Interview with Chrystal, Founder of DigitalSoaps

Interview with Chrystal, Founder of DigitalSoaps

Interview by Terra Olsen


Tell me about yourself. 

I am a former daily newspaper reporter who abandoned her career to make soap for a living. Most days, I am frazzled and full of caffeine. I live in a small studio in Bellingham, Wash., with my car-riding kitty companion, Anya. When it comes to nerdy stuff, I seem to be simultaneously in the loop and out of touch.

Tell me about your company. 

DigitalSoaps is the original inventor of geek and gamer soap. My company makes soap parodies of everything from modern and retro game controllers, to cartridges, companion cubes and Pokeballs.

pokeballs

Where did the idea for DigitalSoaps come from?

When I was a child, my dad would take me to Computer City, a store that sold computers, software, hardware and games. The best part about going to Computer City was the store’s 5.5-inch chocolate floppy disks packaged in gold boxes. One day I went online to find out if these chocolate disks were still sold. I didn’t find any. But I did come across candy molds shaped like electronics. That’s when I came up with the idea to make soap that resembled electronics.

chrystal with soap

What inspired you to start DigitalSoaps?

Soap shaped like geeky gadgets seemed so cool that I was compelled to pursue it as a hobby. Part of my motivation might have stemmed from boredom, as I was living in a small town at the time with very little to do. But mostly, it just sounded like something that needed to exist. The fact that I make soap for gamers and that gamers are considered to be a smelly sector of society was initially just a coincidence. Now getting gamers clean is my company mission.


How did you go about starting your company?

My company was started on a whim, as a fun hobby that I thought other people would appreciate. I opened my shop in January 2009 on Etsy, an online marketplace of handmade items. As I waited for my supplies to arrive, I read soapmaking tutorials on the Internet, learning all I could about the process of making soap. My first bar of soap was an old Nokia style cell phone. Eventually I moved beyond the limitations of existing molds and learned to make custom molds. This is where the NES controller originated from, as well as most of the other products in my shop.


What has been your biggest challenge (and/or sacrifice)?

My biggest sacrifice is time with friends and family. Building a business takes a lot of work. As a small business owner, I assume the roles of customer service agent, inventory manager, soap maker, packer and shipper. In addition, I am in charge of managing my website, product photography and social media building.  I am just now learning to delegate more tasks so that I do not need to perfect all skills, all the time. For example, I found a website designer, graphic designer and professional photographer.

NES Soap


What top three skills do you think an entrepreneur needs to be successful?

Passion, enthusiasm and motivation. I don’t know if those are skills, but I definitely believe all three are required for success. Passion leads to both enthusiasm and motivation. When the public sees my enthusiasm, they are more likely to become enthusiastic about my business and support it. Public enthusiasm also helps keep the momentum going during tough times.

xbox soap


Where do you want to take DigitalSoaps in the future?

Eventually, I’d love to work with the gaming companies whose soaps I parody and also bring my soaps to bigger retailers. I’d love to see my stuff in GameStop. 

What advice would you give other aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Just start your business! Don’t wait until you perfect your craft to start selling. Some of my early soaps make me want to cringe now, but if I’d waited to start my business until my products were perfect, someone else would have started this niche and I would have missed out.

chrystal digitalsoaps

Founder Chrystal with two of her soap creations.

Be sure to check out DigitalSoaps’ Etsy, Website, and *like* them on facebook!

Have you or someone you know started a business that we should feature on HYN? If so, please contact Terra at terra@haveyounerd.com and tell us about them.
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