The Journey – Debbie Chialtas

26 10 2007


“Oh no!!” I yelled, as I opened the broiler and found my tray of oats on fire.  Lesson One: putting dry oats under a gas broiler flame isn’t a great idea.  But how else do you toast oats?  I don’t know, but oats look pretty horrible mixed into a clear glycerin soap base anyway.  Yuck.

So this is how I started making glycerin melt and pour soaps.  I actually took a very long break after this first initiation.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I rediscovered it in a fit of nesting hormones.  There were still a lot of lessons to be learned: don’t use any kind of ingredient that will spoil, like coconut.  It will just spoil in your soap.  Nasty.  Coffee grounds used in soap can “take barnacles off a boat” as my husband says.  And never leave a pot of melting soap on a burner with the heat turned up too high or else you will spend the rest of the day cleaning soap off of every kitchen surface it boils over onto (but if you wait long enough it will harden and pull off in sheets, which is pretty fun actually).

The most important lesson I have learned, though, is Do Your Own Thing.  When I started Soapylove, I was just experimenting with a new hobby.  I used some books, but loved to try things on my own.  I had an old set of popsicle molds and made my first soapsicles.  They were so cute I made lots of variations and had good luck selling them on Etsy, a discovery I made that launched my hobby into an actual business.  Finding inspiration outside of soapmaking (like in glass art, polymer art, cake decorating, textile design, etc) gave me ideas that didn’t exist in my craft yet.  Some ideas were better received than others, but overall I was encouraged as people purchased my soaps.

Even though I had some pretty disastrous experiences as I learned about glycerin soap making, I am still just as inspired now as several years ago.  I still sell on Etsy, but also sell to many wholesale customers and even have a distributor in Australia.  A book may be in my near future, and my ultimate dream of being a “work at home mom” may be a reality soon.  The journey so far has been very exciting, and I look forward to many more years of soapy lessons!  




One response

27 10 2007

What a cool business you have! Can’t wait til more stuff is up on Etsy in January…

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