Fresh ginger and lime, bamboo lotus, seaside escape—soap artisan Belinda Skarka knows exactly what you want. Etta’s Soaps, Belinda’s bath and body store, is any girl’s haven when it comes to pampering and nourishment.
A natural born crafter, Belinda only found a knack for creating soaps and balms later. Inspired by natural colors and smells, Belinda set out to find the perfect textures and scents to give her products that special magic. Named in honor of Belinda’s grandmother, Etta’s Soaps consists of high quality products and irresistible scents. The goal is simple and the reasoning admirable. Etta’s Soaps is for anyone with a love of pampering and an appreciation of the complex yet simple behavior of the sense of smell.
What got you started? Where did you begin?
I worked with an esthetician for ten years in day spas throughout the country. I have always been creative. I love scrap-booking and making different crafts. However, making soaps never crossed my mind until I started going to farmers markets and seeing all the soaps and body care products. I did some research and found an intensive course on making soaps and after making my first soap, I was hooked.
The right name for my business was important to me. I started thinking about the people in my life and what meant the most to me. This is how I came up with Etta’s Soaps. Etta was my grandmother and she was an amazing woman. She taught me a lot and introduced me to business. This is my way of honoring her.
What do you hope people will receive from your products?
When customers use my products it is my hope that it makes them feel pampered and that they enjoy the wonderful scents and how good it cleans and makes their skin feel.
I always think about what my grandmother taught me. Provide a great product and give exceptional customer service. I work hard to get my orders out fast and I always try to add a little extra touch like a sample or something.
What inspires you?
I really get inspired by color and nature and anything that makes me feel pampered. I find a lot of inspiration on the web, in magazines and by going to boutiques.
I love how scents can take you back to a special place or special memory. This is why I use quality fragrances and essential oils.
I also love learning, taking classes and going to trade shows. This way I’m always growing and learning.
What do you always try to keep in mind while you create your products?
I always use high quality ingredients and work hard to create a great product.
Where do you hope your business will go?
My business is still evolving and I’m learning more every day.
My dream will come true when I open a quaint little Bath and Body Product Store in a busy downtown area where there are little shops and restaurants. I would also like to offer classes in skincare and making soaps.
What advice do you have for those just beginning to sell online?
Take good pictures and describe your product well. Have an easy to navigate website (CraftLaunch can help you with this) and always add a note to your orders thanking them for their business.
Do you sell offline too? Where else can we find your stuff?
I also sell at local farmers markets and craft shows.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your business?
I love meeting new people and listening to their concerns and life stories. Before I go to a craft show or a farmers market to sell my products, I ask God to let me be a blessing to someone.
Starting this business has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me do things I wouldn’t normally do. I am also being a role model to my daughters. Show them when you want something —work hard through all the challenges and don’t give up.
What is your favorite thing about CraftLaunch?
I was so happy that I found CraftLaunch. I’m not a computer tech and was really struggling trying to get a website together. You know the ones that say you can build your web site in and hour (LOL)? It didn’t work for me.
I think CraftLaunch was the easiest software I have ever worked with and allowed me to put together a website in no time. I have also been very impressed with their customer service. When I have a problem or question they address it promptly.
What’s something we should have asked you but didn’t?
What has been my biggest challenge?
Trying to balance everything.
When starting a new business you wear many hats. The easiest part is creating your product, but my biggest challenge has been marketing and social media aspects of the business. I’m still working in these areas to improve.
Etta’s Soaps: http://www.ettassoaps.com/