I started my first fragrance business in 2010. It did great things for me, and afforded me a freedom I so desperately needed at a time when I was starting life in general from scratch. Then it propelled me forward into even better things. But it wasn't anything special. Hold on, now, if you've loved and supported me from the beginning, don't pick up your pitchfork yet. It sounds harsh, but let me explain.
My intention was to make products that made people feel good, using high quality, natural ingredients. It's not a bad goal at all, but if I may be frank: twelve other handmade soap makers at any given farmer's market in any given location just said the same damn thing. Pure and natural ingredients are a quality standard, not a brand. Certainly it's what we aspire to, but it's just a part of what we do. It is not the depth of who we are. Making people feel good? I think that's the key to success in all of the best ways, but again- it's a vague statement at best. Because here's the thing. The most powerful way to make somebody feel something greater than mild amusement and basic satisfaction is to shoot straight for the heart. And if you want access to somebody's heart, you're going to need to be a little bit more authentic.
All people are not the same (I'll let you follow that up with either "Duh", "Thank goodness", or both). Since it's literally impossible to make absolutely everyone happy in exactly the same way, you've pretty much got two options. You can mold yourself to the least offensive or most basic common denominator, meaning that most people you encounter will be reasonably pleased, but that you're also that much more apt to be forgotten or replaced by someone else who (don't hate me) has nearly the exact same thing to offer. The other option requires you to grow a pair of balls and is pretty sound advice in business, friendship, love, and anything that matters.
Find your people. Not the people at large, not just a group of people. Your people. Celebrate what makes you different and let that shine with the fury of a thousand red light district neon signs. Or suns. Capitalize on your own uniqueness in every way that counts, and most importantly, do it with love. The reason that this is the scarier option is because you can't really get into somebody else's heart without exposing your own. The thing is, when you do this, some people are going to drop away from you like flies when you cease to provide them with the normal they're so used to. Maybe even a lot of people, and that can be terrifying.
But it doesn't take a lot of people to build something amazing. It's one thing to be moderately liked by the masses. It's something entirely different to be intensely, passionately, and consistently loved by a special few.
And I promise you something else: They won't forget you.