I met November’s Wonder Woman a few years ago when she hired me to do some marketing photography for her Etsy shop. I was so excited to work with a creative craftsman and see her in action. I think we really hit it off too! She is so easy to talk to and very informative to boot! Fast forward a few years, and I get a call to work with her again. Now her business is bigger and better.
Here she is a a female entrepreneur who I affectionately call the soap lady (way before an Ex-RHONJ cast member started making soaps), as this month’s featured lady boss. But she is so much more and so is her brand. She recently underwent a product and brand transformation to get rid of all synthetic ingredients in her products! So please let me introduce you to a very talented and amazing woman.
Name: Lisa Buteux
Business Name: Comfort & Joy Apothecary
Web Site: http://www.comfortandjoysoap.
Phone: (845) 821-3028
Location: I run the business from my home; customers can shop online and also at special craft fairs and other events.
Describe your business in 50 words or less.
Comfort & Joy Apothecary is a maker of all natural soaps and bath/body products.
Why did you start your business?
I have always been a creative person with an entrepreneurial spirit. When shoulder problems forced me to leave behind my life in the fiber arts, I decided to learn how to make soap. After a year of creating soaps for family and friends, I decided to turn my hobby into a business and founded Comfort & Joy Soap Co.
What’s different about you versus your competitors?
I create unique custom scent blends with Essential Oils for all of my products.
What can your customers expect from you?
I want to bring Comfort & Joy to each and every person that interacts with my company.
What was the last big milestone or benchmark you hit and how did you reach it?
In the early years of my business, I used some synthetic colorants and fragrances along with the natural scents and colors. In May of 2015, I took a natural perfumery course that so inspired me, I underwent a complete rebranding of my product line to all natural and got rid of all synthetic ingredients.
What is the most misunderstood part of your business?
The terms “organic” and “natural” are used many times in ways that can be confusing and even misleading. Some companies use “all natural” to describe their products when they sometimes, in fact, contain synthetic and even toxic ingredients. It makes it difficult for customers to know what they are buying and forces them to do their own research of ingredients.
What are the pros and cons of having your own business?
I have to laugh every time I see this phrase – “Entrepreneurs are the only people who work 80 hours to avoid working 40.” It’s so true! The pros are being able to get up every day and work at what I love to do. The cons are the pressure and workload can be overwhelming at times. I have to wear so many hats. I am the CEO, maker, bookkeeper, shipper, packer, marketer, and more.
What do you wish you had known before starting a business?
That it is wise to keep a manageable product line. I started out making everything in every scent. That quickly becomes difficult to maintain when your business branches out into wholesale where stores order larger product quantities. Also, and more important, know exactly to the penny what it costs to make your products. It is the difference between a hobby and a business.
What is one piece of advice you can give to any woman starting her own business?
You cannot be all things to all people. Find your niche and create products and stories that resonate with them.
Any upcoming events or promotions you’d like to share?
I just attended the Renegade Craft Fair 11/12-11/13 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC. I also do Pop Ups through West Elm LOCAL, and you can find out by subscribing to my newsletter as well as checking on the Events section of my website.
Best time-management tips?
I use a bullet journal to organize my daily schedules and appointments. The night before, I create my schedule for the next day. This is so important, as it gets it out of my head and onto paper.
Where’s your happy place?
Working in my office/soap curing room. It is where I do most of my packaging/creative planning, etc.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
BBQ Potato Chips.
How do you spend your free time (if you have any)?
I enjoy taking walks around the Hudson River with my husband.
If you are a mom, have you found a balance between home and family? If so, tell us how!
It is important to set a daily schedule, and that is why I rely on my bullet journal for planning. It keeps me on track so that my work doesn’t have to spill over into the evening hours. Also, no matter what I am doing, I always take time, even if it’s a short time, to talk with my daughters when they are home. I am always available to them if they need me. Nothing is more important than that.
A favorite quote or expression that guides you?
“Let your gentleness be known to all . . .” Phillipians 4:5
Thank you Lisa for taking the time to answer my many questions and spread your wisdom. As always I love working with you!
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