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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur

I’m a serial entrepreneur. Every one of my prior attempts has been a high-tech endeavor. Despite having varying degrees of success, one thing has become apparent -- the high-tech world is fundamentally unstable. Things change, change causes disruption, and one cannot be expected to respond successfully to disruption every time.


When a good friend approached me and my wife about a business selling soaps, lotions and lip balm, my first reaction was “finally, a non-high-tech business!” The thought that I wouldn’t need to deal with constantly changing technology had tremendous appeal. The fact that we’re selling soap was...meh. I guess I was more excited about what the business wasn’t.


Fast forward -- we’re making soap. We’re learning about different soap formulas. I’m still roughly in the “meh” camp. The thing about good soap is that it takes up to six weeks to properly cure. So, when you make it, you need to wait awhile to see how you did. During that time, I’ve discovered that there are lots of people out there that are very enthusiastic about soap.


I’ve been using Dial and Irish Spring and various other household brands for my entire life. I’ve never thought twice about it. Recently, I learned that this stuff isn’t even really soap. It turns out that soap is made when you mix fat with lye to create a chemical process called “saponification,” which turns the fats into salts. Different types of fats produce different effects. Okay, that’s probably more than you want to know about soapmaking. Here’s the thing, look at the ingredients of Irish Spring:


INGREDIENTS: SOAP (SODIUM TALLOWATE, SODIUM COCOATE AND/OR SODIUM PALM KERNELATE TYPES) WATER, STEARIC ACID (SKIN CONDITIONER) COCONUT AND/OR PALM KERNEL ACD, GLYCERIN (SKIN CONDITIONER), FRAGRANCE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, PEG-12 POLYSORBATE 20,TITANIUM DIOXIDE, TETRASODIUM EDTA, BHT D&C GREEN NO. 8, FD&C GREEN NO. 3.


I had to look up tallowate and kernelate to figure out what’s going on here. Apparently, these are fats that have somehow already been converted to salts. This undoubtedly eliminates the curing, which means faster to market. By the way, tallowate is made from beef fat, so if you use this, your soap is not vegan. Bottom line: this stuff is designed to be quick to make first and foremost.


Back to me. Finally, I got around to using actual soap. Wow! What a difference. If you’ve never used real soap. You will probably be as surprised as me. It actually makes my skin feel better. Now, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has a lot to say about when you can make claims about what a product can do for your body and as an owner I need to be careful about making “claims.” So, this is just me talking about me. Your results may vary.

If you happen to have actually gotten this far into my post today, I’m going to make it a bit easier for you to try out some real soap. Just go to the Ti LeBlanc website and pick yourself out a bar of soap. Type in “friendsshipfree” (without the quotes) into the coupon code box when you check out and...you guessed it!...we won’t charge you for shipping (Sorry, U.S. customers only -- for now). I’d love to hear what you think. We have a Facebook page and as a new company, every customer gets the sort of attention that as a customer, you live for. As a matter of fact, if you’ve got some ideas for a product, let us know. We might just whip you up a batch!
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