The Indie Experience
March 5, 2007
A Publication of The Indie Business Network
ISSN 1530-9630 | Volume 8, Issue 9
To subscribe, click here
1. Meet IBN's New and Renewing Members
2. Today On Indie Business Radio: Pushing the PR Envelope
3. Pages Are Turning: People Are Enjoying the Magazine
4. Indie Live!: Network, Have Fun, Learn Something New
5. Indie Candy: Jane Kern Brooks of Beau Savon: The Sky's The Limit!
6. Indie Calendar: Indies, Indies Everywhere!
Canwax | Sarah-Jane Simpson | Canada
* Member since December 2006; Soapmaking and candlemaking ingredients and supplies.
Wick's Wares | Dan Wickware | Texas
* Member since February 2006; In the last seven years we have supplied customers all over the world with our personally tested supplies. We strive to have the highest quality products and that is why we can offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. All of our supplies are created in an environmentally friendly manner.
| Larry Moroni | Florida
* Member since March 2001; Suppliers of raw materials used in hand crafted soaps and toiletries. We supply exotic ingredients such as butters, oils, Aloe Vera and lotion base concentrate.
Columbus Foods | Mike Lawson | Illinois
* Member since June 2000; Soaper's Choice, for all your soapmaking needs.
copy proof.com | Charlon Bobo | California
* Member since January 2002; EditCopyProof is the single and final destination in your quest for extraordinary copywriting, copyediting and proofreading services. The longevity of your business depends on dynamic, action-provoking marketing materials to consistently increase sales. We transform words into profits. Charlon is the guest on today's Indie Live! (member login required)
Zuri Spa Creations | Maurene Mongan | California
* Member since December 2005; We are passionate about providing only the finest natural and organic body care products made from the highest quality ingredients fresh for each order. Our products are formulated to enhance your health, wholeness and individual beauty. If you're looking to pamper yourself, or someone you love - make ZURI SPA CREATIONS your total bath and body experience! You'll love the way we make you look and feel.
Bitter Creek Candle Supply | Donnen St. John |
* Member since February 2004; Bitter Creek carries a full line of MP & CP Soap Making Supplies, Premium Bath & Body Bases, Oils & Butters, Cosmetic Colorants, Micas & Glitters, Cosmetic Ingredients, Waxes, Salts & Scrubs, Molds, Tools & Equipment, Packaging Supplies, Huge Selection of Flavor & Fragrance Oils as well as Candle Making Supplies. We offer Free Tech Support, Fast & Friendly Customer Service, and 2 Locations to serve you in Wisconsin & Texas!
Lois Morin | Strega Moon Candle | Florida
* Member since March 2006; A family owned business that offers clean burning natural soy or palm wax candles. Our latest line Naturally Naked, is olive oil based soaps with skin loving natural emollient ingredients, antioxidants, and pure essential oils. We take pride in educating our customers and the quality of the products we produce, using only the finest ingredients available to create luxurious and affordable products.
Welcome New Members!
Aspara Aromatics | Daisy Tang | California
* Aspara Aromatics brings the restorative spirit of tropical Asian spa philosophy to the home bathing environment. This luxurious, back-to-basics body care collection is inspired by the lush landscapes, pungent aromas and centuries-old health and beauty rituals that characterize this spiritually awakened region of the world.
Air Candy Candles | Michell Caskey | Texas
* Hand poured soy candles since 2007.
Sudz Soap Bar | Kimberly Konell | Oregon
* Handmade bath and body products,soy candles and more.
Visage by Brandy | Brandy Ervin | Nebraska
* At Visage by Brandy we use all natural ingredients. We specialize in mineral foundations both loose and liquid. We also carry a variety of eye shadow and blushes.
Emerald Crest | Linda Ballantine | Florida
* We are committed to using the most healthful, and natural ingredients in our products. We make a wide range of products for all your body care needs from soaps to herbal ointments. Wholesale & retail available.
Ginger's Garden | Irena Marchu | California
* We are purveyors of fine hand made soaps, toiletries, skin care, perfumes and scented products for the home, including soy and gel candles. Come see what we have in store for you!
Candles of Eden | Rosalyn Muhammad | Florida
* Ultra scented wholesale, private labeled and fundraising soy candles.
