Summer Soaps: Part 1

July 14, 2015

Summer soaps are now here and available.  I like the range I have this year.

The pictures aren’t the best this summer, but time got away from me and I did the best I could with the time I had.

Coconut Shavings:

coconutshavings

 

Cool Water:

coolwatermen

Grapefruit Bellini: (I love this scent out of the bottle.  Made myself scrubs in it.  It morphs a bit in the soap.  Not my favorite, but then others who’ve smelled it loved it…)

butterfly_grapefruitbellini


Masters Certification

July 2, 2015

I hate taking tests, but I love to test my knowledge, and the best way to do that is take tests.  (I know there’s something wrong with me here!).  I love learning.  I always want to know more, to expand my knowledge–even more so when it comes to soap.  It’s my business, and it’s my responsibility to be as knowledgeable as I can about it.

In 2013 and 2014 at the soap conference I took and pasted my Basic and Advanced Certification in CP/HP Soap.  I plan to do the Basic and Advanced in MP soap just to have. Even though I am not a fan of making MP soap I do teach it and I believe it’s important that I have a sound knowledge base on it.

When I passed the Advanced CP exam my first thought was: “Well, there’s still the Master Certification left.”  I knew that one day I’d do it.  I just didn’t think that one day would come quite so soon.  In May I downloaded all the requirements for the tests and read them over and made a plan of action.

There was a lot I still needed to learn before I could even contemplate taking the exam.  So, I made a three year plan. (Have I mentioned I’m a master planner ;).)  I would take this year to learn how to make/do the requirements I didn’t yet know.  I would spend my time answering all the essay questions so I knew them backward and forward and then I’d start thinking about what I wanted to do for my two research projects.  Then the next year I’d register for the exam and the next two years would be spent completing all four parts.

Granted, life has a way of messing with the best laid plans, but this is a good start.  And it’s flexible.  If I need more time before I start it, that’s ok. This isn’t a race for me.  It’s about learning and expanding my knowledge of soap making.  I think it’s going to be a fun journey!


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:

sunflowerfavor

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

 specialty-shapes-2in-circle-front specialty-shapes-2in-circle-front

 

 

 

 

 

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!

beccashower24

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

beccashower8

beccashower18

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

beccashower20

beccashower29

My sister and I.  :)

 

BeccaShower

 


Saponifier Contest

June 5, 2015

I entered two of my soaps in this year’s Saponifier Contest!  Check them out here:

Embedded Circle: Enter #14

Seashell (57)

Reverse Stamp: Entry #15

Garden Soap (14)

Take a moment to vote for your favorite! Anyone can participate!  If you like mine best help me out pretty please :D.  Pick your favorite in each entry and vote!!

Vote HERE: http://saponifier.com/design-mania-contest-2015/


Wedding and Shower Favors

May 19, 2015

I’ve been making wedding and shower favors for over two years now (in fact it’s almost been three years)!  I love doing it.  I recently did a Bridal Expo, which forced me to really update my webpage and I decided to expand on the options I offered.

Well one change led to another which led to another (which if you know me is par for the course).  The results were worth all the time and effort though.

Before I started all this custom orders were made via emailing me. I had a section on my webpage that explained the favors, but you couldn’t order on it.  That’s all changed!  All my favors can be ordered directly from the webpage now! Yay!  Check it out: Custom Soap Favors

I offer mini cupcakes (always a favorite).  They’re just so cute though!!  I also have a variety of different shaped glycerin soaps and four (soon to be five) different Cold Process half bar options.

all together

CP Solid

CP Hearts1

hearts1

And then I spent hours creating new tags to match my new soaps.  This I have to admit was fun and I had to tear myself away from it to move on to other things. I love creating the custom labels.  Here’s an example of a few of the new tags!

Custom Tags2

Bridal Expo

What an interesting experience–and this was a relatively small one compared to some.  I shared a table with another lady (a photographer).  Half a table to display my products…it was a bit challenging, but I think we managed to make our table look pretty nice!

I created a brochure for the event.  That was more work than I thought ha!  But the results were well worth it and I loved having something I could give the people who visited my table that had all my contact info, pricing, pictures, and links on it.  I also sent anyone who stopped by my table home with a sample soap.

It’s amazing what I thought would be a relatively simple event turned into quite the ordeal.  I’m glad I did it though and finally took the time to update my webpage and offerings.  It’s been something I’ve needed to do for a long time but never could seem to find the time.


Display Ideas (The never ending dilemma)!

May 10, 2015

I really liked my display set up from last season and I want to keep most of it, but with the addition of a body scrub line I need something to display those. What I have won’t work.  I’ve spent way too many hours researching different display options. I have a couple of good options…now I have to play around with designs and see what would work and what I think would look best.

Option 1: Love the tiered shelf. Problem is it won’t hold a lot of scrubs…but it would work well on a table set up.

teired stand1

Option 2: Again, won’t hold a ton of scrubs, but would definitely look cute on a table.

whitewash shelf

Option 3: This would cause me to change my whole table set up. And I’m not sold on it. I’d also need to add a couple more shelves as I think five would be better for me. I don’t need as much space between my shelves.

shutter display

Option 4: Love the idea of this, but then it would most likely replace one of my tables…do I want to do that?  Oh the choices!

ladder display


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.

kickstart15


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