Meet Janna aka "The Lemon Cat". Would you believe I met her through my dog?! As most of you know, my dog Bob "writes" his own blog and has his own Twitter account. Through Twitter, The Lemon Cat and Bob started following each other and eventually became friends. So when I finally started using Facebook, I naturally looked for and friended her as well. I would often share and retweet her posts. Well, one day someone read a post I had shared and purchased her Lavender Soap - for me as a gift! I loved it and quickly became a fan of her products. Since then I have learned that she has a bunch of furry rescues just like I do. And she is learning her way around this online marketing thing - just like I am. She lives in Florida on a small farm. We live on a chunk of land in Arkansas, which we often wish was in Florida! We have a lot in common - and so when I had the opportunity to feature her as my latest success story, I couldn't resist. Please meet Janna aka The Lemon Cat!
1. Please tell us about yourself.
My home is a small farm in Florida where I live with my Husband and many rescued critters. As of today, there are horses, dogs, cats, ducks, geese and chickens. Any Critter that decides to drop in is welcome to stay.
2. Please tell us about your business.
Hand crafted soap using two different soap making methods, is what I do. One method is I make them from scratch, the old fashioned way, using the cold process (CP) soap making method. Beginning with fresh oils, butters and lye water, and then curing for 4 weeks, it becomes a gentle and nourishing soap bar. The other method is called soap casting, where I purchase a premade melt and pour (MP) soap base that I can “tweak” with my own colors, scents and exfoliates. These soap bars are ready within a day, and they are more colorful and more fragrant. I also create other bathing goodies to make you feel pampered and I am working on adding hand poured soy candles to The Lemon Cat line of products.
3. Why did you start your own business?
Two years ago, my steady paycheck ended when the company closed. After months of the traditional job interviews, in a town that had one of the highest unemployment rates, there were actually 80-100 people vying for 1 position at each interview. Well, after some deep thinking about what to do, I decided to learn how to set up an eBay store, so I could make some money and also clean out the house at the same time.
4. How did you choose this particular niche?
Since I had lots of time on my hands, I decided to try and make something nice for my sister, so I learned how to make soap. The next thing I knew, there was so much soap that I gave it away and now everybody in the family has more than they will ever use, so I learned how to make a web shop and sell the soap. Now, I have a soap kitchen here on my little farm in Florida.
5. What do you like most - and least - about being your own boss?
Being my own boss – well, I saw this and though it was cute: When you talk to yourself, you can call it a staff meeting. I like that. So I figure when I talk to the animals, we are really getting things done around here!
The downside, and you hear this all the time, is that you work a lot – all the time – but in a good way. Hours in the day/night are different because you like to do what you are doing and yes, you are asleep and think of an idea and you get up and make it. You are always “shopping” for your business – finding items you need or researching items you need to carry.
6. What personality traits or skills are needed to run your business?
My biggest issue with a lot of companies today, is that they lose sight that each and every Customer is important. I miss the old time stores that had great Customer service, so that is one of the things I feel very strongly about – great Customer service. When you are the only employee, you have to be a master of all trades and wear all the hats. My strengths are great Customer service, timely shipping, quality product and be appreciative of each day. Being organized, having good time management and, of course, having fun and enjoying it. My weaknesses are definitely finances, advertising and social media.
7. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
The transition from time clocks and steady pay checks, to creating a business from scratch and making it work, was probably the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur, at first, anyway.
8. Do you have any resources that you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
Weebly made it so easy for a greenhorn like me to make a website and Ecwid helped me with the shopping cart on that site. You Tube videos and online research help me learn new recipes, study ingredients and get new ideas.
9. Do you have any tips to share on promoting yourself?
Participate in vendor shows, utilize social media, give business cards to everybody you meet and get your business name / logo recognized.
10. What other advice would you like to share with someone starting their own business?
Give it all you've got!
11. How can we contact you to learn more about your products and services?
The Lemon Cat Web Shop - feel free to contact me anytime!
12. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for taking the time to read this little story about me and TLC ~ The Lemon Cat Soap Shop.