Mayan Musk

March 23, 2017

Love the colors in this soap.  I was playing around with a new technique that kind of sort of did what I was going for.  I’m going to play with it some more, but overall I think it’s fun and the colors work well together. As you can see from the suppliers description this is quite a complex scent, but it really does smell good!

It has fresh orange and crisp aldehyde which lead to a warm blend of woods and musk to create this sensual fragrance. Hints of rose are balanced with patchouli, cedar wood and sandalwood for warmth. A highly textured blend of musk notes is sweetened with hints of vanilla.

mayan_musk-8

Get your Mayan Musk HERE!


Lavender Vanilla

March 19, 2017

Lavender Vanilla…another vanilla.  I’ve had such a good response with this scent in my wax melts that I decided to make it in soap. I knew it would discolor and tried to use that to my advantage in the design.  And again with those darn vanilla beans. There wasn’t a single picture I was happy with how they looked in. *sigh*

It  is a relaxing and tranquil scent that is also unique and memorable.  A well-rounded combination of fresh lavender, fresh vanilla beans, with orange zests and patchouli.

lav-vanilla2

 

Now available in my store! Find it here!


Inspirational Friday

March 17, 2017

Actions speak louder than words. Can’t tell you how often I heard that growing up, in work situations, on sports teams… This quote reminded me of it.  It reminded me that I set examples for my younger siblings, that my actions affected my teams accomplishments, that what I did could make a change (didn’t matter how small).  I think this saying works for all aspects of life.  It’s some good advice to try and live by.

march


Free Is Not Free

March 14, 2017

Society in general has this notion that they are entitled to “free” things.  We ask for them; we get them; we expect them.  I’m not saying everyone is an awful person because of this, I’m simply pointing out that we, as a society, have been conditioned to expect, dare I even say, believe we deserve free “things.”

This has been something I’ve wanted to write about for a couple years now.  It’s a topic I never truly considered until I started my own business and suddenly I was accounting for every expense, and understanding exactly how much every item cost me to make.  I do not write this post as a rant or in an accusatory tone.  I’m simply sharing some ideas on how we perceive two words: Free and Gift.

Let’s look at some definitions:

Free (adj.): provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.

Gift (n.): the act of giving.

As a side note: I looked up the word “free” in the dictionary and got 42 different definitions to the word! 42 different meanings!  The first 7 or so related to freedom (liberty) and the next few to freedom of choice.  There were many more definitions (there’s a lot of meanings to free), but in the middle of all of those definitions was the definition of “free” that I was talking about.  But think about that: 42 ways to interpret and use the word “free”.

Back on track now! How often have you seen: free shipping, by one get one free, spend “x” amount and get one free, free samples…

These things cost us nothing.  And if we look at a strict interpretation of the definition of free  we can argue that these are all indeed “free”.  They were provided to us without charge.  But I want to argue that these are gifts.  They were “given” to us (with nothing expected in return).  We use the word “free” very often when what we really are getting is a “gift”.

I realize this is a perception on how to view the terms and their use.  Yes, either word would work (and be correct) in most situations, but do you ever hear anything called a gift?  I know I rarely do.  I argue that we’ve been condition to use the word free.  We’ve been mentally conditioned to expect and view anything we receive free of charge as “free” as opposed to a “gift” and the word choice changes our perception on how we view these “items” we are given.

I argue that the true definition of free (in terms of cost) means it wouldn’t cost anyone anything.  It would be free to the retailer and the consumer.  There are very few things I’d argue that are truly free.  The air we breathe is free maybe. Most everything else cost someone something.

I am asked (more often than I like to admit) for “free samples.”  I get request along the lines of this: I have really sensitive skin and I want to make sure your soap doesn’t irritate me before I buy it can you send me a free bar of soap?  Or: Do you have any free sample (at shows).  Now, if I gave out soap every time I was asked some of these might truly lead to a future sale, but I know most are just people looking for something they don’t have to pay for.  My point is that people ask and expect me to give them soap.  They see nothing wrong this.  They don’t see that the free bar of soap they’re asking for might be what pays for one of my meals.  Think about that for a moment.  If we make that comparison would you ask me for a free meal?  Probably not, so why ask me for a free bar of soap?  This is especially true for small business owners.  Every little bit makes a difference for us.

