Today I’m interviewing Elin Criswell, The Country Soaper. Elin is an author and has written two books for us soapmakers, Creative Soap Making and Bubbles to Bucks: How to Make Money Selling Soap. You can get her books on her website. Every year Elin puts together a gathering for soapmakers in Texas. I’ve been a couple of times and can’t wait to be back this year. To learn about the seminar on June 3-4, visit the website.
Amanda: Tell us how you got your start slingin’ oils and mixing lye.
Elin: I grew up with my Mom’s old-fashioned lye soap as a constant fixture in our home. She made it from reclaimed bacon grease and I’m telling you, it was a sight and a scent to behold! So in the Spring of 1990 when I saw mention of soap making on a T.V. craft show, my natural thought was, “If Mom can do it, I can too.” Now you gotta keep in mind that this was back in the dinosaur days, before the internet. So off to LIBRARY I went, to check out a couple of books on the subject. I made a few batches and enjoyed it, but soon lost interest. Of course the story doesn’t end there. Fast forward to an arts & craft show on July 4, 2000… guess it was my personal crafy Independence Day because my interest was reignited and I’ve been making soap ever since.
A: Describe your first batch of soap. What was in it?
E: It was made of tallow and scented with essential oils, no color.
A: What is your favorite soap to make now?
E: Shampoo bars.
A: What is your favorite scent?
E: Peppermint Tea Tree.
A: Where do you find inspiration for your soap designs?
E: I am actually a pretty basic soapmaker. Not too much into color or fancy designs.
Surprise…. basic soapers exist!
A: You’ve been doing these seminars for a while now. What is your most memorable seminar moment from the past?
E: In 2014 I taught a session on Sell Your Suds… Soap Selling Tips for Introverts (and Extroverts, too!). Hardly anyone believed me when I proclaimed that I’m an introvert! O.K., O.K…. since then I have come to embrace my inner ambivert, but my inner compass will always point toward being an introvert. For weeks after the seminar, folks were still talking about this session on our Lone Star Facebook group… so that was certainly gratifying to me, as a speaker. But mainly, it was simply a lot fun and I always enjoy encouraging others.
E: Seeing it all come together! After all the work, not only that I’ve put in, but from my faithful team of volunteers… to see it all come together and people have a great time… that’s what it’s all about.
A: Give a brief run-down on what attendees can expect by signing up.
E: The Soapmakers Seminar is a two-day event with business-related sessions on Friday and soap sessions on Saturday. We always have a fun, Friday night social and many attendees stay over and go out to eat Saturday night after the seminar. Mainly, expect to have a great time! And if you are a newcomer and have never been to a soap gathering before, you are in for a real treat. There is simply nothing like a bunch of soapmakers getting together to talk soap!
A: What do you want seminar attendees to walk away with?
E: I want them to leave encouraged and inspired to soap on!
Thank you for the information, Elin!
2016 Soapmakers Seminar
June 3-4, 2016
Round Rock, TX
Benjamin and I will be a at the seminar speaking on some of our favorite topics.
I will be talking about How to Make Silicone Molds and How to Write Seductive Web Copy and Blog Content.
Benjamin will be talking about How to Wholesale Your Products and A Look At Your Fiscal Body Care Year.
We’ll see you there!