Friday, January 28, 2011

Announcement - We're taking a Break

Well, I have a rather large and important announcement.  I've thought long and hard about this for several months now, talked to my husband about it and my friends, had discussions back and forth and, just this weekend, I came to a big decision.

I've decided that I will be closing down Soaperstar for the time being. 

In the time that it's been in existence, I've learnt a lot about myself - what I like, what I don't like, what I can do and what I can't do, what my limitations personally, emotionally, professionally, and spatially are.  I've learnt that I ADORE soapmaking and love making loads of other body products - I love the experimentation the best of all.  I get excited like a big kid when I work on something, even if it doesn't work out because then I have the challenge of trying to fix it and working out why it didn't work in the first place (witness my recent tussle with the Pomegranate Noir soap!). 

I love to build a recipe, to understand why I'm adding the different ingredients, to adding those buidling blocks together and see how they interact - I just adore the puzzle of it, the endless questions about "can I do this", "what if I add that", "why does this happen when I add X but not Y".  I don't always get the answers right but I like trying.  And once I've worked on something, I like moving on to a variation, to something new, to another challenge. 

What I didn't anticipate when I started was the HUGE amount of work that goes into starting a business, no matter how small it is.  Producing something for sale, making decisions about what it should be, what colour, what fragrance, what ingredients, does it do what it's supposed to do, what is my target market, will they buy this, how is it to be packaged, what colours and designs will the packaging be, how will I send it out, how will sell it, where will I sell it... honestly I could write reams of paper about the number of decisions that you have to make for each and every product that is sold.  And then someone comes along and says, yeah your soap is nice but do you do body butters... so you make body butters and have to make all those decisions again .. then someone says, yeah 100ml jars are nice but do you do 200mls? So you have to look and see if there'd be enough demand, how much would the change in packaging cost, does your supplier supply the new size, what should you charge, what should you offer that size in and so on and so forth.  I didn't have a notion quite how many questions you could ask yourself in one day - plus I hadn't copped on to the fact that there was only one person to answer all those questions - me!!!

Some of you might be aware that I also work full-time in education - the reason I got into soaping in the first place was to de-stress from that job, one I find actually very stressful indeed.  I needed a hobby to focus my energies on, and found that I had a huge creative streak (or, at least, I like to think so) and it needed to be expressed - apparently, through the medium of soap! So I made soap and I was excited and happy. 

Being the typical Type A personality, I have to always do the ultimate job I can do, there are never half measures - I drive myself harder than I would anyone else and I'm my own worst critic.  I also jump in with both feet and put my heart and soul into everything I do; now, that's a great thing if you're the person buying the products because you know that I'll have done everything in my power to make the product the very best it can be.  For me, working a full time job and coming home to another full time job, it's not such a great thing, long term. 

For some time, I've suffered from major tiredness issues moving on recently into total exhaustion.  This past week has shown me that I needed to take a step back and look at what I could do to resolve that issue - in the long run there are several options but they'll take time to implement.  What could I do in the short term? And I looked at what gave me pleasure and what didn't, anymore.  Soaperstar has given me huge pleasure but has, in the last few months, also proven an enormous amount of work - the paperwork, the regulations, the promotion, marketing, sales, shipping, designing etc all take such huge time.  Notice I haven't mentioned the making there.  The making, the R&D part I love so much, was becoming a smaller part of the whole - the part I liked was being swallowed up by all the other things around it.  I wanted the "glitter and kittens" part of what I loved (the mad scientist experiments) but the other million jobs still had to be done and I was running out of energy, fast. 

So, in discussion with my husband and my friends, I've made a decision to put me first - to do what I love doing, to make what I want to make, when I want to make it, how I want to make and with whatever I want to make it from.  So, up til now, I've been limited to 1% citrus essential oils in anything - well next soap I make will have 3% citrus oils and who's gonna stop me?! There's a world of US fragrance oils I've not been able to use (because you can't if you sell to the EU) and I want to use them.. so, guess what? I'm going to! I'm going to take all my oils and butters and fragrances and I'm going to make stuff for me, I'm going to have the best fragrances ever, I'm going to take my most expensive extracts and use them on me! In the past, I've always used the spare bits, the ends of things, the leftovers.  Well, no more, I have decided... it's all about me!

I am being flippant really - I have enjoyed Soaperstar in the main, I have learnt so many things along the way and made lots of new friends (I can't even remember if they were customers first or friends first but it doesn't matter now, they're friends now).  I found out what I liked and what I didn't like and I know what I can and can't do .. and what I should and shouldn't do. 

So, I'm taking an extended break, perhaps forever - I need to see what I want to do and when I want to do it.  I'll keep the website open for the stock that's on there at the moment but I won't be putting any new stock up there.  I'll keep up the blog, of course, because I love writing this and I'll keep up the Facebook page cos I love showing off what I've made and I love the comments.  Really, the only thing I'm going to stop doing is running a business ... all the other things, the fun things, the things I like, I'm going to keep doing and enjoy doing. 

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's supported me, purchased from me, commented on my soaps or body butters or helped me in any way during this whole time.  I won't be going anywhere, but where I'll be, I'll be a lot happier and, hopefully, far less tired doing it!!!

Sayonara Soaperstar, it's been a blast!


