What a year, my friends, what a year.
The pandemic challenged us to think about our business in a very different way - I mean, we make things that people basically stick their noses on which doesn't really fare well in the age of a respiratory virus of pandemic proportion. We had a long term goal of expanding our market to online sales and possible retail placements, but the pandemic moved that along for us quite faster than we were expecting.
Likewise, we never had a clear vision or defined set of values as part of our business plan, and 2020 brought us to the realization that such things need to be put down on paper. While we watched our community move from a pandemic situation into a protest over repeated civil rights violations, we were reminded that we have a responsibility to support positive values in our own community and use our privilege as a small business to focus on how we can bring positive change into the world. Our achievements in 2020:
Lemon Yellow Sun was created - proceeds from this bar support SCA Cares which focuses on the mental health and wellness of students in the Southern Columbia School District.
Girl Power was the result of a collaborative effort with the girls in my Girl Scout Troop to earn their Product Designer Badge - the girls design, create, market, and sell a batch of soap and the troop keeps the sales. In 2021, when we can stand closer than six feet to each other again, we hope to offer this to other Junior Level troops in our area!
James Joyce continues to support the Ralpho Township Public Library with a donation of $1.00 per each bar sold.
We made masks and donated the sales to Mostly Mutts - over $300 total!
We started the 2020 season at the Elysburg Farmers Market, but in early June, we made the difficult decision to leave the Market when it no longer supported the direction we wanted our business to follow. We did a trial at the Bloomsburg Fair Farmers Market, but we didn't feel that venue necessarily matched the values we hold here on the Hill so we decided that in the best interest of keeping the community healthy (you know, the sniffing during respiratory pandemic thing) we would turn our attention to online sales and retail and partnered up with Rohrbach's Farm Market as our first retail location. We also changed our packaging to more pandemic-friendly boxes which I fell in love with immediately - the soap stayed clean (how's that for irony?) and they were recyclable, which is always a plus in my book.
We enjoyed an outdoor event at Rohrbach's in the Fall where we worked alongside and met other amazing local artisans, namely Lancaster Wax Co., the Last Lily Pad, and a long-time favorite, Liam's Luck. It was a great day and reminded us that we can't wait to get back out there letting people put their noses to work smelling our one-of-a-kind scents.
While we would've loved to spend all our quarantine time making soap, there was quite a bit of work to be done in my "day job" as a Graduate Medical Education Program Manager. Not to mention, the young'un on the Hill enrolled in a charter cyber school so I became what I always said I wanted to be when I grew up - a teacher. It's been a strange year, to be sure, but we're inspired to make 2021 the best year yet for us. Stay tuned for new products, new scents, and new charity-inspired bars. Be well.