One of my followers on Twitter asked me a great question yesterday. She wanted to know why I teach soapmaking classes when my primary business at Back Porch Soap Company is making bath and body products. It made me pause and think about my reply.
I'll digress for a bit for those of you who don't know much about Twitter. Twitter is a social marketing site with a bit of a twist: you can only post 140 characters at one time. This makes communicating challenging at times. So responding to my follower's question in only 140 characters made me think of a condensed response. But there was so much more I wanted to say!
So here are my thoughts on teaching soapmaking classes and what it does for everyone involved: my students, me and my business.
First, teaching soapmaking and entrepreneurial classes gives me the chance to work one-on-one with great students. Just as soapmaking is therapeutic for me on days when I'm cranking out hundreds of bars, it is also therapeutic for my students in more ways than one. They leave proud, with a smile on their face, having been creative for the day and with bars of soap in tow.
Second, it builds my brand. Sure, I help my students make their own soap and their creations are a result of their masterminds. That is why it results in great marketing. Most of the soaps that leave my class become gifts. And with those gifts come bragging rights. "I made that soap," will inevitably come proudly out of the giver's mouth. "You did? Where?" will most surely be the response from the recipient. Are you getting the picture? Even if gift recipient doesn't take a soapmaking class, they will probably at the very least peruse my website and very possibly become my NEXT best customer!
Lastly, it's true what is said about teaching. Sometimes the teacher can learn more than the students. Even though I consider myself to be an expert soapmaker, I enjoy seeing soapmaking through someone else's eyes. I don't have classes to "steal" my student's ideas. Far from it. Instead, watching fearless students mixing fragrances I would never consider makes me realize over and over again how important it is to experiment and not get too comfortable in the way we are doing, making, and selling.
So thank you, Twitter friend, for asking me why I teach soapmaking.
If you're in New England sign up for one of Back Porch Soap Company's Soapmaking, Natural Skincare, and Entrepreneur classes held in the Boston, Massachusetts area.