Most of all, don't compare yourself to others, but walk in the beauty of uniqueness of who God has made you to be. - Elisa, Song of A Sparrow
Tucked away in the San Bernardino Mountains, in the scenic town of Lake Arrowhead, California, is the lovely "soaper" or soap maker, Elisa. She fell in love with handmade soap when she was a child. "I visited a family-owned farm where they made and sold their own handmade soap. Their soaps smelled amazing, and I was fascinated by the process and beautiful result, so it became something I always wanted to do.
Years later, Elisa began to teach herself the traditional cold process method of making soap. She experimented with different oils and ingredients, and eventually created her own personal recipe for an all-natural bar of soap. Originally she sold her soap on Etsy but has now transitioned to her own website.
"Living in the mountains makes for a very a peaceful and tranquil environment, something I thrive in. I love listening to music when I create. I feel like something is missing if I don't. Right now I listen to mainly folk and Indie worship, blue grass, and classic rock.
Making soap requires a lot of focus because you have to multitask and work quickly at the same time, or the batch could be ruined. It takes me about two hours from start to finish to make a batch of soap, which yields about 20 soaps. After I've mixed all of my ingredients together, it turns into a thick, hot liquid that I pour into a wooden mold. I then cover it with a lid, wrap it up in blankets, and put it on the shelf for two nights. After two nights of being in the mold, it turns into a hard soap and it's ready to take out and be cut into bars. After it's cut, the bars then have to cure for two weeks on a wire rack. I have a workshop in my home with lots of shelves that I use to cure my soap. Once the soap is cured, it's safe to use.
I also love to do my own product photography. I don't consider myself a photographer, but photography has been another creative outlet for me. Being my own product stylist and photographer is a big part of the creative process for me and I enjoy it immensely."
"I think being surrounded by beauty in nature of where I live inspires me. Sometimes I'll get inspiration while I'm on a walk in the woods. I might look at a tree or wildflowers and think, how can I create a bar of soap out of that?I'm drawn to soap that is natural and also looks natural. I never use fragrance or synthetic materials in my soap. I can't make a soap unless I like the scent myself and that I would use it myself."
While social media has been a place of creative inspiration for Elisa, it has also been a platform to grow her business. Farmers markets, auctions, retreats, friends, family, craft fairs, parties, and showers have also been avenues for Elisa to share her soap and establish new customers.
Elisa also creates spa salts and lovely knitted blankets and "scrubbies". She sells her products on both her website and in a few retail shops, and she hopes for continued growth. She also dreams of a bigger studio and her own place of business in Lake Arrowhead.
"I plan for the future, but I try not to think about it too much. It can be overwhelming. I just commit my plans to God and then live one day at a time. I'm very happy living and working in beautiful Lake Arrowhead, but I'm open for adventure."
"Create what you love to do and makes you happy, and then work hard at it. Strive for perfection, but don't expect it. Enjoy the process. You can't be everything to everybody. Not everybody is going to love your product and that's ok. Nurture and love those customers who do. Most of all, don't compare yourself to others, but walk in the beauty of uniqueness of who God has made you to be."
When she's not hard at work making soap, Elisa is spending time with her sweet family. She also leads worship with her husband at their church, what a beautiful way to share together as husband and wife. It has been a pleasure to share about Elisa, and peek inside of her beautiful home. Be sure to visit her on social media and follow along with her soap making journey.
Elisa will be offering 20% off through Sunday, April 2nd! Use the code "HURDandHONEY20" on her website. Thank you for supporting Song of A Sparrow!