A fellow graduate and classmate of mine wrote about this in 2015 too.  She’s an author and is constantly asked for a “free book” usually in exchange for a review.  She faces the same problem many of us face.  I’ve made it a policy of mine that if I get a free book (for whatever reason) if I like that book I make sure I BUY something else that author has written, because (as a writer myself) I know the time and effort that went into that book and I want to support that author. I want him/her to keep writing. This “expecting” free stuff happens across the spectrum from soap to books to so many other products (even services).

I include samples with every order.  I don’t call them free samples. I say enjoy the gift. Because those samples cost me.  When I give them (which I do so happily) I am giving you a gift.  It’s a little “thank you” for your support. I appreciate it. And I want you to know that!  But every sample I give costs me in materials and time (making/packaging/labeling).

I’m guilty of using the term “free shipping”.  But trust me it’s not free.  Shipping is expensive and it hurts to eat that cost, but I do it because I’ve evaluated my business and my customers and I deemed it worth the costs on my end.  (Again, it’s a form of saying thank you to my customers).  I’m sure that this holds true for many other companies out there whenever they offer free shipping too.  Someone is paying for that shipping!  It’s not “free” when it comes down to it.

I realize that this doesn’t always hold true.  And that many (large) companies can get their costs down to a fraction of small businesses and that they can charge twice as much (with consumers willing paying it) as the small business owner for an item.  And so marking down an item or doing a buy one get one free promotion still means they come out ahead.  But there are more and more small businesses in our society today competing for your support.  This means they have to (to some degree) be competitive, offer incentives, and gain your loyalty.  And when they do that by offering free shipping or a free product please appreciate it!  Because they’re doing it for you :).  They’re saying thank you for your continued support!

What I wish we could do we replace the word free with gift.  I know I won’t change a movement (word) so ingrained in society, but maybe I can make some people think twice when they hear the word free.  Maybe other small business owners can change with me.  Maybe we can make a small difference.  Maybe then people will stop and go, that’s really not free, it is a gift.  I appreciate that.

Free is not free.  It costs someone something.  Please remember that the next time you see the words “free” on something.

 


Fig Lychee

March 10, 2017

This was one of those scents where I read the description and said…umm…I guess I’ll try it.  Sometimes they can be a complete flop. This one was a hit with me though. It wasn’t what I was expecting (though I’m not sure what I was expecting), but I like it!  And I love the swirl on this one!

Combines the fresh fruity aroma of fig with the unique addition of a popular Chinese fruit, lychee. Lychee fruit is noted for being sweet, yet slightly spicy.

figlychee1

Now available HERE!


Tallow Recipe Formulating: Part 2

March 7, 2017

Testing Time!  I sent out 8 batches to long time users of my soap to test.  Note: These soaps were made in October 2016 and sent to testers.  With most of the results in here’s what I found.

I asked them the following questions:

Conditions of Use: Hard/Soft Water?  Do you wash with soap on skin or use a washcloth/poof?

As you used: (they used a ranking system)

  1. How long did the bar last?
  2. How did the bar lather?
  3. Did you like the “feel” of the soap?
  4. What did you like about the bar?
  5. What did you dislike about the bar?
  6. Did you have a preference/favorite?
  7. Rank the bars from favorite to least favorite.
  8. Do you have any other comments you wish to add?

Results: So, I get results that go from one end of the spectrum to the other. I’m used to this. Part of why I ask people their skin type/water type/how the wash is because that can greatly shape why someone likes or dislikes a soap and it helps me hone in on what the results really are saying.

Overall, no one really DISLIKED any of them, but people definitely had preferences.

Bar #5 was probably the least favorite for everyone with the exception of one tester who love it.  This doesn’t surprise me.  It was the bar with 70% tallow.  I got a lot of: “it lasted a long time, but the lather wasn’t great.”  And also, “too much of a squeaky clean feeling”.  It was definitely my LEAST favorite.

