New to The People's Soap Company is Nasty Woman Soap. Although anyone who knows me knows I love politics, there's another reason behind Nasty Woman Soap.
We're located in an industrial business park along with dozens of other small businesses: machine part manufacturers, upholsterers, printers. I quickly caught on that I might be the only woman-owned manufacturer on my street.
Being a "woman-owned manufacturer" is a strange challenge because sometimes, it requires me to be...a bit nasty.
At first, when my strong car mechanic neighbors saw me loading heavy antique ladders for trunk shows, they'd run to my aid -- often getting in the way and making things worse. I eventually started shouting DON'T HELP ME! I GOT THIS! in a loud, harsh tone.
And in those first months, when salesmen walked into the shop saying "Can you tell me where I can find the owner," I started responding with an icy-tinged "you're looking at her." Nowadays, a year and a half later, I've learned how convey authority without words. (A disdainful expression withers even the boldest salesman out the door -- which means I can get back to work.)
In learning how to be "the boss" in a place I wasn't used to -- and a place that wasn't used to me -- I had to change how I behaved in order to get what I needed. And the guys around me had to change, too.
Breaking the mold didn't happen by being the only woman on the block. It happened by learning how to act differently - and leading the people around me - using any available path, no matter how rude or "nasty" it felt.
Those "nasty" moments were the exact moments when my glass ceiling cracked apart.
Nasty Woman Soap is my shout-out to anyone who breaks assumptions.
My strong manly neighbors are good guys. It took a while for us to figure each other out, but we did! I enjoy having them around and we are genuinely supportive of each other. If we can find balance it in my little corner of the world, I'm hoping our world leaders can figure it out, too. In the meantime, I hope they can try some of my soap and hear my story. Sexism takes a lot of nasty twists and turns, and it's up to all of us to find a better way.