Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking the Mold

The other day I was watching YouTube videos (which is what you do when you haven’t owned a television in forever) and up pops the following commercial from Ivory soap:
Here is Ivory Soap, owned and manufactured by Procter & Gamble, a Fortune 500 multinational corporation that made $82.6 BILLION in sales this year, coming after me and my fellow soap makers. A company known as one of the most admired brands in the world is saying what I make isn’t soap -- evidently because it isn’t white and in the shape of a rectangle. This is news to me...

So you can imagine my surprise at this “Galactic Empire” of a company coming after a rebel like myself. I mean, have my fellow soapmakers and I suddenly become a threat to a company that has sales of more than $80 Billion a year?

The reason this hits me so hard is because I don't look like a "business owner" or even a "responsible parent". I have been bound, gagged and tied down by stereotypes. By people, banks and schools telling ME I can't be what I have worked my ass off to be because of the way I look, because I don't fit the mold. Cuss yes I'm covered in tattoos and I drive a giant flaming van AND I own a hugely successful business. YES, I was a teen parent and I let my children read comics before they even touch homework AND they are years ahead of their peers in educational development. The fact the my hair might be neon pink, my pants neon green, or that there is a giant Star Trek insignia tattoo on my neck, has not one single thing to do with it.

Since when do we have to squeeze ourselves into a simple, plain, mold to be something? Since when did our shape, size or color define what we were? If a GIANT billion dollar company can dictate what a product is by what it looks like...really, where is the limit? *insert my extreme paranoia here*

There are tons of things around the house, where instead of forking over money to some corporation trying to stuff you into a box, you could buy those goods from crafters, artisans, and small business owners who have love and passion for what they do and who are responsive to their customers. And for those things that can’t be handmade, maybe think of buying something used and fixing it up or simply upcycling! I recent bought an awesome cowly scarf, handmade by my friend Marissa, instead of buying new shirts for winter. Bonus points for upcycling my summer tank-tops and for supporting another crafter!

I’m not saying never buy anything from a big corporation, but we should all try and keep in our minds the idea that going to a big box store and buying something from a large corporation is only one of our options and when possible we should try and look at some of the others.

Meanwhile, Ivory Soap (and by extension Proctor & Gamble) -- you keep doing what you do and I’ll keep doing what I do. I pour as much love and passion into my soap as they can hold, and my customers return it all back to me ten-fold. I’m pretty sure no one loves your soap like they love mine. And the icing on the cake? (mmmm...cake!) The whole reason I got into soap making was that the likes of you couldn’t make a soap that didn’t make my son break out into horrible, bleeding rashes. YOU created the need for people like me to step in and make quality products that people not only enjoyed using, but could feel good about.

Everyone, go out and break the mold today. ♥Kylee