Lauren: About one year ago. My mom said one day, "We should learn how to make soap. Why don't you research that?" And what she really meant by that was, "You should learn to make me homemade soap." I started with melt and pour and decided I wanted more of a challenge. I was on Craigslist one day and saw that a lady pretty close to me was selling "The Perfect Set for a Beginning Soaper" and I thought, hey that's me! I drove to Grapevine, TX, got my first set of supplies and haven't stopped!
TDB: Do you have any mishaps you want to share? Maybe something that you learned from?
Lauren: The first time I did cold process, I was unaware that if you use a plastic mold it should be lined or sprayed down with vegetable oil. Whoops. I ended up scooping them out with spoons once they were really hard. Needless to say they were used by my family only!
I've learned from all my beginning mistakes like most soapers do. My first experience with hot process was almost a disaster that I'm not sure the kitchen would've recovered from. Oh, and I also know now that ALL liquids should be cold when you are adding in lye. And if you have to do it inside, make sure those windows are OPEN! That stuff is dangerous, it's not messing around.
TDB: I love your photos! Do you do them yourself? Have any secrets?
Lauren: My biggest secret really isn't a secret; I make it well known on my blog and all my listings. I have a fabulous boyfriend who is a professional photographer (he received his degree in Photography two years ago!) and we set up a mock studio in my dining room for all the pictures. We share creative control over the photography but I'm not sure I could do it without him! I'm a lucky girl.
I always have a specific picture in my head that I want to create, and we usually get it just right. He's amazingly talented, no matter what he does really, and I could just as easily leave it all to him and trust that it would come out right. But I like to have my touch on the photos as well. You can check out his other work at his website, www.trentonread.com.
TDB: What inspires you to create?
Lauren: The culinary arts have been VERY inspiring for me. I want all of my bath products to be good enough to eat. I have always loved cooking, so soap was a natural hobby to pick up. Soaping is very similar to cooking; there are recipes and steps to follow. I'm working on some tomato basil soap that uses real tomatoes and dried basil in it. The cupcake fizzers were inspired by my love of baking. My icing skills came into play when I decided to try my hand at that!
I also get inspired by my friends and family. I try and make every single one of my products something that they would love.
TDB: Please share a little about your family.
Lauren: I have one of the most supportive families ever! I am a full time college student (in my last year, hooray!) and I live with my parents. They let me turn the house upside down when craft shows come around. For my first show my mom stayed up with me all night getting last minute things done and she stays with me at all the fairs, I don't even have to ask. She is also my gift wrapper; no one ties a bow quite like she does. My aunt and my dad have both networked for me to get sales. My family members have all placed orders for Christmas too to help me generate more sales for the holidays! My aunt is very artistic and is always coming up with new ideas for me as well.
I couldn't do any of this without them. When I was nervous about a craft show once my dad said, "Hey the worst that could happen is that you don't sell any and we never have to buy a bar of soap ever again."
TDB: What is your greatest passion?
Lauren: Oohh, that's a tie! Creating and teaching. Ever since I was little, when my mom and I were out at stores and saw something neat, usually the first thing out of my mouth would be, "I could make that." Even if I had no idea how I would. I'm always making things, whether it's a cake, a birthday card, soap (mainly soap!), scrapbooking, crocheting, painting, ironing pearler beads, ANYTHING, I have to get my creative energy out and keep my hands busy!
Teaching is what I will be doing after I am finished with school. I am sociology major and I can not wait to teach full time. To me, teaching is one of those things that I feel I was put here to do. It feels so natural.
I've thrown around the idea of teaching a soap making class here locally. That would be great because it would combine BOTH of my passions!
TDB: If you were told you only had one year to live, how would you make the best of your time? What would you do? How would you live?
Lauren: I would live the same way I am now, but I would spend much more time with my family and friends. I would try and arrange to see The Rolling Stones in concert; my mom and I would get to be on stage with Rod Stewart during a concert, my dad, brother and I would fly with the Blue Angles, I would never turn down dessert, I would hold my baby cousin a lot more, I would probably hug my boyfriend way too much, I would never turn down opportunities to do anything, and I would take in every single moment.