I’m Rebecca D. Dillon and I was born in ’75, the Year of the Rabbit. I’ve been making homemade soaps and bath and body recipes for over 15 years. Like all beginners, I look back on some of my old projects and find myself cringing. I’ve definitely learned a lot and I love how artisan bath and body has evolved over the past decade or so. I still have so much to learn and I still make mistakes. However, I have a lot of fun making new things. And that’s how I ended up blogging.
Soap Deli News was created in 2012. It’s been evolving ever since.
About My Journey
I started out making soap in the way way back. Though I initially sold my art on Etsy when they were in beta. The soap came later. Once I began making soap regularly, I also sold on the Roanoke City Market in Roanoke, VA for about four years. I’d been diagnosed with agoraphobia when I first started out. And, me being as stubborn as I am gregarious, the market seemed like a great way to conquer my anxiety.
(While I no longer sell on Etsy, you can check out my Etsy favorites here and support other artisans and crafters.)
I sold soap locally up until about the time I got divorced. As I was strongly encouraged to give up my market contract prior to this change, I struck out to find full time employment with a reliable wage. We were in the midst of a recession, which made things a challenge. Therefore, in addition to working for someone else, I also started blogging regularly.
There are days I still feel like I’m on a major learning curve as a blogger. The industry is constantly changing and I regularly have to adapt and learn new things. (The biggest one being SEO content creation.) Fortunately, Soap Deli News has come a REALLY long way since its inception.
In February 2017 I quit my day job. I had an opportunity to blog full-time and I jumped at the opportunity. While I really loved my small business work family, it was an incredibly stressful position and I needed a change.
After making the leap back into the world of being self employed full time, I moved to a sleepy little town called Bedford in central VA. I set up my office and started blogging full time. Then later in May of the same year, I move back to Roanoke. Because frankly, small towns are not my cup of tea. The adventure didn’t end there though.
Eventually, I started making enough money to legitimately support myself. However, I took a huge hit from COVID the first year of the pandemic. This in turn pushed me to make changes and learn new skills. I also started developing videos for the blog at this time.
Fortunately, I was able to bounce back from the downturn. However, it reminded me that self-employment is incredibly volatile. Especially as a blogger. As such, I took on a full-time position as a copywriter and marketing specialist for a small company in the summer of 2021. Sadly, I was quickly struck with the realization, less than a year later, that office politics and drama were not the socialization or stability I needed.
After my agoraphobia relapsed twice, I took a Marie Kondo approach to life and removed all the things that no longer sparked joy. So, I once again quit my job. This time period served as a reminder that the most important person I can invest in is myself.
These days I’m still trying to strike the perfect balance between working for someone else and working for myself. I won’t lie. It’s been tough. As I also manage chronic pain (I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia some years back after being misdiagnosed for more than a decade prior) finding the time to tackle my own projects while looking out for both my physical and mental health isn’t easy. I completely detoxed off all prescription drugs some years back. Since then, I have worked hard to form healthy habits and live a healthy lifestyle that supports my pain management and keeps my anxiety in check.
I still look forward to creating and sharing new projects more than anything else. And, while there are times I have to step away from blogging as frequently as I did in the past, I’m still committed to nurturing my baby when I have the time. (And when my body isn’t rebelling against me in protest.) In short, I’ve learned that self care and boundaries are vital to my success. So, I’ve embarked on a slow but steady “race” to accomplish my dreams.
What I Share
As a DIY beauty blogger and previous seller, I’ve learned that everyone — thank goodness! — has different tastes and ideas about what they like and how things should be done. In no way do I want to hamper anyone else’s creativity. Therefore, I don’t make judgments about the ingredients you may or may not choose to use in your own skin care products.
In an effort to cater to a wide variety of people and interests, you’ll find that I use both a mix of both natural and synthetic ingredients. For many of my beauty, soap and skin care recipes, if there’s an ingredient you don’t have or don’t like, you can typically substitute it with a similar ingredient. Or in the case of synthetic ingredients, omit it entirely. However, if you aren’t sure, feel free to ask. (You can contact me via email at rebecca [@] soapdelinews [dot] com.)
I also try to offer a variety of bath and body recipes that are suited to both beginners as well as seasoned pros. Everyone starts somewhere after all. And even an old pro can learn some new tricks. As I feel like I’m constantly a student in some ways, I don’t really consider myself a “Pro.” Though I do have a clear understanding of the basics and beyond. This leads me to push what’s accepted or recommended for a recipe or ingredient and use it in a new or different way. Sometimes it fails. Other times something really awesome comes out of the experience. Therefore, my advice is to never be afraid to experiment, learn and try new things!
A Few Extra Details
It’s kind of funny how I ended up here. Growing up I always wanted to be an artist, a writer and a teacher. And now I kind of feel like I’m doing all three!
Anyhow, I’ve been published in several print publications including Scrap 365 (UK) Magazine, Willow and Sage Magazine, and Handmade Magazine. In addition to making things, I like to check out local music, hit the local farmers market, shop for pottery, and go dancing. (I mean, hello? Dancing is bomb-tastic!) I also somewhat recently started a food blog called Becca Ink. (Granted it was initially slated to be a personal blog; thus the name. Life, as it happens, had other plans.)
In addition to being a copywriter, blogger, and marketing specialist —Yay! — I’m also a mom to a pretty kick ass son, Cody. He’s an old soul with a desire to help people. He’s currently finishing up his masters. So, obviously, I’m super proud.
And, because he has a crafty mom, he also has a crafty wife. Paris, who is equally awesome, works independently as a wedding videographer. (She also totally supports those LGBTQ+ weddings! So be sure to check her out if you live in or around Virginia or North Carolina.)
I am also mother to a fabulously stubborn miniature dachshund named Jasper. He’s my little old man, also a gemini, and can be a bit grumpy at times. The awesome part though, is that he’s aces at cuddling when I need it most. He’s also pretty dead set on eating whatever he can get his teeth into. (Just don’t feed him chicken!) He also insists that he is in fact a person and most assuredly not a dog.
If you like my DIY’s and recipes you can find and follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Or you can contact me via email at rebecca [@] soapdelinews [dot] com. (I honestly try to respond to all personal emails from readers. But life is crazy, and sometimes my inbox does get overwhelmed causing me to purge messages on a mass extinction level. So, if you don’t hear back. Don’t feel weird about trying again.)