Tierra de Cabros | Gladys Swaim | Texas
* Tierra De Cabros is a family owned business specializing in bath and toiletry items made with goat milk from our small family farm. We also offer hand poured candles.
Herbal Natures | Melanie McCullough | Illinois
* Herbal Natures specializes in handcrafted total body care. Mineral cosmetics, goat milk soaps, lotions, scrubs, and various sundries. Quality, healthy alternatives, to clean, soften, rejuvenate, and pamper you!
Desert Rose Organics | Angela Rosequist | Nevada
* All natural, handmade, body care products and more.
IBN Members In The News!
IBN member Maggie Hanus of A Wild Soap Bar is pleased that her company has offset 100% of its manufacturing and shipping related carbon emissions for 2007 with Carbonfund.org, the country’s leading carbon reduction and offset organization. "I've been meaning to do this for a long time, but after watching An Inconvenient Truth last month, I was prompted to act." Maggie says the movie is great, but "very scary." Maggie's Yucca Root Shampoo Bar is one way to ditch the plastic bottle and save on fossil fuels.
As a result of IBN's new Media Leads Program, IBN members Renee Deal (pictured) of Deal Farm Soap Co. (check out the newly launched site!) and Lynne Davies of Provincetown SoapWorks were featured in the Boston Globe on March 1. The premise of the article is that people are no longer satisfied with off the shelf products they can buy anywhere. Today, they want something different, and that's what IBN members give them! Congratulations Renee and Lynne! (Note: the reporter conducted her interviews last year so the article refers to Indie Business Network by its former name.)
Learn more about Indie members and their exciting products, services and activities by visiting their websites through our Online Member Directory. You can search for your favorite Indie by state/country, business name, keyword or alphabetical listings.
Well, it's usually all about members, but every now and then, it's just about moms. My friend, mom, fellow business owner and author Rachel Hamman, wants everyone to know about National Mom's Night Out on March 22 at a Bahama Breeze restaurant in your area. Mom, take a deserved break and forget the kiddies on March 22 and go to your local Bahama Breeze to enjoy a Caribbean experience while connecting with other moms in an evening of reckless frivolity. No formula, strollers or diaper bags allowed! Click here for details! And while you're visiting the site, register to win a two night getaway for you and 4 pals to Atlantis resort in the Bahamas!
Show: Pushing the PR Envelope
Guest: Seasoned publicist Sabrina Bouyahi joins me to share ways to incorporate media outreach into your regular marketing activities
How to Enjoy the Show: Log onto Global Talk Radio.com at 1:00pm EST
I Love Indie Business Radio! "I've been listening to your show and each time is like a mini-class in itself. I love it! I've been soaking up all the information and just can't get enough. Keep up the good work! I am learning so much from you and your business" Indie Suzanne Gosh, The Washtub, Collins, MS.
Upcoming Indie Business Radio Guests
March 12: The Cycle of Success
Guest: John Mauntner of Advanced Profit Technologies
Topic: steps to make your company significantly more profitable
March 19: Balance is Bogus
Guest: James Ray, fresh from his appearance in The Secret and the Oprah Winfrey Show
Topic: how to achieve wealth through harmony in all areas of life
March 26: Radio For Dollars
Guest: Shannon Cherry, owner of Cherry Communications
Topic: using radio to make your voice heard in a global economy
In case you've missed it, the latest issue of the magazine is here and ready for shipping to new subscribers today! Subscribe to get all four 2007 issues before April 2007 and get the Soap Issue FREE!
Here's what one reader has to say. "I finished the magazine and found it very informative and helpful. I really liked the article called "Good Health Is Good Business". I have found that I too have been struggling with my weight and health. Because of stress to try and get things on order, fill orders, prepare for shows, and wear all the hats that business owners need to wear, I have been gaining weight, getting heartburn, and mild anxiety attacks. I try to remind myself to relax, and sometimes I squeeze in some meditative moments, but overall, trying to find the time to really take care of me is far and few. So thanks for that article, a reminder of we are just as important as our business, and without us, there is no business.!" Indie Tieast Smith, The Essence of You
Click here to subscribe today!
