Episode 33: Shannon Burch and Lisa Devo, Founders of Soap & Paper

Meet Lisa Devo and Shannon Burch. Founders of Soap & Paper. Listen as they share how their initial connection led to over fifteen years of thriving in chaos. Special thanks to the historic C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries for hosting our first ever on-location recordings.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzOkay, here we are. Today is such a special day for Where Brains Meet Beauty. We are recording on location for the first time ever. We're [inaudible 00:00:24] from a studio, or from a phone in my home office, or from wherever our guest was. But today, we are at the historic CO Bigelow in New York City's West Village, and we've taken over a nice corner. Right? This is a cute corner.
Lisa DevoYeah, it's very comfortable.
Shannon BurchYeah.
Jodi KatzWe've a little sunlight, natural lighting and this is a 200 year old shop. It's really a pharmacy and apothecary and now a huge beauty destination. I want to say a special thanks to CO Bigelow CEO, in Ginsberg and the head of beauty, Emily for collaborating with us today.

We know that every good brand has a story, but Where at Brains Meet Beauty, we're interested in the people behind the brands, so today, I'd like to welcome Lisa Devo and Shannon Burch founders of Soap and Paper.
Lisa DevoThank you.
Shannon BurchThanks for having us.
Jodi KatzIt's so cool to be here with you sitting on our stools.
Shannon BurchI love it, I'm super relaxed.
Jodi KatzRight in front of your products.
Shannon BurchI know, it's a great spot.
Jodi KatzHow does it feel to look at all this beautiful product that's yours?
Lisa DevoIt's pretty amazing, it's pretty amazing every time I come down and see it anywhere. Yeah. It always reminds me of where we started, and where we came from, and how far we've come and how far we have to go.
Jodi KatzWell, let's talk about that. Lisa, on LinkedIn, you list your title as Soaper, so that's S-O-A-P-E-R.
Lisa DevoUm-hum, a soaper. That's me.
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean to you?
Lisa DevoWell, a soaper is just somebody who make soap. There's a little subculture world of soap makers, and soap makers are, I think, some of the most interesting people, we've met many. Soap makers are really interesting people, actually. People who really get into the science behind making soap. It's a labor of love. It's not easy, it's not like you just melt something down and then you make it. It's a whole thing, but it's super addictive. That's what got us started, was this passion for soap making, so I think it's once a soaper, always a soaper.
Jodi KatzIt's a community. You feel as if you're part of a community?
Lisa DevoYeah, I feel so, yeah, I feel that way. We have Susan, who through the years we've met so many people and we have a good friend, Susan and her daughter from this company called, [Se Pour 00:02:38], makes beautiful, beautiful soap and we used to buy our lye together, and we're still in touch. Now, they're crafters. It's a crafty lady thing, men too, crafty people thing.
Jodi KatzShannon, how did you and Lisa meet?
Shannon BurchI moved to Nyack after my third child was born and Lisa had her second daughter in the same pre-school. This kind of hippy, groovy preschool called, Blue Rock, and maybe there were six kids in the class, I think.
Lisa DevoBlue Rock School, West Nyack. Yeah, it was great.
Shannon BurchYeah, it was great and it was a school with a lot of like-minded parents. We parented very similarly, we ate organically. It was great.
Lisa DevoYeah. There were some [lambs 00:03:25] running around and it was just very not ditto, as in that kind of thing, it was a very hands on school. The kids loved it.
Shannon BurchRight, it was amazing.
Jodi KatzDid you have to be teachers in the classroom as well as parents? Did you have to help out that way?
Lisa DevoI did.
Shannon BurchYou were a teacher.
Lisa DevoYeah, I was a teacher. I did, but you didn't have to, you could just kind of-
Shannon BurchRight.
Jodi KatzThere are only six kids, which means six families?
Shannon BurchIn that class, yeah.
Jodi KatzHow did you connect? Do you remember the first moment that you connected where you're like, hum-mm-hmm, I actually really like this person?
