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From Stay at Home Mom to Staying in a Mansion: How Kylee Lane’s Home-Based Business Changed Her Personal and Family Life

In the last bit of Kylee’s interview, you read about how she was inspired to make all-natural vegan soap, her run-ins with the law, and her advice for entrepreneurs.

In this edition, you’ll find out more about she balances her family and business priorities, how social media propels her forward, and when she sees her business hitting the seven-figure mark.

Homemade owl soap

Whooooooo could pass up this awesome soap?

How do you balance your family life, social life, and business life?

I make it all one thing. My family helps with product design so we sit and talk for hours and giggle and experiment. My social life is 99.9% online which is massively to my advantage, because it gave me a head start into social media and marketing. And the business part just happens. A good friend told me over year ago that I have the best anti-business business ever.

How do you see your business change as it continues to grow?

I see our business becoming a family business as we grow and our kids get older and more involved. The best employees are the ones you raise from infancy.

What will you try to keep the same no matter how big Luxury Lane Soap becomes?

Just had this conversation last night!! Every single order includes a hand-written and signed thank you. I will never stop doing that. I am genuinely grateful for every order I receive, so it only feels right to say thank you, and mean it.

Whether I have 3 orders or 3,000 orders, every last one of those people is going to be thanked personally, by me.

Homemade Shaving Soap

Grandpa used to be hard to buy for… until now.

How is social media (Facebook, Twitter, your blog) important to the growth of your company?

It allows us to become known to people who might like our work and buy from us. It allows us to have conversations with not only individual customers, but our whole community of customers and all the people who support what we do.

But of course, as with everything I do, the most important thing is that I don’t do it for any of those reasons. I do it because I like to, and the business benefits are secondary and unplanned for.

So while social media has benefits for me, my personal and business presence online is indistinguishable. I just started a corporate account on Twitter this year as an experiment, but up until then (and even now), Kylee’s social media and Luxury Lane Soap’s social media are the same.

What other ways have you used to expand your brand’s reach?

I make soap, and I talk about it online – that’s pretty much the extent of it. I may donate some soap occasionally to a group or cause for them to use as prizes, but only because it’s something I believe in, and that’s my way to support them.

homemade TARDIS soap

The finely detailed products set Kylee Lane apart from the competition.

How is selling online different from selling in person/at conventions?

Selling in person scares me. I started in retail over ten years ago and I really am not very good at it. In person, I am very quiet, albeit I look very loud, and it just throws people off. I literally leave my small town maybe twice a month. Even then I never make eye contact with strangers and force myself to be completely unaware of my surroundings. You can imagine how this awkwardness makes selling in person very difficult…

Online, however, I am very fun and loud and talkative! It doesn’t scare me! My online community is very real to me, and I love the people I have met of the past couple of years. This naturally makes selling online very easy.

What was your best customer service experience?

I had a customer email me once and tell me I “had a very sunny disposition.” For some reason this just really had a profound effect on how I see myself and my business. I printed the email out and it sits near my computer where I read it every day.

Of course, the main thing I pride myself on is my customer service. In over six years I have never had one single dissatisfied customer. I have had problems here and there, I am only human, but I am willing to do what it takes to make my customers happy because I see them as my friends. So really, all of my customer service experiences have been good ones, because I either smile at it or learn from it.

What was your most challenging customer service experience?

Since Luxury Lane Soap ships worldwide, language barriers can make things very frustrating sometimes. If I have a customer who is in a foreign country and their order never arrived, trying to discuss back and forth who to contact, steps to take…sometimes even sending a refund causes confusion.

Custom Perfumes

Available in tons of delicious scents. Nose approved!

Where do you see your company at this time next year? In five years?

Our projected growth shows we could be a million dollar company in under four years. I don’t want this, and my husband and I have already set limits to how large we are willing to expand. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but I do not want my business any larger than I can handle. I will not give up the things I love for money. My time is very valuable to me, and I will not be forced to run a manufacturing plant.

Earlier I had mentioned writing thank-you notes and how important they are to me. At the point where I am sitting there dreading writing one more thank you and it loses its appeal, I am done. We will scale down, or at least set an upper-cap for our growth and look to stabilize at a point that’s comfortable for us.

