A PIECE OF CHELSEA'S STORY
Meet Chelsea Medic - she graduated from Wheaton College and is now working in LA in media while running her very own soap-making business! Read more to get inspired by this easy-going girl.
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?
I’ve been living here in Los Angeles, CA for about 2 years now (I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA) and have been working at DreamWorks Animation for the past few months. I work as a Production Assistant for the show The Adventures of Puss in Boots which airs exclusively on Netflix.
The Soap.Bar is coming close on its 1-year anniversary which I am really excited about! I am making tons of soap and will do some fun giveaways during that time. I am gearing up for some outdoor craft fairs and farmers markets and also prepping for my first wedding favor client (my sister, tee hee).
WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE ON A WEEKDAY?
A typical day is hitting the snooze button at least three times so I can ease my body into waking up because my sleeping habits are like a hibernating bear. After combatting the L.A. traffic, I get to work around 9AM and remain there until 6PM. My day at work usually consists of various meetings with directors, producers, writers, storyboard artists, designers, and animators trying to make each episode of our show awesome! A Production Assistant acts as a telephone wire of sorts between all the different departments of the show making sure they are communicating with one another, that they are in the loop of any changes, and that they are keeping to their deadlines. For example, if an animator has a question about how a certain prop is used in the episode, I can answer his/her question because I read the scripts and attend the storyboard meetings. I take notes during all of our meetings and distribute them to our other offices in India and Canada as well.
My after-work activities vary day to day. I go to a church in Hollywood called RealityLA and attend a weekly bible study with my boyfriend and some friends. Working for DreamWorks includes free breakfast and lunch so naturally, I have to hit the gym a couple time a week to compensate for the over-eating. DreamWorks also has a movie theater on the campus and offers free screenings to employees, so my boyfriend and I like to attend those as much as possible; will be viewing The Jungle Book this week. I also volunteer at a non-profit fair trade store called Ten Thousand Villages once a week. And then when I’m not doing any of that, I will go home and make a soap that I have been day-dreaming about or package up a recent order.
WHAT IS IT LIKE LIVING ON THE WEST COAST WORKING FOR DREAM WORKS? DO YOU EVER GET TO MEET CELEBRITIES?
Living in Los Angeles is so different from any place I’ve ever lived; the culture is very unique and exciting. When I was considering making the move, some people were skeptical if I would like it (I was too), and some would even tell me that Los Angeles is an evil city that had no place for Christians. I have found these things to be untrue. Many of the people that live in this city are like me: an out-of-towner taking a leap to follow their dreams.
While I am really sad to be living so far from my family and friends, I really do love Los Angeles. Getting to know this city has been amazing! It’s also really weird living in the city of Hollywood and getting to see movies being made around me that millions of people around the world will watch. My friends here work on all kinds of television shows and movies that everyone watches on Netflix or sees in the theater. Audiences in movie theaters here almost always sit the whole way through the credits because they know someone that’s worked on the movie. It feels like a family almost.
I am the most oblivious person ever! Celebrities are literally everywhere here. I never see them. They are always wearing hats and sunglasses, first of all. But Los Angeles is also one of the most populated cities in the U.S. sooo it’s still like reading an “I Spy” book. If you watch a lot of television, you are sure to find your favorite characters lurking about. Bruno Mars came to my work one day... I didn’t see him but I did get to finish his uneaten cheese and crackers. Oh! Oh! And I saw Twenty-One Pilots at church.
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL INSPIRATION FOR THE SOAP.BAR? WAS THERE A SPECIFIC MOMENT YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO PURSUE IT?
I get these bursts of creativity that happen every once in a while and the bursts are usually strong desires to do everything DIY. I am the worst customer when going to craft fairs because I ask all the vendors a million questions about their products and then I don’t buy anything from them because I leave thinking, “I can just make it myself!” Haha it’s the worst attitude and I usually never end up making those things. For some reason, soap has been the one thing that I really wanted to pursue. I had never had much interest in body products; I always hated going into those stores in the mall where people were spraying cupcake-scented body mist everywhere, pressuring you to sample the thick, sticky body butters, and then leaving with a headache and burning nostrils. However, when I saw the amount of creativity that goes into making soap and that I could actually manipulate the recipes to my skin’s and nostrils’ liking, I was ready to start making from scratch. My mom (the most creative person I know) bought me a recipe book and my neighbor walked me through how to make my first batch. That was about a year ago.
