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Marvina Thomas of Avondale, Arizona discusses plans for her future in soaping
SJ – I’m talking with Marvina Thomas, she’s from Avondale, Arizona. She has come the farthest of anyone to our premier soaping weekend retreat and we’re just thrilled to have her. And as I understood from talking to you earlier, you are already in the soaping business. MT – Yes, we’re a year and a half off and on, and I’ll tell you the reason why. I own a recovery home, I have a men’s home and a women’s home, so I was trying to find ways of raising money and saving us the money of having to buy all these products for my clients at the homes. So I got into how to make soap. And I taught myself, and so that’s how I got into it. And it’s like, okay, I like this! So then, I said, okay, maybe I can make a little money, because I was giving it away to people that I knew and they started calling me – Marvina I need ten bars, I need this, I need this. Oh my god, what did I do. SJ – Starting to see dollar signs! MT – So then, I said okay, what I can do is take the money that we make and put it back into the program, of the men’s homes. So that’s what I’m trying to do. SJ – I am so impressed with every story that I hear, because everyone has this unique and interesting reason for starting their business and that is really special, that’s cool. So are you looking to do online sales at all, or right now, you’re marketing to…? MT – I want to get into online, a lot of people ask me do you have a website, I don’t. Like I said I’m still new at it and I wanted to make sure before I actually went online that I have everything, my I’s dotted and my t’s crossed before I actually do, because I don’t want anybody to come back at me and sue me. So that’s why I came here, to try to learn more. But all this stuff, you know, I’m not making more soap until I come here and make sure that I’ve got everything done and then I’ll go out and say, okay this is what I’m going to go do. But as far as a website, I don’t have, labels, I don’t have. And that’s what I want right now. And, in Arizona, we have nothing. No place like this, Essential Depot, where I can go buy my product; everything has to be shipped to me. I wish we could have Essential Depot here in Arizona. SJ – Well maybe you can be our Arizona branch one of these days, that would be super. MT – It will help bring jobs to my people who are in the homes, to help them get back on their feet. You know, starting as a community service, because they have to do 20 to 25 days of community service in order to live in our homes, because they don’t pay anything. So this is how we regain. So I was, hmmm, have Essential Depot here, and then we can help the west coast. See my mind always goes hogwild. And I know this. I’ve just got to find ways of raising money for my group homes. Because eventually, I’m trying to buy property where we’re free and clear. Arizona has no money for these people and it’s so sad, there’s nothing out there for them, there really isn’t. And it just bothers me, I know I can’t save the world but I can save the ones that are here now. So that’s what I’m trying to do. So whatever I can soak in while I’m here for these three days, I’m trying. SJ – Well, I’m so impressed with your mission and your reason for coming here is to promote that so it’s really cool. January 23rd through 25th is our next session, and then the one after that is March 27th through 29th, so we are hoping to get repeat customers, we will of course be mixing it up with different topics and everything. Is there anything, I know we’re only halfway into the weekend, not even quite that, but is there anything that you feel like maybe we’re not presenting yet that you would like to see? MT – Labeling, what you have to have on the labels, what’s legal that you have to have on your labels, even to make the labels so I can just hand it out to my clients. So that’s one of my main things. Buying my soap, I get it from you guys already; I think labeling and then how to put it online. That was my main two things. SJ – Right, online marketing. That’s a great one, I’m glad you mentioned that because nobody else has mentioned that they would like a class in that. MT – Right, how do you get it online, how do you start it, who do I talk to. SJ – What the steps are to getting your domain and finding a way to build a website and so on? MT – I don’t have a clue! SJ - Okay, how about products, are you an Essential Depot customer, do you buy stuff from us? Of course, we already covered that actually. Is there anything that we’re not offering that you feel like would be beneficial to you. MT – So far I get all my stuff from you, I think about 95% of my stuff is from you, and I buy it in bulk so I don’t have to keep ordering. SJ – Alright, super! Everyone is required to have their picture taken with the dog. MT - Okay! SJ – She’s our mascot, she is all that.