Lisa DevoI do, I do, and I'm going to share it. We had ... It was like a parent day, and Pearl had talked about Campbell a little bit at home, but I remember going and seeing Joe Burch, Shannon's husband, who's crazily handsome, and he was in his khakis, and he was on his phone in the back by Joan's room doing business deals. Shannon was just happy as a clam, as you always will see, laughing, and she had her third child on her breast, and was just nursing her, and talking, and carrying on, and walking around-
Shannon BurchI was standing and nursing-
Lisa DevoOh, yeah, walking, standing, having coffee, counting things at the bean table, always the same, and I was like, I'm going to know that girl, I'm going to know her. It was funny. I do remember that. Do you remember that?
Shannon BurchI do, I do. That was amazing.
Lisa DevoIt's so funny, right?
Jodi KatzNow these kids are in their 20s?
Shannon BurchThey are, right.
Lisa DevoThey are.
Shannon BurchIs that crazy?
Jodi KatzThis is a long friendship?
Lisa DevoHumm, yeah. My longest partnership that I've survived.
Shannon BurchPartnership, yeah.
Lisa DevoThat's pretty amazing.
Jodi KatzYou know what's interesting about it, I am a mom myself, my kids are younger, but during that stage where everyone's little and there's multiple littles, I didn't really have a lot of bandwidth, right?
Lisa DevoRight.
Jodi KatzThere was very little else I could do other than feed the kids, dress the kids, sometimes feed myself, sometimes dress myself properly-
Lisa DevoYeah, maybe take a nap.
Shannon BurchMaybe a shower.
Lisa DevoRight.
Jodi KatzI'm not washing my hair, right. There was so much chaos in what felt ... It felt chaotic because there's a lot of needs to be met. It was hard for me to develop relationships at that time, because I just didn't have the space in my brain to say, "Hey, let's meet for coffee." How did you work through that at that time to build a relationship?
Shannon BurchThat's such an interesting question. I think that we thrive in chaos first of all, and just to put it in perspective, we would meet at Lisa's house at 1:30 in the morning to make soap. We would feed our kids-
Lisa DevoOh, that's true-
Shannon BurchBathe them, put them to bed, do everything we needed to do and then we'd call and say, "Are you still up, you up for it?" We would meet and we'd work until like 4:30 in the morning. Get the kids back off to school.
Lisa DevoThat's true.
Shannon BurchWe did a lot of that.
Lisa DevoIt's funny. Throughout the years we would always do ... We had these beautiful beeswax candles for a short time, they were so beautiful, but the label was a very thin brown ribbon, and a little tag with two holes and you had to hand weave. We would meet at my house, I would make some food always a humongous bottle of Vodka and maybe a couple of cigarettes here and now and again, but we would all meet and-
Shannon BurchWe had our friends, too, yeah-
Lisa DevoAll of our friends would be here and always helped, so it became this social thing for many, many years-
Shannon BurchFor many, many people. A lot of our friends did this with us a lot
Lisa DevoYeah, and still do.
Jodi KatzI'm wondering how many neighbors landed straight at this party low.
Lisa DevoYeah, right.
Jodi KatzThat's a good challenge even in the light of day.
Lisa DevoThat's a good question, but it made it fun.
Shannon BurchIt's handmade.
Lisa DevoThat's true.
Shannon BurchIt's handmade.
Lisa DevoYeah, it did make it fun, and I do feel like that goes into your product, actually. I do think that little juju goes in. We have a little tagline on our product that says, "Made in the USA by Happy People," because usually, when I'm not a terror, usually, we're pretty happy. The people that we work with, our manufacturers we've worked with, we know all their kids-
Shannon BurchWe've employed all their kids.
Lisa DevoWe've been doing it for a long time and it's, yeah, you have these relationships. It's not just about making the money, it's a lifestyle.
Jodi KatzWell, for some people, it just about making the money, but for you it seems like it's about more than that?
Lisa DevoTrue.
Shannon BurchYeah, it's different, it's different. It's nice to be able to [pair 00:07:37] employees, but more importantly, it's really ... Yeah, it's become this kind of lifestyle.
Lisa DevoI actually look forward to going to work every day. I do, I really do.
Jodi KatzThat's so nice.
Shannon BurchWe vacation, we have a lot of common interests outside of work.
Lisa DevoYeah, our kids are still really good friends, and that's so sweet.
Jodi KatzDo you ever get a little burnt out on each other?
Shannon BurchYeah.
Lisa DevoNo, never.
