Recessionista: Cindy Tollen
Soapmaker, Sudz N Bubbles
When her youngest son was diagnosed with moderate eczema, Cindy Tollen went straight to the local gift shop to buy a bar of specialty soap for him. Having already been bit by the entrepreneurial bug (she started her first company when she was 25), she quickly realized that she could make the soap herself. And so she did, into an array of fun shapes — from pie to cupcakes to sangria — that look good enough to eat.
A beauty product resembling food…you know us gals all too well…what’s your biggest seller?
Cupcakes and cocktails! Women love them (Editor’s Note: duh). They are our biggest sellers with the women: cupcake soap and cocktail-themed soap. We also serve up the real thing at our events. Those two words are powerful. Next week we are throwing out another weapon…massage. We’re having a “Cupcakes, Cocktails, and Massage” event at our store.
But it’s not just for ladies, right? You’ve been getting a lot of man-love lately…
The secret behind Sudz N Bubbles is men and photography (just not together, although that wouldn’t be a bad thing). Add to the list of things manly-men love but are scared to death of admitting: handmade soap. That’s right, my fastest growing clientele is men. Once men first use and experience the benefits of a real, glycerin-based soap, they’re hooked because glycerin, being a humectant, leaves the skin much more moisturized and fresh feeling. Aside from the glitz and glam of cupcakes and cocktails…is dirt. When you think of soap, you think “dirty” — and all dirty boys at some point have to come clean!
So where does the photography come in?
Photography can make or break your sales. I still have a few amateur photos on my website and I have found that those products do not sell as well.
You’re clearly tasting sweet success now — but how did you get started?
The secret to starting any business is not just an idea. All entrepreneurs have ideas; our brains never stop. But not everyone has “it.” The secret is to have fun, and passion for what you are doing. If it feels like work, you will fail. My secret is that I love what I do — it’s not about the money. I feel if you can find something that you absolutely love, then you will never have to go to work.