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…..


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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