Inspirational Friday

January 19, 2018

I *think* I’ve shared this one before, but it’s worth re-sharing. Especially as we head into a new year.  What you want is not (in 99.9% of cases) going to be handed to you.  Dreams come true because “we” work our tails off to make them reality. “Umph” is what sets us apart.  It’s what makes our dreams become reality.  Here’s to a year of lots of “umph”!!

Advertisements

2018: A Look Forward

January 4, 2018

Now that we reviewed 2017, let’s look at what I hope to accomplish in 2018!

  1. Increase sales by 25%.  Yup, I’m dreaming big again!
  2. Increase online sales.  This is kind of a two part plan.  I’ve been working on growing my online sales, but in conjuncture with that I need to update my webpage.  I’ve been doing research on new site platforms and compiling a list of everything I want in my new webpage and I plan to start building that in January and hopefully launch the new site in February.  Change is good!
  3. Update/Change my current batch code system.  With moving and setting up a dedicated studio space I’m been trying to fully set up/update/comply with GMP standards and with that I’ve come up with a better/new way to do my batch code system.  My goal this year is to get it fully implemented.
  4. Continue teaching and expand on where I teach, classes I teach, and do more Library Presentations.  I’d also like to try and figure out how to really launch a kids soap making program.  This is very dependent on my time, which is going to be occupied by many things this year.
  5. Get our Local New England Chapter up and running.  This includes creating a mailing list so I can easily reach out to all our members.  Putting together and holding  a couple “get togethers” this year.  Proctoring a test session.  Three things to start and then I can build on that.
  6. Revamp my bath bomb sizes, labels, and packaging.  (To be fair I started this the end of 2017, but I need to fully implement it now).
  7. Work on my Master Exam.  This includes getting my Research Project Proposal approved.  Doing the research I need for Part 4 of the exam.  And working in the studio experimenting and learning to make the soaps I need to for Part 1.  I have a lot of work that must get done this winter.  I cannot put it off.
  8. New Products: I want to play around with bath bomb/bubble bath cupcakes. Whether they’d be introduced as a new product I don’t know, but it’s been on my list of items I want experiment with.
  9. If time permits work on growing sales of my custom favor soaps.
  10. Less is More: I have a pretty complex set up.  For big winter shows it’s worth it.  But for 2018, especially over the summer I want to streamline my set up to just a 6′ table.  I have created lovely set ups with just one table.  It needs to be my goal for summer markets.  I spend a lot of time on set up/take down and I want to reduce my set up time to under 45 minutes this year.  The time I’ll save if I can do that would be like a two week vacation!
  11. There are a couple items I want to market to a specific audience.  I need to put together a proposal and contact companies and really see if there’s an interest.  This is a *wish list* item.  I have a lot to accomplish this year with the work I need to do for the Master’s Exam on top of just keeping up with the regular business stuff.  If I get to this great. If I don’t there is always next year.  I just have to set my priorities for the year.

There are a lot of BIG items on this list.  I’ve prioritized my list so I know what’s most important.  I’ll try and do it all!  It’s gonna be interesting to look back at this list come January 2019!  Here’s to making 2018 an amazing year!


A Year in Review: 2017

January 3, 2018

A Year in Review: 2017

In January I posed my goals for 2017.  Well it’s come time to review those goals and see how well I did with them.  I was so surprised going through this list.  Life this year led me down a path I wasn’t expecting, and some goals I manage to exceed (never thinking it possible) and some goals never ever got addressed!  Such is life.  Overall, it was a great year.

1. Increase my profit by 25%.  To do this I have to bring in more sales, which means I HAVE to have help…i.e. I have to have an employee.  I can make the product, but I need to sell more, to do so I need to do more events, which means double booking, which means I have to have someone to cover those events.

I accomplished this! If I’m being honest I didn’t think it would be possible (though I did take steps to make it possible, I still didn’t think it would actually happen!)

2. Higher a part-time employee. <– This looks calmly typed and doesn’t portray the excitement/fear/anxiousness/giddiness of how I really feel ha!

Accomplished!  It was a learning experience for both of us, but overall this was a great addition to my team.  We definitely learned what shows NOT to do, but then I’m learning that every year when I do my own shows.  It was sometimes a challenge to have two set ups stocked, but I got it figured out and was able to keep up with having stock for both of us.

3. Each year I’ve introduced new products (and removed those that weren’t selling). At this point I’ve about got my set up set.  I know what fits in my display, what I can travel well with from event to event, what holds up in the heat…you get the picture.  I really don’t have anything I want to introduce or anything that I feel is a good time to introduce with where I am.  So, I don’t have plans to have new products this year.

I didn’t introduce any new products, but I did create/introduce a number of new gift sets over the holidays.  They went over well and I’ll continue them next year.

4. However, on to point four, I do have plans to experiment with new products. Shaving soap, liquid soap, foaming bath whip, and cream soap.  Most of these are all things I need to know for the Master Exam and to further my soapy knowledge (for my own personal satisfaction).

Yeah…that didn’t happen. *SIGH*  In my defense I was so busy when just making and selling products…then I moved in June…and yeah.  You know what I’ll be doing this winter. No excuses!

