Giving up the ‘business’

I’m a problem solver. That’s what I do. Sort things out. It’s one of the things I do best.

Show me a ‘can’t’ and I’ll show you ‘can’. Show me an ‘I dont know’ and I swear I’ll show you an ‘I’ll find out’. Show me an ‘I’m frightened’ and I’ll show you a ‘hell, do it anyway!’

I started making natural skincare products to try and solve the ‘problem’ of my first son’s dry skin. I LOVE learning, so I studied and practised, and I made some lovely stuff for him.

And now, with baby number 2, both my kids benefit daily from their own little bespoke skincare range.

But the thing is, it was never meant to be a business. I guess that has been a byproduct really.

Its great that other people are using and enjoying the stuff. And hey, maybe someone will feel inspired by my journey, and be encouraged to do something to solve their own problem(s).

But I don’t enjoy business. No. Not at all. I enjoy creativity, and beauty, and peace and kindness. I enjoy people and new places, and new challenges, and learning. I enjoy overcoming difficulties, and finding the answer. I enjoy exploring natures gifts – the beautiful oils and herbs that are our natural healers.

But I don’t enjoy business. Not at all.

I enjoy the opportunities that it exposes me to. But I can’t stand the ‘selling’. The ‘transaction’. The value judgement that is made as a result.

I love my products. I love that I have preserved my childrens skin despite eczema, and chicken pox, and this rash, and that allergy. I’m proud of the work I have put into it. But I’m not a natural business woman.

And I’m wondering if and when it might be time to just stop…. After all, I solved the problem didn’t i?

Paying for success……

So an ‘award’ is simply a recognition of quality goods or services right?

Not necessarily so……

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Last year i won a couple of ‘awards’ for my natural baby skincare range.

I submitted products to a panel for review. It was free to enter, and it was such an amazing accolade – to receive praise/recognition for the products i had created.

Following this, i thought ‘i like this awards thing…..I’m going to see what else i could apply for’. So i started looking at the popular baby ranges of cosmetic products, and looking into the ‘awards’ that they displayed on their labels. ‘Great’ i thought ‘ I’ll contact all of these other organizations’ naively believing that it would be as simple as sending in samples of my products for further review.

So it turns out, that for most of the largely recognized magazines and branding organizations, there’s a fee to submit for ‘review’. And that fee is pretty hefty for a small sole trader like me. We’re talking around £100-150 per product.  That’s a fee just to be reviewed. No guarantee that your product(s) will be in line for any sort of ‘award’. No guarantee that you’ll ‘win’ anything.

And this got me thinking about the ‘ethics’ of it all. And that thinking made me feel quite sad.

Are these ‘awards’ really a recognition of a quality product?

I’m not so sure.

Maybe they’re more a reflection of the size of the business owners bank balance. 

Maybe we shouldn’t be so trusting, and so awed by these apparent ‘awards’ on the labels of our baby shampoo and nappies.

It seems that your little business can be really super duper successful, if you’ve got the cash to pay other folks to ‘big it up’. If i was born into a wealthy family, or had a high earning husband, my little brand could be out there competing with the big wigs of the baby industry. My products could be sitting alongside huge names on the shelves of Boots – if i could ‘afford’ it.

How depressing.

I recently featured in a book, and was followed up by a PR company – who enthusiastically told me that i could (and should) be showcased in some national magazines and newspapers – ‘getting the brand out there’ further. ‘Wonderful’ i thought ‘Lets get started. Oh and by the way, whats the fee for your help?’  £500 per day came the reply. I nearly choked on my herbal tea.

So the question is not – ‘ how good is your product?’ 

but ‘ Give me the cash and I’ll tell the world that your product is great’

I think I’ll opt out of that.

I’ll be submitting to The Green Parent magazine again this year. And hopefully to Juno magazine. Neither of which charge for review, and both of which are wonderful, ethical, natural parenting champions. Just the target audience i look for.

I don’t really fancy Boots anyway……..