12 in 12 March

March 31, 2017

It’s time for March’s 12 in 12!  If you’re wondering what this all about check out my very first post for more information!  The basic gist of it is:

Each month document your soaping/bath product making in 12 pictures. One picture MUST be taken on the 12th of the month (even if you’re not doing anything soap related).  Create a blog post of your 12 pictures (with a one or two sentence explanation) and post it at the end of each month.

What did March shape up to be like?  Well take a look and see!

March 1st: Mica Tops

I love Mica tops.  I do them on the majority of my soaps.  They just add a little something extra in my opinion and people always comment on how pretty it is.  I’ve a lot of soap to make and you’ll be seeing more soap pictures in March.  I barely made soap in February so now I’m making up for lost time (so to speak).

March 3rd: New England Local Chapter

As I think many of you know I have helped get the Local New England Chapter started.  I’m currently the Secretary for our local chapter!  If you’re in the New England area I hope you’ll join us for all the fun stuff to come!!  And if you’re in the New England area and not a member of the Soap Guild you should totally become a member :D.  Marilyn (the president of the Local Chapter) and I put together a survey that went out to all New England members.  We were looking to see what everyone wanted.  I’ll be very interested to see the results!

March 4th: Winter Farmers Market

I don’t really do many markets in the winter, but I have two in March, both local Winter Farmers Markets.  I have a smaller set up than normal, but there’s still lots of goodies to be found!

March 5th: Reverse Imprint

I have become slightly obsessed with the reverse imprint.  I made two batches and then I couldn’t help myself and I went and made another (not pictured here).  Then I decided I needed to to a rainbow…and so I’m going to make seven different batches with reverse imprints–all that so I can take a picture of the soaps together  :D!  But that aside the reverse imprints really are fun!

March 6th: Soap that Goes Wrong!

When you’re pretty teal and white soap design turns yellow, green, and brown (not in the picture, but as the soap has cured this month it’s gone brown). SIGH. It smells good, but I can’t say it’s a very pretty soap.

March 10th: Research!

Pulled out all my notes from a few years ago when I was reading about and experimenting with deodorants.  I had three different recipes and I can’t say I loved any of my three…they all had their issues.  I’ve been asked more and more about it so I’m, going back to the drawing board to try reformulating it and finding something I like and think my customers would like.

March 14th: New England Blizzard

I’m totally done with the snow.  I’m ready for warm weather.  Hopefully this was the last storm of the season…if it was it was a doozy! Over 12″ of wet heavy snow. So much fun to shovel :P.  I got a lot of packaging done while I holed up inside keeping warm.

March 15th: Custom Favors

Aren’t these spring themed cupcakes so cute!  They’re for another wedding shower this April.  I just love the pastel colors.

March 17th: Hand Balms

Not only have I had soaps to get caught up on but other bath products. I had a couple of marathon days where I made bubble bath, body butters, and balms.  Here are a 108 hand balms poured that will now need labels.  Oh the fun!

March 21st: Neon Soap

I haven’t used Neons in soap in ages and oh my I love them!  These soaps just make me smile–so bright and fun!

March 25th: Foot Balms & Lip Scrubs

Still catching up on bath products.  Today was a busy day of foot balms and lip scrubs among other things.

March 29th: Dry Balls (Stage 3)

I started these in February and then put them off.  This month I made sure I finished them.  I finished wrapping the balls mid March then covered them in colored wool.  This picture is before their first wash/felting and then after the wash as I undid them from the nylon.  I absolutely hate that stage. Oh my word! My hands hurt so much after doing them.  I still question WHY I make them and why I don’t charge more. I’ll felted them a second time and then they have to be packaged into sets!

Well there you have it.  Another month in my soapy life :D.  If you’ve done a 12 in 12 too please link back here in the comments! I’d love to see what kept you busy this month :).


Dragon’s Blood

March 27, 2017

This is a really popular scent. I’ve never made it before.  I don’t know why, but some how it just never made it to the top of my list.  Then I saw a really cool stamp and I was like I should make this soap!  And there you have it.  I made it more because I wanted to use the stamp, but that’s okay!

This mysterious, alluring blend is difficult to describe. With warming notes of amber, incense, Madagascar vanilla and patchouli, our Dragon’ s Blood Fragrance Oil is lightened up with layers of romantic notes such as rose, jasmine and lilac. Finally, our sensual, deep blend is topped off with the colorful, light touches of blood orange and grapefruit.

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Now available HERE!


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Now available HERE!