On 9/9 V is For Voodoo turns one years old! From the people I’ve met, to the things I’ve learned about running a small business, this past year has been a transformative one. Now while I certainly don’t know everything, I have learned a lot. These things run the gamut between life altering revelations, to how not to pack a box. Here’s the highlights of what has worked best for me, principles to brass tacks.



Break down large projects into bite sized chunks. This is THE most important advice I can give to anyone taking on any large project. V is For Voodoo is primarily a one woman show and the whole thing is overwhelming. The bite sized chunks, however, are not. 

Get a planner. Write out the things you have to do every month. Making a monthly newsletter is a good example. Then break this into medium sized weekly chunks. Writing one article, or formatting the newsletter is a weekly task. Then break the project down into daily chunks. Working on an article, proofing, or scheduling the newsletter are daily chunk newsletter tasks. Get micro! There is no chunk too small! 

Each month I do this process with three large categories; personal, what the business needs to maintain, and then what it needs to grow. I start with what I need for myself outside of the business. This prioritizes work life balance. (More on this later.) Next I go through the monthly page and write down what I need to do, and commitments I have each month for the business. After that, I fill in the things I need to do to grow the business. I then break all of this down into weekly chunks, and then, daily tasks.

Scheduling like this:

A) prevents the project from being overwhelming

B) ensures details don’t fall through the cracks

C) Ensures work life balance

D) Ensures I’m not over committing myself (When a day is full, no more goes on that day.)

E) takes all of the planning and guesswork out of each day and replaces it with productivity.

Get in a Routine

A routine takes the guesswork out of what you are out to accomplish. When I wake up on a Tuesday I know I’m going to spend time on social media. Let’s take this one step further. Inspiration comes when it wants to, not on your schedule. If I have an idea for a post I write it down in my planner to post on the following Tuesday. Now not only do I know I’m making posts, I know what post I am making. When I sit down to make posts the only thing I have to think of is the actual copy, and the photo. Take the energy out of deciding what you are going to do and put it into getting shit done!

Treat your customers with the respect you would want to be treated

Calendula is not only extremely beneficial outdoors, it is also extremely beneficial to you! The blooms are edible and can be used medicinally. First off, make sure you are planting Calendula officinalis. It is commonly known as the Marigold, but there are other species of Marigolds that are toxic to humans and animals. These should not be treated the same as Calendula officinalis. Secondly, Calendula is in the Asteraceae, or daisy, family. If you have an allergy to daisies, ragweed, or other members of that family use Calendula with caution, until you know if it will react with you or not. Also, to use Calendula medicinally or as an edible do not use any chemicals when you grow it.

Always have your eyes open.

In everything you do, look for how or how not to run your business. When you shop online, read the reviews and pick apart what their clientele are saying. When you browse another business, make note of what you like and what you don’t. Listen to ads you hear and observe what techniques they are using to grab your attention. If you see something in a business that annoys you, make sure not to do that in your business. I was blessed enough to freelance with some of the best makeup manufacturers in the business both on their wholesale and their end user side. 

Here’s what I learned from them.

Prioritize quality AND consistency in your product. Make a quality product that people need. Now take that a step further and ensure that once they try your stuff and love it, they can get that same product again. 

Never run out of stock. Once people take a leap of faith to try your product, part of the trust you promise your customer is to be there, with what they want, when they need it again. If you are not reliable in your availability they will find another supplier. 

Listen to your customers. Take to heart what they tell you, but never take it personally. Feedback about your product is about your product, not about you. Each person has a unique perspective on what you are doing and their insight is almost always something you have never thought of. Some of it will be revolutionary, and some of it will not be for you and your brand. 

Listen to your wholesale clients. They are in the business of selling things. For me, this is my achilles heel. I can design badass products, I hate the hustle though. Listen to the people in the business of selling your stuff and heed their advice. They see your product from a totally unique perspective. 

Stay agile and responsive. Listening to your customers is pointless unless you implement the valuable input they give you. This means keeping your business as agile as possible. When you’re making infrastructure decisions make sure you’re not locking yourself into something that’s going to bite you in the ass later.


Don’t overcomplicate things.

This is something I struggle with. If I didn’t you all would have shampoo bars. When you get overwhelmed with a project, stop, and ask yourself what the problem is. Often, it’s just a step you’re hung up on. Ask yourself if you’re trying to reinvent the wheel. If so, stop and look for resources that will make your life easier. More often than not, it’s out there. Experience tells me that even with deadlines, the time it takes to research a new resource takes less time than beating your head against the wall. 