5. Grow my online sales. This has been a long slow tedious process that I will continue to work on year after year!

This is probably where I made the biggest change this year.  I’m going to keep working on this. I have plans for this (hear more about it in my 2018 goals)!

6. Grow my sales for custom wedding/shower (baby & bridal) showers.  I did do more favors this year than last year, but I need to find ways to get them out there in front of the target customer. Part of that involves me getting out there and partnering up with local florists and caterers and seeing if they’ll be willing to work together with me.  Definitely a plan I need to spell out and set clear goals for myself.

This is one thing that got pushed to the back burner.  I did continue to do custom favors, I just didn’t do anything to help grow this side of my business.

7. Continue to grow my teaching classes.

I taught 20 classes, a couple private classes, did 5 library presentations.  This is basically a little less than what I did last year with intensive classes, but a big jump in presentations where I can reach more people and so we’ll call it a draw.  I love teaching. That is one thing I know!

8. Start forming the Local New England Soap Guild Chapter. As secretary, much of this will fall on my shoulders for getting it started and initiating everything.  It’ll be a challenge and I’ll have to make sure I schedule time for it, but I’m excited about it.

Let’s call this a draw.  There was some work done, but not nearly what I hoped to accomplish.  Again, busy busy year.  I simply ran out of time.  It’s at the top of my list though to really pull things together and get some ideas implemented.

9. Take (and pass) the Advance MP certification test…since I didn’t get it done last year.

Done. Thank goodness. I never have to look at another MP test now.  I’m done at advanced.  MP soap I can appreciate it, but it’s so not my thing.

10. Submit a class proposal for the 2018 Soap Conference. Nope, I’m not telling what the topic is yet. Ha!  And yes this is a different idea/class than the one I submitted two years ago, which wasn’t accepted.

I did! It wasn’t accepted, but that’s ok.  I put together a proposal I was really proud of and submitted it.

11. Sign up for the Master CP Soap Exam. And start really PREPPING and studying and learning all that I need to pass said exam.

I signed up in April. I’ve since accomplished nothing. Okay, not nothing, but close to nothing.  I will be buckling down this winter.  It will be the focus of everything I do this winter.

12. Continue to save a percentage of every sale for future plans.

I did this, just not to the extent I wanted.  Moving can really throw your plans out of wack!

A look at the Highlights of the Year:

  • I participated in 106 markets (Sarah did 16, parents 3, other friends covered 2, the rest were all me).  Last year I did 77 events.
  • Taught 20 classes and did 5 Library presentations.
  • Made my 5000th bar on September 19 (Last year I made just under 5000 for the year).
  • Made my 6000th bar on October 11
  • In total I made 6,723 bars of soap (if I count every bar/half bar/cupcake by # made and not what equates to the weight of a full bar then I made 7,273!)
  • Bought a house and moved in June!
  • The first item I made in my new studio was a batch of Spearmint & Eucalyptus Bath Bombs.
  • Started 12 in 12 on my blog.
  • Attended the Annual Soap Conference in Las Vegas
  • Increased online sales!
  • Started an Instagram Account (which I need to figure out how to get followers on it now).
  • Started the year off well with keeping up with my newsletter and then failed to keep up with it.  I plan to readdress how I do my newsletter in 2018.  Things have to change with that.
  • In total I made over 16,000 product this year.  If we do the math that roughly works out to me make 43 products every day of the year :D.
  • Participated in The Corner Spot where I got a trial run at a “store front”.  I learned a lot!
  • I failed at creating any new soap tutorials on my blog.

 


December 12 in 12

December 31, 2017

Well we’ve reached the final month!  It’s been fun to look back over the past twelve months and see a review of the year!  December was a great month. Insanely busy up through Christmas, but then I got to take some time off to spend with family and it was lovely!

December 1, 2017: Christmas Time

I got to put a tree up for the first time in five years. Finally being in my own place with a separate work space has been lovely.  I love my tree and all the decorations I was able to put up this year!

December 3, 1017: Craft Fairs

This was my craziest weekend of the year.  In three days I had 8 shows. 4 which I did and 4 of which I had three other people working for me do.  By the time I got home Sunday I was a zombie :D.

December 5, 2017: Lip Scrubs

After I made it through the weekend I was back at it restocking.  I did pretty good with keeping up with everything this year.  The lip scrubs were really popular this winter season.

December 14, 2017: Test Prep

It’s time to get serious and get my butt in gear with this Master Exam.  I’m a list maker. It helps get me motivated.  When I can cross things off I feel like I’m accomplishing something and it makes me want to do more!  So I started my list of supplied I’d need and what I needed to do to get started on it.

December 15, 2017: Custom Orders

I’ve had a couple of custom soap orders I needed to get caught up on.  So I spent the day working on making those.  One was a custom order for a four color swirl to match a tile patter in someone’s home. I think I did a good job with that! I was pleased with how they came out.

December 17, 2017: Last Show (Part 1)

The last event of the season, a small winter farmers market.  When it was over I did a little happy dance.  I love shows, but they’re exhausting and by the time I get to the end of December I’m exhausted!