  1. It sounds like you've made the best decision. This has been such a helpful post for me because I've been considering selling soon. The problem is that I don't want to HAVE to make anything. I just want to make it when I want to make it and with whatever I want to make it with. So thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this matter as it is helpful to others as well. Good luck with your break and rest and I'm looking forward to all your new posts of fun things you've made. :)

    I can't quit thinking about making a buttermilk and honey soap since I saw your post about it. :)

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Holly - if I did it over again, I'd think long and hard first of all. I'd ask myself why I wanted to sell, did I NEED to or WANT to (either answer could lead you in a different direction). I'd get things more prepped beforehand than I did and, well I guess I'd know more about what was ahead of me. There's lots of stuff going on for me at the mo (my Dad has been ill lately and needs possible surgery) so lots of things lead me here. Would I do it again? Yes I might one day.. but differently. If you need a hand with anything, don't hesitate to give me a shout, happy to advise where I can or give a hand with something. And I am dying to try that soap myself ... next one will have real cream in it!

  3. Hi Celine

    Thank you!!! I say thank you because reading your post as made me feel better about the way i'm feeling at the moment about missymoomoo and sam. Sadly though i'm falling out of love with the way it takes over my life and is sadly effecting time with my children who are growing up so fast! I'm taking a few months to think about it just like you did to make sure i'm making the right decision. I love what i do just like you and get very excited when i make something i've designed by myself but i understand how you feel about the business side of things too.

    I think you've made the right decision for yourself (oooohhh all that soap you can make just for you...). Good Luck, i'll still be following you (not in a stalkerish kinda way) and will look forward to seeing all your new creations you made for the hell it.

    Gail xx

  4. Can imagine how much you've been worrying and fretting over this decision and getting yourself upset, so you should be proud of yourself for announcing it and making it all about you. You have worked so hard and deserve some rest and be happy with your soapmaking again.
    All the best Honey xxxxx

  5. Wise choice, Celine, a hard decision I'm sure..but in the end you've chosen to put your sanity first and that's the Zen thing to do. Find the pleasure in soaping again, never mind about the demand. It's what kills the muse anyway. Blessings, dear, and I would still love to review your soap, so keep that in mind!

  6. I'm really shocked to read this Celine, but it sounds like you're doing the best thing for you at this moment in time. It would be awful to see you start to get jaded with Soaperstar because it was turning into a stressful chore rather than a thing you love, so you're doing the right thing. Mega hugs to you! xx

  7. So sorry to see you go although I have enjoyed your blog / facebook posts and newsletters. What ever you decide to do - have fun! Best wishes

  8. I am also sorry to see you go... I imagine you may still post here from time to time about your experiments? Are you just letting the store go? Sounds like you have a made a great decision for you. xo Jen

  9. Thanks so much everyone! Gosh what a huge swell of support for my decision, I'm overwhelmed I have to say!

    Gail - I think if it's right to stop, then it's right. I tried and tried and tried to find different ways to make it work for me and it did, for a while, but eventually it just wasn't a good match for me right now. In the future, who knows?

    Ms Bong - I will be sending it, want one of the buttermilk ones to cure out cos I want to include one of them too but I will, for sure, be sending.

    Jennifer - I'll definitely still be blogging and on Facebook... I enjoy them too much to give those up! And anyway, I love showing off too much! I'm just letting the store go - no hard sell, no marketing, no BUY ME! and all that ... if someone fancies something I make, then they can buy it (we'll sort something out via PayPal I guess) and if they don't, well they don't.. all the more for me LOL

    Cheers - to everyone, for your support and love!

  10. could have knocked me over with a tail-feather when I read this post Celine! A brave move,but well thought through by the sounds of it and the right thing for you at this moment in time ~ later...who knows?

    Onwards and upwards...enjoy what comes,

    Lilli x

  11. Celine good on you for your decision, luckily you made it before you got in too deep and had invested too much money in it.

    I have been there many a time over the past 6yrs doing this full time, when the going has gotten rough I have looked at it all and said what the hell am I doing. Is it all worth it, then reflected and looked at well what would I be doing instead, would I be happy. Is the money of a high paid job working for the man worth it or do I want my freedom like I have now. It is hard, each job or method of earning a living comes with some painful bits. The biggest thing presently is the fatigue, not only physical but mental.

    I am on a mission currently to heal my body, something that I have put off for quite some time. It's about the me time, I know if I don't do what I am currently doing there will be no more me long term so it is in a way quite critical.

    I contracted some common viruses that cause cronic fatigue and other associated problems over the past 5yrs or more and didn't realize what they could do to the system when combined and what the long term effects would be much less add the aging factor on top. I am learning, always learning and taking action before it is too late. It has required a complete change of eating habits which some would certainly not cope with.

    I understand fully about customers asking can you do this can you do that, problem is we want to oblige or feel kind of obligated, it's kind of a tug of war that goes on in the mind.

    It's all about the what if's. The biggest thing about doing a business like this is about if you are making money, is it profitable if one was to take it to a full business level with rent and staff or are we just playing shop.

    It is hard going and certainly not easy which ever decision is made about the business. The main thing is to ensure you are happy, if not then change it just like you did.

    I wish you well in your future with whatever you do, the main thing is to look after our bodies. Sadly we can't trade them in and get a newer later model without all bumps, dents and mileage on it. Take care hugs Sharon

  12. What an inspiring message Sharon and thank you for the time taken to write it - you are far far busier than me! I totally agree, we do need to take care of ourselves - if there's no us, then there's no fabulous creations! And pity we can't trade ourselves in, I'd go for a thinner model, at least 20 years younger LOL ... I will still be making and showing off cos I love it and have no intention of stopping, just not doing the hard sell anymore; doing my own thing, floating my own boat ... the sense of freedom it's given me is immense. You take good care of yourself Sharon, the world would be a far less colourful and fragrant place if you didn't! xx


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