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Meet Kristie Garduno of Clients Kneaded & Giving Soaps

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristie Garduno.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was in choir from the age of 7, and each time we did warm ups, we would be told to turn to the left/right and massage the shoulders of the person beside us. This part always terrified me – am I hurting this person? does what I’m doing feel good at all? I swore that one day I would go to massage school (“just for fun”) to conquer my fear and be confident in my massage skills.

Fast forward to 2008, and I found myself sitting in massage school. One month into the year-long course, I began realizing I wanted to use my new skills to go into business for myself. I finished school 4 months early and ventured out into the business world. The first 2 years were horrifying. I made lots (TONS) of mistakes, and paid for them, but I eventually found my flow and have been doing well.

Around 2012, I started Clients Kneaded’s sister company: Giving Soaps. I was frustrated by the lack of quality massage lotions on the market, and set out to make my own. Now we sell a variety of bath & body items, all hand crafted, in eco-friendly packaging and 6% of our sales are donated back to the Ocean Conservancy to continue cleaning up the world’s waters.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Heck no!! The very first business mixer I tried to attend, I got completely lost and wound up in a fancy restaurant with a cranky, unhelpful owner. He refused to give me directions and disappeared into the kitchen. There was a wall of business card holders on the wall. When he finally reappeared, I asked if I could leave a few of mine and he kicked me out of the place! What a warm welcome to the business world!

The biggest mistakes I’ve made along the way involved paying large amounts for a booth/table space/sponsorship for events that turned out to be a bust. I’ve since put new rules in place for myself to avoid putting out hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars and getting nothing in return.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Clients Kneaded & Giving Soaps story. Tell us more about the business.
I love being known both as “the massage lady” & “the soap lady” 🙂 My massage company now works primarily with the Scrapbook Expo. It is a joy, as I love getting to meet people from all over the country. The staff for the event couldn’t be better – they work tirelessly at making the event amazing for each crafter that attends.

The product line, Giving Soaps, is the only company that is as eco-friendly as we are. I don’t know of any other online brand that ships in 100% reclaimed materials. But if they’re out there, I’d love to join forces with them to inspire other brands to do the same.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has not played a role at all. As Dale Partridge says, “Lucky is insult to people who work hard. There’s nothing lucky about a decade of wise decisions.” I have made very difficult, but wise, decisions over the years. For example: both of my brands never have and never will take on debt. It may mean we grow slower, but it means we grow smarter.

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Image Credit:
Kristie Garduno

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