Aspiring writers looking for advice are often told “write what you know”. Which is a useful piece of advice once you know how to apply it (it does not, for instance, mean that all science fiction writers must have met actual aliens before publishing), and it turns out to be more broadly useful than just for writing. For instance, it is only now, in my sixth year of running Foam on the Range, that I have begun to have the confidence to make soaps in my true area of expertise: Epic Nerdery.
I mean, don’t get me wrong; soap in general is an area of expertise for me now, and the chemistry behind it was definitely well within my wheelhouse even before my first batch hit the molds. But branding has been a work in progress for me all along, and this year the brand has been sending out some feelers – perhaps it would be more apropos to say pseudopodia – toward expressing fannishness in our own particular . . . idiom. Er, medium. Whatever. Why did it take so long? Shreds of “but what will people think” that I haven’t managed to shake off yet, I suspect, or a belief that starting a business meant needing to cleave wholeheartedly to the mainstream and deviate nary a bit. Which is silly, of course; there are whole businesses making a quite respectable living out of embracing the edge cases.
It’s been a tricky line we’ve been meandering along, though. We haven’t wanted to convert Foam on the Range wholly into a geekfest; the “normal” things have an established customer base who may not wish to wash up with Browncoat soap. We have contemplated spinning off a sub-brand (“Foam on Lagrange” is the name that we’ve floated, and even have a special logo for it), but so far, you can still find Petrichor between Patchouli and Prairie Twilight in the regular shop, and it will probably remain so for some time still. But there’s a limit to how long we can continue to attempt to be all things to all people, so the spinoff may happen eventually – or maybe we’ll spin off the conventional things instead!
In the mean time, we are adding a “foam on lagrange” tag into all the Etsy listings which qualify for it, as a sort of compromise measure.
What sort of nerdalicious stuff do we have, anyway? Well, take a look!
The Firefly set has another member coming soon (Serenity, not pictured), and the Whovian soaps have many, many friends still on the curing racks – after all, we’ll be at a Doctor Who convention in less than three weeks, so we’d better be prepared!
Have a geeky soap idea for us? Let us know, and maybe we’ll put it on the list!
Note: These are all bar soap only so far (though there are a few geektastic nail polishes scattered here and there), mostly because the visual element is part of the package, and without that it’s just a funny name. But if these continue to do well, we may branch out into a few other product lines as well!