November 19, 2016

From A DIY Lifestyle To A Homemade Brand...

Taking a DIY concept and marketing it to the public is not as easy as you might think. Sharing the "how to" is one thing. But turning it into a consumer product is a serious venture. It takes time to make a homemade craft into a tangible product others will want to use. Especially if that homemade craft is new to your understanding in the first place...

I thought I could create a natural brand over night. I thought I'd be able to whip up lip balms, deodorants and other skin care items on the regular and share them with everyone immediately. I started off thinking that my creations would be in high demand and that I wouldn't be able to keep up. So, fear inclined me to invest my time and money to try every natural idea I'd learned about. I spent countless nights awake staring at my computer for hours just reading and re-reading. Information that became a second language to me. I write and edit recipes over and over. I try making them and they don't turn out as expected so I go back to my notes. I go back to the tutorials and I work out how to make it consistent and pliable.

Those simple lip balm recipes you can find on the net are what I started with. I didn't like them a lot. The recipes were okay but I found overall they were a bit too soft and smooshy. The articles I read just repeated the other recipes on the web. After a short while I created my own recipes. I made a few tweaks here and there. Okay a lot of tweaks, lol. But now I've blended five different lip treatments! I keep coming up with new ideas almost every day!

It was pretty easy to ditch the chemical antiperspirants and choose to make my own deodorant. Even if you use the store bought kind, please, for your health don't use antiperspirant. Our bodies are meant to sweat! When you use antiperspirant, you're clogging your sweat glands. Which, in turn causes your body to emit a stronger body odour. When you eat right and use natural skin care products, your body odour neutralizes and smells sweeter. Believe me. I know this from experience.

The deodorant recipes I found on-line presented similar issues as the lip balm. I knew they would not be loved by the public for two reasons. Many recipes call for keeping the product in a jar. This means you have to scoop it out with your finger to apply to your armpits. Okay, I may be wrong, but no one really wants to stick their fingers in their armpits! And, most of us prefer a proper solid rather than something that changes texture depending on the temperature and the environment.

I've been using homemade deodorant since 2012. However it wasn't intended for the public at first. When I thought about making it for sale, that's when I realized it needed some changes in order to be presentable. It had to work for others too! I merely tolerated the imperfectness of greenish, chunky, goopy and soft deodorants which were the average recipe found on other sites. I decided to try using diatomaceous earth in place of the clays I was working with, and I'm quite pleased with the results. Probiotics add extra goodness to my deodorant. I'll be sharing the recipe soon!

This brand I'm perfecting is a life defining purpose. It's a challenge worthy of my strength, patience and will power. I am so very thankful for all the inspiration and encouragement I receive daily. From the universe, my friends and colleagues. The people who listen to me talk about it all the time... lol.

Sourcing ingredients and packaging from various vendors I found on line wasn't hard at all. I learned where to find resources from fellow bloggers and by searching the items I was looking for on google... I've spent money on useless items and learned many lessons. Some, expensive, but lessons nonetheless. I wasted time and money learning a lot of what didn't work. I tried everything I read about. It also turns out that I worked with a bunch of ingredients that I decided to omit about a year ago; once I made the conscious decision to sell allergen & nut free products, with a few vegan choices. I ceased falling for the newest must-have and I finally stopped including everything I learned. I decided to believe in my instincts. Then, I was able to focus on what worked for me as a created and end-user.

I searched for known allergies regarding the ingredients I had settled on maintaining in my repertoire. I considered which ingredients I absolutely loved most. I focussed on ingredients that had unique properties. And, about a year later, I have just about perfected the majority of my products... Ya, a year later. Because most recipes called for shea or argan or some other nut based ingredient that had to be replaced... Oy!

To be honest I wasn't thinking about selling items in the beginning. I just enjoyed creating skin care for myself and giving gifts of homemade lip balm to others. I seriously handed out lip balm to friends and co-workers on a regular basis just because it made me feel good to do so. I always made about a handful in each batch. I asked their opinions and heard their suggestions. Many people encouraged me to sell the lip balm because they liked it so much. So before I was even certain of what I was doing, I was telling myself I could make a great side business with it. I had no idea it would turn into such an obsession!

Hundreds of ideas and tons of advice started flooding in. It got to be a little overwhelming. I'm still trying to filter out the white noise and make it happen amidst life's events. I've had so many aha moments it's crazy! Every item on my list has gone through a rigorous editing process... As I go about crafting by hand, I also keep learning more about crafting from books and articles. Then, I have another aha moment and I update my notes again. I suppose I will always be a student of the craft.

I am lucky that this opportunity graced my life. This all came out because I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and struggling to find my "joie de vive"! This blog and this brand started as self therapy. I can't wait to sell my products at the festivals around here in Essex County and fulfill orders through my Etsy Shop. I believe people out there can relate to my story and my brand. So, I'm gonna keep sharing. I know it will require a lot of work to produce items on a larger scale. I know I can do it because I haven't given up after all these years. After the investments I've made. The precious time and money spent. All the nights crying over failed theories, while contemplated the ratios of endless recipes...

I have been working diligently to change my own lifestyle and promote better health and happiness. I try to live by example. I'm working on over a dozen product hopefuls. Plus, I have a few dozen ideas on the back burner. I also have a bunch of DIY's that I can't produce for sale, so I plan to share those on the blog and I encourage you to try them out for yourself! It's a magnificent feeling when you're creative & nifty.

Sometimes it's difficult being an avid DIYer, trying to establish a side business, working a full time job, and trying to maintain a social life too. Did I mention that I also work afternoons? I have a wonky sleep schedule because of that. So, I have just enough energy to make items I need for myself and I share the odd extra. Committing to producing and selling these items regularly has proven uneasy. And, sometimes I wonder why I even bother. I could just buy deodorant ya know. But it's not just about me anymore.

It's always gonna be a work in progress, isn't it? Balance is the goal here. I just have to stay positive and keep working like a mad scientist in the kitchen, until it pays off. One day, before I know it. I'll be looking back on this post smiling because it all worked out in the end. :)

Thanks for following along,


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