On being Audacious


naturally coloured naartjie soap

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.
~ Tacitus

De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace!
( Audacity, more audacity, and always audacity!)
~ Napoleon Bonaparte, attributed.*

But can you really make a living selling soap?
~ Concerned friends/family, when we started out.

One unexpected thing Kate and I had to face when we decided to do this full­-time was the occasional, if well-meaning, questions from friends and (often) from family about whether this whole idea was viable as a way to earn an income. Heck, we still get the occasional question from old friends and strangers when they find out what we do. I usually answer with some variation of “well, it’s been working so far!” or “I hope so!” It hasn’t been a cakewalk, by any means, especially when we were starting out, but we’ve managed to do OK, I think, and yes, we’ve had help from our friends and family, with them being our first customers and promoters.

I still remember how excited we were when the majority of our page’s fans switched to people who we weren’t friends on Facebook with! Would we have got to the point we are today though, if we had listened to the doubts people had about whether the path we were starting out on was could lead to success? It would no doubt have been easier, and less risky, to simply apply for jobs as salaried employees of some business or organization, but we decided to go with what we felt was a great opportunity at the time, and see if we could make it on our own.

We were feeling a lot of pressure when we made the decision (a story for another time), but we could still have carried on with our lives the way they were and not risked everything, but we were confident in our product, and ourselves, and I for one, certainly had the audacity to think our product could
compete with anything else out there. We decided we want to target the high end of the handmade soap market, and it was challenging at rst, trying to explain to people why we weren’t trying to get our product into health stores, and the more traditional venues where you see handmade soaps for sale at R25 per bar, with two or maybe three essential oils in their scent blends- we just didn’t think that market was for us – we want to make the best soap in the world, and have it in the best packaging too.

That’s why we blend our essential oils using the same principles as the perfumers of old, using anywhere from 8-12 essential oils in each soap – to capture the essence of the African landscapes that we love. That’s what’s behind our decision to do the artwork and design our own packaging. We know that you will appreciate the places where the ingredients come from, understand the stories they tell, and share that with your friends or loved ones when you give it as a gift, or when you breathe in the scent of an African landscape as you relax in your bath.
Maybe the world could do with a bit more audacity.
*OK, so Napoleon was actually quoting Georges Jacques Danton, but it’s more inspiring to think of it as coming from a legendary general than some obscure politician.
If you like experimenting with audacious, adventurous scents, you might like our Marula & Charcoal soap and its scent.

Read another

Latest posts

naturally scented rondavel bath salts
How We Grew Our Craft Business

People often tell us how much they’d love to start a craft business, or that they have a craft business on the side and they

Karoo lavendar soap packaging design
Sketches on bus trips

I sketched, coloured and painted all the artwork on our packaging, and designed the layout on paper (wonderfully computer-proficient graphic designers took it from there). Initially,