What’s up with the soap?
August 26, 2011
It’s been a while since I gave you an update on soap making. So much has been happening. I haven’t really been ready to talk about this publicly. Pretty much because I’ve been scared to. Scared that this business won’t happen. I’m still scared, but I’m tired of being quiet about it. So, I’m letting you in.
We’ve found a supplier for coconut oil out of Kenya. This was truly an answer to prayer that came through my Dr. Bronner’s contact in Sri Lanka. We also have a wonderful shea butter vendor out of Uganda. I’ll be telling you more about these organizations once we’re under contract. Both vendors are addressing poverty in meaningful ways.
I’m in the midst of the permitting and licensing process with the city of Menlo Park. I’ve cleared the planning commission, and now I need to get the business license. I’m not sure what is going to happen next. But, I’m hopeful that we’ll have a business license soon.
We’ve also met once with an attorney to determine if the law firm is a good fit. We need to determine the legal business structure in order to submit the business license application. Charlie (my husband) is meeting with a tax CPA to go over the tax ramifications of our business structure.
Meanwhile, the type of shea butter that is produced in Uganda is different from the shea butter that I was using from Togo. It’s a different sub-species of shea nut. So, I’ve been making soap all week to make sure that this shea butter is going to work well. So far, I’m very pleased with the results. It’s been fun to be back in the swing of things with soap making.
The last time I gave you an update, I thought that we probably wouldn’t be moving forward. But, all the pieces seem to be falling into place. So, Charlie and I continue to put one foot in front of the other to take the next steps. Prayerfully. Listening. Discerning as best as we are able. One thing I’m certain of is that God cares about the poor. He cares about poverty alleviation. If this business doesn’t go for some reason, we’ll move forward with whatever is next. But, I do want to be involved in some way with Fair Trade and with addressing poverty through development. It’s exciting for me to engage with people who care about this. It gives me hope as I engage with vendors who don’t shrink from my hard questions. Honestly, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be appreciating these vendors so much if I hadn’t gone through the process of vendor after vendor being unresponsive after I asked hard questions.
I’m wanting to do some writing surrounding areas that my (hopeful) customers will want to know about. I’m asking for your help here. First, I’ll let you know my list of topics that I think people will be curious about. Would you help me by letting me know areas that you want to know about, but that I haven’t covered? Second, as I write about these topics, will you point out areas that aren’t clear so that I can fix them? I’m using the blog as a way to examine what people want to know about organic, Fair Trade soap. I’ve never done this before, and I would love it if you would help me with my blind spots. Please- ask the hard questions. If you think of it, others will too.
Here are my list of topics:
- Why do you have to use lye in soap?
- The Frustrated Farmgirl story. How did we get here?
- Tell about each of our vendors.
- What’s unique about handmade soap in general and Frustrated Farmgirl soap in particular?
- What’s the line-up of scents?
- Why the name Frustrated Farmgirl?
What am I not thinking of? Thanks for your help!