Hi, my name is Amelia and I am the founder of Nana + Livy.
Since I was a little girl, I have always enjoyed making things with my hands, but the word “handmade” didn’t mean much to me back then. I only knew that working with my hands brought me joy and relaxed me.
After I started this handmade business, the word “handmade” means so much more.
Handmade is never perfect but because each product is uniquely different, I embrace the perfect imperfectness of it.
Handmade is craftsmanship. It gives me pride to practice the ancient art of soapmaking and to teach others about it.
Handmade means love. There is a story behind each handmade item and often the maker pours his heart and soul into his work.
As my business starts to grow beyond my current capacity, I soon realize the challenge of handmade. I once met an entrepreneur who shook his head at the thought of handmade products and asked me, “How are you going to scale production?” I think he meant how am I going to produce pallets of soaps in a short period of time. Well, we can hire more makers, buy more equipment, streamline production processes, and produce more at once! Yet we would still be at a disadvantage compared to other companies that outsource their products to manufacturing. After all, let’s get real. Human labour is expensive and prone to error.
Another fellow small-business owner who used to handmake all her items also told me if they were going to scale up, handmade would be the first thing she would be willing to let go. That thought saddens me but it’s very true and practical. It makes me wonder if people even appreciate handmade nowadays? Would you as a consumer pay more for an item because it’s handmade?
Unfortunately and fortunately, I still don’t know if there are ways to manufacture cold-process soaps. I only know even with the manufacturing process, there will always be a human component to it. Our production and packaging will always have a human component to it. With confidence, handmade is still who we are after all.