How A Hobby I picked up in Shanghai, China Inspired Me to Start My Own Business - Julie

How A Hobby I picked up in Shanghai, China Inspired Me to Start My Own Business - Julie

March 26, 2021

Story submitted by traveller Julie

Julie with her dog

My entrepreneurial journey began back in 2016 when I was an English teacher living in Shanghai, China. While I enjoyed teaching, it had one downside: it wasn’t the best job for meeting new people as an expat in the city. I ended up taking a soap-making class as a way to meet new people and learn a new hobby. Little did I know that I would end up loving it. I took the class three more times and loved making soap and working with different fragrances and colors.

While I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, my experience living in Shanghai inspired me to go on an entrepreneurial journey.

Shanghai skyline

Living in Shanghai was challenging since I didn’t know the language and didn’t know a single soul. There were so many times I wanted to leave and go back home to what was familiar to me. Like the time my phone, the one tie I had to home, was stolen. Or the time I had bronchitis, pink eye and a severe allergy attack and had to go to the hospital. But I didn’t leave. I persisted and stayed.

 Living in a foreign country makes you realize just how capable and adaptable you really are. Travel and solo travel are so transformative and teach you how to get out of your comfort zone and grow. This is similar in many ways to my entrepreneurial journey. 

After my teaching contract ended, I lived in a small rural town in Northern California with my boyfriend (at the time) and thought it would be the perfect venue to sell hand-made soaps. While our relationship did not last, my passion for soap making was reinvigorated, and I had an idea - what if I made a soap line inspired by places I’ve visited throughout my travels? Like the scent of incense and rain that I always loved smelling while I lived in Shanghai. Or the smell of orange blossoms that reminded me of Rome. I have always had a passion for fragrance since it can instantly transport you back to a memory, place, or person. This inspired me to create a line of soaps and perfumes that could transport you to far-off places.

wanderlust lip balm

When I moved back to Colorado, I decided to start my own soap-making business. The name “Adventuress” stuck with me. It represented the spirit I wanted to capture as a woman who enjoys or seeks adventure in her everyday life. From the beginning, my goal has always been to inspire women to travel and be an “adventuress.” In 2018, the Adventuress Soap Co was born. 

soap bar

After living in Shanghai for a year on my own, I realized I could do anything. I have taken this attitude with me as I have embarked on this journey of starting a business. My entrepreneurial journey has not always been easy and there have been times I have wanted to give up. But I keep going and persist. 

Travel has helped me realize how resilient, adaptable, and capable we really are and that we really can do anything. 


Written by Julie Sanchez, Founder of the Adventuress Soap Co, which offers a line of travel inspired soaps, fragrance, and more that are designed to give you a slice of wanderlust and adventure wherever you are. Find us at or on Etsy! Follow us on Instagram!


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