This is the Body Liberation Photos Ask a Fat Creator (and Allies) series, in which we find out more about the lives, work and breakfasts of all kinds of large-bodied and marginalized creators.
Hi, I’m Gloria, or Glow! I’m one of the creators of Cranky Shop (formerly, Cranky Crafty Cat Ladies). I’m the chief soapmaker and bath bomb wizard, and I’m generally the public face of our operation. I live southeast of Seattle with my husband, tweenager, and lots of pets. When I’m not dreaming up new sudsy creations and tantalizing scents, I’m baking, binging baking/cooking shows on Netflix, or crocheting.
Tell me about you! What’s your name? What pronouns do you use? Where do you live? What do you like to eat for breakfast?
I’m Gloria, or Glow. She/they pronouns, please! I live about 45 minutes southeast of Seattle in a quiet, still developing suburb. For breakfast, hmmm. On weekdays, it’s usually a bowl of warm, comforting, cream of rice with lots of cinnamon and sugar. On weekends, I’ll fancy it up with some gluten-free blueberry pancakes (celiac-haver here) and some bacon, cooked *just* right.
What is your business, and how does it make a difference in the world?
My business is Cranky Shop. We do unique, small-batch handmade soaps, bath bombs, lotions, jewelry, and more, with sort of a geeky, pop culture-y, sci-fi, fantasy theme. Our first goal is affordability – we want our products to be accessible even for those on a low budget. Self-care can be vital to our mental health and well-being, and everyone deserves the little boost it can give.
We like to use our items to make statements and raise awareness, often partnering with our favorite groups that center on marginalized folks. For example, in June for Pride month every year, 100% of profits from our Rainbow soap slices are donated to The Trevor Project. Our Venus of Willendorf soaps celebrate the beauty that is femme fatness, in all it’s soft, curvy glory.
Why is what you do important? How does it change the way people see or how they feel about their bodies?
Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, pampered, and cared for. What’s really great about the products we make, I think, is the inclusivity. That anyone, regardless of size or gender or sexuality or physical capabilities, can find something to enjoy that will make them feel good about their body, whether it be a spritz of silver shimmer or a long soak in a pink, sweet-smelling bath. On top of keeping our items affordable, we also cater to allergens and custom size jewelry wherever we can, upon request. We really just want anyone to be able to find something they like, and can use.
What’s your most popular item/service, or the one you most enjoy doing/making?
I think our most popular item in general are our bath bombs, specifically the ones that change the water color. We have some that smell like Butterbeer that are especially popular. My favorite to make is our Sugar Skull bath bombs. I’m an artist and I love hand painting each of them.
How does body positivity or fat positivity make your business different from others in your field? What has your experience been like?
Even in the Bath & Beauty world, a lot of it is very thin-centric. Because we’re not trying to cater to the mainstream ideals of beauty, I think we feel less of a need to remain traditional with what we make and it allows us to really get creative with what we do. We’re definitely not your neighborhood Avon ladies!
I think because we are in the beauty world, though, people often assume we do fit a certain look, and none of us at Cranky Shop do, at all. We get some surprising looks when people show up to their first pop-up and see who we actually are. We’re all pretty unique and have our own awesome style.
Can you share an instance where you made a real difference for a customer, or had some really great feedback from them about your body-positive work?
I think my favorite was probably when we did the favors for a “rainbow baby” baby shower. That one touched me. We get tons of great feedback on affordability and quality.
How did you discover body acceptance or body positivity personally? What kind of difference has it made for you?
I discovered it actually not too-too long ago, probably 5ish years, because I had this realization that I’d spent half of my life dieting. I decided I needed something else before I spent another half of my life trying to achieve something that was never going to happen.
The difference on my happiness, mental health, and quality of life has been HUGE. I feel much less self-conscious about what others think of me. It really helped lead me to the questions (and answers) of what I wanted and what would be fulfilling vs. trying to fit into a set of arbitrary expectations.
What advice do you have for other people who are learning to love and accept their bodies?
It’s a process. There are days where you’ll be tough on yourself, and that’s okay! Take things one day at a time.
What advice do you have for other business owners who’d like to incorporate body acceptance into their work?
While challenging, the work is very rewarding. It’s going to get hard sometimes and it’s okay to occasionally take a step back to regroup. Start by listening to those most impacted and go from there.
Where can we find more of your amazing work?
Cranky Shop can currently be found on Etsy, and you can see our products and get information about our occasional in-person pop-up events on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.