Five percent of our yearly operating budget, approximately $20,000, is dedicated to technology and technical training, but the added efficiency has paid for itself many times over. Technology has saved time and money, and more important, provided a greater value to our clients. As a result of our use of technology, we became leaner and more efficient, which saves the company about $150,000 per year.
Company: Salome’s Simply Delightful Creations
Principal: Selena D. Cozart, Ph.D.
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Type of Business: Soap and body care products
2009 Revenues: $5,000
After running my business for a year, I finally gave myself permission to consider myself an entrepreneur and business owner. Until that one-year mark, I thought of myself as a hobbyist who was trying to earn enough to pay for materials.
I have a Ph.D. in educational evaluation and, in addition to the side business, I work full time as a diversity consultant, specializing in education, mentoring, and community development. I also have a background as an English teacher, college professor, academic adviser, and K-12 diversity coordinator.
My interest in handcrafted soap began as an outgrowth from my desire to make my own shampoo and conditioner for my locks. I was interested in hair and body care products that are natural and that eliminated the harsh chemicals often found in commercially made products. As I continued my research for the best places to order supplies for hair products, I found myself ordering from Websites that catered to soap makers and chandlers (sellers of candles and soaps). The information on soap and candle making intrigued me and led me to another branch of online research—how to make body products. I started out by researching the market, looking at products, recipes, and procedures on various blogs, and on YouTube, as well as at sites such as Squidoo, ehow, and Expertvillage (which has since moved to eHow).
I began making handcrafted soap and personal care products using vegetable oils. My products contain no animal fats or petroleum derivatives.
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