This column is part of our ongoing series of op-eds this election season from small business owners working with The Marketplace by TheBlaze. We often hear politicians talk about what small business owners want, and if elected, what public officials could do to help these entrepreneurs. But we haven’t heard enough from small business owners themselves. This series will feature small business owners discussing their business, 'how they built that,' and what it has been like trying to sustain and grow their business over the last 4 years.
The moment I made the decision is as clear as day, I had just gotten the baby back to sleep and sank into bed. Sleep was a rare thing those days, as it is for most parents. Just as I started to doze off, I heard the screech of my pager. Time for me to head to the ER, a patient was waiting. I loved working as a mental health counselor, but burning the midnight oil was taking its toll on me and my family. I also questioned my ability to give 100 percent to my patients under these conditions.
In addition to being a mom, and working in the mental health field, I had a little side hobby. I made soap. It started on a whim in 2003, with a soap making kit I bought on clearance at a craft store. It didn't take long for me to branch out and create my own formulas of soaps, lotions and body scrubs. Before I knew it, word got out about my products and things snowballed. Now, if I could only turn this into a full time gig, it would be a dream come true.
The Charleston Soap Chef Jeanine Gantt and her sons (Photo:http://www.thecharlestonsoapchef.com/)
Back to that night in the ER, I said a prayer asking for some guidance. I prayed about this regularly, but this night I REALLY prayed.
I got my answer, it was time. Time to make the move and become my own boss. I was scared to death, but I knew I was ready.
I poured myself into the business, working every moment I had a chance. If I wasn't tending to the baby, I was mixing, pouring, labeling and hauling boxes of product. The work never ended, but I loved it. I knew what I was creating was my own, a business created to support my family and pass on the spirit of entrepreneurship to my children.
As I sit here writing this article today, I am thrilled to say Charleston Soap Chef products can be found in 40 stores across the USA and a member of the Markdown.com marketplace. It has taken an incredible amount of work to get here, and I still have a long way to go, but I am proud of my business. I built this.