Bubble Crumble Bubble Bath

June 22, 2015

I always loved the idea of the bubble bars. I DID NOT like the idea of making them.  Previous attempts had left me discouraged and not liking the time it took to make them or the results.  While looking for some bubble bath for my niece this past Christmas I came across someone who made a crumble instead of a bar.  I was sold on the idea before I even heard how my niece liked it!

I pulled out my old notes, did some more research, formulated a half dozen recipes.  Then tested them.  It was an interesting process to say the least.  I had lots of fun testing the bubbles in my sink.  As well as a few mishaps!  I finally settled on a recipe.  Had friends and family test it and love it.

I feel like a little kid again every time I make a batch of the bubble bath.  It’s great!  I forget how much I like to play around with new creations and formulate recipes.  Even the disasters are fun and moments I can look back on and laugh at.

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I have to give a shout out to my best friend.  I had this idea for the labels. I sketched it out and said can you do this?  We all know that final designs RARELY come out like the sketches, but she recreated my sketch exactly!!

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Emulsified Sugar Scrub

June 16, 2015

I make these solid sugar scrubs that I LOVE.  Bramble Berry first introduced me to them.  Over time I’ve made a couple alterations to the recipe to get them to be just how I love them.  The problem is they melt in the summer months.  It was frustrating having scrubs that I couldn’t sell year round.

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For the past two years I’d been trying out different emulsified scrubs.  I’d start with base recipes and play around with them.  I kept trying to alter them to resemble my solid scrub recipe.  I was never happy with any of them.  Then I tried yet another new recipe.  I liked it.  It was the first scrub that was anywhere close to what I wanted.  I set to work altering the recipe and when I was done I was in love with the final product.

These scrubs aren’t 100% like the solid scrubs, but they’re close.  They’re a bit more silky feeling and a little less “oily” feeling, but they still leave my skin feeling so nice when I get out of the shower.  And best of all they are packaged in jars and I can sell them year round!

Look at that beautiful emulsified scrub! Firm, but still soft enough to scoop out of a jar, and filled with skin loving oils and butters.

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I did a coffee and foot (pumice) emulsified scrub too.

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Sunflower Themed Bridal Shower

June 8, 2015

My sister is getting married in July.  As maid of honor I was responsible for the bridal shower.  I have to say all that planning (and stress) paid off.  It was a success!

After a long brutal winter I decided to go with a sunflower theme.  I’m so glad I did.  It all came together lovely.  We did the table center pieces, decorations, invites, recipe cards, and soap favors to follow the sunflower theme.

FAVORS:

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I also made custom tags for the shower.  Was really pleased with how they turned out.

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CENTERPIECES: I had bowls with sunflowers in them and then I made baskets to hold the napkins and games we played.  Everyone had fun with the games!

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FOOD: No one went hungry!  We had cheese, veggies, hot foot, fruit bowls, a candy station, cookies…and of course a CAKE! beccashower6

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DECORATIONS: I really did turn out so nice.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great time! I couldn’t have asked for more.

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My sister and I.  :)

 

BeccaShower

 


Testing: Lip Scrubs

May 4, 2015

I was back at it experimenting in February!  I wanted to make a lip scrub in November when the temps started to drop and I felt like my lips could use a little “extra something.” Of course NOTHING gets done between October and December. I’m too busy just trying to keep up with my shows and restocking product to have two minutes to play around with something new.

I did a bunch of research looking into lip scrubs.  I came to the conclusion that I basically had three options:

  • Oil and butter mix
  • All oil
  • All butter

I then created recipes from that.  I decided which butters/oils I wanted to use and at what percentage and set about testing.

I ended up creating 4 recipes.  Two were oil/butter mixes.  I was testing out different combinations of oil to butter ratios. Then I tried one all oil and one all butter.  I definitely like the mixed ones best.  Still waiting on feedback from some my testers to see where their preference lies, but on the whole the butter/oil combo was the favorite.

Oil and Butter Combo: I like this best because it’s semi-solid. Solid enough to stay in place in the jar but easy to scoop out.

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All Oil: Too messy for me.  It works great, but harder to apply and more messy all around.

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All Butter: There was absolutely nothing wrong with this version I just didn’t like it.  It was easy to scoop out, easy to put on, no mess, but it just lacked something to me. (Still hardening in this picture.)

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Interested in trying out the lip scrubs?  Check them out here!

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Under Eye Balm

March 14, 2015

Last summer I started playing around with an under eye balm recipe.  I’d gotten a couple sample oils from the soap conference that were more exotic and too nice to (I thought) use in soap.  I was reading one of the blogs I followed that had posted a recipe that used one of those oils and I got inspired to try and create my own “eye butter.”

The first batch worked well enough, but it was not what I was going for. I tried to whip the butter but that ended up no working and it didn’t cool evenly so it was a little grainy and just overall it worked but I wasn’t happy.

