I found Alissa’s incredibly luxurious soaps at a recent art festival in my home town of Chapel Hill. I was immediately taken with their beauty and scents. Speaking to Alissa a bit, I learned more about her process and choice of ingredients. Lucky for us, Alissa has agreed to join Kuel Life and make her gorgeous soaps available to all you Kuel Women in the Shop.
Grab a few of her masterpieces on the Kuel Shop today!
Alissa Van Atta:
KUELLIFE: What type of business do you own/run?
ALISSA: I’m an artist, a creator, so in a sense I sell aspects of myself. My soaps were a natural extension of something that interested me in how they could be created to be visually pleasing, but how skin immediately benefited from using natural ingredients compared to a commercial soap. So I run a simple, product focused, business that centers upon being handmade from natural ingredients.
KUELLIFE: What prompted you or drove you to become an entrepreneur? When?
ALISSA: I quickly realized that to get the visual results I wanted, I had to use a process that left me with many more bars that I could physically use and my creativity just kept expanding… so I had a product that I loved, but also loved the process that it takes to make the soap. So shortly after realizing this was something that I loved to do, was not just a “phase,” I decided to sell them almost 18 months ago to the public. I had artwork I was trying to get noticed and had a canopy that I had invested in, so it was simple to add the soap when I did festivals. I saw the benefit from having a variety of price points and the scents somehow lures people into the canopy.
KUELLIFE: What’s your biggest struggle?
ALISSA: I would have to say I struggle with trying to make everyone happy- if someone asks for something specific in the ingredients, a certain scent, or even a related product- I want to have that there in the moment. I realize I cannot be everything to everyone, but I do have a natural inclination to try people-please.
KUELLIFE: What is your biggest fear as an entrepreneur? How do you work through it?
ALISSA: My biggest entrepreneurial fear is akin to my art fear- what if no one likes it? This has luckily been proven false so far, but every time I set up for a festival or add a product to an online platform, I have this unreasonable quiver in my confidence. My work-through is to reason, at least I had the strength to put myself out there, regardless. I’m not hiding what I create, I’m sharing it with the public and that alone is something to be proud of.
KUELLIFE: How do you measure your success?
ALISSA: Having been in retail for years, there was always a Last Year number. Now that I have been at this for over a year, I have something to compare my results with. I take pictures and look for improvements. I have customers that say they purchased from me before, loved the product and came back for more. All these things add up when I determine success. Unlike my years in retail, I am in charge of what is made and how it’s presented, so my success is keeping all those aspects a positive experience for the customer.
KUELLIFE: Finally, what advice would you give other women about taking an entrepreneurial path?
ALISSA: Absolutely do it if it’s what you are passionate about and can sustain it. Don’t sell yourself short, and accept that this is a process, not an overnight success. It’s more gratifying to grow at a steady pace and celebrate many, many wins.