The craftsman vs the retailer

It’s dawning on me that there is a huge conflict of interests between ‘craft’ and ‘business’.

I make my natural products because i LOVE it.

I love my beautiful little studio. I love the big pot of herby tea i always brew when i first get in there – and manage to drink whilst still warm (other mums will understand the rarity of this). I love listening (uninterrupted) to the radio. I love gazing out of the window onto the leafy park below. Watching the seasons change month by month. I love putting on one of my many aprons, and rolling up my sleeves, switching on the huge weighing scales and measuring out great hunks of butters and waxes. Heating up the stockpots and stirring in the oils.

Carefully does it. A tiny little at a time. Only at the optimum temperature – otherwise the oils spoil. I am engrossed in the process. Watching the pot, watching the clock, eye on the temperature. And when it works – its fantastic. Something i’ve created from my bare hands. The joy of ‘being’ the process – from start to finish. I think its called ‘flow’.  (check out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, hungarian psychologist, and his theories of ‘flow’, ‘happiness’ and ‘creativity’).

And i also do it because i believe what i’m making is beautiful, and lovely and so so deliciously gentle and nourishing. Its perfect. Or it is to me…..

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And then there’s retailing. A whole different species.

The focus in retail seems to be gaining as much benefit (i.e. profit) as you can with the least effort possible. Maximise profit, minimise cost. Yeah, i understand that. I mean, i understand the concept, and i understand why people would want to subscribe to that concept. But i’m afraid, that just aint my driving force.

I’ve been asked by a retailer (a really big one at that) to make a liquid baby wash. Unfortunately i have a couple of issues with this, and as such, will be unable to satisfy that request.

I do not make anything that has a water content. This a conscious choice for me, for two reasons.

1.If you include water in a product, you risk it developing bacteria. Any product that has water present therefore requires a preservative. Some modern synthetic (i.e. chemical) preservatives have been shown to cause various health problems. I dont do chemicals on my skin….

2. I have a moral issue with water based products. They are mostly water. And you the consumer are paying through the nose for that water. Its the biggest money-spinner around.

So y’see – business/retail/selling doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m afraid i have too strong a moral compass to concentrate solely on the cash.

I’m hoping my little crafty natural skincare business will do well on the strength of its quality products. I’m not out to make a fast buck. Aren’t we all supposed to be in this together?

 

 

 

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Roll up, roll up, hear ye! hear ye!

So Bare Bodycare had a trip away from the studio today.Image

I was deliriously excited to be asked to be interviewed live on BBC Radio Newcastle today about my little business. Any opportunity to rave on about my natural baby skincare obsession is a true delight for me. But to be able to rave on to hundreds (?) of listeners was an utter joy.

You know when you love something and you cant stop talking about it? Thats me. About this. And wow – to be ASKED to talk – free to blab on and on – it was a dream come true! I am now bursting to do it again. Give me an audience. Anyone who’ll listen. I LOVE this stuff. Nature! Babies! Skincare! Whats not to love????!!!

And thankfully, i didnt sound too much like an idiot. I believe i came across quite calm and professional.That was the plan. I’m so proud of myself. Maybe i AM a business woman after all…… So proud.

Pity i managed to drive through part of the hedge as i reversed out of the BBC carpark. Pride intact, but a few scratches to the paintwork.

When you’re winning

It feels amazing to have had one of my natural baby skincare products recognised in The Green Parent Natural Beauty awards this year. Image

I know my beautiful baby products are wonderful. And i know how hard i’ve worked to develop the range over the past couple of years. And i know how deliciously soft my son’s skin is as a result. And i know i how very much this little business means to me.

It is another ‘baby’. I conceived the idea. I have watched it grow from a tiny seed, and it is just beginning to sit up on its own. We’ll be crawling next.

But to have a product of mine (baby massage oil) voted for by parents and beauty reviewers, has given me the most overwhelming joy.  It can be very hard to keep the momentum going when you work for yourself. Self-belief isnt always a given.

This award has been the most wonderful acknowledgement – of the time, and effort, and thought, and love and patience that has gone in creating my little business. Thank you so much. It is giving me the momentum to keep on keeping on.

 

 

Sold out

So I’m off to deliver a wholesale box of products to one of my larger suppliers this week. Seems that they keep selling out of my baby wash bar.Image

I still cant believe that i ‘created’ this skincare range from scratch. Ha – amazing how quickly we forget the hard work! Bit like how quickly we forget those early days with a newborn – the sleep deprived fog, and limping from one day to the next in milk stained clothes with birds nest hair. Still got the hair mind you…….

But i DID put a LOT of work into these products. It took me around 12 months to perfect the wash bar recipe itself. A little more of this, a little less of that……I wanted more bubbles……i wanted a creamier lather……i wanted to leave my son’s skin with a very light layer of shea butter. I spent hour after hour in the studio practising and making batch after batch – just to get it right.

I wanted exact dimensions for the bar too. It had to be a certain circumferance so that it would fit neatly into the palm of my hand. I wanted my logo in the bar – i think it makes it look like a beautiful little shell. So i crafted prototypes in clay. Each prototype by hand. Each with a hand carved ‘swirl’. I sanded and dusted and smoothed each clay piece until it was perfect.

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And then the mould. I poured liquid silicone over the clay pieces and created a unique, bespoke, one-of-a-kind mould for my one-of-a-kind wash bars.

You wont find this bar, this combination of ingredients, in this size, in this shape, with this design, anywhere else…….anywhere. Yes, i’m quite proud of that. And isnt my son a really lucky boy?

I did it all for him.