Have you ever used promotional products? Do you consider your own products promotional products for the geek entertainment that inspire them?

I have tried using promotional products, but really, I don’t know how. I consider myself the brand and aside from business cards, I don’t know what comes next. Eighty percent of what I do is probably the result of an accident, so to plan a promotion…I don’t even know where to begin! However, it would be something I would very seriously consider hiring someone to design for me.

I do think fan made crafts as a whole play a role in promoting what inspired their creation. Adding content to their various universes certainly doesn’t hurt their popularity!

So there you have it! Any comments on Kylee’s journey? What kinds of promotional products could she incorporate into marketing for her brand? Gee, could anyone recommend a company that could help her out with that? ;-) How do you feel about including your family in with your passion (that also happens to be your business)? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!



Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.

Comments

  1. Lauren G.

    Both of these articles are amazing! The journey, the advice, the end product of awesome soap – AMAZING! This woman makes me want to pursue things I love and potentially sell it down the road. It makes you realize there is hope out there that you can LOVE what you do every day and make a living for you and/or family. “My time is very valuable to me, and I will not be forced to run a manufacturing plant.” I’m glad that she’s staying “local” and personal because her customers obviously love her business and products!

    Her needing a promotional product company…obviously, hands down, QLP! ;) Even if Kylee started small or did small promotional products such as throwing in a pen with their orders. People always appreciate free things and it’s beneficial for her! AWESOME POST! I agree with Jill, “I’m FLOORED right now.”

    • Jana Quinn

      It’s so true – reading her responses made me want to start a business of my own! :-)

  2. amy

    I love the idea that her family wants to help her company succeed! That way even with those crazy hours she works, her family and her can still spend time together.

  3. Kelly

    Jana, I loved your blog and I LOVE Kylee! She is so down to earth. As a mother and business owner myself I TOTALLY relate to her. Now working 2 jobs I struggle with letting my home business as a graphic designer/artist go because I do love it so much and it’s not “work” when you enjoy it, but time is SO valuable. Without knowing her, just through reading about her journey, I have learned SO much. Fantastic post! Kylee if you read this, you are an inspiration to working mom’s and artists everywhere. I hope you continue to love what you do and share it with those you love. :)

    • Amanda

      Wow Kelly–I didn’t realize that you had a home business doing graphic design work. How cool! It’s nice to hear that Kylee is inspiring people–I don’t even have a home business and she inspires me too!

  4. Amanda

    Great 2nd post Jana! Kylee is very inspiring. I love the fact that she does want to grow her business, but not to the point where she’d have to “run a manufacturing plant”. That’s a great point! That way she can stay involved and keep passionate and still have time for family and not get overwhelmed!

    Super interview Jana! =)

  5. Rachel

    Great interview! Lots of valuable insight here. That’s so amazing that she includes a handwritten thank you note with each order! Wow. Best of luck to Kylee as she and her family continue the business–I’m definitely going to check out these awesome soaps now :)

  6. Missy

    Kylee has become a dear friend to me over the past year since I discovered her. She’s super sweet and incredibly passionate. She’s inspired me to make stuff that I love.

    I have an obsession with fairies. LARGE obsession. Out of 6 tattoos I have, 3 of them are fairies, and they are my larger tattoos, too! She makes me believe that I can do what I am doing. I create jewelry and costume faerie wings right now. I have also created some other geeky earrings (my Star Trek ones are a huge hit right now, those I actually designed specifically for Kylee) and I plan on branching out even more. I originally wanted to stick just to faerie/dragonfly wings, but then I got other ideas. Now I am definitely going to go a different route, but have faeries at the heart of everything.

    To get praise from Kylee was the high point of the process I’ve been doing. She is a great inspiration for me, and reading this gives me more ideas. I love the woman to death, and cannot wait for more from her! <3

    • Jana Quinn

      Hi, Missy! I’m not surprised at all that Kylee’s inspiration reaches far and wide to so many others. Congratulations on pursuing your dreams! So many people don’t even get to the creation phase of their passions, and here you are getting ready to branch out!

      What kind of feedback did you get from Kylee? How has your launch been similar to/different from hers?

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