Thursday, February 10, 2011

Friday Spotlight: Paintbox Soapworks

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Hayley of Paintbox Soapworks. Let's go!

Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make a colorful & irreverent collection of SLS-free glycerin soaps, 89% organic hand & body lotions & emulsifying sugar scrubs… Stuff wot gets folks clean, soft & smelling delicious. I do monthly Limited Editions, & am working on a line of men’s products. And a heavier weight lotion. And a million other things. Not short on ideas, no…

What is your creative process?
It takes me, on average, 30-45 minutes to fall completely asleep at night. My brain likes to hover in semi-consciousness for a while, & that’s when I do some of my best development. I also cull heavily from pop culture, song titles, and the 4 or 5 unfinished novels I have in my head – my husband will put a record on & I’ll suddenly feel like I got punched in the chest & have to go write down a scent concept that instant. I’ll mull it over for a few days, then start test-batching to see if what’s in my head is ready to see the light of day. I am also blessed with an army of outspoken, devoted friends & family who are constantly coming up with challenges for me. They’re a bit sick that way, actually.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL, baby!

The Black Heart

When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I have a desk job for 25 hours/week, in ways a blessing & a curse. I have a nearly-5-year-old son & the best husband in the universe, & we like to spend our evenings building incredible LEGO spaceships & reenacting scenes from Star Wars. I am a trained pastry chef, & keep my hand in with the occasional wedding cake. We garden, play Chutes & Ladders, hang out with our amazing clan of neighbors & friends, & generally live the hippy-dork dream.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I was born in Canada, of British parents, & have the charming/annoying quirk of maintaining both an American & an English accent. I’ll slip into one or the other depending on the accent of the company I’m in. It’s completely involuntary, & I occasionally come off as a total prat.

I have an arsenal of odd skills & interests under my belt, from animal husbandry to mechanics to botany to horseback riding, but I can’t ride a bike, swim, or drive stick shift. Priorities what?

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
When I look at the names of my customers & recognize so many of my wonderful, amazing, supportive BPALers. It is only by their love & generosity that I was able to get this ship in the air so quickly, & I am honored to have earned their devotion. Breaking the top 100 sellers for my category on Etsy was pretty farkin’ sweet, too.

Dead Leaves

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Take your time & do it right from the beginning. Don’t panic. There are so many things that need to be done when you fire up a business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make lists. Talk to the professionals. Decide what’s going to work best for you – there’s no one formula that works for everyone.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
Just before our son was born, my mum unearthed her old Singer & made a simple quilt for him. It’s known affectionately as Sheepy Blanket, & has been the backdrop for some pretty amazing moments over the past 5 years.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I’m always stalking train cases from GetReadySetGo.
But our house is crying out for this beauty.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
Animal husbandry. Or woodworking. Brute force combined with skill & knowledge gets me all aquiver.

Where else can we find you on the web?
Facebook: Paintbox Soapworks on Facebook

That's all for this time! See you in two weeks. :)


  1. Great interview. It's nice to see that even after knowing Hayley for 10+ years I can still learn more about her.

  2. Wow, gorgeous stuff! When I'm low on my soap stash again I'll definitely consider a purchase, you have some awesome things in there!

    Might be able to justify something for the honey's birthday which is coming up...hmmmm.


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