I’m not one to really put too much of myself out there, but I’d like to share just a little :). I’ve been using the internet almost since its inception and have always been struck how impersonal it can be. My short bio is an attempt to break through the wall - albeit for a few moments to let you know who I am and what I am about.
Professionally, you know me as The Mad Soaper. Personally, I’m Leila Hazou. I promise to answer to both or either...your choice.
Looking back, I had what might be described as a rough childhood. There just never seemed to be enough money. I’m sure many of you can empathize and relate to this type of situation. But you know, I don’t regret a moment of it because it made me a strong, self-reliant person bent on bettering herself.
High school was rough but I managed to gain acceptance to Colorado University. I thrived in school and graduated with a degree in Psychology, but like many others, also graduated with a boatload of student debt which manages to follow me around to this day. I later added to the debt with a masters degree in Business Management - not the best decision, I know.
After going through a variety of office and office management positions, I found what I considered to be my dream job as a business analyst at Deutsche Bank in Manhattan, the financial center of the world.
Coming from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Manhattan was both exhilarating and confounding. I was making enough money that I was able to put thoughts of my youthful struggles to the side. But something was missing, something was gnawing at me from within. My job had become mechanical for me. I was going through the motions. I was desperately unhappy at the bank.
I had married a man who gets me, thank the universe. His name is Rick and he comes from Staten Island, New York. He stood by me as I was going through my work-related crisis. He encouraged me to leave the bank and its generous salary behind even though it could precipitate a financial meltdown for us. Rough times followed. We moved with our two cats to a small town in rural Pennsylvania called Dingmans Ferry and added two dogs to our family - as you do. We found a smaller fixer-upper and said goodbye to the Big Apple although Rick still works there and has a five hour a day commute.
I tried my hand at real estate as a sales associate, but it just wasn’t me. Other jobs followed but none really suited me. I found the world of soaping quite by chance. We happened to celebrate our nine-year wedding anniversary at a lovely inn and restaurant nearby. They had a little gift shop with some really cool soaps and I thought “hey, you could make some soaps for Christmas gifts this year”. I never thought they’d be as cool as the ones in the shop. But, I think I always had the soul of an artist within. Making beautiful objects that were useful at the same time thrilled me.
So I started looking at all the different designs and techniques that could be created in soap and I was determined to try them all! I would watch a video and make soap. And rinse and repeat. I made at least one soap a day - usually two, and sometimes three. Once I started feeling pretty good with my results, I began posting on Instagram. I couldn’t believe the response I was getting. People really liked my soaps! This gave me so much encouragement that I knew I was onto something.
Right from the beginning, Carine was my biggest cheerleader - well, next to my husband. She would tell me that I was gifted and I thought she was crazy lol. We found each other in a Facebook soaping group and it was BFFs at first sight :). Well, once my Instagram account blew up I started thinking maybe she was right. I started gaining more courage and confidence and decided to start selling my soaps.
My business is still just in startup phase, but it’s truly what I love to do! Carine, being the daring one, then came up with “Soap the Globe” to create unique, immersive trips and workshops for soapers. She told me I should be the instructor. Again, I thought she was crazy! And again, she has encouraged me to take on the challenge and here we are!
So, follow your passion and dreams - even when it’s terrifying - and see where it takes YOU!
Peace & Love,