1. What’s your name & Your Company Name Jennifer Marie Hofmann (though I just go by Jennifer) Jennifer’s Handmade Soap
2. Why did you decide to go into business? What was your motivation? How long have you been in business? I first start soap making in September 2009. I kind of fell into it by accident. I was writing an article about the history of soap and cleanliness. I’m a huge fan of Old Sturbridge Village (an 1830’s Historical Living Museum in Massachusetts). They were offering a soap class there and I signed up on a whim. Not because I really cared about making “modern” day soap, but because I thought it would be interesting to talk to the teacher about how soap was made in the 1800s for my article. I found the process of making soap interesting and the teacher helped answer some of my historical questions. Didn’t think much about my soap over the next six weeks as it cured, though my house smelled lovely! Then I used it and I was hooked. From there I just kind of took off. I experimented, read, learned, joined chat rooms…I’d conquer one thing and then I was experimenting with a new technique or oil. I never planned to make it a business, but soon I was making more than I could give away to family and friends. My friends kept telling me I should try selling it. My goal was just to sell enough to pay for the “hobby.” Then last year (2012) I jumped in feet first and turned it into a full time business. I’ve loved every moment of it.
3. What products do you make and sell? Cold Process soaps are my true “love.” I was amazed when I started using my soap how I really didn’t need any other bath product. Also, CP soap kind of represented a challenge for me. I love to design and I’m constant trying to come up with new designs for my soap. The idea that I could create my own recipes with whatever properties I wanted also appealed to me. I think some of the items I’m most proud of are my CP Cupcakes soaps. It took a lot of work/practice but I finally got piping down and now I have fun coming up with different designs for cupcakes. I know they’re not the most practical soaps, but sometimes I think you need a soap that will make you smile…it doesn’t always have to be practical.
4. What are your business goals? To be able to support myself by selling soap! I never thought in a million years I’d own my own soap making business, but now that I do I can’t ever imagine giving it up for something else. There’s something special in knowing I made everything I sell myself and that I back it a 100%. I’ve recently been expanding in to wholesale. It’s been one of my major goals for this year. It’s exciting to see that side of my business grow (and hopefully continue to grow).
5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden? Probably your fragrance oils. I love that you list all the details about them (and the choices you offer is staggering!) and the test results you got. It really helps me decide on and know I’m getting a high quality fragrance oil. My two favorites of yours have to be Basil Sage and Mint and Blackberry Bling.
I first tried Basil Sage and Mint fragrance oil because it sounded interested. I sold out the first 15 bar batch in like two weeks. It’s become one of my standards now it’s been (and continues to be) that popular. I love berry fragrances. This past summer I tried a bunch of different ones and this one was so strong and lovely in the soap. I had customers falling in love left and right with it.
Your Website: www.jennifersoap.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jennifersoap