I met Iris of Divinelites Handmade Soap through my Youtube channel and we seemed to connect ever since. She recently won a giveaway that I was hosting on my channel and she not only was excited to win, she sent ME some of her remarkable soaps in return. That is what Iris is all about. It is my pleasure to be able to share her story with all of you 🙂
Tell us how you started in soap making: This is a two-part answer for me. First I began making plain unscented soap years ago for my child who was allergic to so many things. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a miracle cure. At that same time, I couldn’t find lotions without all the chemicals in them and even baby products had so many ingredients that shouldn’t be put on the body. So I made soap and lotion out of necessity and was eventually bitten by the Soap Bug 🙂
How long have you been making soap? Most soap makers have a wonderful timeline to talk about. Mine is not covered by roses or bubbles. It’s my reality and I will tell it because where I am now IS full of roses and bubbles.
I worked a high stress job in the Court System serving defendants. The environment along with some coworkers were just working to climb the ladder, no matter what it took to get there. I had great benefits, but I didn’t want to step on anyone or belittle others to gain points. There was too much negativity in the air. I became so stressed that I began to get sick every couple of weeks, low immune system, headaches, back aches, stomach problems and then the fainting spells began. Doctors and specialists were telling me that stress was the culprit and I soon found out that I had developed several masses. A cancer test indicated that I was just two points away from developing the Big C. I had surgery and what was supposed to be a simple thing ended up being a total Hysterectomy.
So, being a single Mother, I needed this stressful job. I had no sick days left and went from asking for three weeks off to almost four months. I was out of time with no vacation days along with car payment, mortgage, utilities, and food bills. I had nothing left. I hit severe depression and I didn’t want to take medications. I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. I would just lay in bed and was bitter with life. I was constantly being asked when I was returning to work and I just couldn’t bring myself to go back. I had body pain along with unhappy thoughts and a teenager still at home. I had no money and was angry, tired, bitter and lonely.
I just quit my job, withdrew my retirement fund and paid bills with the money. I knew that would not last too long. I got up one day with the fire of Hell in me and just started yelling at God. Why me? I was good. I was kind. I helped others. I went to Church. And finally as I stood in front of my little homemade altar, I knew what I was to do. It was God who gave me the thought. And the thought was the name Divinelites! I knew that if I did what I enjoyed and kept the passion, then things would change. This was in December 2012. So that was it. After three years of tormented illness, my business was born. I trusted and today I am not rich. I don’t need to be. I love what I do and I believe in what I do and most of all , God has not failed me since I asked him for help. Divinelites Handmade Soap Shop is around the corner.
What would you consider to be your most successful soap making project or experiment? One of my very first customers at my farmers market (let’s call her D) came by my table one day. She looked stressed out. I began to talk to her and her husband about my natural products and how it had become my passion. D still had this bothered look about her. So me being who I am, I asked D what was wrong. D told me that for years her fair skin was a burden. She had seen many dermatologists, spent a lot of money and ended up basically taking a shower with just water. I felt so bad for her. I told her about my son’s condition. She looked at me a little wary. I told her about my Oatmeal Milk & Honey (OMH) soap and she had tears in her eyes. D said that she wanted to be a normal person and enjoy girly products so I gave her a nice sized sample of my soap and told her to try it only on one arm for a few days. She came back the following week and was smiling from ear to ear. That day she purchased ten bars of the OMH and placed an order for an entire loaf. I am happy to report that D not only uses that soap, but has tried others with much success. I am now working on a facial scrub for her. This is just one example of how the passion, heart and love of people go hand in hand with making bath and body products.
What do you make besides soap? The products that I make are: Liquid Castile, Body Lotion, Bath Bombs, Massage Oils, Bath Salts, Powdered Laundry Soap, Chakra Balancing Sets, Incense, Candles, Wax Melts. I also sew, crochet & do quilling art (I don’t sell any of these three)
What is your best-selling product? Cold Process Soap Bars, Lotions, Massage Oils. It’s a tie between these three.
What is your personal favorite bath and body product and why? My soap bars and Lotions…..are my favorite! They smell so good and make my skin feel just lovely! It’s a reward to me! I feel pretty!
Who would you like to thank the most for their support of your business? I would love to thank my cousin Nydia, she has been my biggest fan since day one….she constantly tells me that I will have my own Soap Shop in the near future because I do this with love. She is so heartfelt when she says this to me. Nydia believes in my passion. She knows where I’ve been and where I am now.
How do you keep your customers satisfied and coming back? I love giving samples….I have a weakness for little girls. I usually keep some little hearts or mini cupcake soaps and give them away to the little ladies. Mommies love this and usually become return customers (just because I was nice). I also ALWAYS let my customers know that I can custom ANY product for them and give a money back guarantee!
What advice would you give someone who wants to set up their own soap making business? The first thing I would say is that you won’t get rich and supplies cost money. You must have passion and it’s a lot of work, not only do you make products but you have to package, label and all the other tedious things that come with it. You also have to find a place to sell what you make and it’s not so easy. I believe if you don’t have a passion for creating something wonderful for others then soaping is not for them. Nothing of what comes with making BB products weigh me down. I love making soap and all the other goodies. This is hard to explain to a non-soap maker…..passion is what I call it. I am in love with making soap and all goodies that smell good!
Where can you be found on the web along with social media? I have my YouTube Channel…DivinelitesHandMadeSoap. I so love this channel world. I have gotten to know other passionate people like me and they understand the Soaping Bug. It’s not like I have a soaping community in my neighborhood, but on YouTube I can access many people like me 24/7. Passionate Folks who love to create for others, for example, Diana from DandiCreations, she is my Soapy Sister!!! I have a web store at www.divineliteshandmade.com (which I have yet to update with about 15 new soaps almost cured) hopefully by the time this blog is posted . I also have a Facebook page .
I want to thank Iris for taking the time to share her story with us. It has been great to get to know her better and find out how her business was born. Stay tuned for the next Share the Love Artist Spotlight!