I wish I still had my online shop. I loved making the bath and body products from scratch. I felt, well, useful. But when I did my last military move I realized that I couldn't have them ship my essential oils. I couldn't have them ship my refrigerated ingredients. I couldn't drive cross country in the middle of the summer knowing that my supplies would make the journey. I had to close the shop.
I probably could have reopened the shop after I got settled here in Washington State. I knew though that after being gone from online for over five months that I would have had to of started over with an entirely new customer base. Oh yes and the start up fees to buy all the supplies again would rip holes in my shallow pockets.
I loved being part of the small enterprise system where I shucked off the corporate uniform and struck out on my own. I had a sense of being my own boss and making my own hours. I learned that the hours were long. Making my product didn't take most of my hours, no it was the advertising.
Unlike Julia Bailey in Julia's Child, I didn't have local grocery or retail stores in which to peddle my wares. No my clientele were online and I had to make sure my advertising caught their eyes. You can't physically reach into a monitor and touch the product for sale so you have to make it as appealing as possible. You have to make them want to pay out $2.50 for a lip balm plus another $1.50 for shipping. Or even $6.00 for a soap plus shipping. I realized right off that there were going to be issues with the cost. But because I'm a small business I still had to turn a profit. No one was giving me the ingredients for free and the over head costs had to be figured in too. The only thing I can remember not charging for was my own labor. I never got paid, only the bills did. In the end my shop was more a labor of love than an income.
This post is inspired by the novel Julia's Child by Sarah Pinneo. Worried about what her kids eat, Julia Bailey starts a prepared organic toddler meals business. With names like Gentil Lentil, can Julia balance work and family and still save the world? Join From Left to Write on May 24 as we discuss Julia's Child. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.