Fall Soaps: Part 2

October 5, 2017

And here are the rest of the soaps.  And now that these are posted I need to get to photographing and editing my winter soaps! Cause those have to go up on the webpage soon!  Ahhh, it never ends!

Cedarwood Vanilla

Cranberry Sweet

Pumpkin Egnogg

 

Pumpkin & Brown Sugar

Pomegranate Cider

Pink Splash

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Fall Soaps: Part 1

October 3, 2017

Normally I list these out in separate posts for you, but I’m behind on everything this month (months really…moving has really thrown me for a loop this season). So, I’m posting all the Fall Soaps in two posts (some of these are still in stock and others I’m already sold out of–which I guess is a good problem to have).  All soaps can be found on my webpage! http://www.jennifersoap.com

Apple & Clover

Beau Brummel w/ Shredded Loofah

Rustic Woods & Rum

Irish Tweed Beer Soap

Lavender & Lime w/ Avocado

Maple Cream

Oakmoss w/ Avocado


August 12 in 12

August 31, 2017

E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D!  I’m so tired.  While I’m pretty much settled in from the move and finally getting caught up on making everything, I still feel like I’ve run four marathons back to back to back…  A lot has been going on.  It’s just that time of year where the craziness starts and it won’t slow down until Christmas comes.

August 4th: The Corner Spot 

The first two weeks of August I set up in a little pop-up (affectionately called “The Shed”).  This was part of a town initiative in Ashland to create a community space.  They created a park area, and the shed for local artisans and food to come in set up for a time and sell their products.  I had applied to be a part of this back in February when they sent out a call for proposals.  I figured it would be a good experience–especially if I wanted to one day have my own store front.  Here’s my set up. I’ll have a full post soon on more about my time there.

August 7th: Restocking 

One thing I was able to do while set up in Ashland was work.  It was nice to have a space to do stuff when the shop was slow.  I restocked on my Gifts for the Magically Inclined. Going to have to make more soaps! But hopefully I’m restocked for the moment.

August 8th: Soap Soap Soap!

I continued on my crazy soap making spree in August.  Here’s lilac in the mold.  I finally got (mostly) all my restocks made and my fall soaps done.  Now I can start thinking about making the winter soaps ha! It never ends.

August 9th: Baby Shower Favors

Baby Shower favors! I adore these.  The customer wanted an earthy green and it was so much fun to be able to do something just a little different than my normal colors!

 

August 1oth: Bath & Body Class

I had classes all week  while at the corner spot.  This was a teen Bath and Body class that day. It was lots of fun making product with the girls! Hopefully inspiring some young girls too!

 

August 11th: Custom Anchor Soaps

Aren’t these pretty! I love the simplicity of them and can’t wait to design the labels to go with them.

August 13th: Pranks

I house sat for my parents while they were gone in August.  And my dad (an Army guy) played a prank on his neighbor (an Air Force guy) while they were on vacation in July.  Well I walk out on the deck to water some flowers only to be startled by this lovely rat. Ha! Go Army! I was raised right ;).  I know who’s the best.

 

August 14th: Lip Balms

Oh my! If I never see another lip balm tube again. Ha!  It too me a week, but I restocked on all 16 flavors I offer.  Almost 1000 lip balms made. I’m hoping they’ll get me through the winter season, but I have a feeling I’ll be making lip balms again before the year is over.

 

August 15th: My Happy Place: The Dance Studio

Despite all the work and craziness I’ve made time to make it to ballet each week.  It’s my happy place–where I can just forget about all the worries for an hour and lose myself in dance.

August 17th: Transparent Soap!

I make a pink grapefruit soap with goat’s milk. I make my soaps go through gel phase. This soap went through an intensive gel phase! 24 hours after I made it-completely cooled and it has this glassy slightly transparent look. I’ll be interested to see if this changes as it cures! I’ve NEVER had a soap stay this transparent looking!  It’s super cool. You can see my finger behind the soap!

August 18th: Designing Custom Labels 

 

I had a couple custom orders this month. They’re so fun to do for me.  Remember the anchor soap for a few photos up…well I got to design labels for them. I was really happy with how they turned out. This was my initial sketch I started with before I put them into Photoshop.

 

August 21st: Mini Vacation Starts (Sort of) 

Every year I take the last two weeks of August off from shows (I cheated a bit this year I did schedule two weekend farmers markets…but the other 12 days are mine).  I need this time to 1) Work on Winter  Soaps and restocking products and 2) to recoup and relax! I am utterly exhausted by the time I get to the end of August and crazy show season is just about to start.  I need that break to get through the coming four months.  This year more so that normal! I have plans to do some work (what needs to get done) and then I’m doing some day trips, exploring my new town, and just enjoying life and some time off.

Oh…one last thing if you haven’t heard. I offically (finally) started an Instagram account! I know, I know it took me long enough. You can find me here: jennifer_soap


Instagram

August 22, 2017

Well I finally did it. I broke down and created an Instagram account!  My sister actually set it up for me and was posting stuff for me until I broke down and learned to use it.  There were many moments I wanted to throw my phone across the room.  There are still moments I get frustrated with it! But I am learning and figuring it out.

If you’re interested in checking it out/following me I can be found at: jennifer_soap

 


2017 Soap Conference

May 11, 2017

Another soap conference has come and gone!  I wasn’t supposed to be attending this one (I’m pretty much on an every other year schedule for conferences), but because of a generous friend and my parents I got to attend. A big heartfelt thank you to them!