Tallow makes a great hard bar, but it lacks the ability to add lather and isn’t the most conditioning of fats.  I tried a 70% tallow bar because when I was doing my initial research there were a number of people who said they used up to 70% and I just couldn’t wrap my head around that much tallow being a nice bar so I decided to try one for myself.

Bar #2 and Bar #3 weren’t disliked or loved, but just weren’t favorites.  Both of these recipes used 50% tallow.  People with oily skin actually liked this bar better than those with normal to dry skin.  I wasn’t impressed with the lather.  In part that was because I cut down on the amount of coconut oil I used to accommodate the additional tallow.

Bar #1 and Bar #4 just about ended up in a tie.  Either way they were the top two finishers for most of my testers.  Bar #1 used 19.4% tallow and was my standard recipe with a straight sub of tallow for palm.  Most liked the lather, the feel on the skin, and the feel after showering.  All around it was generally liked.

Bar #4 was 25% tallow.  And I think that might be a magic number for me with using tallow in a recipe.  The one down side is this bar seemed to go a little faster.  I had people test travel size bars (I tested a full size). To me the full size bar lasted about as long as my standard bar.  Travel bars are smaller and thinner.  I actually think the reason that this bar went a little quicker was because I kept using it (longer than an of the other bars) each time I showered. I just LOVED the feel of it on my skin (as did many of my testers).

End thoughts: I went into this thinking Bar #1 would be my favorite. I LOVE my current recipe and that bar was just a straight sub of palm for tallow.  I didn’t make any other changes.  I was sure nothing else would stand up to that bar.  And while I did like Bar #1 (19.4% tallow) my favorite was Bar #4 (25% tallow).

Ultimately from this experiment I would recommend a usage rate between 20 and 25% of tallow in a recipe.

Thank you to all my testers!  I appreciate your help.

 


Tallow Recipe Formulating: Part 1

March 6, 2017

I have wanted to make tallow soap since I first read about animal fats in soap.  I wish I could remember the book I read about them in (it was one of the many I devoured when I first started making soap and was requesting every soap book my library had.)

When I started making soap to sell I’d formulated a recipe that was free of animal products and was a really nice bar. I love it.  My customers love it and at this point I wouldn’t change it, but I have still had this burning desire to play with tallow and formulate a new recipe…maybe an additional or specialty line of soaps one day.  Either way I knew I’d love using them and my family and friends would too.

I set to work creating different recipes.  The first one I did was a straight up sub of palm oil for beef tallow (run through a lye calculator of course).  Then from there I started playing. I had six different recipes by the time I got done.  And I realized some were a little too similar and so I managed to narrow it down to three recipes (so I was left with four total).

The biggest differences in these recipes was mainly the percentage of tallow I used.  I’d done a lot of reading and research and come up with a wide range of percentages to use in a recipe: from 25% up to 75% (in fact I think one person even told me they use 80%).  That’s a huge range and so I decided to do testing.  At first I didn’t go above 50% in my four test batches, but I decided a couple weeks later that I would do one more test batch with 70% tallow, mostly because I was really curious how a bar with 70% tallow would turn out.

Recipe 1:  19.4% Tallow

2016-08-07 16.47.04

This recipe was kind of my control recipe in the sense it was the exact same as my normal bars, but I subbed tallow for palm oil.  I wanted to see if there were any differences people picked up.

Recipe 2: 50% Tallow / 20% Olive

2016-08-07 16.47.25

Recipe 3: 50% Tallow / 15% Olive

2016-08-07 16.48.05

 

Recipe 4: 25% Tallow

2016-08-07 16.47.43

 

Recipe 5: 70% Tallow

2016-08-15 10.11.41

All recipes used a water discount of about 15%.

Initial reports from the five recipes is that each created a fairly hard bar (to the touch after a four week cure time), though Recipe 5 was definitely the hardest (even after just 48 hours!  Seeing that it was made with 70% tallow I wasn’t surprised with those results.