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Oils or soap
Basket of Oil

Hey folks! I am not sure if I should consider this a “score” or not. As many of you may know, I live in Louisville, KY. Earlier this week, I went Costco Wholesale to obtain more oils for the soaps I make. I use this Costco brand because it is inexpensive and makes an excellent quality soap. (Link to soaps here)

It is an olive grape seed oil blend that makes a good lather and is nourishing to the skin and everyone enjoys it. This blend is $10 for 3 liters instead of $22 for 3 liters of straight olive oil. It makes a great product and the price keeps the cost down.

While in the Costco in Louisville, I found they no longer sell the oils in that store, and they said, “We have some in Lexington” and I said it would be perfect as I am there this weekend. This afternoon, I went there with shopping cart in tow and found they are also discontinuing the blend there as well as the price sign had an asterisk (*) on the label (meaning, it was being discontinued).

I had planned for 12 as that would keep me busy for a while, but upon seeing the asterisk, I grabbed all 16 as I need a buffer to locate another source, or to convince Costco to start carrying the oil again, or to arrange delivery. I do not want to change my formula, or raise my prices because I have a price that works and a formula LOTS of folks are happy with.

Where the “score” takes place is while talking to the folks in Louisville, they were curious and asked me why I needed so much oil. I let them know and they were IMMEDIATELY interested and let me know they are talking about having more “local to the area” retailers, and they know that local soap is a big hit… and they said it a BIGGER hit (to the management) to know that I use Costco oils for the soap.

What excites me is that I may be able to “graduate” to larger soap molds and leasing studio space to work.

Wish me luck!

Update 9/8/15: Costco in Louisville has started selling the oils I have been using.  No more need to go to Lexington, other cities, ordering online or look for another source.  I had also been considering purchasing drums of oil and blending the oils, myself.  But, no need to do so.

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9 years?

Booth Setup
Table Setup

I can’t believe it will be nine years this October.  I mean, WOW!  I have enough problems waiting on microwave popcorn, but THIS.  Nine years!

WAY back when, I started at an outdoor booth with a couple of tables, an easy-up kind of canopy, a cot, 5 varieties of ear candles, a couple of oils, a couple of hydrosols and ONE trunk for supplies.

Today, I still have the same tables, almost 60 tinctures, salt lamps, almost 50 flavors of soap, sage and smudging supplies, a 6x4x2′ grid wall setup with baskets, salves and other goodies!  It’s been a LONG and wonderful ride.

Here’s to another 9 years!

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If I had a million dollars

If I had a million dollars

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I had lunch together at a local restaurant in Louisville. He has been paying attention to Earth Circle Creations for almost a year and has recently taken an interest in the development of recent events, shows, classes and we have had some hypothetical “what if” conversations about Earth Circle Creations.

One conversation we had over lunch sticks out foremost, not just for the question, but for the conversation that followed.

“What would you do for Earth Circle Creations if you had one million dollars?”

For him, the conversation took an unexpected twist as he was planning on hearing about tangible items such as a dedicated vehicle for traveling to events, storage, an offline store front, investment in new lines of products, or equipment.

For me, the conversation was quite simple: Education.

Not really for me but to allow the ability to take what I know to that next level, enhance that, and then to be able to disseminate that information in a format that I can teach to prospective students of mine and to allow them to be able to prosper in their field after my class.

There are several herbalist classes, courses and other opportunities for learning that I am stopped from taking because of a lack of monetary resources, quite frequently they are in other areas of the country, Oregon, Colorado, places seem like far off and distant lands, and I am sure there are other folks who would like to take the same classes I would like to take and are still in the same boat.

We’ll see what the future holds.

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Open for Business?

Not yet!
Not yet!

Amount of Effort Exerted = success in business. So many people say to me that they would also like to have a shop or store like ours. But so few are willing to put out what it takes to succeed. I always tell them the romantic notion of owning a store and OWNING A STORE are two different things. Below is from an article on why many shops fail, as well as my comments. This example was listed as the biggest blunder of all — amount of effort exerted!

“The single most important factor in determining who succeeds and who doesn’t is simply the amount of effort exerted. If you aren’t ready and willing to work and work hard – being an entrepreneur is probably not for you. For starters, most people are used to working and 8-to-5 job, with a “boss” directing them. When you’re in business for yourself, you must have the discipline to work independently. You must maintain the same work schedule of the same number of hours virtually every day even if you don’t have anything scheduled.

Also, many people assume that when they own their own business, they’ll be able to work less and take more time off for recreation. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. When you run your own business, you usually have to work more hours, not fewer. You have to be willing to put in long hours and, if necessary, work weekends as well.”

I LOVE this…   That’s one of the many things I am asked when I place an ad. Either, “where are you located” or “what are your hours” or “I am at an address and all I see is a UPS Store” (where I have all of my things sent to).

Opening up a brick and mortar place is FAR less easy than just finding the location. There is electric, water, insurance, security systems, not to mention rent of the place on top of that as well as maintaining an inventory.

Plus, being able to sustain everything in that store month after month so not only you pay all of THAT, but also have a profit enough to pay your own living expenses, food, fuel… and on and on.

Not to mention, that you have to make enough to restock and replenish the things you sold that month. Or, to have enough stock to be able to breathe for a moment.

I make soaps, salves, tinctures and other remedies. All of those came out of my pocket at some point of time, and, it starts to trickle back in and what funds that come back in goes back out to replenish my product line(s) or choose to end them.

Fortunately, Earth Circle Creations makes enough month after month that I can pay rent on an environmentally controlled storage unit so I can have a living room, plus some extra to replenish materials I have used for that month (mostly lye, and oils for soap). I also stash a little back each month into savings to help buffer the slower months (winter) and to pay for some of the more expensive events I do very well at. In comparison, I am able to pay forward 2-3 events at a time with what I make at one event putting a deposit down or paying off a deposit for another event. Or, investing on displays and clothing to have the air of professionalism as a professional herbalist. In short, Earth Circle Creations is self-sustaining.

I also have a regular Monday-Friday, 9-5 job that pays my rent. This is the job I have that keeps food on my table, lights on in my home and a roof over my head. At current, I don’t have the luxury to quit this job to pursue the endeavor of Earth Circle Creations full time.  Most people don’t know that when I go home from my regular 9-5 job and get home at about 6, I also have another 4-5 hours of work to do for Earth Circle Creations.  Just in soaps alone, I start a batch, I cut soap, I wrap them, labels… there’s a lot of processing that comes from a batch of soap, I could probably turn that into a full time job on it’s own.

This is a fun game where I, as an entrepreneur where I can go from despair at a bill that is coming due to total and complete elation when something sells.

In almost 8 years in doing this, I can’t think of anywhere else I would be happier.