Shannon BurchIt's never happened.
Lisa DevoNo, yeah, are you kidding? Do you [steal 00:08:03]? Yeah, sometimes it's rough.
Jodi KatzWhat do you do when you need to get away from your friends, your families are friends. You're in the business together, how do you step away from each other?
Lisa DevoI do desk [sec 00:08:13], and I maybe come on to the city.
Shannon BurchIt doesn't really happen for a long period of time. It could be a day. I need a day off, but mostly we just work through it.
Lisa DevoI think that's key. Working through it where I generally tend to be a person who's just like uh, and then I'm out. Where Shannon is very much ... Her personality is a problem ... She's a problem solver by nature, so it kind of ... It's taught me a lot, actually, in my most successful relationship, here.
Jodi KatzShannon, does that mean you actually talk about the problem and try to resolve it?
Shannon BurchYeah. I think throwing up your ... To be frustrated is, you can be that for a few minutes, but then you've got to work through it. Okay, but what are we really going to do, and let's figure it out. I think yeah that-
Lisa DevoYou're very patient.
Shannon BurchWe do that.
Jodi KatzLisa, you want to just throw up your hands and-?
Lisa DevoOh yeah. I run hot. I run hot and high. I'm just like waaaw.
Jodi KatzYou'll have what I would call an adult temper tantrum, is that sort of?
Lisa DevoMaybe, but mostly in my head, just getting frustrated or overwhelmed. What I've learned over the years is ... I'm really into systems right now. I'm into systems for everything.
Jodi KatzLike process?
Shannon BurchYeah.
Lisa DevoYeah, for all of our departments in our little company that is growing, we're really growing, and as you grow things shift and systems have to be ... Maybe you didn't need a system over here last year. Well, this year you're doing this in sales, so, oh, let's try it this way, so I'm super into that. That's ... Always thinking.
Shannon Burch[crosstalk 00:10:00] systems, right, right.
Jodi KatzThat feels satisfying?
Lisa DevoOh yeah.
Jodi KatzGreat, it's filling a void for you.
Lisa DevoLearning. Yeah, I think it's part of evolving, and I never want to stop evolving, right.
Shannon BurchRight.
Lisa DevoPersonally or as a company.
Jodi KatzIn the 14 years you've had this business, when was the moment when you realized this is actually a viable business and not, I would say like a hobby, or testing it out. When did you realize you could actually-?
Lisa DevoWhen was it for you?
Shannon BurchSuper viable, or kind of viable?
Jodi KatzWell-
Shannon BurchSuper viable when we started taking paychecks, certainly. When we were able to-
Lisa DevoThat was so [bank 00:10:33].
Shannon BurchYeah, and when we first ... We actually worked in Lisa's basement for years, part-time, and then it was a very organic growth, right? When we got web orders, or we had a store that wanted some products or whatever, so we would meet three days a week or this afternoon, or something and then the biggest jump was when we had to rent space. Could we afford that every month-
Lisa DevoI was terrified.
Shannon BurchRight. Then the next bigger ... There was definitely this, and then hiring employees, and then full time employees and benefits and paying ourselves. Certainly all of those, but yeah, I think when we finally were able to pay ourselves a nice salary, we went all right, it's legit.
Lisa DevoEven our first paycheck that was very little, it was-
Shannon BurchYeah-
Lisa DevoIt was amazing.
Jodi KatzThat sounds like that it was the last thing in process is paying the rent, paying the team, and then paying yourselves-?
Lisa DevoOh yeah, right.
Shannon BurchThat's true.
Jodi KatzThat's very common for entrepreneurs. How many years in was it until you started to pay yourselves?
Lisa DevoWow.
Shannon BurchWe've probably been paying ... I don't know what, seven years, we've been [inaudible 00:11:32], eight? Yeah, a good [crosstalk 00:11:35]
Lisa DevoA lot of years without taking paychecks.
Jodi KatzI've had my business for ten years, and really until recently did I start to organize this. I [cover 00:11:46] process payments now. I would wait until a quarter and did it, right. Oh, here's some money, I'm going to take it.
Lisa DevoExactly.
Shannon BurchRight.
