Maker of the Month: Mad Sass Soap

Naomi with Mad Sass Soap signed a lease just weeks before COVID-19 shut the country down. Opening a store while raising 5-year-old twin girls was not easy. However, she had plenty of help from a supportive community and a loyal customer base. They love her elegant soap, lotion, bath bombs, and more. Get to know Naomi below!

naomi with mad sass soap

How long have you been making soap, and how did you get started? How long have you been selling your products?
I have been making soap since mid 2018. It started out as a hobby while our twins were in preschool part time. I wanted to create some products I could use for my daughters eczema. My husband and I were tired of coating her in topical steroids and petroleum every night. Once I started making soaps, I realized there was this whole artistic side to it. My background is in graphic design, and soap making has a strong design and color element to it. I fell in love with making products so quickly that I kept making more and more. I was making more than I could give away to friends and family. Eventually, my husband and I decided that I needed to start selling and I signed up for my first markets during the holiday season of 2018. I went to my first markets with soaps, candles, body butters, scrubs, and lotions.

cold process bars by mad sass soap

Cold process bars

What do you love most about making bath and body products?
I love the challenge and artistry involved in making bath and body products. Formulating and testing new products is really rewarding. I feel like I am constantly learning something new and its such a rush when I get it right. 

What inspires you to create?
I’m incredibly inspired by all of the talented women makers around me. There is a lot I still have to learn and I’m amazed at artistry in the soaping community. I’m also really inspired by my twin girls. They cheer me on and tell me how proud they are of me. I get a lot of my motivation from them. They are still young enough to think I am cool.

candles by mad sass soap

Limited edition candles

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get started?
Don’t give up. You will definitely have stuff that doesn’t work out, but keep trying. I make mistakes all of the time. Every time I make a mistake, I learn, and it turns out better the next time around. I have learned so much from books and online resources. The first soap I ever made was from Anne-Marie's Pure Soapmaking book, and when it turned out great I was so encouraged to keep going and develop my own recipes. From there I developed a personal style. The online resources are priceless as well. I learn so much from other makers who are generous with their time and knowledge and post videos to YouTube or different Facebook groups. 

What work went into opening a storefront? Do you have any tips for makers who want to do the same?
If opening a store is your dream, then you have to lay the groundwork. It took us over a year to convince our current landlord that we were the right tenant for their newly-renovated space. In 2019, I signed up for every market from Portland to Seattle that I could get into. During the holiday season of 2019, we would sometimes have three markets in one day. My sister would be at one, my husband at another, and me at a third. I remember one day where my sister's market had ended and she didn’t have much left, but we begged her to bring whatever she had over to us at our market. It was a really intense season, but it was enough to convince the landlord to lease us the space. I chose markets over online platforms because I wanted to get to know the community and increase brand awareness organically. I also wrote a very detailed business plan. It’s important to have a business plan and to update it regularly. I signed the lease on my storefront just weeks before COVID. Opening a storefront during a pandemic, with 5 year old twins, has not been easy. But I did it, and it's working because of an incredibly supportive community, and I would have regretted it had I not done it.

mad sass soap store

Mad Sass shop

Who’s another maker you admire? What do you love about their work?
I really admire Simi at Muddy Mint. Her work is stunning and I wouldn’t have stuck with soap making without her. She’s positive, and kind, and knowledgeable. She’s doing her business on her terms, her way, and I LOVE that. I aspire to do that same, and be the same. 

Have you experienced a fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
I’ve experienced what I thought was a fail. I think sometimes we mistake the natural course of business as a personal failure when really it’s not. In 2019, there was a really big holiday market that I didn’t get into. I took it personally at first. I examined everything I was doing and tried to figure out if I should change my whole business model. What ended up happening was all the customers I had reached over the years came and found me at the markets I DID get into. In reality, if you love your customers and create solid relationships it will pay off. No one market can decide your fate.

body wash by mad sass soap

Body wash

What plans do you have for your business moving forward?
I have a lot of plans for my business moving forward, but I’m keeping most of them under wraps. My biggest goals at the moment are to release more products and continue to improve on the ones I have. I am always trying to improve on what I am already doing. First though, I am going to take a day off (it’s been almost a year).

Naomi's top Bramble Berry picks

What’s the first Bramble Berry project you tried?
The first soap I ever made was White Tea from Pure Soapmaking. It turned out great, and was a huge hit with my family.

bath bombs by mad sass soap

Bath bombs

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