STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) – According to data from the US Census Bureau, the pandemic seems to have drawn out a wave of entrepreneurship. For one Stevens Point woman, that was the pathway she thought would fit best with her lifestyle at the time.
Katrina Johnson, owner of Worthy Soap Co., didn’t get to where she is now without a little bit of failure. Two years later, she’s sharing how she kept the motivation alive while starting a new business in the midst of a pandemic.
“In December 2019, I had my son who’s two,” Johnson said, while her son sat on her lap in the middle of her kitchen, which doubles as her workspace. “I didn’t know how I could juggle working full time and having a newborn and a baby, so I actually placed him for adoption.”
That decision was made early in her third pregnancy, which she described as hard and emotional. But later, that plan was washed away after the first glance of her newborn baby.
“When he was born, I knew that I couldn’t, I couldn’t give him away…and that changed everything.”
Johnson had not prepared to bring home a newborn and didn’t even have any diapers.
“Then he was in the NICU for a while too in Marshfield, so it made it even more interesting.”
She explained that experience made her feel even closer to her baby as she extended her original six-week maternity leave period to 12 weeks.
“That was March of 2020 when I was supposed to go back and when all the Covid lockdowns were starting, and…I didn’t have childcare and I wasn’t able to work from home, I thought maybe I would be, but it just wasn’t a good fit for that.”
So she called it quits.
“And I didn’t really have a plan…I just kind of trusted that God would take care of my family and we’d figure everything out.”
Then, a saving grace.
“A friend of mine said ‘hey I have a business idea for you, you should start selling soap,’ and I thought he was a little crazy because I’ve never made this kind of soap before.”
Starting a business seemed overwhelming, especially at the height of the pandemic.
“I thought well, maybe this will at least give me a shot. Because everybody uses soap of some kind.”
So, she continued to roll the dice, and attack each obstacle as it came.
“You know, I would say that I am one of the biggest people that have always thought that I don’t want to try something new because I’m afraid of what happens if I fail. Or what will people say if it doesn’t work out? And you just got to do it sometimes, you know? Be responsible, have a plan…but, just start, you have to start somewhere. And if you just are always too afraid to try, you’re never going to succeed at anything. So you just just have to take a risk. And who cares what other people say or think?”
That was the motive in the first place, but as time went on, she started to realize the true meaning of her company and who it was for.
“I have to kind of be strong for my kids. And I want to show them that, that they can do whatever they set their mind to.”
As for the soaps she creates, they are made in a cold process technique. It’s a technique she described as more nourishing and moisturizing than traditional bar soap, that leaves the skin soft with no film textures. She uses essential oils, olive and coconut oil, and shea butter, and added that the ingredients are free from anything artificial. Her soap is then hand-poured, unmolded, and cut all in her home. The soaps then cure at least four weeks to ensure a long-lasting bar.
But this process wouldn’t be where it is now, without trial and error.
“After a couple of bad batches, people started buying it. And it helped me and is helping me to make it so that I can stay home with my son.”
Her soap is now being sold at another local business in Plover, called The Garden-A Wellness Space so people can get the full experience of the scents of her soap in person. She also has a website where people can purchase them.
Click here to be redirected to Johnson’s Facebook page to learn more about her business and to stay up to date.
Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.