Jodi KatzI was always putting the business first when I had this moment, wait a minute, I'm not a charity. This is so our family and I can pay our mortgage, go on vacation, have food, right. I started to look at it from a different perspective. I need to pay myself first, right. I need to put the gas mask on my family-
Lisa DevoRight.
Shannon BurchYeah, yeah.
Jodi KatzThen, whatever growth happens beyond that will be other things that we can do. It was really hard for me to get to the point where I realized, oh, I have to do this for my family. It's not just for me and the Base Beauty. This is a real thing. I knew in my head, I knew it was real. I wasn't treating it as something I deserved being paid almost.
Lisa DevoI totally identify with that.
Shannon BurchSo do I, exactly that-
Lisa DevoFor years, and years, and years, I always felt that way.
Shannon BurchSometimes we still have a hard time valuing our hours-
Lisa DevoMeaning we'll be in on the weekends or whatever ... We do whatever it takes to get stuff done. Sometimes if you were to talk to a business person, they would be wow, but your hours are more valuable than doing manual labor like stringing ribbon.
Shannon BurchRight, but certainly we still run into that I think.
Lisa DevoYeah, you just have to do what you ... You got to do what you got to do.
Jodi KatzRight, right.
Lisa DevoBecause it's important. It's great stuff.
Jodi KatzI almost stopped looking at my hours and my team actually challenges me. We have a time system, and we have clients we have to track, we have to track every client, and I'm not very good at it because in my head, it's my time is almost not clocked because there's so much of it, that what does it matter as long as my team is accounting for theirs, I sort of had this in my head, and I don't think it's a great process to eliminate understanding how much time I put into this. I should track it, even if I'm not [crosstalk 00:13:33].
Lisa DevoRight, it's putting value-
Shannon BurchYeah, that's the problem, that comes back out.
Lisa DevoIf you're valuing what you're doing, you're owning it.
Jodi KatzYeah, so maybe I'll start trying tracker.
Lisa DevoTrack it girl.
Jodi KatzLet's go back in time to before 14 years ago, before pre-school. Lisa, what were you doing as a career before all this?
Lisa DevoWell, over the years I've worn many hats, actually. Actually, I have backed at Zen bakeries, I've been a bike messenger, I was a flight attendant, waited tables and cocktail pretty much always, dog walking, toilet seats; I decorated toilet seats in Santa Fe-
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean, what does that mean?
Lisa DevoCreative crappers. I had a-
Jodi KatzIs that really, really, really what it means?
Lisa DevoI had a little toilet seat company and I sold them like you can't imagine. Yeah, I would decorate them and then I would cover them, put them in plastic.
Jodi KatzLike Modge Podge kind of stuff?
Lisa DevoIt was kind of more this puffer paint, and then I would start doing ... Cut out the Virgin Mother of Guadalupe was real popular in Santa Fe. It was a big one, actually. Then I started doing photographs and Judge Reinhold's mother had Corkies and he brought me some Corkie pictures and I made her, for Mother's Day, a Corkie toilet seat. Yeah, it was pretty epic.
Jodi KatzWhy did you give it up?
Lisa DevoI actually ... I gave it up because I got pregnant, actually and got really sick so I just stopped. Then, we were in Santa Fe for a little bit and then we move to New York, my husband and I. Yeah, and that's what brought me here. I was never on a career path or I always flew by the seat of my pants and made it happen. Yeah, that was my jam.
Jodi KatzI think it's so great for our listeners hear that you actually had no path, because I think there is so much pressure on everybody, and I even felt the pressure out of college. I need to be at cool image driven company, I need to be doing X, Y and Z because I need to balance ... My friends are working at Goldman, or whatever it was. I felt I needed this, it was my identity. It was almost my whole identity. Right?
Lisa DevoYeah.
Jodi KatzIt's so nice for people to hear that someone could find their way without any of that.
Lisa DevoYeah. It's interesting, Shannon and I just have gone through the college process for the past whatever, four or five years, because Bella has been gone for what?
Shannon BurchThree, four?
Lisa DevoThere is so much pressure on people. If you're 18, okay, what are you going to do for the rest of your life- What are you going to do for the rest of your life, what school are you going to go to, you got to be on this tract, you got to do that and everyone needs to chill out for half a second. You can't possibly know ... Well, maybe there are some people that do, I certainly did not. I'm from a generation where you ... I went to college, and just majored in liberal arts, and didn't finish all the way, but I was always a hard worker, so yeah, that was my jam.
