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).
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!)