I wanted to attend this conference for a couple reasons. First, we were introducing the new Expert Test (and revised levels for the the Basic, Advanced, Masters). I was a part of the committee that worked on revamping the tests.  Lots and lots of hours of work went into this.  I mean hours upon hours of all volunteered time.  It was a great experience and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.  I’m really proud of the work that the committee did and I think we have 4 solid tests that will help soap makers truly learn and grow as they complete them.

The second reason I wanted to be at the conference was because we started Local Chapter groups and I wanted to be able to meet with our little New England division and start to get ideas for what to do and how to move forward with this! It was great to meet local soap makers and Marilyn and I will be working on putting together “stuff” (I know that’s still vague :)) for our fellow New England Soapers!

The conference was held in Vegas this year.  It started off a little rough.  I found out my connecting flight was canceled when I landed in Kansas City. The rescheduling meant another connecting flight, a lot of waiting in the airport, and some stress about late planes and making connecting flights.  I just remained positive through it all. There wasn’t anything I could do or control about it other than my attitude.  I arrived in Vegas eventually.  Luckily the flight home went much smoother!

 

I passed my Advances MP Soap test (so glad that’s out of the way.  I didn’t really need MP…it’s not something I do as I’m totally a CP soap girl…but you know me…never satisfied with just being “basic” at everything so I needed to change that pin on my badge ;).

There were some great speakers and classes I really enjoyed.  My favorites had to be Anne-Marie Faiola’s Key Note Speech and Kerri Mixon’s talk on making lye from scratch.  I’m looking forward to reading Anne-Marie’s new book Live Your Best Day Ever.  Soap Queen was the blog that really truly got me going with soap making and taught me so so much back in 2009-2010 when I first started making soap.  I’ve wanted to meet Anne-Marie for years and I finally got the chance this conference!

It was a busy schedule!  My night’s were unexciting as I was in bed by 9PM most nights…but in all fairness I was up at 3am/4am almost every morning.  Stuck on Eastern Time ;).  I was glad I got to attend this year.  I went home with some new knowledge and some new plans to implement for my business.  Overall, I’d say it was a successful learning trip!  And you know if didn’t hurt that I got to talk about soap for three days straight and no one once told me to “shut up.” 😉

And some total randomness…we (a friend and I) were in the store getting some water when I walked pass these candy bars and burst out laughing.  So, I just had to share!


Teaching (and Me)

February 22, 2017

teach tell involve

This is a fundamental I live by when teaching.  My soap classes are all hands on.  They’re small classes because I have my students MAKE everything and I’m there to instruct and guide them.  Even with my college kids I still try to formulate all exercises and homeworks and even in class work so that they are involved and have to figure out ideas/concepts/whatnot rather than me just “preaching” to them on topics.  This is how I learn!

I love teaching.  It’s funny though, as a kid I never once wanted to be a teacher.  There are a number of reasons why that I can point to, reasons that I thought wouldn’t make me a good teacher.  Looking back now I can say that many of those reasons shaped me into the teacher I am today.  Funny how life works.

Anyway, my mom always thought I’d be come a teacher (I think she was thinking more grade school level, but still).  I never considered teaching until I became a TA in college and even then my motivation for becoming a TA were the extra credits I earned.  I did realize though through the experience that I enjoyed helping others learn.

A couple years after graduating I was approached by a college to teach an evening college class.  To my surprise I loved it.  What surprised me even more was I was good at it.  The first class I ever took on soap making (some of you might know my story) was not because I wanted to make soap, but because I was doing research for an article I was writing about the history of soap.  That class was a small all day intensive class.  There were just two of us.  We made everything ourselves and the teacher just guided us.  I can say without hesitation that if that class had been a lecture styled class I’d never have gone home and made soap after that.  I wouldn’t have had the confidence. That was back in 2009!

I have since that first class been a student of soap making–constantly learning.  I have a collection of soap books, I have binders and binders worth of notes, handouts, and recipes, I follow blogs, and YouTube videos.  There’s so much I don’t know, but I do have a pretty good knowledge base at this point.

I started teaching in 2013.  And while my handouts and how I run classes have grown over the years I still teach my class very much the same way I did my very first class: HANDS ON! There’s something extremely rewarding to see a student conquer a fear, or get excited over their first soap, or start to make connections on information they’ve previously read.  There’s one thing I will continue to always do and that’s teach. I will always help anyone who emails me with questions.  I remember when I had those questions and was eternally grateful for those that helped me out.  And I’m still learning too.  And I appreciate those who take time out of their day to help me with my questions.  It’s one thing I love about my soap community: for the most part people want you to succeed and are willing to share their knowledge.

Hopefully I’ve made a small difference in the soaping world with my teaching. 🙂

 


2017: A Look Forward

January 3, 2017

2017: A Look Forward

What are my goals for 2017? Well I’m glad you asked!  What do I want to accomplish in 2017?  Oh quite a lot!  You know overachiever that I am. 😉

  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 covered those events.
  1. Higher a part-time employee. <– This looks calmly typed and doesn’t portray the excitement/fear/anxiousness/giddiness of how I really feel ha!
  1. 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.
  1. 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).
  1. Grow my online sales. This has been a long slow tedious process that I will continue to work on year after year!
  1. 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.
  1. Continue to grow my teaching classes.
  1. 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.
  1. Take (and pass) the Advance MP certification test…since I didn’t get it done last year.
  1. 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.
  1. Sign up for the Master CP Soap Exam. And start really PREPPING and studying and learning all that I need to pass said exam.
  1. Continue to save a percentage of every sale for future plans.