Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Savannah, and I own Rare Rustic Crafts! My business is all about handmade bath and body products. I make everything from scratch and formulate my own recipes. I make products that range from soap and lotion to hair and skin care, and I even make products for men like shaving cream and beard oil. I design all of my labels and marketing materials, and meticulously cut out each label and package each product by hand. All of my products are made with the utmost care!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my business in 2012 because I knew I wanted to do something different. I love graphic design and web design (that’s what my degree is in from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh), but I wanted more out of my career life. I love all forms of art, and working with my hands, so I decided to learn how to make soap. Once I got a good handle on the ingredients, the product lines started to grow. In 2015, I redesigned the product line, website and brand identity to be on a more targeted market, and it’s been a whirlwind of awesome ever since! I love what I do, and I love my customers so much for making it possible for me to have my business.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My products are all handmade from scratch. Most of the products are all natural, but I do use a mix of essential and fragrance oils so that everyone gets a chance to try them out. I choose my ingredients very carefully, and source only the best for each ingredient. I design my recipes through trial and error, and I never release a product until I’m sure it’s perfect!
What inspires your work?
It is so easy to find inspiration everywhere. I was annoyed by the selection of dry shampoo on the market, so I started making my own…I had men asking me for beard oil, so I gave it a try…I love the smell of natural herbs, so I started using them in my soaps. The sources of inspiration are endless!
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I was selected to be a part of the Queen City Pop-Up in downtown Buffalo, NY this holiday season. The Pop-Up works to activate storefronts on Main Street in Buffalo. They move 4 or 5 vendors into a space, rent-free, for two months so that we can get a feel for what it’s like to run a store. I love it so much that I plan to open my own store this year on Main Street. My goal is always growth, and 2016 is beginning to look like a bright, beautiful year of growth and change for me!
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
On a physical level, my products stand out because of my clean, easy-to-read, pretty labels. I completely redesigned my collection this year so that customers could easily read ingredients, check dates of manufacture, and identify products and their functions. On an emotion level, my products stand out because they’re special. It’s true that so many people make their products by hand, but I even design my brand myself, hand-cut my labels, apply each one by hand…I even cut and fold my own brochures! Every product has been loved and crafted by me every step of the way, and that attention to detail and craftsmanship really shines through in the finished product.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have always worked out of a dining room-turned-soap studio, but I am currently in a temporary storefront with 3 other businesses in downtown Buffalo. We’re called the Queen City Pop-Up, and we’re part of a program to activate storefronts in downtown Buffalo. I am able to make my products on site, so I do most of my work from the shop. I still make my soap and Coconut Sea Salt Hair Spritz at home so that I can use a stove top.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and beat yourself up for your mistakes, but those trials are what make you a better business owner. I wish I had known to be more patient when I first started my business. Good things come to those who wait and work hard, and it does no good to beat yourself up over silly, fixable mistakes.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Prioritize! Everything doesn’t need to be done right now, though it may often feel that way. Take time to take care of yourself, and make lists for when you get overwhelmed. Be real about what your priorities are, and ask your friends and family for help when you need it! I was so sure that I had to do everything myself, but my family and friends have really come through for me and made this year a complete success.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Not working? What does that look like! For real – I love my dogs and my family. When I’m not in my store or making my products, I’m fluffing my dogs or watching Survivor with my mom. We also love to travel and take our dogs on a family camping trip each year. I always look forward to hiking with the dogs (because dogs love everything) and relaxing with a good book.
What is your favorite quote?
Steve Jobs gets a lot of hate, but he was 100% correct when he said you’ve got to love what you do. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
You can visit my website, www.RareRusticCrafts.com. You’ll find links to all of my social media channels and my blog.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.