Thursday December 1, 2011 I sat at my computer after a long day of filling holiday orders. It was around 1:00 am and I still had to catch up on emails. I couldn’t complain because as a business owner the holiday rush is something I excitedly await and prepare for all year. I came across a giveaway post and I did not believe what I was reading. I couldn’t have been more excited to see a contest for something that would help my business grow tremendously! I started by asking myself the question, how could I share with these people all of the things that I have been working so hard on throughout these past four years?
The story of LoveLeeSoaps begins when I was only 18 years old. My mom, knowing my love for all things crafty and handmade, surprised me with a soap-making kit. I was amazed at how much fun it was, and quickly realized the possibilities were endless. I hail from a family of creative entrepreneurs, many of whom manage their own business, and I have been crafting since I was little. As I experimented with soap-making, my mom pushed me to start a business. I was only a senior in high school and was hesitant about taking on such a commitment. I knew it would be difficult but I decided in October 2007 to try out Etsy. Every item I sold drove me to make more. With that motivation, my business began to grow.
To my surprise 2008 was a year of huge success. Etsy provided me with wonderful opportunities that I will always be thankful for. I kept active by promoting my products on forums, and in February I was contacted to have my soap featured on the Martha Stewart Show. This was the first time I truly felt like my hobby was turning into something more, something bigger then I had ever hoped for. Later that year, Etsy asked me to be featured seller. The three days in December that my interview was posted I sold 5000 soaps. I was in my first semester of college, and it was finals week (of course). Without the amazing support and help from family I don’t know how I would have gotten through. With hard work and determination (plus copious amounts of coffee) everything went perfectly.
It was 2009 before I knew it. My business continued to grow, and so did the opportunities. I reached out to an editor at Seventeen Magazine to pitch my story in hopes of sharing my success with other teens. I wanted to show that anything is possible, no matter your age. The editor liked my story, and before I knew it I was having professional photos taken and being interviewed. I was ecstatic for the opportunity! A couple of months later, however, I was told my story was not going to be used after all. I looked at the situation positively and realized what an honor it was to even be considered. I learned that you have to work through the ups and downs of being a business owner, and I resolved to keep trying no matter the outcome. A few months later I was contacted by Urban Outfitters for wholesale. I realized that even when one door closes, another one opens, only if you think positive and work hard to make it happen.
I was off to a fresh start in 2010. I felt this year was a good time to expand my business. I stumbled across the designer Aeolidia. I was speechless. Everything that Aeolidia and her team created was astounding. I wanted to jump right in and start working on a website that day! I was floored by their designs, and so excited to build a brand for my company. I was deep into my college courses, so I had to balance my business needs and school requirements carefully. I wanted to focus on school and gain from the experience, so I created a portfolio to organize my website thoughts, questions, and ideas that popped up. I knew I would be working hard until graduation in August 2011. I kept studying, while Aeolidia pulled at my creative strings in the back of my head. Aeolidia was no doubt my motivation to make it through school and get my Graphic Design degree. I can’t be more thankful for the inspiration I have received from Aeolidia and her team, and I am anxious to begin working with them!
I am so excited for what 2012 brings. A major thing that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur over the years is that time is valuable. Every second counts and things must get done. You must stay focused, be dedicated, and willing to sacrifice. Most importantly, you must learn from your mistakes and feedback from others is golden. By having the drive to succeed, and keeping a positive outlook, you can accomplish anything. I hope to continue expanding my business and winning this giveaway would make 2012 the year that I have been working so hard for. I would love the opportunity to have my future dreams and goals come true! In the next coming years I plan to achieve more wholesale accounts, employ an assistant, and successfully pitch my products. I will maintain my connections through Facebook and Twitter to continue promoting LoveLeeSoaps. I am working towards having a successful company that allows me to take in and enjoy all of the things that life has to offer.
Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to this amazing contest!