If you’re stuck on something, do not be afraid to walk away for a while. Once again, the time it takes to stop and reset is faster than going in circles. If there’s a problem I can’t figure out, I walk away and turn it over to my subconscious.  I’ve come to think of my subconscious as a personal assistant. If I’m stuck, I tell my brain, “OK, here’s the problem. Solve it.” It does! Sometimes I get the subconscious report at 4 am, but hey, it’s there. Even if that report says “walk away” I’ve learned it’s best to honor that.

Listen to your gut

There’s two sides to this coin. Be brave enough to leap into something that feels totally right. Have the courage to walk away from something you love if it isn’t right for you. Do not be afraid to start over from scratch if something does not feel right to you.

Follow Your Tribe

I’ve learned voodoo soap isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. You cannot make everyone happy. Find your tribe and cater to making THEM happy. Do not feel the need to water down yourself, or your vision down to appease the masses. That just removes your unique perspective and makes you meh instead of interesting. The people that vibe with you will come if you look in the right places.



The best piece of advice I’ve been given: “If you’re not paying yourself, you don’t have a business, it’s just an expensive hobby.” I was going to give the company a year to start paying me. As soon as I heard this, that changed. I have been paying myself 20% of net profit each month. Paying a percentage gives me incentive to sell more. It also means that if there is a lean month the company is still financially solid.

Listen to your gut

There’s two sides to this coin. Be brave enough to leap into something that feels totally right. Have the courage to walk away from something you love if it isn’t right for you. Do not be afraid to start over from scratch if something does not feel right to you.

“Be Your Best Employer”

Second best piece of advice I’ve ever heard. Think of your dream employer in terms of benefits and perks. Do that for yourself. For me, V is For Voodoo pays for my ABMP and my NAHA memberships. Both of these provide trade journals and seminars that make me better at this job. If you have your own health insurance, make your company pay that for you. How do you get the numbers to make this happen?


Spreadsheets Are The Key

I have a spreadsheet for EVERYTHING. Each product has its own spreadsheet that factors in the material cost of each product. It then adds in labor, and an added 15% of materials in overhead. This 15% factors in the cost of the website, and utilities into each product. I then know the price I need to set for each item. It also tells me the net profit of each item. I have another spreadsheet that then takes the sales numbers and tells me the profit and net profit for each month. This is where I get my salary number. I then have a budget sheet that figures out my monthly fixed expenses, and variable expenses (including my salary). This budget then compares these costs to sales. Since I know exactly where my company money is going, I know where it is being spent effectively and what needs to be cut. I also have an idea of the kind of sales numbers I need each month to keep the company in the black.

Business Structure

The business is its own legal entity. This protects you from anything that may come up. This one is an LLC that carries its own liability insurance.The business also gets its own bank account and credit card. Period. This prevents it from becoming a financial tick that sucks down your personal finances, and forces you to deal with the finances of the company. If the company isn’t solvent you need to know that and put in the work to find a new plan. 

One Word: Chalkboards

Ok, you can also use a dry erase board. I have two boards. One is for inventory numbers, and shopping lists. Another is for ideas. This is the easiest way to keep up with these things. When I get an order, or after a pop up market I simply change my inventory numbers. When an item gets low, I make new units and after that if I’m low on a material, it simply gets added to the shopping list. Having these numbers in front of me all the time ensures I keep  them up to date. 

Practical Pop-up Tips

Get a show box- Pack everything you need for a pop up in it and let it live in there. If you need to buy a second item to let it live there, do it. All of the decor, signage, lights, card readers, business cards, gaff tape, and if you can, stock. The risk of forgetting things is hence minimized. 

Don’t overpack- Traveling is hard on your inventory. Once you get an idea of the units you sell at markets, pack just over that number. You don’t have to take 100 bars of soap to each show. 

Tent weights- They’re heavy, they’re a pain in the ass, but I’ve seen some disasters at markets that have tents without weights. I have sand in mine. Put the sand in a plastic bag before adding them into your sandbag. Trust me on this.


Work Life Balance

I am a complete workaholic. I am also lucky enough to have two jobs that I adore. It is very easy to work all day, all the time. However, as part of being your best employer, you would never want to work that way for someone else. Don’t do that to yourself. This is why the first thing I schedule in time for each month is myself and my personal goals. 

You Have Value

You and your vision add unique value into the world. Find your true voice and speak it loudly and proudly. Don’t be ashamed and own your rightful space in the world.

Take Manageable Risks

Starting a new company when all I had to look forward to was a year of unemployment was. . .daunting. I told myself I would start the company with  x dollars and if it swam, wonderful, if it sank, I would bail. Thankfully it swam, and I didn’t have a year of unemployment, I had more than a year and a half. It took courage to take the leap. I do not regret a moment of it.

Hopefully this list has been helpful. There’s a lot of information out there on how to run a business. These are the most valuable tips I have found over the past year. Thank you again for all the support and love!