December 17, 2017: Old Sturbridge Village (Part 2)

I’m always so busy this time of year I never do anything fun.  One of my favorite places is OSV (a historical village in MA).  They do a program called Christmas by Candlelight and I was like I’m going this year! So, I bought tickets for me and my parents and we had a lovely evening.

December 22, 2017: Test Prep

I went out and bought the binders I needed and printed out all the test requirements and put them all together and I’m ready to start.  There’s a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s all organized and it’s time to start the work!

December 25, 2017: Christmas!

MY entire family was together for Christmas. It was lovely!  This is my and my adorable nephew.  He just melts my heart!

December 26, 2017: New molds!

I’ve started my 2018 goals list already. One thing I knew I wanted to do was change up the molds I use for my bath bombs.  Of course I asked for some of the new molds I wanted for Christmas :D. I’m so excited for these new molds. I absolutely love how the work.

December 27, 2017: Bookkeeping

Started pulling everything out to get all the end of year stuff finalized and ready for my accountant.  Can’t believe year 6 is almost in the books!

December 31, 2017: Total Soap Count

Here you go! The final count on the number of bars of soap I made: 6,723 (the alternate was me counting actually number of soaps made not by the size (full/half/cupcake) bar but just total number made).


Inspirational Friday

December 15, 2017

This still remains one of my favorite quotes. There’s strength and power within each of us.  And we can do anything we set our minds to!

december


November 12 in 12

November 30, 2017

I didn’t think this post would happen (at least not on time).  It is that time of year where I think I just run permanently on exhaustion mode.  It’s a good kind of tired, but I just don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done it seems.  Of course when January arrives and I have nothing to do I’ll complain I’m bored ha!  Anyway, without further ado here’s a look at my month!

November 2: Emoji Soaps

I thought they’d be popular…I just didn’t think they’d be quite this popular. I’m not complaining, but I swear it feels like all I did this month was make emoji soaps 😀

November 3: Boston Christmas Festival

This three day show is one of my biggest shows of the season.  I share a booth with another artisan friend and it makes for a fun (if long) weekend.  Here’s my half of the set up!

November 6: Wax Melts

Remember those wax melts I made in October? Well I’ve been enjoying them!  I LOVE this eggnog scent. So yummy!

November 9: Soap Boxes

I think I packaged about 1000 soaps in November.  However many it was I felt like I was constantly putting boxes together. I got smart and started just doing it in the evening when I’d sit down to watch an hour of TV before bed and make them then and then have them ready when I needed.

November 10: Emulisfied Scrubs!

Love this stuff–especially in the winter!  Spent most of the day making up 6 batches of this stuff!

November 13: Lip Pamper Gift Sets

Back in January I made a list of different gift set ideas I could do for the winter.  I’ve found that the gift sets (especially if I can keep them in the $10 range) do really well for me this time of year.  One of the ones I played around with was a lip set.  This wasn’t what I originally imagined, but I really like the finished packaged set (not pictured) and they’ve seemed to go over well!

November 15: My Stock

I was standing in my studio exhausted and looking at my stock of finished products and it hit me that I had A LOT of stuff.  Of course I still stress that I don’t have enough ha!

November 15: Bath Bombs

I decided to change my packaging for my bath bombs (yeah right in the middle of crazy show season).  I’m really happen I did.  I like the look of these much better.  These two pics show with labels then in the bags waiting to be shrink wrapped.

November 18: Hot Sauce!

Ha! I know this is not a soap pic.  This is my favorite hot sauce and I was almost out of it when I saw them at an event I was at that day and I had to buy three bottles. I don’t know what I’d have done if I had run out! 😉

November 20: Thanksgiving and Luke

We went to my sister’s for Thanksgiving.  For a FULL week.  I know, can you just imagine my stressing over lost of work time ha!  We’ll I brought a few things with me that I could do at her place.  One afternoon when everyone was napping and I was working Luke woke up from his nap. I grabbed him and tried to keep working while holding him (as he didn’t want to be put down).  I wasn’t quick enough one time and he dipped his hand in (not hot / MP) soap. Oops!

 

Part 2: Thanksgiving Mac & Cheese

My brother-in-law added some “soul” (as he calls it) to our Thanksgiving this year.  His co-worker gave him a mac & cheese recipe and said he had to try it.  And so for the first time ever our table had mac & cheese :D! It was good.

November 28: Swirls

Yeah, yeah, I know. I always show you my swirls. I can’t help it. I love them so much!

As a side note to this day: Have you ever wondered how much 2500 lip balms tubes looks like? Wonder no more! It’s a lot!

November 29: Gift Sets

I *think* I’ve put together the last of the gift sets I’ll need for this year. We shall see! 😉

There you have it!  Just one more month left this year.  Have you all enjoyed these? Is it worth continuing this next year? I’d hoped to pull in others who’s want to share their months too, but that never happened, and no one responds to these posts so I don’t know if they’re even enjoyed/wanted/interesting or not!  Your thoughts?


Inspirational Friday

November 24, 2017

Opportunities are what you make of them. So make the most!

november