Jodi KatzShannon, where were you before all this?
Shannon BurchI was a consultant. I developed computer systems in the city and in Europe.
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean?
Shannon BurchDeveloped processes. Large ... At the time they were mainframe based systems, I met with a lot of clients to determine their needs and designed systems based on them. In Europe, we designed a telephone system. It was like a billing system, that's as simple as it was.
Lisa DevoRight out of college you did this, right?
Shannon BurchYeah, that was my career path. I studied it in college, I went right into it and I did it for whatever, 10, 12 years before I had my third child.
Jodi KatzHow did you know in college, that you wanted to do this?
Shannon BurchI fell in love with computer programming, problem solving. I still love to solve problems and it just fit. I had a great professor. I had no idea, I think I changed my major five times, and yeah, I fell in love with it, and I loved it for ten years. It was a great job. I loved it, and now I love not doing it.
Jodi KatzWhy couldn't you have that job when you had kids?
Shannon BurchIt's just we had to travel a lot, and I also, in a strange way ... Well, I had gone to part-time work and I couldn't be as good as it as I was when I was a full-time employee, and that occurred to me. None of my bosses ever told me that. My company was still promoting me and stuff, but I realized I was catching up every time I went in. I would work two 12-hour days, and that was my job. I fell behind, it was so-
Lisa DevoYou're so far off, you fell behind [crosstalk 00:18:11] and it's fast moving, right?
Shannon BurchYeah. The commute, I was traveling and I just wanted to be home more, but I didn't want to not have a career, which was great when I met Lisa and we were able to get together.
Jodi KatzI think this is something that a lot of women go through, which is, I want to work-
Lisa DevoRight.
Jodi KatzI want to feel fulfilled by it, I love it, but the schedule is not right for me-
Shannon BurchRight.
Jodi KatzThere's not flexibility for me or there's not, I think, an understanding of what it takes to do both at the same time. What advice would you give somebody who's in a situation or maybe they have a two year old and they're in this head space where they're not old enough, it doesn't really seem to be working, and there's not flexibility in my company, what are my options?
Shannon BurchRight, so I actually happen to have a very good company. They were super opened to it, so I worked two 12-hour days, that's unusual. I was breastfeeding at the time, they were able to give me rooms to do it in. They were an incredible company. It was just me. I didn't like the feeling of not ... I like the to be the best. Lisa says I like to be the winner.
Lisa DevoThe most competitive person you will ever meet in your entire life is sitting right-
Jodi KatzIs it competitive and is it perfectionism?
Shannon BurchI don't know about perfectionism, but I like to be really good at what I do, and that's what I found was it ... It wasn't satisfying, so it was missing the boat on everything, except for I was able to get paid, but I wasn't enjoying it-
Lisa DevoYou lost your passion for [crosstalk 00:19:38] because passion is-
Shannon BurchYeah, I lost my passion and I was leaving the kids every day to do it. It was not fulfilling any of those things and I think ... I have an incredibly supportive husband. I have an incredibly supportive family, so for me to be able to say I want to switch gears and start to work with Lisa part-time-
Lisa DevoNot get paid for a lot of years,
Shannon BurchYeah, not to pay ... I was really lucky in that way. Yeah. It was definitely a decision, and it was definitely a supportive decision.
Jodi KatzDid you feel like at the time you were choosing, I guess, either to go there two days a week or just leave the job completely? Did you have a moment where you realized that a lot of your identity is tied up with your career?
Shannon BurchI did and I didn't. Because I had also become a mom, so I think I was experiencing that new. I now had new friends, new playground, because I was home three days or five days a week-
Lisa DevoRight.
Shannon BurchIn a way, it was a perfect world for a lot of people. I certainly missed ... I did miss, at first, using that much of my brain two days a week. I didn't realize that I would be, and those friends certainly, but yeah, I just embraced the new. It was new, it was a new challenge, and that's how I got past that. We were doing something completely different. We were doing hands on. Physical, we were making soap. We were wrapping ... It was a very different move for me to make.
Lisa DevoIt was so different.
Shannon BurchYeah, it was so different, it was so different and it has been great.
