WCBC Review interviews Sonia Saxena of Salty Betch Bath Rituals.

In this episode we discuss finding the humor in murky waters, staying true to yourself, and making time for self care.

Sonia Saxena can be found at Salty Betch Bath Rituals on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

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Salty Betch

Cardinal:  Welcome back to WCBC review, where we put the spotlight on small businesses. Today, we are interviewing Sonia Saxena. How are you today, Sonia?

Sonia: I'm great. How are you doing?

Cardinal: I am pretty good. Sonia, You're the owner of Salty Betch, right? That's awesome.  And what exactly is Salty Betch?

Sonia: Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people wonder that when they hear it.

So, Salty Betch is my bath care line, and I do bath soaks. And the reason it's called Salty Betch is because I was, I got into a car accident a couple of years ago. And then also after having my child, I had been searching for different ways for self-care. And as we know, you know it could really pile up with activities to do and what I could do at home.

And then that's when the pandemic hit. So perfect timing. That was that we, in our household love taking baths and we love taking that 20 minutes of self care to oneself. So as I was going out and shopping at different, you know, stores like Target or, you know some celebritybath soap lines and I had noticed that a lot of my ingredients that I've grown up with had been being used, but they weren't quite authentic. So that got me thinking to myself, how could I offer authentic ingredients and authentic blends with my authentic humor to everybody? At not such a premium price. So that really was my goal as into trying to like, you know, how do I get my self care to others?

And it be at a fair price. So that's what happened with that. And then Salty Betch was born. So I've always had this very quirky, sassy humor. And this is the way that myself and a lot of my friends and family look at life with a lot of quirk and it's helped us during those moments just to be like, Hey, you know, what would have had a rough day, but let's maybe have a chuckle about it and acknowledge it and take that time to debrief and chill and with the bath and let the day go.

Cardinal: That's awesome. I love it. I love some of the names of your products too. Like " "karma is a betch" and yes, " my neck, my back". Yeah.

Sonia: Yeah, just definitely inspired by my upbringing. I grown up in Canada and now live here in beautiful West coast and super excited for that to be back onto the West coast. And wanted to just bring a lot of my bath soaks to people that enjoy a good chuckle.

Cardinal: Awesome. So how long have you been in business with this?

Sonia: Actually, our one year anniversary will be coming up in June of 2021. Thank you. And we've just, yeah, we've been in business for almost a year and I've been very grateful getting such great positive feedback from customers, from clients, from all over, Loving the bath soaks and doing really, really well too in sex positive shops.

And also within the LGBTQ community. So it's just something we just are like taking and enjoying and throwing glitter around and having all that fun.

Uh, We use eco glitter, which is plant soluble. So it does not affect the ocean. It doesn't affect your tub. Doesn't affect the pipes, anything like that. And we use all natural ingredients, which is Himalayan salt from India. We use pure essential oils and... Just I'm a chemist, like an Alchemist and in the, in the lab coming up with beautiful sense to give to people.

Cardinal: I love that I'm sort of a perfume snob myself. So it's good to have that, curated sent for sure.

 Sonia: And definitely "no mud, no Lotus" was something it's been, it's a huge mantra in my life. So it's definitely a mantra, I think right now I'm trying to, you know, keep up for people like, you know, yes, there's a little bit of mud, but that's where we can really, try to overcome challenges.

Cardinal: Yes. Yeah. So, speaking of challenges, what was the toughest part, would you say about starting your business in the beginning of that?

Sonia: The business, I think for me was it really did coincide with the whole lockdown. So once April happened and May happened, it was kind of a little bit stressful as in... how do I get out to stores or how do I connect with other people?

Because I'm a people connector and I like meeting people in person. And having the blocks and working around it is been a bit of a challenge. And also, to be honest, I understand like the financial climate for a lot of people right now too, is really being able to save your dollars or, you know, a lot of people have lost their job or cannot continue in small business.

 And a lot of mom and pop shops closing down. So all of these challenges and looking at it and wanting to revisit also what business means to me and what small business means to me and how I want to carry my small business forward so that I can reach more customers and also respect the situation that's going on too.

Cardinal: Yeah. It's definitely a fine line to walk. Like how do you promote a product and not be tone deaf in the way of just like, "ah, just, you know, buy whatever you want."

Sonia: Exactly. Yeah. Like I also wouldn't want to project toxic positivity, I guess, would be the way with other businesses. Like, so working with other businesses to see how they're doing and how I can help out or where we can maybe compromise a bit more where maybe in a pre COVID world, we wouldn't have as much.

