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Monday, December 17, 2012

Friendly Competition

Sad to say, my previous experiences with other soapers at craft shows haven't been all that memorable.  I hadn't experienced the comraderie that should exist between two people with the same passion; I've either been acknowledged with an aloof nod or I've gotten the vibe that I am Serious Competition to be Feared not Friended, in spite of my efforts to the contrary.  But last weekend I finally had a different experience.  Lisa of Lisa's Handcrafted Soaps, two tables away, noticed me first and came over to introduce herself.  Within minutes we were pals, discussing--as soapy pals do--lye volcanoes, soda ash and mold sizes, for starters.  We took turns checking out each other's stuff while the other one acted as a lookout in case a customer stopped by the unmanned table.

Of course we had to do a soap swap.  Decisions are not usually easy for me.  My first choice was easy, however.  She makes liquid soap, something I've never tried.  It was one of my goals this year, but in spite of my grand plans, I just didn't get my experiments started. She gave me several pointers and prodded me to try making my own.  Anyway, I chose her unscented bastile liquid soap (and could not wait to get home to try it out).
My second choice (a tougher decision!) was a bar of avocado soap which contained a high percentage of avocado oil, along with comfrey leaf and cedarwood essential oil, all of which I've never tried before.



Lisa, being even more indecisive than I am, asked me to choose two of my bars for her.  I chose my eggnog soap because the scent is flat-out delicious and the bar contains egg yolk, which she had never tried as well as my most popular beer soap, with a honey ale fragrance.  I'm hoping that she's inspired to try making her first batch of beer soap after using one.

I appreciated and share her attitude about multiple handmade soap vendors at a venue--there's enough room (and dirty bodies!) for all of us. We both sell soaps and similar bath products but we have our own unique twist when it comes to ingredients and looks. It's not as if we're both peddling the same mass-produced products.  And all of us (not just the soapers) were at the event in hopes of making money, so in reality, we were all in competition for sales. Why get worked up over it?  In spite of the "competition," business was brisk for both of us.


For all our chatting, we were nearly the last people out of the place.  We finally packed up our unsold products (both of us use Bramble Berry boxes to tote our stuff around!) and hope to catch up with each other next year. (And whew--now that everything has been properly photographed, I can tear into my new stuff!)

8 comments:

  1. What a sweet post & story!! I have been running into more soap makers at markets lately and I always go seek them out, like you, and introduce myself. They usually seem pretty friendly at first. This past weekend, the other soap maker came around my stall. I offered her a sample, as I do to everyone that stops by. The next time I walked by her stall, she had changed her stall around, incorporating some of the ways I display (open soap to sniff)... oh well. We are open to competition. As you, i prefer it to be friendly. We can come together and help each other out. Also, the other soaps are usually so different to my own. We all have different focuses. And as you say, there are enought dirty people out there for all of us!! Christmas hug for you, xoxo Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jen! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I guess it's complimentary that she so admired what you do that she felt she should imitate it! A blizzardy Christmas hug to you, too! :)

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  2. That is so great to hear, Amy! I really makes me happy when soapers can have that friendly camaraderie together and be able to help each other out like that! =)

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    1. Meeting her made my day! She really inpired me to attempt liquid soaps after the holidays--I can't wait.

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  3. I know exactly what you mean! I often have this happen to me and it can be extremely off putting. I think there is room for all of us!

    I would talk soap with you anytime! I don't even mention that I'm a soaper when I see booths at craft shows or markets, because more often than not, people turn weird and cold and it's not worth the hassle.

    I met one dude at a (terrible) craft show we were both working and we talked each other's ears off and then swapped soap. It was great!

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    1. So I'm not the only one that's had a negative experience? It makes me feel a little bit better, but it's still perplexing. Looking back at one bad experience I had almost makes me laugh now, but it was so absurd and immature.

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  4. Hmmmm, never thought to swap soaps with a fellow soapmaker at a craft show - what a great idea! I love seeing what others are doing and chatting about soap. Don't get to do it very often!

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    1. It was my first soap swap at a craft show, too. It was so fun examining each other's stuff and sharing advice and information.

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