Starting a Soap Company

Interview with Kelley Perea-Shafer, Founder of Soapies Supplies

After taking a soap making class, Kelley had trouble finding a local supplier. She and her husband founded an internet supplier called Soapies Supplies.

Kelley Perea-Shafer founded her business in 2001 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tell me about your business and how did you came up with the idea.

I started by taking a Melt and Pour Soapmaking Class here in Arizona. I was astonished by the price of materials found locally so I went to the internet. I found the prices better but nothing super close to my location. Bronson and I had been talking about starting an internet business so we threw Soap Making Supplies into the hat and it won! Soapies Supplies was founded in March of 2001.

What do you think are the benefits and challenges to running a family owned business?

The benefit is that I get to boss my husband around all the time…Seriously, we have a great marriage and that carries over to our businesses. We are "on the same page" 99% of the time. The challenges are the other 1% that we don't see "eye to eye" on something. The winner is usually the one that has the most experience in that particular area to make the final decision. It works for us. The other challenge is him continually asking me if he will get to be "Employee of the Month" this month.

For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur?

I think they need to know their market beforehand and be assertive and very confident. Don't fall on the innocent and frail young lady in business…that does not work…I have seen that.

Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner? I don't believe that there are in most business arenas. I believe it is what you make of it in any situation. Stand your ground and if you conduct yourself with professionalism, it does not matter if you wear pants or a skirt, so to speak.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

I wish I could have had the opportunity to have had a warehouse that was able to be open to the public. I feel that I would have grown much faster and larger by now had I had that.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?

Do lots of homework first and be sure that you want to tackle being a supplier. IT is not as easy as it might seem and takes lots of financial overhead.

Thank you Kelley for sharing your business advice. I'm sure you are going to clean-up with your successful venture!

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