One of the most popular products to shop for on Etsy is handmade soap. Soap makers are so creative when it comes to combining colors, scents and shapes, that it’s no wonder shoppers can’t get enough of them. These shops are also a destination for anyone who prefers vegan or all-natural beauty products.
One soap maker that really stands out is our team member, Vicky of soapstar. She pairs her beautifully scented soaps with clever names and matching postcards for that extra special touch. Oh Canada has put soapstar in the spotlight!
Oh Canada: Of all the things that you sell, which item or style is your favorite?
Vicky: Hmmm, that’s a tough question! I love them all - but if I had to choose just one, it'd be my beach scent exfoliating soap bar, Baywash. It was the first of my 'soapstar' ideas to become a reality. I had such a strong image of what I wanted it to look & smell like in my head - it actually turned out better than I could hope for. The scent is SO fresh, like gentle waves washing away your cares...
Oh Canada: Where did you learn your skills?
Vicky: I'm self-taught so from anywhere & everywhere I could gather information about soap making - books, websites & some friendly soapers. Then a lot of experimentation - trial & error (mostly error in the early days!)
I think I was also lucky to inherit some very valuable skills from my late parents - I've always found biochemistry & aromatherapy fascinating (my mum was a scientist who believed in the natural approach & the power of plants), so some of it must have rubbed off... and my dad was more of a creative soul - a renowned theatre designer and passionate visionary with an incredible sense of attention to detail when it came to design.
Oh Canada: Everyone has different motivations for making their unique wares. What drives you to create?
Vicky: I've always loved natural bath & beauty products, harnessing all the lovely good stuff from the wonderful world around us without the use of harsh chemicals - so imagine my delight when I realized I could make them myself!
I'm inspired by visiting new places & favourite old haunts - whether it's traveling to far away destinations or just walking up the road locally. I'm always uplifted by the most wonderful sights, scents and sounds - followed by a real desire to capture that special something that evokes the 'feel good' senses and brings a smile to the face.
Oh Canada: If you could learn to use any new technique or material, what would it be?
Vicky: I adore objects made from glass, coloured or otherwise. It's translucent and light reflection qualities are so captivating - I would love to learn lampwork or fused glass techniques but I'm sure it's not easy, so for the moment I think I better stick to soap!
Oh Canada: Any plans to incorporate a new product into your shop this year?
Vicky: I'm currently busy in my 'research & development department (my kitchen!) perfecting new bath & beauty luxuries like bath bombs, sugar scrubs & body butters. The nice part is having to test them all - my daughter & her friends are strangely keen to volunteer for this!
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?
Vicky: Etsy has this wonderful sense of being part of a community of like minded souls who appreciate something unique, whether it be handcrafted, vintage or upcycled.
I feel this is true for buyers & sellers alike - it's akin to stumbling upon that perfect little market place but with all the benefit of simple esthetic design & clever, creative tech tools. I love it's clean minimal look and ability to evolve rather like something more organic.
Oh Canada: Do you have a number one tip for new sellers?
Vicky: It's hard not to at times, but don't get too hung up on what others are doing. Researching other sellers & your competition is important, sure - but it can distract & de-motivate. Have faith in what you do - create things you love, with love, and others will love it too. Oh, and do not under estimate the power of great, well framed photographs of your pieces!
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing to buy on Etsy?
Vicky: If I won the lottery I could probably have it all spent in an afternoon browsing through the beautiful treasuries on Etsy - it's amazing how many talented artisans there are out there.
My weaknesses are supplies of one kind or another - essential oils, botanicals...and also gorgeous little shiny things like Venetian glass beads and silver charms. (I'm a magpie at heart!)
Oh Canada: What is the number one best item in your shop right now?
Vicky: My most popular item is my Lawn & Order soap - it really does smell of freshly cut grass - a scent which scientists claim can help people relax, relieve stress and enhance memory! I've had more than a few customers feedback they can't bear to use it as it's so beautiful! Hearing such kind words makes the time, effort & love put into each product totally worthwhile.
Vicky makes her lovely soap creations in Ontario. You can see more of her products in her Etsy shop, soapstar. To learn more about her craft and inspirations, check out her blog act natural * feel good! You can also follow soapstar on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and soapstar