The question I get asked most by people I meet, both online and offline, is “why did you start your business?” - along with “why bath bombs?”, “what other products will you be making?” and “how do you stay healthy?”. I’ve been genuinely taken aback by how many people have taken a personal interest in both me and my business journey - I never thought anyone would care so much about this little fish in the big pond, so I’d firstly like to thank everyone who’s followed and supported me. You’re all amazing and I love hearing from you all, so don’t stop reaching out.
I’ll be honest (and you’ll learn that’s all I ever am): since starting my business just 8 months ago, I’ve stumbled over my answer every time I’ve been asked why I started my cosmetic business.
If you’re a small business owner, you know that there’s typically a ‘good’ answer, and a ‘not-so-good’ answer - both are equally as true, but when people ask you generally want both you and your business to come across as perfect. It’s much like when you start a relationship… you may have met on Tinder, but when people ask you probably say a more appealing story like “oh, we had friends in common!” or “we met up at this beautiful cafe on the high street…” - probably true, but fabricated somehow.
I started my business for three main reasons.
TO BE CREATIVE
I never used to consider myself particularly creative growing up. I’d always look around at my super talented classmates who were so dedicated to their art, whether it was drawing, painting, playing music or whatever and I’d feel totally impotent in comparison. I’d never really stuck with anything apart from writing for fear of looking stupid next to these people who would always be better than me at whatever crafty arty farty activity it was. Just to prove my point, I played 7 different instruments growing up, because I could never settle on just one.
As I grew into an adult, I did bits on the side that interested me… I helped friends plan their weddings; got a diploma in Interior Design; a diploma in Nutritional Therapy; started making candles and painting pottery… But I never properly invested in the idea that I might be good at anything too creative.
Like most of my decisions, I decided to start my business spontaneously. I knew that I loved natural healing (healing through smell, food, massage, CBT etc.) and wanted to harness this in some creative way. I also knew that I loved taking baths and found this to be one of the best ways for me to physically and emotionally recharge. So, I spontaneously decided that I would start making bath salts. Only problem with this was… I found it too easy (and boring tbh).
So, I looked into other cosmetics I could make that would be more fun and challenging, and stumbled across bath bombs. I’d never really used a bath bomb before, so found the idea fascinating. I got everything I needed to make them, practiced it, talked to people on support groups, and discovered it was SO much more than what I thought.
I found it absolutely fascinating and haven’t stopped since! I also love that it’s such an unusual thing to make… it’s much harder for me to revert back to my comparison way of thinking because there aren’t many people that make bath bombs the way I do!
TO HELP PEOPLE
When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to do something that would help people. First, I wanted to become a police women. Then it was a psychiatrist. Then something in Human Resources... I even played about with the idea of becoming a teacher. Somehow, I ended up working in marketing! They say life doesn’t go the way you planned… However, I always found myself drawn towards causes or activities that would somehow help people. While living in London and working full time, I volunteered my spare time for lots of local charities and causes to feed my soul! I worked for the NSPCC, the RSPCA, Greenpeace, TVHospice… While working and studying at university, I even volunteered my time at my local pet shop who couldn’t afford the extra help! (I got to play with the bunnies :) ). I ran myself pretty ragged living in London, but loved having my cake and eating it, too.
Living in London for 5 years, I realised I hadn’t been taking very good care of myself. The whole time I was in London I’d been on a mission to a) get my degree, b) develop my career in marketing and c) make others happy. I ran myself into so much debt going out when I really didn’t want to (but felt like I had to because - I WAS IN LONDON, BABY!), volunteering all my spare time, moving house every 6 months as per my contract(s)… I knew I needed to take back some control of my life so I eventually moved out of London, bought my first house near my friends and family, found a great stable job as a content manager, fell in love with a handsome man, and generally couldn’t have been happier. It was the best act of self-care I could have given myself at the time.
Now… I know that making bath bombs isn’t exactly the first thing you’d think of as ‘helping people’. But, it’s what I enjoy and feel comfortable doing. I use my knowledge and passion for aromatherapy, natural ingredients and healing techniques to help people relax, uplift mood, soften skin, enjoy a better nights sleep and so much more! I try to encourage people to look after themselves as much as I can - which is why I’ve started this blog, too! - and even offered free bath bombs for all women who went and got their smear test done.
And, I can’t wait to expand on the cosmetic products I currently offer. I’m working with my dear mother to offer super cosy bed socks, keeping tootsies warm during the winter, as well! And I can’t wait to introduce my face masks, creams, body butters, bath salts, dry shampoo and more. One of the keys to my personal happiness is feeling healthy and cosy - and I like helping people feel the same in my own little way!
TO MAKE MONEY
Let’s not kid ourselves - businesses like making money! After all, I have to pay for the materials I’m using to make my products, at the very least. And, the money that I make from Lavaná Botanicals helps to give me freedom and independence - two things I cherish hugely. Like a lot of people in this day and age, I had credit card debt that needed paying off from buying my first house, a car, from living in London, student loan and also paying for Christmas and birthday presents for my stupidly HUGE family!
But, making money is and never will be the main reason for starting my business. Unlike lots of other incredible, brave, beautiful small businesses out there, I’m not reliant on my business; I have a salary income from my full-time job which keeps me alive. As such, I’m not competitive with my business. I don’t try to undercut anyone or push any other businesses out of the picture… god, how awful would that be? Instead, I try to be as supportive as I can. I love buying from other small businesses, especially in the same industry as me. I know first-hand how much is demanded from you; physically, emotionally, financially… It is a tough old game starting up and maintaining a small businesses, which I never used to appreciate as much as I do now. So I try to support as many small, local makers as I can and encourage others to do the same.
If you liked my post, then please do leave your comments below! If you have any questions - especially about your own small business journey - then I’ll be happy to answer all that I can :)