Toushonta Hogan never really took her creative abilities seriously. Then she graduated from Cal State University Northridge (CSUN) in 2007 with a degree in business administration and an emphasis on marketing and human resource.
She began going on interviews. And more interviews.
“No one called me back,” remembered the mother of two. Concerned, she worried about what to do, and in the meantime visited the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard.
While Hogan was there she noticed all the vendors selling soap.
“I had already been making soap with my kids ages 6 and 4,” explained Hogan, who said she revisited the idea of just what could be done in the hand-crafted soap arena.
“I did extensive research to find suppliers, the best ingredients, recipes and scents for my target audience,” Hogan said. Then with the backing and support of her husband Kevin and an investment of about $300, she began setting up shop at local festivals and fairs.
“The first festival was at a church; it was a harvest festival. The next major event was two days called Handmade for the Holiday. But I got sick, and my mother and husband ran the table. I think I overworked myself.”
But the effort was encouraging. She made about $150 and introduced her products to people who continue as customers today.
Currently her line of 10 Scentsational products includes body butters, soap cakes, soapsickles (geared to tweens), and soap cupcakes are sold on her Web site, www.scentsationalsoaps.biz, as well as at selected retailers around town.
Scentsational soaps are created for men and women without preservatives and are particularly good for people with dry or dull skin, said the 33-year-old entrepreneur.
The scents include lavender, vanilla, mango, coconut, pear, chocolate, passion and clean linen for women, while the men’s scents are irresistible, cool breeze and cool citrus basil. There are also unscented products for both sexes.
The prices range from $5 for a bath tea to $14 for a foot butter. But what makes her company unique, believes Hogan, is the high level of customer services she provides.
“I offer free samples with purchases, and one customer who could not find the product at the fair, and wanted a sample, asked me to send one, I did without question.”
The next step in her business plan is a to begin creating a consultant program, where individuals will sell Scentsational soaps, explained Hogan, who hopes to launch this new distribution method within the next month.
Eventually Hogan envisions her products as an international brand with retail locations. But right now the CSUN grad knows she has to crawl before she can walk, and that is why she is growing the business carefully and gradually.