Poppy Soap Co.|Organic Handmade Soap with a Cause
Tell us about your business.I am a master soap maker, proud mama and founder of Poppy Soap Co. A few short years ago, I was climbing the corporate ladder – then my son was born. As many moms can relate, life as I knew it changed forever. Instead of endless workdays and overnight travel, I knew I wanted to be home with my son, leading by example. Inspired by a desire to follow my dreams so my son knew he could follow his, I left the corporate world. I wanted to create an organic soap line with the power to change lives. What began as a humble idea taking root in my garage has grown into an eco-friendly microbusiness called Poppy Soap Co. Located near San Luis Obispo, California, Poppy Soap Co. creates quality, sustainable organic soaps, and gives back to local communities through our unique program called “Bar for Bar.” For every bar of Poppy Soap purchased online or in stores, we donate a bar to a women’s shelter. To date, my company has donated more than 4,000 bars to shelters across the country.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Poppy Soap Co. is a home-based business. From ideation to creation to order fulfillment, all the magic takes place in my backyard studio. I am visually inspired, so it’s important that I’m able to see the ingredients I work with on a daily basis. The walls of the studio are lined with mason jars filled with our botanicals – from calendula to lavender, white sage to comfrey. Many of the botanicals I use come directly from my personal apothecary garden, while others come from local growers and small nurseries.
What inspires you?Playing tag on the beach at sunset with my 5 year old. The human spirit. Handwritten love notes. The smell of old books. Getting my hands in dirty while planting in my garden. Other Makers who have the guts to follow their dream.
What makes your business stand out?Our product is beautiful and works well, but there are tons of soap makers creating beautiful, wonderful soap. I believe there are really two things that set Poppy Soap Co. apart from other soap brands. The first is our unique give-back program, Bar for Bar. For each bar of soap sold, we donate a bar to a women’s shelter. To-date, we have donated 4,553 bars on behalf of our customers. The second thing that sets us apart is our commitment to going the extra mile to create a remarkable customer experience from start to finish. From the hand-stamped and stitched muslin bags each bar is packaged in to the personal notes I handwrite and include with every order, the Poppy Soap experience is deeply personal. My customers regularly reach out to ask me questions, because they know that the person on the other end of the line cares. I want people to feel connected to me, the maker, not just the brand. When someone purchases a bar of soap from us, I view that as the start of a relationship.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Human connection is the most powerful force in business, whether you’re conducting it in-person or over the internet. When you’re immersed in web-based sales, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact there is a real person on the other end of the transaction. In the mass production of the modern world, far too many businesses treat their customer interactions as just that – a manufactured, canned, one-size-fits-all experience. As makers, we have the opportunity to create something of ourselves and share that with others. That is a gift. And the act of receiving that care – by receiving a remarkable product and experience – is our gift to the person on the other end.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made is a sense of quality and craftsmanship that connects our present to our past. It tells a story about a time, a place, a person, and the things that matter to them. Though the crafts may change from decade to decade, the same pioneering spirit is always present, inspiring makers to connect with others through their hands and hearts. American Made is not just about producing something; it’s about creating something, caring for someone and sharing a gift. Before founding Popppy Soap Co., I had this idea that the American dream was all about landing a corporate job and working my way up the proverbial ladder. When my son was born, I realized my American dream had shifted. The freedom to chase your dream, choose a new path and adjust your course is really the essence of the American experience.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONSJun. 17, 2015
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VOTING BEGINSSep. 21, 2015
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WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets available July 2015.