Indie Live! is the place where IBN members gather to discuss the hot indie business topics of the day and enjoy a presentation by an expert guest (see below for today's guest)! One-on-one coaching from dM, IBN's founder and president, is available, but in our weekly calls, we enjoy a fantastic group dynamic where your questions are answered in an encouraging and inspirational setting. Each Monday afternoon from 3:00pm EST to 4:00pm EST, we gather for an hour-long conference call to discuss such things as product liability insurance issues, new legislative or legal issues of interest, upcoming trade shows, your ideas for new member benefits and opportunities, news about your company that you'd like posted in this newsletter, media opportunities, marketing tips, and more. Plus dM will answer questions about how you can more effectively grow your business and take advantage of IBN member benefits that you might not know about or just haven't had a chance to explore. If you need one-on-one coaching, that's available too so email any time with questions. Members may feel free to email any suggestions for future meetings and topic they wish to discuss
|Date and Call In Info||Topic||Presenter|
|3/5/07, 3:00pm -4:00pm EST
Dial In Number and conference code provided at this link. (Member login required.)
|Copywriting for Entrepreneurs: How To Transform Your Marketing Materials Into Increased Profits. If you think that selling products can be done well with the same buzz words used by other companies selling the same products, think again. Today's teleclass shows you how to make your product descriptions pop off the page and inspire -- no, command -- your customers to purchase!||Charlon Bobo of edit copy proof.com|
Last week, I featured a member who recently purchased her business from a former member. If you missed that story, you can enjoy it here. A few days later, I received a media inquiry from a journalist looking to write a story on people who buy and sell businesses without the help of a broker. He told me that it's a hot topic since organizations like IBN are helping people do business without hefty middle man fees. His query confirmed my own experience that buying an existing business is a great way to start a business without having to actually begin everything from nothing. Including last week's featured member, 3 current IBN members that I know of started their businesses that way. I recently talked to one of those members, Jane Kern Brooks from Beau Savon in Illinois.
Tell me how you started your business and came up with that great business name.
I bought the business from the "soap lady" in Wheaton, Illinois, the town where I lived a few years back. At that time, it was called Wheaton SoapWorks and I used to sell her soap at home shows that I hosted for some of my designer friends. I married soon after I purchased the company and moved to another town in Illinois. It became a little confusing when the name didn't match my new community so I changed it to Beau Savon, which means beautiful soap in French. I really like the upscale name and think it reflects the future growth of my business.
Can you offer any tips for people who are looking to buy a business from someone else?
Love the company and products. Ask to apprentice alongside the owner if you
can for a while before you let them cut you loose on your own. You can learn so much by working right beside the person. Also ask for a time of about one year to be able to call them and ask questions regarding the process. I saved myself a lot of frustration and grief by doing those things. The lady I purchased the company from was a dear and helped me tremendously so I didn't make costly errors.
We can see two of your soaps -- Limoncello and St. Pete Beach -- on the cover of our latest magazine. What's So Special About Your Soap?
I make all the different soaps myself from the same original recipe that I fell in love with many years ago. Of course I add new fragrances from time to time, and delete some as well. Over the years, I have enhanced the original soap recipe by adding new ingredients to make the soaps a little kinder to the skin. I try to upgrade the soap recipe as I find new ingredients that make it even better.
I like to wow! my customers. The way my soaps are displayed at my website
entices visitors to purchase them. I have always loved making things beautiful and
I tell a little story about each soap with its photo. I think the best way to "smell" my soaps over the Internet
is to paint a picture so people could almost smell the individual bars that I sell.
Together with great marketing copy, I get the job done. It is a fun process and I love going into
my photographer's studio to meet with him and take pictures with props that
help tell the soaps' stories. Another thing that makes my soaps stand out is the quality
ingredients they contain -- top notch food grade oils and quality essential oils. I always try to purchase the finest ingredients, and am always looking at new ingredients to experiment with.
In addition to the photographer, who helps you run your business?
A terrific accountant and a new website developer. My mother, daughter-in-law and good friends assist me in wrapping, cutting ribbon, working all the shows that I do, etc. I think they love it as much as I love having them join me. As my mother says, Iit is a clean business!"
