Inspiring Soap Maker: Jennifer Young (Part 2 of 2)

Here’s the second half of my interview with Jennifer Young of Naturalmente Mediterraneo and Jenora Soaps.  In case you missed the first part (questions 1-5) of the interview, you may find it here.

If you have any questions about the soap business, please don’t hesitate to ask Jennifer. Not only is she passionate about what she does, but she is also passionate about inspiring people. 🙂

6.  What are your most saleable products?

50 to 60% of what we sell is soap. They all sell pretty well.  Maybe our 3 best selling soaps are Orange Poppyseed (Exfoliating), Andaluz (Gentle) and Green Clay (for oilier skin).  If a soap doesn’t sell well, we cut it from the line, like for example our Aloe Vera soap was our slowest seller (I believe that is because it is very common, there are already so many on the market) so we cut it, but as it has a fresh, minty essential oil blend, we will bring it back seasonally for the summer. As for moisturizers, our Oliva hand and body cream sells well, as well as our Rosehip cream for the face.  Our best selling scrub is Orange poppyseed and our Moisturizing Serums are relatively new but selling well.  It often depends on the venue and the time of the year.  I keep a very detailed record of every product that sells, where and when it sells and we analyze the data at the end of each month.

7.  Personal favourites?

Our Goat Milk soap – I adore the scent, a blend of patchouli and geranium essential oils. I love the creamy lather.

Lavender Rosemary Moisturizing Salve – I use this every night before bed on my hands, legs and feet. It is soothing, moisturizing and so comforting.

Our new Oasis Moisturizing Facial Serum with Rosehip & jojoba oils among others… I love the neroli in the essential oil blend.

8. What is your favourite soap additive? Essential oil?

Soap additive – Essential oils.  I am passionate about essential oils.  I love researching them, experimenting with them and blending.

Essential oil – I have so many favourites and this also changes.  Lavender is probably my all time favourite, I adore Patchouli and Bergamot.  I also love Sweet Orange and Vetiver.

9.  Soaping tips or tricks you wish you knew early on?

I have loved the whole process of discovery and learning and would not want to have speeded that up.  So I don’t think there is anything that I wish I knew early on.  I continue to research, learn and discover things. At one point, I ruined an entire batch (100 bars) of our most expensive soap because the lye hadn’t mixed in properly. But in the end, I am glad it happened because it meant we changed the production process and now we always strain the lye mix when pouring into the oils.  Most of the time, I find that something great is learned from our mistakes.

10.  What advice would you give to soapers thinking of turning their hobby into a business?

–   It is possible to make a living from soap making.  However, it may mean re-defining what “making a living” means to you and reducing your lifestyle.

–   You may wish to consider selling other products as well.  For us, unfortunately soap, the product I most love making, is the product with the lowest profit margins.  So we introduced other natural skin care products as well.

–   It is very important to know how to run a business.  Numbers, pricing, organization & prioritizing are keys.  Selling is as important for the business as making good soap, so if you want to enjoy running a soap making business, you had better enjoy selling or employ someone who does!

–   Don’t waste any negative energy on the competition. Focus more on your own products uniqueness and identity. What makes your product different from others?

–   Patience is important.  If you have a good product, the clients and sales will come, but it may take time.  If you want it to happen quicker, you need to bring them in.  Opening a shop or a website does not mean that people will somehow find you, you need to do a lot of work to bring them there, from advertising to markets to fairs, social networking.

Naturalmente M 2

At the store front.

Naturalmente Mediterraneo JRY in Shop

Jen with her beautifully packaged soaps.

Thank you so much for this interview, Jen!  May your success continue to grow, and may you always be a source of joy and inspiration to many. 🙂


25 thoughts on “Inspiring Soap Maker: Jennifer Young (Part 2 of 2)

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you so much Claudia! So glad that you enjoyed the interview! I always enjoy the interview process because it really makes me reflect and sum things up. Also I get awesome comments and questions from people I may have inspired! Thank you! Xo

  1. Amy@10th Ave.

    I’ve really enjoyed this 2-part interview, Sylvia! Thanks for putting it together. And Jen, I’ve always loved your blog and your upbeat, inspiring attitude and wish you many wonderful years of doing what you love! (And I have to say that I’ve long admired your sharp logo, but seeing it on your storefront with those awesome green doors makes it really stand out!)

