Sunday, April 18, 2010

Featured Crafter: Karina of Soap that Makes Scents

This week's featured crafter is Karina, of Soap that Makes Scents. Her soaps are beautiful, as is her packaging. She was recently featured in the Etsy Storque, in the Quit Your Day Job feature. I am excited to interview someone who is fully self-employed through crafting. As always, I encourage you to join the conversation by commenting.

What is your favorite aspect of "being the boss?"
Is there part of it you don't enjoy?

I love that I'm able to work at my own pace instead of having to strive to meet someone else's deadline--mind you, normally my pace is pretty fast, but it's nice to be able to take a breather and work on something else business-related for a bit and focus my attention there, and then get back to the task on hand. Being a mom as well, I enjoy the aspect of getting to stay with my daughter before she's old enough to start school (which will hopefully be later this year).

The worst part of being self-employed is that there's no such thing as "sick days" or "vacation time" or having someone else take up the slack if I want to slow down in sales or promoting.

What specific sacrifices did you have to make, in order to help make crafting full-time a reality?

I had to give up the luxury of "me" time. There are just not enough hours in the day to run a household, run a business, care for a 3-year-old, spread myself thin around family and friends, and have any moments left over to just sit and relax, or take myself shopping or for a pedicure. Anything tangible that I had to give up was only temporary. I may have had to stop spending money willy-nilly for a while in the beginning, but those things started coming back one at a time once Soap That Makes Scents turned a profit.

Do you enjoy direct retail sales, such as home parties and craft shows? Or do you enjoy wholesale better?

I absolutely love love LOVE selling in person. There's no better feeling at a craft show than the look of divinity on someone's face when they hold a bar of Blue Lazuli to their nose and inhale, and then immediately shove it under their friend's nose saying, "OMG SMELL THIS!!!" I love watching the reaction on people's faces and I know they can appreciate my table being "interactive." They can sniff to their heart's content. Selling at shows introduces me to a customer base I otherwise may not have met, and it's always nice when I meet other Etsy sellers as well.

What sorts of networking channels do you find the most effective?

I belong to a few Work At Home NYC-based groups. I found them by searching online for business groups local to my area. It's a good way to seek out new contacts, i.e. if someone else makes soap, we can share supplier contacts for general things like display units and packaging. The social aspect of it is very important to me--the groups I belong to have about 50 members each. A good portion of our bi-monthly meetings are held in restaurants, so it equals a night out, too. :)

Can you explain what online promotions you do? Of course, we know about bloggy interviews. What else?

Honestly, I hardly do any online promoting anymore. Now, most of my online traffic comes by word-of-mouth or from my business being featured in a magazine. At least twice a year, I provide a slew of soap samples to several sampler programs for distribution--this helps too.

Do you attribute your magazine features to participation in the sampler program? How did you find a legitimate one? I get asked for samples all the time, but I don't send them because it's just a person who wants free stuff. I've also been approached by sampler programs, but I couldn't be sure of their integrity.

Actually, all of the magazines I have been in have contacted me through Etsy--so you really never know who's reading the forums or browsing online. It trickled down from there, as a lot of sister-magazines (affiliates) picked up the story and later on contacted me to be featured in their publication as well. Being featured in Etsy's QYDJ series helped with the exposure as well, since many media people read that blog.

As for sampler programs, I use The Little Black Boxes, and Snowberry Creek. I don't send in samples to people who randomly contact me looking for free stuff, either.

When you take time for yourself, how do you relax? Can you ever just let the business go?

I had to go to Canada for two weeks at the beginning of this year for a family function.
I think I was in a catatonic shock for the entire period because I didn't have my computer with me. Can you count the time I fall asleep to the time I wake up as "relaxation?"

Thanks, Karina, for the interview. Along with Karina's generosity with time, she is also hosting a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive one soap (your choice!) from Karina's Etsy shop.

You may enter the giveaway in several ways, to increase your chances of winning!

1. Heart Karina's shop on Etsy. (1 entry)
2. Sign up for Karina's newsletter by sending her a convo on Etsy (1 entry)
3. Tweet about her shop, and the soap you love most (1 entry)
3. Subscribe to this blog (1 entry)
4. Tweet this blog giveaway (1 entry) You can click the "Tweet me" button--easy!
5. Share this blog giveaway on Facebook (1 entry)
6. Follow @KreatedbyKarina on Twitter (1 entry)
7. Follow @soapcrone on Twitter (1 entry)

For each entry, you must leave a comment here and let us know (it can all be in one comment if you like), with a link if it has one (i.e. Twitter and Facebook) and your username as appropriate. No need to do all of the entries, but it increases your chances of winning if you do.

This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Friday, April 23, 2010, US Mountain time. On Saturday the winnah will be chosen, and I will announce the winnah, and hook up Karina with said winnah to work out the details. Excellent.


  1. I hearted Karina's Etsy shop. I have always wanted to try homemade soap!

  2. Subscribed to your blog. I found you through the Mile High Group on Etsy.

  3. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Hearted Karina's shop. Lovely!

  4. Anonymous5:48 AM

    Signed up for Karina's newsletter after signing up for her facebook fanpage.

  5. Anonymous5:49 AM

    Subscribed to this great site!

  6. never responded to my request for your email address to receive my Newsletter, though :(

  7. Excellent interview! Karina's products look awesome, now I need to go to Etsy and check her site.


  8. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Are you involved in any NYC Farmers' Markets? We live in MA and get to NYC as often as we can...

  9. Hi caretakingcouple---I haven't done any of the Farmers Markets yet...I do most of my shows in Brooklyn or Astoria. If you'd like, you can send me your email address and I can add you to my Newsletter which updates what shows we are going to be at.

  10. It's very lovely. Good work!