Episode 42: Michelle Smith: MamaSuds, Goodrich, Michigan [Podcast]

Welcome to Episode 42 of the Indie Business Podcast! In this podcast episode, I introduce you to Michelle Smith of MamaSuds, Maker of natural cleaning products in Goodrich, Michigan. Michelle is a former middle school teacher who began making household cleaners for her family after she and her husband began their family. Encouraged by her husband, Michelle took the first tentative steps toward selling her natural cleaning products, and much to her surprise, people started buying them.

42-Michelle-Smith

As you'll hear in the interview, Michelle and her husband paid off all of their credit card debt in nine months. After that, Michelle quit her job, and the rest is MamaSuds history.

You will love hearing Michelle share her story, including her marketing tips — one of which may surprise you. Enjoy my interview with Michelle NOW!

Listen to the Audio

Episode Show Notes

  1. The story behind MamaSuds, including how a children's movie character inspired her brand name and how, over a 9-month period, Michelle transitioned from middle school teacher to entrepreneur. (starting at 1:50)
  2. An overview of the natural cleaning products MamaSuds offers, and which ones are driving the brand today. (starting at 11:00)
  3. How Michelle quiets the “doubting voice” in the back of her mind that threatens to keep her from moving forward, and how she embraces the full value of what she has to offer. (starting at 13:07)
  4. Michelle's income streams and how she sells her products (online, retail stores, etc.) (starting at 16:00)
  5. Michelle's tips on profitable consignment shop relationships. (starting at 18:00)
  6. How Michelle manages her life as a maker and a marketer … with the help of her mom and husband. (starting at 20:22)
  7. Michelle articulates her niche target market of buyers of natural cleaning products and how she uses Facebook, Instagram, and her mailing list to reach out to them efficiently and effectively. (starting at 22:12)
  8. How Michelle uses text messaging to engage her customers, and how she closes sales on her smart phone. (starting at 25:56)

Three Actions You Can Take Right Now

At the Indie Business Network, we are not just about listening and being inspired. We are also about thinking carefully about what we hear, and then taking measured steps toward specific goals. Here are 3 actions you can consider taking right now based on my interview with Michelle.

  1. Drill down deep to find the lowest common denominators of your target audience.: As Michelle has learned, the more general your description of your target customer, the more you'll have to work to generate sales. Be as specific as you can starting out, and never stop talking to your customers to tweak and further define your target customer as you grow.
  2. Consider allowing your customers to text you: Michelle said that when she uses texting to answer her customers' questions, she lands a sale 10 out of 10 times. There's pretty much nothing left to say about that, right? Try this, it might work for you too!
  3. Consider Facebook ads: Michelle says that she has learned how to master Facebook ads because that's where her customers are. The same is true for a lot of Makers — maybe you a well. As of December 2015, Facebook had 1.59 billion users. Imagine what it is today. Facebook ads are so reasonably priced, you have nothing to lose by giving them a try.

Explore Additional Resources

Visit the MamaSuds website

Visit MamaSuds on Etsy

Online retailer of earth-friendly cleaning and personal care products: Earth Unsown

Eco-friendly blogger: Eco-Friendly Mama USA

Small business training: Lela Barker

Mentoring, coaching and training for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs: Indie Business Network

Facebook marketing training: Amy Porterfield

Marketing training: Melanie Duncan

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.