Giovanna Trabasso  /   03/16/2022

Meet The Soapmaker Who Will Change How You See Land Profitability

Financial stability is a priority for us all. Unfortunately, it often clouds our better judgment. The race to reach financial independence keeps us from finding clever, enjoyable ways of turning a profit. Ever wondered why you might be living paycheck to paycheck or never enjoying a workday? The rush to see desirable amounts in our bank accounts stops us from considering other options. 

That dream life you always picture but think it’d be impossible to have might not be as difficult to reach as you’d think. Financial stability and property ownership are often side-by-side as “impossible” dreams most people have. Have you ever considered land profitability?

For Hope Harris, financial stability and land ownership come hand in hand, but not in the way most would think of. Hope is a 27-year-old woman located in Virginia living in her family-owned land. She is a farmer and soapmaker who got into the agriculture business six years ago. Hope takes advantage of all that her land can give her. She farms, gardens, and uses her crops to sustain herself and her family. Additionally, she creatively uses her crops to create sustainable soaps.

We sat down with Hope to discuss her land-ownership, farming, and soapmaking journey. She has shared her roots, tips, tricks, to help you consider land profitability in new, unique ways.

1. How did you first get involved in farming and soapmaking?

My mother has done a little gardening over the years and one year I decided that I didn’t want to do the college thing anymore. I prefer to work with my hands. One day, before my father died he handed me a magazine about agriculture and I decided that that was what I wanted to do. I started a raised bed complex in my backyard and the rest is history. 

The soapmaking came about a bit later. My mom already had the supplies but was told that soapmaking can be dangerous and pursued lessons that never seemed to materialize. I told her that I would do it. So I took a book and did it on my own. 

2. What do you find most challenging about farming your crops and supplies? 

The weeds. The hard Manuel labor. Keeping everything harvested. I must truly say that it’s rewarding work. 

3. Are you a full-time farmed and soapmaker? How did you get into farming and why? 

I am mostly. I do have a little part-time job. I’ve always liked the idea of having a small farm and I feel that In a rural area it’s a must. 

4. What networking do you do that you feel helps your farming and soap business? 

Going to agriculture events, meeting, and communicating over the internet. 

5. What has been your strategy for creating online visibility for yourself and your shop? 

Joining groups and telling people about my products. 

6. Are there any farmers or soap makers you look up to and why? 

No, Not really. I just have my way of doing it. I mean I’m always open to suggestions. do like pretty decorative soaps but prefer to keep mine simple and straightforward, rustic if you like. 

7. If someone was interested in farming and soapmaking, what would be a few things you would suggest they do before getting started? 

Read up on it and just do. Doing is sometimes the best way to learn. 

8. You live with your sister in your family’s land, do you feel like property ownership has impacted and aided in your journey? 

Oh yes. I wouldn’t have the freedom that I have otherwise. 

9. Would you suggest others interested in farming first own their plot of land, what would the advantages be to being a landowner when farming? 

It’s just that it’s yours. You can do what you want. The more rural the better. 

10. A lot of people are interested in farming and DIY soapmaking for the money-earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from farming? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made? 

Well, I’d definitely focus on doing some cash crops. I’d be hitting those farmer’s markets, too. And you may do alright because prices are going up. Soapmaking is trickier, you have to be unique.

And now we turn it over to you. Do you think you’re ready to see land profitability as Hope has? Don’t forget to visit Hope’s Natural Soap and get a best-sellers pack yourself!

This interview has been edited for clarity.

 



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