We sort of fell into this soapmaking thing. I knew I needed to make totally natural soap - something safe to use on Isla's skin which was covered in teeny tiny little eczema bumps - and started experimenting with melt-and-pour soaps. That was - maybe - two years ago? Quite so.
Then, I went on a cold-process course earlier this year (and wrote this post about it). Since then, I've learnt so much about soap - and so much more than I ever thought I'd need to know after attending that course. The most important thing I took away from the workshop was that you can't be afraid of soap or the soapmaking process (although the whole lye thing still gives me the heebiejeebies).
The rest we've sort of figured out along the way thanks to a magnificent resource section at the library, online and through other soapers who have posted their findings on their blogs, in books and in person. We tried different formulations and recipes, researched to the nth degree about the various soapmaking ingredients and their properties, and came up with something really special.
Our soap is different. It's marvellous. It's soft and lathering and moisturising and more (read more here). Of course I'm delightfully biased but it's true: it's really the nicest soap I've had the pleasure of using. It's also named after our kids: Bean and Boy. Isla, our beautiful Bean. And Finnlay, the Boy.
And then came the business side of things: trade-approved scales, certificates, chemist certifications, insurance, all proper like. We did it all. So much paperwork. So much reading. So many regulations. Exhausting work.
I'm glad we did it, because our little soaps have taken on a life of their own in the last little while. We did our first Farmer's Market last week and it was extremely well-received. People loved the packaging (ha! If only they knew how many hours I'd spent researching, experimenting, researching some more, ordering samples, cutting, stringing, and more... just to get that packaging "just right" - just like it was in my mind), they loved the bars, they loved the "flavours".
And then we launched our online shop at Etsy and made our first sale not long afterwards. Charcoal soap - who would have thought? And then all-of-a-suddenly we were featured as an Etsy Editor's Top Pick. Beer Soap has become a top favourite and a recommend gift for him. Yes, I thought so too.
I'm chuffed. Tired, but chuffed.
Meanwhile, real life has been happening. Isla has turned two. TWO. Was it really two years ago that everything changed? Our amazing little girl has grown up so much - she has opinions, an increasingly surprising vocabulary range, and so many talents. She tells us fantastic stories about piggies and frogs and worms daddy!, imagines all sorts of magical adventures with her toys, and has the most excellent sense of humour. Clever girl.
And so: I haven't disappeared. Not entirely, I've just become that truly crazy person who had a baby, started a business and moved into a house that needs complete renovation from top to bottom all at once. You know, all in a day's work and all that.