I understand that spirituality plays a role in the success of your business. How so?
I do all things through Christ. I am a positive thinker, pray a lot, ask for prayer from others and do my devotions every morning when I am at my very best, and continue to study the Bible. My life hasn't been easy, but it has been very fruitful and I've learned a lot and been humbled to my knees. I thank God for everything, the good and not so good; it is all a blessing. I have to be careful I don't grow the business too big too quickly so that I take time away from my family. It is all a balancing act and I have to keep my priorities straight at all times, which is a challenge in and of itself.
Is your business mostly wholesale or retail?
I am slowing down the wholesale side of the business to focus on retail. I have about 4-5 wholesale stores that I still sell to, just because they continue to buy and I would feel badly just pulling the line. My growth for where I want to be is going to be on retail. I can sell half as much at retail and still make the same as if I were selling wholesale, and the soap is paid for in full with no terms of sale. Wholesale doesn't work for my little cottage industry because I am trying to grow the business as a rate that works for me and my family.
What tips do you have for other people who might want to start a business?
I say do it. Just do it. Be organized, focused, have passion for your business and start small and work your way into the business by getting your products out there and then asking for brutally honest feedback. Some of the things that I sell I took a gamble with and really hit the mark, other things I tried weren't received too well. But if you don't try something new, your product line and website become very tired and old looking. Stay within your monetary limits and don't be too quick to grow faster than your pocketbook can handle.
As a mother, what advice do you have for moms in business?
I will be 52 in November, and I have two children, a 28-year old son and a
24-year old daughter. I also have a 3-year old grand daughter. I was single mom for almost 18
years. I worked in sales at the time and it wasn't until my kids were out of the house that I ventured into buying
this business. The best advice I have for working moms is to put your family first, hold God's hand and pray a lot. When your family is in
"order," your job and finances seem to follow beautifully. It is not easy by any stretch of the
imagination, but I think if I did it, you can too! Keep your family and friends close
since they can be your inspiration and lifeline when no one else has anything good to say.
What are the best things about doing what you do?
I create a beautiful, wonderful product that people love, in a calm environment and the stress I have is what I allow. I feel I have many balls in the air but they are manageable because I have chosen to grow in increments and not too quickly so that I let customers and myself down. I am in another growth mode this year but am growing methodically, not frenetically.
What are the biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?
Staying focused and organized in my daily chores so that everything comes together at the right time to be successful. That means I have to create new soaps, make labels, have them cut, wrap the soaps, get props and photos taken, get them up on the Internet and make contact with the right people who run the right shows for me. I am very selective about what shows I do. If I don't feel it is the right mix of
vendors or environment, I graciously decline. I have learned to say "this just
doesn't seem to be a good fit for me" and decline the invitation. I always have a list of "to do's" and I work it every day.
Why do you love being Indie?
I think IBN is a great organization of like souls. All of us trying to come to market with our creations and all wanting to be successful and enriched. There are always things you can do to reach out and learn. The
phone call conferences, the
articles and all the perks of membership with
products liability insurance, etc., that we can take advantage of. I feel
dM is very approachable and if I need to email her regarding something, I do and get a
response quickly. That is really great!
When you're not working Beau Savon, what sorts of fun things are you doing with yourself?
I belong to a women's Bible study, play platform tennis, work out regularly, get together with my friends and travel with my husband. He scuba dives, so when we go on dive vacations I join him,
even though it is not my favorite thing to do. He also has a motorcycle which I enjoy hopping onto the back of when the weather is beautiful. It is a wonderful way to view the country. Of course I go to Florida whenever I can to see my grand daughter and the family travels up here to visit us too. My son and daughter-in-law, mother, sister and brother and their families are in the area too, so we have fun getting together whenever we can. I am also in line for a puppy this spring, so my precious little addition will add joy and commotion to our home. I can't wait!
What business book have you enjoyed lately that has helped you in business and why?
Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch. It is such a good book on candor that it inspires me to just be true and honest in everything I do. It inspires me to be transparent and authentic and contains lots of good common sense business practice advice -- which unfortunately is not so common anymore.
What's on the horizon for Beau Savon?