I adjusted my recipe a bit and I liked it, but it wasn’t what I wanted.  I set it aside when the holidays came (there was no time to do much of anything outside of restocks!).  I started playing around again with it in January.

I had narrowed down my trial recipes to one (with two variations).  One contained beeswax while the other didn’t.  I loved the final results.  I’m having some people test it and so far results have been good.  Always excited when I create a new recipe to my satisfaction!

eye cream

The beeswax is a balm (and I really like it…it should hold up well in the summer).  The other which has no beeswax I whipped it.  And I actually LOVE this one.  I’ve noticed that it’s really not greasy either.  I’ve been using it on my entire face not just under the eyes.


Advice is Free

March 3, 2015

Turning my hobby into a full time business has been hard work–really hard work!  There are days I work 14-16 hours and I could work longer because there’s still plenty of work, but I unfortunately run out of steam.  It’s been a lot of trial and error.  There have been products that I was sure would be successful and don’t sell and ones I didn’t think would move and fly off the shelf.

The problem with introducing new products is it usually means a new expense.  Rarely do I have everything I need in stock to make the product.    That’s part of the business.  I’ve gotten much better at managing the new expenses and predicting costs I’ll need to invest.  I have a list of “products to try” a mile long. There’s so much I want to still learn to make and experiment with.  There’s only so much money and time to do that though on top of everything else I make.

On top of new products I’ve (along the way) dealt with creating a webpage, figuring out which markets/craft fairs were good/bad, actually attending and selling at those craft fairs, creating a wholesale line, growing my wholesale client base, creating (and maintaining) a newsletter, teaching and developing new soap classes, finding new/more venues to teaching my classes through, maintaining a blog, maintaining Facebook… Oh! And not on that list is just making all the products (over 75 different products) that sell that is the heart of my business.  You see the list goes on and on.  There are never enough hours in the day.  There is always something that doesn’t get done or gets pushed back a day, a week, a month…

This is enough to overwhelm anyone.  I’ve dealt with it though, and fairly well I think.  Along the way my parents (Dad especially), brother, even friends have offered their advice.  They do it to help me. I know that.  Most of the time they’d offer suggestions and they’d already be on my list of “to dos.”  I always got frustrated with them.  I would be like “there’s only one of me and I’m doing the best I can!”  It took me awhile to realize that their advice wasn’t criticism.  It was just that advice. They WANTED me to succeed.  They wanted to help me.  Their advice was their way of caring and trying to show their support for me.

Some of their advice I ignored because it was something that would create more work for me or force me outside my comfort zone.  I learned the hard way sometimes that I should have listened to their advice.  It might have been more work initially but it would have paid off later, whether through sales, increased visibility, attracting new customers, or making me stand out.  Some advice I’m now implementing.  It’s never too late.

That said some advice I don’t listen to.  Not because it’s not good or have merit, but I (just like you) know my business and I know somethings just aren’t a direction I want to go, or I would hate doing it (and that’s not the reason I started my own business!)

The lesson I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) though that I wanted to share is be open to advice.  It costs you nothing (but maybe some time) to listen to and think about someone else’s suggestions.  You don’t have to take the advice.  You can use it as inspiration for something else.  Or you can take it.  Just remember listen with an open mind.  It could be well worth it in the end.

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Creating Handouts

February 24, 2015

coverpageI teach soap classes (beginner, intermediate, advance, CP, MP, Milk Soap…just about everything).  I’ve been teaching now through local community ed programs and doing private lessons for over two years.  I used to teach a bath and body class where I taught the students how to make a scrub, balm, and body spray. I was never really happy with the class. I wanted it to be so much more.  I eventually stopped offering it.

Recently I started doing research for my own new line of scrubs.  I wanted to go beyond the basics.  I was compiling all this information for myself and I thought I should create a whole new set of handouts on bath products and teach a class again.  After two years my knowledge has grown significantly.  I’ve introduced a wide range of bath products to my line over this time and I’ve experimented constantly on tweaking recipes and trying out new ones to even creating my own products.

I started to create the handouts and they very quickly morphed into this massive project.  I didn’t just want to give students a handful of recipes.  I wanted to teach them how to formulate their own products!  Of course to do this you have  not only understand what the product does and why we make it, but the ingredients that make up those products.  And by understanding the ingredients you use, their properties, why they’re good for you, why you’d use some over others, they’d be equipped to make anything they wanted.

To teach that though is much more of an undertaking than to give students a handful of recipes and say ok here now you can make some new products.  Sure, they could, but they weren’t really going to learn anything that would help them tweak and alter and eventually create their own products.

Almost 80 hours later I’ve finished a first draft of my (25+ page) handouts.  That’s just part 1.  There is a part 2. There is also a detailed step by step instruction section I want to complete.  I’m a long ways from done, but I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  My 20 pages of notes are now coherent organized ramblings! And it’s super exciting to see it taking shape. I can’t wait to teach and offer this class in the future.  I’ve found a joy in making these products through understanding what I was doing and not just following someone else’s recipe and I hope I can pass that on to others.


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