Lisa DevoIt has been great hasn't it?
Shannon BurchBest move I've ever made, yeah, really.
Jodi KatzYou're super competitive? You seem pretty laid back to me?
Shannon BurchA little bit competitive.
Lisa DevoI'm a little bit competitive.
Jodi KatzOh, you are?
Lisa DevoYeah. I go around the back door.
Shannon BurchThis much?
Lisa DevoYeah.
Shannon BurchA lot.
Lisa DevoI'm a little competitive. I think everybody has to be.
Jodi KatzYou're sneaky competitive?
Lisa DevoYeah, I think everybody kind of ... We have a trainer that comes to our studio three days a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Everybody puts money in the pot. Somebody is very physically fit and she's into it and Shannon is also one of the most consistent people you will ever meet. Me, not so much. She's been doing it for seven years, so I know that I actually am competitive when she blows by me and I start to pick up my pace, but that's pretty much.

Even, I would say in business, too, if I come into a store like this, and I say, um, they're carrying a lot of that brand, huh, and I'll go back up and type a [inaudible 00:22:11]. Yeah, I am a little competitive. Yeah, you kind of have to be, but nothing like that, no.
Jodi KatzI get the say way. I don't have product, but when I see an article, oh, whatever agency won whatever brand, I'm huh, yeah, right.
Lisa DevoThen maybe you'll find out about that brand, you'll like, oh, it's a relationship.
Jodi KatzRight, and there just like a little thing inside of me that pokes out of stomach and is pushing out into my abs and makes me, I wouldn't say upset, but I think there's a jealousy. I think that's the right word. Why them, why not me, and it makes me go into kind of a downward spiral, which I'm learning to try climb out of.
Shannon BurchCome out of, yeah.
Lisa DevoCrawl right out of that girl. Do not-
Jodi KatzIntellectually, I believe there's enough room for all of us, right?
Lisa DevoThat's right.
Jodi KatzThere's enough room for your brand, and that brand, and that brand.
Lisa DevoThat's right all the brands.
Jodi KatzRight. There are so many customers, there are so many stories, there are so many ways to connect with people, there are so many retailers, but in that moment it can't, I can't know. It's just a gut reaction to these moments.
Lisa DevoRight, but that's what fuels us, so that's the competitive stuff. That would make us want to go back to the studio and make something better, so they want to carry more of our stuff.
Shannon BurchYeah, I would say yeah, yeah.
Jodi KatzCO Bigelow is such an interesting place, and seeing your product here it's beautiful. It fits right into the story of the store and you support a lot of small independent businesses, right? You have your collections like this scattered-?
Shannon BurchOh yeah-
Jodi KatzI'd say scattered is the right word, right? It's not one big retailer where you're shipping to their distribution center. You have a lot of lot stores to supply?
Lisa DevoWe have a lot of boutiques and a lot of boutiques actually we were ... You know it's funny this time of year is always that time, because we're a fourth quarter business. We do a ton a business this time of year and oftentimes, we'll have to go in the back and help with shipping, or whatever. We're super hands on and when I look at some of the orders I get emotional. Oh my god, they've been ordering from us. Twelve years they've been with us. They've been with us when we were doing the beeswax candles, and they have stuck with us all these years and now they're buying hand creams and [inaudible 00:24:14] people. I feel like a lot of our small businesses are just so super supportive and love what we do and love what we're about. We're also working with a lot more larger retailers now, too. We're able to ... We're working with Paper Source and [Anthropologie 00:24:32] and [inaudible 00:24:34] and a whole bunch of other-
Jodi KatzRight. It's a small business that you have and you're supporting other small businesses, right?
Lisa DevoUm-(affirmative)
Jodi KatzThrough the process of selling in their stores. I would think that your network of small business relationships is quite extensive. Is there a way that you celebrate those relationships and celebrate those other peers in the small business realm?
Lisa DevoWell, I would say as far as manufacturers go, we give them more business as we grow. We stick with them.
Shannon BurchYeah, I don't know. Certainly in service. Lisa is the most incredible at giving customer service, and-
Lisa DevoThat's very nice to say.
