What’s the story, morning glory?
Hey everyone, my name is Annie Adams, and I am the Soap Wench of the Catskill Soap Company (CatSoCo). By the way, writing this is harder than it looks. So I guess I need to answer: "What is the Catskill Soap Company, and how did we end up doing a Kickstarter since we have been in business for 10 years?"
Annie, fill me in: why you are here? Why is the Catskill Soap Company trying to raise capital?
I guess the short answer would be that we needed to use our CatSoCo money to pay bills, buy oil to heat the house, and buy food when my prolonged illness (two knee replacements, psoriatic arthritis, and some other health issues) kept me from being able to work, and really work at CatSoCo. We were left with no raw supplies, or the ability to buy them in the quantity that we need that makes sense.
Ok, Annie, I get it. You hit a rough patch. It has happened to us at one time or another. Why Kickstarter and not another crowdfunding platform?
I am not asking for a hand-out. I am asking for a hand-up. I want to reward and thank my backers (family, friends, and of course, my customer base, for without them I am nothing) with some of my best products and some, I think, very cool rewards! So please check out the rewards on the right side.
Hmmm, how are you feeling now, Annie? What happens if you get worse?
Here is the good news! I have bionic knees. Wahooo! And I can walk again; truly that has been the biggest obstacle. If I can't walk or stand, I can’t work shows and Ren Faire, or make product. I am in PT getting my legs strong again, and joined the gym. I might be a leaner, greener, Soap Wench come faire time =). Also I am being followed by a wonderful rheumatologist, who is working with me to help maintain and hopefully put in remission my Psoriatic Arthritis. I am feeling confident in my health for the first time in about four years. Also, specifically last season, I had to make product all season long, which left me too exhausted and in pain to be able to be at faire most of the time. I didn't do any other shows last year, as I was too ill. This season I have submitted a few applications to shows before NYRF to get my sea legs back.
So, Annie, how do you plan to pull this CatSoCo miracle off?
Having my inventory made ahead of time is the biggest priority. Here is my plan. The first thing I did was go through all my raw supplies and took inventory. I have some oils but need many, many more. I went on my wholesale suppliers' websites and put together a realistic order. I looked at bulk pricing on jars, containers, lids and packaging. (Jeez, I don't even have a single business card at the moment, I need to order some.) I spent a lot of time to come up with the starting inventory that would give me the following:
- 360 jars of slather
- 400 bottles of lotion mist/no deeter
- 1,000 bars of soap
- 20,000 sticks of incense
- 800 ⅓ ounce vials of body oils
- 100 jars of colored and scented bath salts
- 50 jars of sugar scrub
- 50 bottles of liquid soap
This is more than enough inventory to start my season and enough inventory to fulfill my rewards to my awesome backers!!! So my need to get this Kickstarter in full swing needs to happen soon, with enough time to make the soap and allow it to cure for several weeks before I can sell it. Did I tell you that after 10 years, I finally have a work space of my own? That helps make the difference!
I see, Annie. So how much are you looking to raise?
It was so hard for me to put a number together. I think $2,000.00 is a realistic (and fair) number that I believe I will be able to raise. If I'm able to raise more, it basically means, I will be able to buy more raw supplies and re-expand my line. I have a secret line I have been trying to launch and if we reach the $2,000.00 mark I'll reveal it, and hopefully I'll be able to launch for New York Ren Faire 2017!
What shows have you done in the past, and do you have a customer base?
I am so glad you asked this question! I am proud to be part of the New York Renaissance Faire. This will be my 9th season as the Soap Wench. I love this Faire, it's my home faire, and the best three months out of the year for me. I have also participated at Bethel Woods, Harvest Festival, Holiday Market, and my incense was for sale in the Museum Gift Shop. I have my incense at the FunkyHippie Chic Boutique in Monticello. Midsummer Renaissance Festival in Conn, NY, Capital Renaissance Faire, several farmers markets in Orange and Sullivan Counties, Clearwater Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, street fairs in Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Rockland and Westchester counties. So to answer your question, yes, I have a small but very loyal fan base, specifically New York Ren Faire. I am so grateful to my customers; some have followed me for years. Here are some of my customers' comments on my products:
"Your scrubs rock my world"! - Deborah S.
"You know, my favorite slather is Witches Brew, but I have also used different ones. The one thing about this Slather/body cream is that it stays soft on you all day, with no greasy feeling, and to know it is local, that is key. Annie produces nothing but quality. I also love the lip scrub. Everything is all natural." - Maryanne B.K.
"Men can find quite a few great products at CatSoCo. I love the earthy, natural soaps, like Dragonsblood, and Pine Tar, and women love the way I smell. And after I shave my face and head, the slathers make for a great aftershave lotion." - Christopher M.
What is your favorite product and fragrance that you make?
Silly, I love all my products! But the most popular by far is my hand and body cream called “Slather”. You know, to Slather is to smear lavishly, and indeed my cream is fabulous. I also think my bug spray, “No "Deet'er” Skeeter Spray is a pretty good product and it works. My soaps are, well, awesome! And my favorite fragrance is Jade =). If you ever see me, ask me about how slather came to be and my Jade story.
Annie - what do you see as the obstacles?
Obstacles. There are always obstacles. Really, I think what it comes down to is how you react to them. I have tried to plan for every possible bad situation, but that is impossible. I think the biggest obstacle will be not being funded fully. I am confident, excited, and ready to get back to where I was. If you haven't met me at show or NYRF, I love what I do. It shows in my work and in my enthusiasm for the products that I make and sell. I truly believe in my products, and I am proud of them. I would rather not sell you my product if there is even a remote possibility of a reaction. I am here for the long haul, not the quick buck.
The only challenge may be from getting the raw supplies on time to make the soap, and rewards may be delayed. I will keep in constant contact with my supporters and let them progress with updates and I hope video.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me, please feel free. I am honored and amazed that you took the time to look through and read about my Kickstarter to restart my tiny company.
Thank thee and I bow deeply in respect,
Much Love too!
The CatSoCo Soap Wench
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