Monthly Archives: April 2012

Fun with Fundraising

One thing that plagues every tiny startup business I have ever seen is money – or rather, the lack of same. After all, it takes money to make money, and I have never yet encountered a business in its early years which would say it had “enough” money. Equipment, license fees of various sorts, supply stockpiles, more equipment, rent if you have a separate workspace or storefront, advertising costs, administrative overhead of multiple flavors, etc. – and  after the business expenses finally come to an end, even if the startup doesn’t have any employees beyond the initial entrepreneur to pay, she still has to pay her mortgage, and eat occasionally, and deal with the electric bill.

This is why most new startups are run in evenings, weekends, and lunch breaks by people who still have day jobs, of course, but even so, sometimes a growing business finds itself in need of an injection of capital to step up to the next level.

Quite a few funding options are not available to the smallest businesses for assorted regulatory reasons, and small business loans were not, when I turned to them for help, small enough – and also not particularly easy to get, especially if one has been running a business hand-to-mouth for a couple of years by the point at which one goes looking. Fortunately, in recent years there has been an upswelling of crowdfunding as a means of raising capital for all manner of things, and so, when our business ran solidly into a fiscal crunch last month, it was there that we turned to solve it.

We put together a funding campaign at IndieGoGo, explaining why we needed a cash infusion, how much we were looking for, and what we would do with it (as well as the list of goodies contributors could receive in exchange for their donations), published it, and started to promote it. The response was absolutely overwhelming, and we met our $2,500 goal early in the afternoon of the Tuesday after starting the campaign on Saturday evening.

This is far from a predictable result of crowdfunding, of course – the unbelievable generosity of our contributors left me stunned and speechless for some time – but even a more moderate response can go a very long way to helping a growing business get the leg up it needs. We spent the very first $20 that came in on something that had been on our supply wish list for months!

What does all this mean? Well, if you’re a tiny business struggling to become a little less tiny, consider setting up a campaign. It’s intimidating – no, actually, it’s terrifying – but it could well pay off for you. If you’re a customer or a fan of a business that’s running one of these campaigns, consider tossing them $5 or so. You’d be surprised how far a little business can make five bucks stretch!

…oh, and one more thing – the campaign linked above is still active, until May 8. We’ve met our goal, as I said above, but there’s never any shortage of  other things around the workplace that could use a bit of money tossed at them. I love my little business, but she certainly is thirsty when it comes to cash! So if you feel inclined, we would most definitely not turn down any additional contributions that come in over the next week.

But we’re incredibly happy with the result of our campaign, even if no more contributions come along. Several of the new and exciting things we’ll be talking about here in months to come will only be possible due to the generous contributions to the campaign, and we are very conscious of the responsibility of living up to the confidence that people placed in us by making them.

P.S. I’ll be sending out everyone’s perks-for-contributing next week!


Begin as you mean to go on.

It’s a dark, rainy Sunday morning here in Wichita, and while that always make me want to spend the entire day on the couch with an afghan, a cup of tea, and a well-stocked Kindle, I can’t be indulging that impulse too much today – I’ve got grand plans for reorganizing the storage in the soap room, I’m going to try to find time to make some solid perfumes, I have pictures to take, errands to run, and a store delivery to make, and I’m even stealing an hour out from all this productivity to have coffee with a friend!

Well, I’m sort of stealing it from the productivity, but I’m also sort of bringing some soap along to label while we chat. That still counts as taking a break, right?

…right?


Hello!

Welcome to Foam on the Range’s new blog-home!  In light of our blogging hiatus (last seen on another site, in another year), perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves  again! I’m Amy Young, founder as well as chief cook and bottlewasher here at Foam on the Range. I started making soap several years ago, let the hobby lapse for a while, then picked it up again in early 2010 with a vengeance and haven’t slowed down since. Once I really got my teeth into the craft, I realized it was perfect for me – a chance to take my poor, previously-neglected bachelor’s degree in science (biology, technically, but chemistry is close enough!), leaven it with a healthy dose of my irrepressible desire to MAKE ALL THE THINGS, and tie it all together with the stubborn entrepreneurial spirit that I appear to have inherited from both sides of my family. Yes, really; both my father and my maternal grandfather spent several decades self-employed. I was doomed from the start…

I love absolutely everything about this business; something I have never before been able to say about work. I love product development, tinkering with various ingredients and materials until they coalesce into the product I was aiming for, or else they don’t and I learn something new about what not to do. I love finding new fragrances and incorporating them into products, and of course the actual making of soap is what drew me into this business in the first place, so obviously I love that! I really look forward to chatting with customers at shows, too – nothing makes me happier than seeing people come back time and again, and getting to know them as people as well as customers.

Designing, making, packaging, selling – I’m having the time of my life running this business, and I’m grateful to have the chance to do it. It is, alas, not my full-time job just yet, but the day will come!

The other voice of the business is Alistair Young, my husband and invaluable partner in this endeavor.  You’ll be hearing from him soon enough around here, too.

It’s a busy season here at Foam on the Range, with our first show of 2012 just around the corner. It’s usually busy in one way or another, though, and when it’s not we’re looking for ways to make it busy – so I imagine there’ll usually be plenty to talk about, and plenty of pictures to share.

We’re not just going to talk about soap and the selling of same around here, of course. We may spend lots of time up to our elbows in the soap pot, but there’s more to life than work, even work one loves. I hope you’ll enjoy coming along for an occasional glimpse of ours!