This post is inspired by lovely Joni at Walking Colors.
In a comment Joni asked, "Did you start the business up yourself?"
Today I will share a little about the beginning of Tooth Soap®. I could write a book on the saga really, but right now, just a few little tidbits.
It was 2003, my style was becoming more supressed, I was living in Oregon City, Oregon, and married to my second husband (call me Liz... :-/). He had watched me spend several thousand dollars, over the years, on business ventures that did not pan out.
When I decided I wanted to make it my mission to revive the concept of using soap to brush teeth and bring Tooth Soap® to market, my husband literally forbade me from spending more than $100 dollars on the venture. He told me I was not allowed to spend more than $100, and he was serious. He thought it would be another losing proposition, so we might as well keep the investment to a minimum. I was irritated at the restraint that was put on me, but I did think that later it would make a great story, if the business actually took off.
With the initial $100 dollar investment, I quickly purchased $45 dollars worth of custom made cinnamon and peppermint soap, spent $50 on amber glass jars, and dropped the last $5 on parchment paper for the labels that I planned to make (by hand).
I was a bit of a laughing stock when I told people about selling soap for teeth. I didn't have a lot of support in the beginning because it was a crazy idea. When my friends and family heard about me washing mouths out with soap, they chuckled. But I didn't care. I felt that the research I had done proved that soap was the best thing for teeth, and I loved the product so much myself that I thought if no one bought it, so what? I would have a nice supply of Tooth Soap® for my teeth, for probably a decade. :-)
After sitting at my dining room table by myself, filling the jars with Tooth Soap® and printing, cutting and pasting on labels by hand, I had a new dream. I dreamed of making enough money to be able to buy real LABELS. That was my first goal in the beginning. Labels were very expensive and I had to buy a large quantity to get a decent price. There was also a design fee. My husband insisted that the business must pay for itself, and if I was going to buy labels, the Tooth Soap® sales would have to pay for them.
All the jars of Tooth Soap® sold immediately when I introduced them to my newsletter list. Shortly after that, I had enough money to buy labels! I remember how amazing it was to be able to just peel and stick them on the jars! No more double stick tape, no more printing, cutting and trying to stay right outside the black line, which you can see above I was barely successful at. I will never forget how excited I was to be able to use a perfect, sticky label and apply it so easily to the Tooth Soap® jar!
So what about gum removal?
See these Dolce and Gabbana pumps? I got a killer deal on them. They had one little flaw though: A nice wad of gum on the sole that seemed inbedded and a gum smear on the patent leather. The gum needed to be dislodged and the leather cleaned up.
I used some ice to freeze the gum, and it came off with a little force from a plastic knife. I rubbed the patent leather for a good while with a soft cloth and it polished right up. Btw, I didn't give the alien hoof microorganisms in the shoes one thought. Now that I'm BFF with pre-owned shoes, clothes, and jewelry, I am so over that previous shoe cootie freak out that plaqued me in the past.
See how that gum on the pump sort of tied in with the Tooth Soap® $100 beginnings sticky label story? :-)
As I close I would like to say, follow your dreams, stay strong and know it will be challenging every step of the way:
- You might have limited funds
- You might have to dream and work by yourself in the beginning
- You might even put your fancy pump on gum
But also know that difficulties are like exercise; it's very good for us even if we don't like it, and we eventually get into awesome shape because of it. :-)
Thank you for joining me today.
See you next time!