    1. Jennifer

      Amy, So nice to hear from you!! Thanks for your awesome comment! The shop front was a biggie for us, as it had to say a lot of things… natural & artisan (the shop sign couldn’t be plasticky or flashy so we opted for a local ceramicist making the sign with handmade tiles), it had to be bold enough to attract attention… We started with white doors, toyed with the idea of going back to dark natural wood… we added a black awning with our website and lights above so that people can see the shop when going by at night on the touristy summer trolly. We had aloe vera plants out there for some time but they got robbed… except for the robbing part, it’s all been pretty fun, growing and developping little by little, adding something new from time to time… Glad to hear you like the doors and sign!! xoxox Jen

  2. ecovioletsoap

    Thanks Silvia and Jen for the interview! Your tips on managing the business of soap is very helpful. I am still on the fence on selling my soap. I love the process of discovery and learning too and would be happy to do that all day. On the other hand, there is only so much of a stockpile of soap one can build up. It would be great to work in an area that I love (soapmaking fits the bill for me) but Jen, you are right about “re-defining what “making a living” means to you and reducing your lifestyle.” I will play a bit before diving in to selling, seems like I am learning something new everyday and having a blast!

    1. Jennifer

      Ecoviolet, Thank you for your comment. I love to hear your excitement and enthusiasm for soap making and whatever you decide, I hope that never leaves you!!! xoxoxo Jen

  3. Roxana

    What an inspiring interview Silvia!!! I just LOVE and admire how above all she is still loving the process of soapmaking. Sometimes when you launch into the world of managing a business you get bogged down in the process and forget how much you enjoy making the products. Thank you for doing this 🙂

    1. Jennifer

      Roxana, I agree with you that running a business can take over sometimes from the whole reason why I am doing this – To make a living doing what I love most. The business side of things can really bog me down and if I let it control me, I could be doing business things most of the time. So, that is why I remind myself daily of core value number 1. If emails or quotes have to take a little longer to go out sometimes, that’s okay. I often just shut the computer down and get back to creating. Shipping product orders is something that we never delay though. Customer service to someone who has placed and order and payed is a big priority. Thanks for your awesome comment! xo Jen

  4. Cee

    Great interview Silvia! I am a huge fan of Jennifer’s products and style, she is fun to watch and an inspiration. Thank you to her for sharing, and thank you Silvia for bringing it to us! =)

  5. soapsudsations

    Thank you Silvia and Jennifer for this wonderful post. Jennifer, your store is so lovely and you are amazing. Thank you for sharing your passion. I’d love to come and see your store in person one day.

    1. Jennifer

      Soapsudsations, Thanks for your lovely comment! I would LOVE to see you at the shop one day and would give you the full tour of the studio!!!! xo Jen

  6. Infusions

    Thank you for your time and effort for putting this interview together, Silvia and Jennifer. I admire Jennifer’s persuit of her dream, her creativeness and her business sense.

    1. Jennifer

      Infusions, Thanks for your sweet comment. Had a peek at your blog and your soaps and your photography look wonderful! xoxoxo Jen

  7. DivaSoap

    Thank you girls for this interview, it’s always a pleasure reading your blogs. You both spread good spirit, love and positive thinking and Jen makes everything looks easy, which we know is not. Her passion is an engine which makes everything goes right way!

  8. Jenny

    Great interview, Silvia! Jennifer, your journey is very inspiring, and I appreciate you sharing your story and advice. Your soaps are beautiful, and the shop looks amazing! Best wishes to you, and I hope you continue to have lots of success doing what you love!

  9. Anonymous

    Hi Silvia, Jennifer, I know I’m late writing in here..but thats ok i suppose 😉 Loved every bit of advise and it is so inspiring. Have been making soap for personal usage for over a year now & have just taken a few steps to initiate my business. Soap making is something I love doing and have been reading lot of books/blogs to educate myself on this subject and I’m gonna follow both to learn few tips & tricks & to keep myself connected with inspiring people like you guys.

    1. soapjam Post author

      Always happy to hear to have inspired someone. 🙂 Wishing you success and fulfillment on a business you are passionate about. 🙂

  10. Susan

    I am WAY late to the party! What a thorough, interesting interview! Thank you both, Silvia and Jen, for sharing your thoughtful questions and answers! Very inspiring!


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