The sky is the limit. Growth in new ways. Some new ideas I have brewing will take some face to face contacts with some major players in retail. We shall see if this is where my business should go or not. I have great faith and know that things will work out the way they are supposed to.
What is your best selling product, and why do you think it's so popular?
Happy Endings! The array of "endings" are from discontinued bars of soap, left over seasonal soaps and the actual ends and tops from the cutting process of the block of soap. It is unique, they get to try a lot of different kinds of soaps and it smells delicious. People take the pieces with on trips so they don't have to take a big bar if they are going away for a short time. I can't keep them in stock either....so I occasionally have to mark them SOLD OUT on my web site. If I bring 40 to a show, I sell 40, if I bring 50, I sell 50! It is so funny -- they actually could be seen as "waste" by many soapmakers. Yet they are my best sellers! Who would have thought?
This is Indie Candy, so if you were a candy bar, what would you be?
Mounds Bar. I adore the taste of chocolate and coconut together.
I haven't had a Mounds Bar in years. I am going grocery shopping this afternoon ... Jane, thank you for sharing part of your story.
Jane's Business Works Because ...
1. Jane does not waste time or money. As a wife and mother, even though her children are grown, Jane makes sure she does not stretch herself beyond what she can realistically do. She also makes sure that her enthusiasm for growing and expanding the businesses keeps pace with the reality of her pocketbook.
2. Jane chooses business alliances carefully. Jane doesn't just do a show because it's inexpensive or convenient. Instead, she selects them carefully according to a variety of things, including who the other vendors are. She does this because she knows that regardless of the entry fee or location, who the other vendors are can make or break a show's success. Imagine selling spa soaps next to someone who is selling crochet toilet paper holders. (Ask me how I know about that ...)
3. Jane steps out on faith. Jane knows that the success of her business depends not only on her own efforts, but also on things she cannot control. Instead of sweating about things she cannot change, she makes the best decisions she can with the knowledge she has and confidently leaves the rest to God.
You can learn more about Beau Savon soaps at Jane's website.
As always, IBN members are everywhere doing their share to support and encourage other Indies to maximize success. Check out the chart below for an overview of upcoming events and if you think one in your area is for you, click on our Calendar for more details.
Members, listen up! This weekly feature is just one of the
ways IBN spreads the word about your business. Do you have an event coming
up that you'd like us to publicize? An open house? A special class? A sale
at your physical retail location? Add your event here
and I'll cue it up for the next newsletter!
|March 5, 2007, 3:00pm EST||Copywriting for Entrepreneurs: How To Transform Your Marketing Materials Into Increased Profits. If you think that selling products can be done well with the same buzz words used by other companies selling the same products, think again. Today's teleclass shows you how to make your product descriptions pop off the page and inspire -- no, command -- your customers to purchase!||Teleconference; Dial In Number and conference code provided at this link. (Member login required.)|
|March 17, 2007||Start Writing Your Business Plan Today||San Francisco, CA|
|April 12-15, 2007||Bath and Body Product Making Boot Camp||San Francisco, CA|
|June 7, 2007||Packaging Your Invention to Sell! IBN member Jo Ann Hines, the Packaging Diva, will share why it's so important to make packaging your first thought, not your last!||INPEX at the Pittsburgh Expo Mart|
|August 2007||The Indie Business Conference (pictures from the 2006 conference)||Charlotte, North Carolina, registration to be announced|
Best & Success!!
Editor, The Indie Experience
The Indie Business Network | www.indiebeauty.com
Copyright (c) 2000 - 2007 by The Indie Business Network (IBN) and Donna Maria. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or reproduction is prohibited. IBN does not necessarily endorse any product, event or ideology featured in The Handmade Beauty Connection (HBC) or on IBN's website. All information is provided on an "as is" basis and no express or implied warranties are given. Any use of the information contained in the HBC or on IBN's web site, including recipes, is solely at your own risk. IBN and Donna Maria disclaim any liability in connection with the use of all recipes, products reviewed and other information. Except for sponsorships, HBC refuses compensation from companies to feature or mention their names or products. Opinions expressed in any Product Review are personally those of the reviewer and do not represent the views of IBN, Donna Maria (unless she is the reviewer) or any other person or company.