeed?
That is the path that has taken me to the Artisan Empire. While I have grown Ridgeway Soapworks (and made plenty of mistakes), I have also build a coaching practice and training program for artisan product business owners who want to build businesses they are proud of.
Why not just work with soapmakers? Well, I make all sorts of products, and honestly, Ridgeway sells more of other products than we do bar soap. Building a team, and scaling product are skills that are not specific to soap.
And the marketing challenges that affect scented product sales also apply to food and beverages.
Feel free to check out the posts, training materials and videos that my team and I have worked to put together. We want you to thrive, to succeed and build an Empire – using whatever definition of that word you choose to use.