Today I’m interviewing Rachel of Music City Suds! She is a longtime soap-pal of mine and I wanted to share a little about her and a cool new conference that she’s putting on!
Amanda: Where do you find inspiration for the soap that you make?
Rachel: My inspiration comes from Nashville! I’m a native Tennessean, and growing up my house was full of old country: Patsy, Johnny, Waylon. So when I started Music City Suds, I wanted to honor the city I call home as well as my past. Music is the inspiration for all the products I make.
A: How has your soap making evolved from when you first started?
R: I’ve learned to let go. I don’t personally make any of the soap anymore. My husband is the full time soap maker, and that was a really hard thing to hand off. It was such a passion project, but as the business grew, it needed someone to do production full time. I don’t even think I could lift one of the mix buckets anymore.
A: Have you ever had any big-time soaping fails? What did you learn from it?
Oh, geez, where to start? There are spots on my arm where hair doesn’t grow anymore from a lye splash. I once had a glass container completely shatter over a full pot of soap. Yes. Over. Beer soap volcano, lye eye splash (wear your goggles, kids!), my iPhone in a bowl of olive oil. So so many.
A: How do you find time to balance your personal and soap life?
I personally think having a work/life balance is a myth. There’s no such thing. My work is my life; my life is my work. My family is involved in the business because the business is part of our family, you know? Trying to put my life into boxes stresses me out. I think the key to finding “balance” is to find work that you don’t hate, work that you want to be part of your whole life.
A: What is your best-selling soap? Please tell us about it.
Friends in Aloe Places. It’s made with spearmint eo, and people love the scent, but I think the name sells it. So many people pick up a bar and start belting out the song. That’s our gauge of how good a soap is: songs and laughter.
A: How did you establish your line and keep yourself limited to a manageable amount of varieties within that line?
The naming convention is pretty limiting, so that helps me reign things in. Even if we have a good recipe for a soap, if we can’t find a good country song name for it, we won’t make it. It took forever to get our lavender soap to market because the name was never right. We nailed it with “Lavender and Ever, Amen,” though.
A: If you could meet anyone (living or gone) and got to make a batch of soap together, who would it be and what kind of soap would you make?
I’m not ready to answer this in detail yet, but I would give my left arm to make bath bombs with Holly Port one last time.
A: What is the one ingredient for your soap that you can’t live without?
Love? No, definitely essential oils.
A: What is the Southeastern Bath and Body Conference all about?
It might be better known as the Tennessee Soap and Candle Meeting, which has been around for more than 20 years. This year, though, we gave it a makeover and moved the meeting to Atlanta to be closer to our pals south of us. It’s a two-day gathering of creative bath and body makers. We provide an opportunity to meet new friends, grow your business toolbox, discover fresh techniques, and celebrate our shared passion for the industry.
A: What makes this meeting unique?
We have designed a meeting in a drop-dead gorgeous venue with world-class presenters flying in from all over the country. This year we’re focusing on business with topics like “How to Work with Influencers,” “Working with National Chains,” “The World of Clean Beauty,” and more. You can see all of the topics here: https://www.bathandbodyconference.com/presentations
The conference takes place on April 4-5, 2020 in Alpharetta, GA, just north of Atlanta. Fore more information, please visit www.bathandbodyconference.com. Ticket sales close on March 13.