Some of you probably know that our Spinning group meets at Wild Iris Books on the third Thursday of the month. Well, last month (January), I got there a little bit early and asked Erica if they had the Indigo Girls album that had come out a month or two before. I hadn’t picked it up yet and I’d rather spend my money at a locally owned feminist bookstore than at a Big Chain (and apparently my purchase was the turning point or something because I just heard yesterday that one of those Big Chain stores is shutting its doors here in Gainesville – SO SORRY hahahaha not).
She didn’t have it, but would be happy to order it – and hey, did I know the Indigo Girls were coming to Gainesville in just a couple weeks?! – and she knew I’d already given her my email somewhere but could I give it to her again? Well, I’d just gotten my swanky new HaldeCraft business cards, so I thought I’d just give her one of those (even though the email was “work” and not “play,” and you guys know sometimes how I flip out at having too many places that people can get in touch with me – a situation which I’m working on tweaking but that’s another post).
I gave her the card, she said she’d call when it got in, and then I went on about my spinny business and yadda yadda yadda. At the end of the night when everyone is packing up to leave, I like to stay behind and thank the women of Wild Iris for putting out with our raucous laughter and giving us a space – so I went to Erica to say “thanks.” And she said that she’d just spent the last two hours pouring over my Etsy page and would I want to carry my soaps and some of my ceramics in her shop?
Continued after the cut!
Now… I have to be honest with y’all, I’ve been holding out on you. So I’ll tell you exactly what I told her, which is that another one of the Wild Iris women had talked to me about this waaaaaaay the heck back in August, and while some of the terms I was totally fine with, there was one major thing that she wanted me to consider changing: my soap packaging. And I wasn’t willing to do that.
Let me digress for a moment and tell you why I package my soap like I do. There are two important elements to my soap: design and fragrance. There are not a lot of packaging options that will allow me to showcase both being that glycerin soap, when in humidity, can dew. If my soap is not going to be stored in a dry(ish) environment (such as at Hanks, when it was in air conditioning all the time), it needs to be packaged in such a way that will head off or at least stifle the glycerin dew problem. The most common way of combating glycerin dew in a humid environment is to wrap it in shrink-wrap or saran wrap. However, then you can’t smell the soap. To me, personally, fragrance trumps design. It could be the cutest hedgehog in the universe but if it smells like roses I’m not going to buy it. And I went into this thinking I was going to sell primarily on Etsy, where I’ll have photographs, or at shows, where I’d have an unwrapped bar for people to see. Lastly, my graphic designer worked really hard and kicked all kinds of ass on my soap label and I’m not going to spit in her face by changing everything.
So what I told Erica is that I was really flattered; I’ve loved Wild Iris for years (I think I’ve been shopping there since… well, some time in the early-to-mid-90’s) and if they were to carry my things I would really feel like I had leveled up, “made it.” And the benefits of having my goods in (1) a local venue where I could send my friends and (2) a niche store such as the last feminist bookstore in the entire state of Florida… would be great. But that for consignment, changing my packaging was not something I was willing to do. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to be difficult. It’s just… I’d have to shell out for whatever I wound up packaging it in, take the time to unwrap and rewrap everything I was going to sell there, and if it didn’t sell I’d have to take the time to unwrap and rewrap again. That’s a lot to ask for not a guaranteed sale. Please understand – it’s not the consignment I have a problem with, it’s making changes for consignment. If someone out there wanted to wholesale my soap, I’d package it however they wanted it – because I’d only have to wrap it the one time. Erica totally understood this.
HOWEVER. Wild Iris is making quite a number of changes, and Erica didn’t even hesitate to say that they’d take my soap just the way it is. And since the packaging was the only thing I had reservations about, IT’S ON, BABY!
Tim and I went in there a couple Saturdays ago to measure shelves – I’m starting off with three shelves; one of ceramics and two for soaps. Tim is – of course – building me a fabulous and swanky soap display unit that will fit on the shelves. He’ll probably finish that this weekend and so expect photos soon! And Wild Iris is pouring over the lengthy list I gave them of designs and fragrances and will have a soap order for me soon… after which I will be a very excited making-and-wrapping-maniac! They will also have a selection of my ceramics, including some of the Sugar Skull Virgins Mary that have been generating a lot of conversation. I may also wind up doing a few pieces that can only be found there, both soap- and ceramic-wise.
And then, a few days after this Thursday night I’m talking about above, Erica sent me an email about the Indigo Girls. But that’s another story…!