So I just feel like it's, it's been challenging, but also because of those challenges, it's been a great way to connect personally with, stores and with customers. And it actually motivates me more to want to stay in contact with my customers and finding out, Hey, how's it going or how they enjoy the soak and being able to really build that relationship so that I am getting the adequate feedback to successfully run my own small business. So yes, a lot of challenges, a lot of learning, but definitely welcoming it with grace.

Cardinal: Yeah, for sure. So in this COVID environment, have you found the internet to be helpful for you or have you mostly stuck to a brick and mortar shops?

Sonia: I have mostly stuck to brick and mortar. That's my preference. I find, I have a love, hate relationship with Instagram, so posting or, you know, but also keeping up with the algorithms, keeping up with, you know, posting every day, keeping up with how hashtags change or all that is... it's super overwhelming.

I feel it takes away out of my day. And. If I could limit my time to only just do one quick post and get what my customer needs to hear out is my goal with social media now, instead of, you know, making it a end, all be all for my products to be advertised. Yes, but Instagram is also been great too with exposure.

And I feel because we're in a pandemic, maybe we're using it more, but part of me feels that once things maybe go back to normal, whatever normal is, I feel like something else might be brewing up in the world from the challenges of Facebook and Instagram. Yeah. So that's kind of my, my little bit of business feeling.

Cardinal: Oh, interesting. Yeah. I am curious to see where that goes. Yeah, maybe it will boomerang back in the opposite direction. Just sick of social media. Yeah, I know. I definitely I worked as a social media manager for a YouTube star and. It was a lot, like, it was so much that she couldn't do it on her own.

She had to hire me to do it for her. And it was posting every single day and I tried to stay really high quality. So we grew that following, but honestly, Instagram as a platform is good for selling. And it's good for retaining your current audience and for like sending people to when they find you a different way? Not on that. Yeah. But as far as discovery goes, if you're looking for exposure, Tick tock.

Sonia: Exactly. So, yes, I'm on it. I just got to get on it.

Cardinal: No, no. It's another thing to add to your plate. Don't listen to me, tell us,

Sonia: because if I could limit two social media platforms right now to one that's a little bit, you know, going in a different direction then.

Sure. And also too, it's like, it's so challenging because I know a lot of us are questioning systems. We're questioning how. You know, certain products are being used for questioning how things are being relayed to us or exposed to us. So I just know for me in thelong term , if it's possible to get away from the Facebook and Instagram, platform and into something else a little bit more balanced.

I would, I'd be all over it because that's Salty Betch, that's how it grew.  We're against status quo we're not your average business. We're about being out there. We're about being real. We're about, balancing, like maybe a more slow living life compared to a more fast-paced dog-eat-dog type of life.

And also with social media too, I find it feeds a lot of the competition aspect inside of one, which I feel can really get you anxious in this very hyper anxious time. So I, yeah, there's so many theories. I could talk two hours on that.

Cardinal: There's definitely a lot. There's definitely a lot. And I can, I can for sure respect  your wanting to step back and have that balance.

You're not alone in that either. Yeah. I'm trying to find the balance too. And just finding a way to like post in a joyful way, like sharing something that I've learned or a win or asking questions for the community to happen and see where people are at. But. It is hard to take a step back and try and not play into like, okay. The algorithm says that these hashtags are hot and really do that chasing of the algorithm because it's never ending. It's true.

Sonia: And then it's set up that way. Right? Do they not want that? They want it that way or that's how the extra service gets paid. Like it's just, it's just one of those things.

Yeah. And then just straight up, like, Hey here, I got awesome bath salts come on over, and we always have fun things going on on Salty. But if I decide that I want to take two days of a break or take a week off of social media and then have to come back to a completely obliterated algorithm, I'm just not letting that get to me anymore.

They're like, it's okay. Like it's, you know, I'm not taking my value out of those followers or. How much I post. And I think drawing that boundary now for myself has allowed me to have a more freedom and think of alternatives and different ways I can reach my audiences. So, yeah.

Cardinal: I don't know if you're following would be obliterated.

I've definitely seen some people take breaks and they come back just fine. I mean, there's also scheduling posts. Yes. Facebook lets you schedule posts across both Facebook and Instagram in business manager thing. So I use that a lot. Yeah.

Okay.

Sonia: I got it. I got it down on that too.

Yeah.

