A while back, my husband asked me where I wanted to take my soap making in the future, and I responded that I would like to teach. Earlier this year at market, I had the pleasure of meeting a lifestyle director for a local sustainable-living community near my home. We met a few weeks later for a tour of the community and a quick put-our-heads-together meeting where we came up with two dates during the summer for workshops to be held in one of the model homes.
The day before our meeting, I had literally just returned from the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild’s annual conference. For 4 days, I listened to industry experts talk about everything from branding to growing my business to the art itself. The conference was motivating and inspiring with a double-shot of you can totally do this! So, when it came to planning two workshops – ppssshhh – I got this. No problem.
Every evening for two weeks before the big day, I planned. I wrote outlines, I wrote lists of resources, I formulated recipes, I shopped for materials, I gathered supplies, I tested the recipes, and finally I packed everything neatly in crates and absolutely panicked. Terrified doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling. What if they didn’t like me? What if I was terrible at it? What if they hated the recipe? What if I was never invited back there again? I wasn’t sleeping well and I spent pretty much every waking hour thinking about the first workshop.
The day of the first workshop, my husband was heading in another direction. He had to go set up one of our regular markets, and I pulled myself together, put on a dress, and went to lead the Sachets & Sugar Scrub workshop. Of the 15 residents confirmed for the workshop, 4 attended. It was the perfect size. The ladies sat at table and we went through the outline, talking about oils, butters, essential oils, and the benefits of using a scrub regularly. We worked through the recipe and the ladies did a fantastic job. They asked great questions and got really creative with blending essential oils. And, as the morning went on, I became more relaxed and comfortable. Everyone had a great time and has enjoyed using the sugar scrub they made for themselves.
When it came time to plan the second workshop, Melt & Pour Soap making, I wasn’t as nervous. I went through the same procedure – outline, list of resources, gathering materials, packing up. This time, we were expecting 18 participants. All 18 attended and it was an extremely full kitchen. I provided the soap base, additives, essential oils, mica colorants, and all the goodies that go along with the project, such as spoons, pipettes, molds, etc.
When it was time to get started, I held my outline in my hand and started shaking. Trust me, when your hand is shaking from nerves, so is your voice. Public speaking isn’t an area where I have a lot of experience. And picturing people in their underwear just doesn’t do it for me. So, the first few sentences were dicey. I started to walk around the room while I was talking, and then I realized, hey – these folks are looking to me for guidance and you bet I’m going to give it to them. Over the next hour and a half, we made soap. In all honestly, I learned way more from them that morning than they did from me. The level of creativity was mind-blowing. Everyone finished up, we took some photos and they filed out to go on with the rest of their day.
When it was all over, I was standing in the kitchen of a half million-dollar model home after 18 people, including children, went through a soap making workshop and I laughed out loud. It looked like we rode a soap making wrecking ball through there. I was so tickled that the residents had so much fun and it showed. Thank the Lord for paper towels, 409, and stick vacuums.
I’ve been invited back to lead another workshop a little closer to the Holidays and I’m not nervous at all. In fact, I can’t wait.