Shannon BurchShe will be on the phone with those stores that have bought for ... They feel like we're making stuff for them, and I do think that that is why they've been with us for so long. It's still ... If we get a call, Lisa will be like, who's that? She'll yell over to the orders' department and they'll say who it is and she'll be like, let me talk to them, so I think that there is this incredible relationship that we have with them.
Lisa DevoI think that would be the celebration. I was thinking about manufacturers for some reason. Yeah, with the stores. Yeah, with the stores. Oh, god. The stores are ... Going back to when you were saying when things get kind of touch between the two of us, or whatever, it's funny, because my kind of ... The beginning of the year we're doing our show circuit, so I'm gone. I do all the trade shows, so it's this kind of ebb and flow where ... Then I'm home for a couple of months, and then I'm back out in the summer, late summer, July through September, for shows. I'm only in the office a little bit, and it does give a break.

It's funny, I was thinking about in doing those shows so many of our stores come in and we just know everybody's first name, we know what they order, and we probably have, what, over a thousand boutiques?
Shannon BurchOh yeah, I would guess.
Jodi KatzThat's an incredible amount of partners to support.
Shannon BurchIt's true-
Jodi KatzTo manage, and to just make sure that you didn't miss an email or an updated order or a request or a questions. It's a lot to [crosstalk 00:26:47].
Lisa DevoRight, right. That's a good point. It is a lot, but I have to say, we also, besides having incredible manufacturers, and incredible stores, we have an amazing team at Soap and Paper Factory.
Shannon BurchYeah, we do.
Lisa DevoKaren has been with us my god, since day one.
Shannon BurchShe's been stringing ribbon since the beginning, yeah.
Lisa DevoLiterally, she's kind of my bestee. Our daughters met before I moved to Nyack, I had met Karen, and she's just one of the greatest people, and if you call the studio right now, she would answer and she'd be like hey, girl.
Shannon BurchShe's just great.
Lisa DevoThe best. We have-
Shannon BurchYeah, we're a very small team for as much stuff as we pump out.
Jodi KatzHow many are you?
Shannon BurchAre we seven or eight full time [inaudible 00:27:27].
Lisa DevoYeah.
Shannon BurchSeven or eight on a daily basis, right?
Lisa DevoYeah, including us so that's purchasing, orders, customer service, shipping, inventory, sales, web, we do all of our own web, so it's crazy. Right now it's always kind of a hairy time of year because we're working a lot of overtime. I get crazy.
Jodi KatzWhat does that mean you get crazy?
Lisa DevoIt's a lot of incoming information. You've got stores wondering where their stuff is. If it got lost in the mail, and you know that thing, that personality thing of keeping every ... It's like having a lifelong dinner party and making sure that you have this incredible ... I think that's really important to us.
Shannon BurchYeah, yeah.
Lisa DevoHaving part of a store ... If you were a store and part of you buying our hand creams is we come with it.
Shannon BurchRight.
Lisa DevoWe're going to know you, we're going to know your kids, and we always want to do better. We'll come and visit your store and be like oh, hey, what if we try this, or do you need a little bit of this? It's a relationship, so this time of year is stressful because-
Shannon BurchWe just want everybody to be happy and have what they want. I think that's where it gets tough this time of year. We want it out that day.
Jodi KatzThe last topic I'd like to talk about is this idea of the entreprenural experience. For me, it's felt like a roller coaster ride that I can't give off of because I don't want to. What else is out there for me? I don't want to get off the ride, but I feel like a lot of the times I'm hanging upside down on a loop, when I really just want to be on the part where you're going really fast, and more straight instead of twisty and the wind is blowing through your hair, and you're giggling because it's so fun. I don't hear that sort of stress, this upside down loop from you. You seem so at ease with the entreprenural experience. Is just the benefit of time? Why aren't you sort of, even though you're saying you get crazy, you seem very relaxed?
Lisa DevoI am kind of relaxed. I'm just a super Type A personality. I go from zero to sixty quickly and I heat up.
Jodi KatzWhat about you Shannon, you seem pretty chilled?
Shannon BurchYeah.
Lisa DevoShannon's very chilled. Another reason why this partnership is so ... It's in sync, I'm knocking wood. It's in sync. Do you think you're ... You don't get hared, do you?