Cardinal: If you had to look a year in the future for your business. Like best case scenario. Where do you want it to take you?  Where do you want it to be in a year?

Sonia: Yeah, a year. Oh, I would hope that Salty B is in everybody's bathtub, but I really hoping to get a handle on the West Coast. It's it's, it's where I've been born.

Fifth generations of my family have been. Just, Oh, we're excited.  And we wanna bring our new ideas and we want to bring our freshness to the West Coast and really just be loud and glittery and out there. And I'm excited for that. So, I'm hoping by next year, we are just thriving just like now and that we are, you know, I have some exciting new soaks coming out.

I'm always creating in the lab, so more products and I'm hoping to be in every sex positive shop that there is. I'm all about positivity in those areas partial proceeds to domestic violence and ending sexual violence. So we are all about initiatives that are working on ideas or projects or theories that are doing the research.

And so that we can get the adequate information out to really help people. So being at. A level where we can also give back.

Cardinal: That's great. How would you, how would you keep up in a increase in demand? Do you make all your, are you all your salts yourself or do you?

Sonia: I do. So it really is like, I'm a kind of a one woman show at the moment, but I have tons and tons of help from my partner.

And he is just great at, you know, like I said, we were talking from the beginning, he's awesome at all the technical things and really beneficial, but, you know, so both of us have been working on that quite a bit. Like how. Have our own communication in our relationship, but then business communication and then, you know, balancing also our child and then moving forward, I would hope to do more since we have a virtual assistant now.

So that was, you know, being able to delegate some tasks. For them to work on and then hopefully to,  I'm able to have a staff. That'd be awesome to see who wants to join the Salty Betch team and just create more and more. So there's a lot of unfolding of new processes.

Cardinal: That's great. Well, I'm rooting for you

for sure.

So right now what's the number one way that you currently bring in new customers?

Sonia: Number one way. I would probably think Instagram and also word of mouth. A lot of word of mouth has been happening. It's like, and then which I love, it's old school marketing and it just it's still going on. So let's not. We are, we should still believe in word of mouth and yes, that's exactly how one of the shops, you know, yoga studio in St. Louis picked up Salty Betch because their friends were picking it up in Colorado. And so, you know, just having, myself out there, I'm hoping to be at more pop-up events and hoping to be at more markets. So,

Cardinal: yeah. Awesome while we're winding down, down our interview. And the question that I like to close with is if you had a new business owner in front of you and they're just starting out, what advice would you give them?

Sonia: You are going to want to pull your hair out on some days. And those days that you do remember to take a big, huge breath, believe in yourself, remind yourself you're there for your reason, and you're doing it. And just continue that way that you know, business is. A rollercoaster and especially right now, and just to be open, open to, you know, there's going to be a left.

There's going to be a right. There's going to be a really far down sometimes. There's going to be a really far up! But you know, just remembering for yourself why you're there. And what you're there for, and just, just kind of doing those five whys and reminding yourself, because I think it's very easy to get, like we were talking before to get caught up in the moment or get caught up in all these external, you know, forces trying to get ahead right now in small business.

And it's very easy to get disheartened. It's very easy for that inner critic to pop up. And get in there and be like, what are you doing? This is stupid. Why are you stupid? Or the whole idea is stupid. And you know, I just don't waste your time. Just member your why. Love it. Yeah.

Cardinal: Sonia well thank you so much.

And where can people find Salty Betch?

Sonia: Find me on Instagram at Salty Betch Shop. You'll also find me on Facebook at Salty Betch Shop and then our webpage www dot Salty Betch dot com .

Cardinal: Awesome. Well, everybody definitely go check out Sonia's salty products. They are very affordable and they're very fun. And I know that I'll definitely be picking up a couple cuz I love baths so much.

Sonia: Yeah. Gin and Chronic!. So, Ooh, what we've got new out, so yeah. No, thank you. Thanks for taking the time out and speaking with me.

Cardinal: It's my pleasure.

Sonia: Great.

Cardinal: Well, may all your business dreams come true. Sonia, take care.

Sonia: Thank you. Bye-bye bye.

WCBC Review with a speech bubble asking "What's at your core?" and Salty Betch replying in a speech bubble "We're against the status quo. We're about being out there. We're about being real. We're about balancing a more slow living life compared to a more fast-pased, dog-eat-dog type of life"

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Sonia Saxena of Salty Betch with a speech bubble saying "We want to bring out freshness to the West Coast and just be loud and glittery and out there!"

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