What It's About
An experienced traveler raises the bar, combining her love of travel and soap making.
Words of Wisdom
Hear what Julie has to say about selling on Etsy: “Having an Etsy store is work and it requires consistency and discipline. If you don't have that or the time to devote to it, then it's probably not going to be worth it. Work hard, hustle, make mistakes, learn from them, and continue to make better products.”
Historians date the earliest discovery of soap to ancient Babylon around 2800BC. The first soap recipe consisting of water, alkali and cassia oil was discovered on a Babulonian clay tablet and has been dated at 2200 BC. Clearly humans have cared about cleanliness for a long time.
Notes from Chris
Several years ago, Julie Sanchez was working as an English teacher while living in Shanghai, China. The job was fun and interesting but had one big downside: it wasn’t great for making the social connections she craved as an expat in the city. In an effort to meet people who weren’t her students, she signed up for a soap-making workshop. Little did she know she’d end up loving it. Eventually she returned home to the U.S., settling into a new job as an office manager for a non-profit. The job paid the bills so that she could go about enjoying the rest of her life. But even that became difficult when her life turned into a soap opera. A failed relationship made her reassess things, and she looked to do something new and adventurous. You see, being back home was tough for Julie. Before China she’d lived in both Belgium and Japan and visited many other countries in between. She decided to combine her nomadic history with her love of soap making. Specifically, she wanted to create fragranced soaps inspired by scents from around the world. She set aside one hundred and fifty dollars to buy soap molds, mold-pour bases, and fragrant oils. Then, she got to creating. The techniques Julie learned back in China quickly came back to her and it didn’t take long to produce her first successful bar. She called it “Amsterdam.” It was made using hemp seed oil and smelled like cannabis, something the city is famous for. But even then, she wasn’t viewing her hobby as a business opportunity. For now, it was merely a passion project, and it remained that way for another year while she experimented with different scents and oils. What stopped Julie from doing this earlier was her desire for everything to be perfect. Finally, she decided: just go for it! In mid-2018 she summoned the courage to open her own Etsy store, calling it the Adventuress Soap Co. She expects these sales to double in her second full year of business. While some businesses are all washed up due to the coronavirus pandemic, Julie’s is doing better than ever! With more people at home, more people are online shopping and her sales have increased. While it isn’t generating enough income for her to leave her day job quite yet, she’s had her best months yet since the craziness started. The increase isn’t just due to luck. The whole time, Julie has been expanding her range of soaps, and even introducing new product lines in the form of lip balms, perfume oils and many more. All inspired by scents from around the world.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Check out Julie travel inspired soap lineup at her Etsy store, Adventuress Soap Co..
- Like other makers and artists, Julie sells her soap through Etsy.
- Nashville Paint-by-Numbers Kits Become Etsy Bestsellers: A visual arts teacher creates “paint by numbers” kits to help others experience joy through painting.
- Graphic Designer Finds Success in the Cards: Wanting to keep her skills up-to-date, a designer creates and sells a line of handmade watercolor cards.
- Nanny Cashes In On Custom Kicks: When a nanny is asked to make some custom high heels, she puts her best foot forward and finds a new source of income.
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