Thursday, March 22, 2007

Making Soap As A Fulltime Career.

When her dream of working in law enforcement didn’t quite pan out, Anne-Marie Faiola decided to turn her passion for making soap into a full-time career.

Bramble Berry, based in Bellingham, Wash., now offers more than 2,500 soap-making ingredients like fragrant oils, soap molds, lip-butter flavorings, assorted herbs and botanicals, and even the books and kits to teach anyone to make their own soap from scratch.

I’d been making soap since I was 18 and I loved it. My husband at the time saw how unhappy I was, and encouraged me to quit my job and start selling soap. He said as long as I made $500 a month, we could eat macaroni and cheese and be happy. I didn’t have any lofty ambitions, just to sell 1,300 bars a month, which I figured would be enough to feed us and pay our mortgage.

I placed a huge bulk order of supplies, set up a Web page, and waited. It didn’t take long before I sold everything to seven different soap makers on the West Coast. I was like, ‘Wow, there’s a business here.’ I moved my operation into an office and Bramble Berry was born.

“My clients are mom-and-pop businesses. I just did a customer survey and most of them make less than $250 a month selling soap. Our average order is for about $75. It’s a very seasonal business. Our orders go through the roof in the fall before the holidays. We pride ourselves on our customer service and 24-hour turnaround.

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