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Why Did I Ever Listen to Her?!

I've discovered that one of the greatest rewards of aging is a growth in confidence. I was a shy child, raised to respect my elders and those in authority - which meant I often dismissed my own best judgment in favour of those I "looked up to". I was hesitant to advocate for myself, easily swayed by the opinions of others, and lacked trust in myself. If I thought one way about an issue, and someone told me I was wrong, I would doubt myself. As I write this, I feel a knot in my stomach as I recall how, as a young woman, my lack of self-confidence led me to give away my personal power and let others make decisions for me - often without regard to my well-being. But time and experience worked their magic, and I eventually became confident and self-assured. Today, while I try to remain open to others' points of view, I have trust in my own opinions and abilities.

I've shared this to help you understand a decision I made when my business was new and why I feel it's important for me to correct it now. When I started my soap business 11 years ago, I was extremely uncomfortable making cold calls to boutique owners. Cold calls are when you enter an establishment, ask to speak to the owner/manager, and then try to convince them to sell your products in their stores. Some people are born salespeople, but I am not one of them. It terrifies me. But I refused to let fear decide my fate, so I forced myself to do it using the "fake it until you make it" approach, imitating the self-confidence I hoped to one day achieve. It worked and I found several retailers who agreed to sell my soaps.

I was still intimidated by others I perceived as having more experience or authority, so when the owner of a well-known London boutique insisted I set my soap prices to the same amount that she wanted to sell them at, I agreed. "It would not be fair," she told me, "if you sell the soaps for less than my price. No one would buy them from me if they can get them cheaper from you." That sounded fair to me. So I sold my soaps wholesale to her for $3.50 a bar. She retailed them for $7.00 in her shop, and I raised my retail price from $6.00 to $7.00 to match her price. And I've kept my prices equal to those of other retailers ever since. Today, the average retail price for a handmade, natural soap bar is $10.00.

Then I changed my business name to Village Soap Factory and a funny thing happened. After 11 years in business, I began to question the advice she'd given me. I asked myself, "Shouldn't people expect to get a discount when they buy directly from the manufacturer, the 'factory'?" Of course they should. My next question was, "Why did I ever let someone else dictate the price I sell my soaps at?!"

So, I'm dropping my prices. In these days of inflation when the cost of everything keeps going up and up, it may seem like an odd decision. But I am trusting my own instinct, using my own best judgment, and making my own decisions. Village Soap Factory soap bars, purchased directly from the manufacturer (both in-store and online) are now $7.95 a bar. My soaps. My prices. My decision.

NEVER give away your personal power to anyone. EVER.

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