The specific moment I knew I wanted to pursue it as a business was about a month after making my first few batches. I looked into my bank account....... and there was no money in it. Haha I am exaggerating, but I did spend a lot of my paychecks on soap supplies and ingredients. I would love to just give out all my products for free as gifts, but that just isn’t sustainable. My boyfriend, Lucas, helped me brainstorm and figure out all the logistics of starting a business, and about 3 months after making my first batch of soap, my online store was opened.
WERE/ARE THERE ANY OBSTACLES YOU FACED WHEN STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
Plenty! I literally had no idea how to start a business. I am still learning. There were so many things involved in this business that I didn’t think about: wrapping supplies, shipping supplies, business cards, website upkeep, professional photography, social media, domain names, paying taxes, etc. I overcame them by research and by asking for help on occasion. There is a huge community of artists starting their own business selling online. Tons of bloggers, tutorials, advise... they were my resource! I also had a handful of friends volunteering their gifts and talents to help me with whatever I needed: setting up for a market, taking photos, setting up my finance docs, etc. When feeling overwhelmed, I was happy to pass tasks along to people genuinely interested in helping.
I also had to learn the ability to think and plan ahead because making soap is a four to six week process! Once the soap is made, it has to sit out and cure for at least one month before it is able to be used. If I want to make a special soap for a holiday or for a market, it needs to be designed and made six weeks in advance. I have missed out on holidays or have shown up to markets with low inventory because I didn’t plan. Life gets busy, and that’s okay. But it’s something I always have to remember!
HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT EASY-GOING?
I wouldn’t consider myself to be a high-maintenance or high-strung person; I’m not too picky or particular about things. Being an easy-going person, I tend to not get thrown off if things don’t go my way or the way I planned. I am able to adapt well to change and am not fazed by most problems. My personality is mostly relaxed and unworried.
HOW DOES BEING EASY-GOING HELP AND/OR HURT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT?
I think being easy-going helps me face obstacles or problems without getting upset; I am not easily ruffled. Lots of things go wrong when making soap, and at first I may have thought I ruined the product, but I keep on going and one of my “mistakes” ended up being my best-selling product. Being easy-going also comes with some cons... I am not very assertive or controlling so sometimes I take forever to get things done. I can be very indecisive about certain things or not push myself hard enough. Lucas has been a great help to me in this area because he is very much the opposite; he helps push me towards growing the business and getting things done. I try to teach myself these knew skills and ways of thinking about business; I know I will never be perfect but I do want to continue to grow my business.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SCENT THAT YOU MAKE?
I’m always making new products because there is always a new design or special ingredient I want to try. One of my best-sellers, Ocean Wave, is probably my favorite and it’s the one I will always restock. I like clean and fresh scents generally so that one is definitely my favorite. And as I said earlier, I completely messed up on Ocean Wave and it didn’t turn out anything like what I was imagining, but the mistake ended up being beautiful and now I do it on purpose.
ASIDE FROM BEING EASY-GOING, WHAT ARE THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I asked three different people to answer this for me and none of them had overlapping answers! I guess I’m a complicated person... NOT!
I am very adventurous in that I love to travel to new places and try different outdoor activities that I’ve never done; I really want to go stand-up paddle boarding, so that is next on my list. Sassy would definitely describe my personality and my sense of humor; I’ve been told that I have very saucy facial expressions. Complimenting my easy-going trait, would be calm; I think I am a good listener and my calmness is a trait that people like to confide in.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND GOALS FOR YOUR OWN FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF THE SOAP.BAR?
I am hoping that much of what I am doing right now is continued; I really love working for DreamWorks Animation and I love selling my soap. Once Puss In Boots is over, I imagine I will be placed on another show, perhaps as a Coordinator. I’d love to see my business grow and taking on more wholesale clients and making orders for weddings and showers. I’m not at all sure where I see myself beyond five years from now! I know God is taking care of me and I hope to follow His call for my life as an adult.
WHAT'S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU COULD GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF IN HIGH-SCHOOL/COLLEGE?
Don’t stop pursuing others and pursuing God.
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