Shannon BurchNot so much. Maybe in my head a little bit, but really at the end of the day, we do everything we can do to get everybody what they want when they want it, including our employees, including our [inaudible 00:29:59]. At the end of the day, we try really hard and we work really hard to make people happy and I think that, knowing that maybe, is what helps.
Lisa DevoI think time too. I think, also, we are ... Something we have in in incredible common, is optimism.
Shannon BurchThat's true. That goes a long way.
Lisa DevoIt's optimism and it really, really does go a long way. When you're doing the trade shows and your pallet doesn't show up, we have literally been through the ringer, and it's just there are some things that are just out of your control and you just have to know that ... I think that we know that we are supposed to be where we are right now. I think there's a lot more coming down the pike for us.
Shannon BurchWe have tough days, don't get me wrong. If a manufacturer doesn't deliver what they say they're going to ... We have many days like that, but I think we always, back to the optimism, we always go this must be laying the groundwork for something big to come. Right. We couldn't be going through this at this point in our careers if it wasn't for something great coming down. I think if you have that attitude, you are just going to figure out how to get through that and move forward, because you know ... I think that ... People ask us often what were some mistakes you made? Well, we make mistakes all the time, but we never get down. It's always going forward and it's always ... I think at the end of the day, we're super happy with what we've done. I think that we ... I don't know, we're always moving forward, and we're always laughing and smiling. Lisa keeps us laughing all day long. We have such a great time at the office.
Lisa DevoWell, that's very sweet to say. We work in a studio that smells absolutely incredible. We have the full aromatherapy. You know it's funny you're talking about, like when we spoke a little bit before we were talking about the entrepreneurial spirit and I will say from my experience, just because we started ... We didn't start together with a business plan and a chunk of money and have a plan, and then all these expectations. We have never had expectations. We just roll. I was selling stuff at the Farmer's Market. Shannon's husband came down, he really liked it. He would always bring her gifts, we ended up partnering up. It's always been this organic thing where it was never nice and tight in a suitcase, and then you're disappointed because it didn't turn out the way you thought it would. We still have no idea how it's going to turn out. We're just rolling, but it doesn't really matter because we can walk out that door and get struck by lightening or a bus. It actually sound so corny, but it is the journey that really matters.
Shannon BurchYeah, it is.
Lisa DevoI just want to say one other thing, and that is about entrepreneurialship, because when we started I didn't understand what we were getting into, and after all these years, we had this circuit of friends at the trade shows, we have this group of other companies that are actually, technically, our competition. Hot Alice from [Kala 00:33:06] Soaps, [Suji 00:33:06] from Skeem, Jessica from Paddywax Candle. We're all kind of pals, and there's this incredible support. If I've got a question ... We met Jessica out at [Terrain 00:33:23] for its shipping advice. It's not like we're closed off and oh, we don't want them to know the recipe for this or they better not copy us, it's not like that. You just have to chuck your marbles at the wall and share. I feel that for me is the ultimate entrepreneurial experience. When Shannon from Rosie Rings calls and she's, hey, we're having a sample sale, do you guys want to come down to Atlanta and do it? Yeah. We've just created such a nice little life. It's really, I'm impressed.
Jodi KatzEvery name you just named was a female, by the way.
Lisa DevoThat's interesting. Power to the ladies.
Jodi KatzI think the Universe put us together today for a reason for me at least because I really needed to hear about the journey. I want to love the journey, I really do-
Lisa DevoRight.
Jodi KatzI really ... It's very cool, right.
Lisa DevoWould you please come up to the studio? Come up and do handy for a day. You should it's so fun.
Jodi KatzI want to embrace the Studio ... I want to embrace my journey, I want to feel like I really accept the fact that I don't know what the end is, and I don't need to know. This is just the fun of the everyday and the unknown. I'm in this place where, I guess a few weeks ago I wasn't willing to accept it, and I'm moving closer to acceptance. This has been really helpful for me. Thank you. I'm sharing.
Lisa DevoI'm so glad. You did a great job.
Jodi KatzWell, thank you.
Lisa DevoWe were super scared to come down here. Thanks for having us.
Jodi KatzWell, it's so wonderful to have you here and thanks again to CO Bigelow and Lisa and Shannon. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes and for updates about the show, please follow us on Instagram at Base Beauty Creative Agency.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

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