A Year in Review: 2018

January 4, 2019

A Year in Review: 2018

It’s that time where I revisit my goals for 2018 and see just how well I did (or didn’t do) in accomplishing them. Not every year is AMAZING.  I realize that, but it can still be a bit disappointing when you look back over a year and it just didn’t end up where you wanted.  This year had a lot going on and was by no means a “bad” year, I just didn’t accomplish everything I’d hoped to.  Here are the goals I posted for 2018.  Let’s take a look at how well I accomplished them!

  1. Increase sales by 25%.  Yup, I’m dreaming big again!

This didn’t happened. There were a number of reasons for this.  I need to readdress a few things and revamp other things.  It’s something I really need to spend some time on and time is one thing I’ve been short of this year.  I know what I need to do. So, now I need to make time to do it.

  1. 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!

Well…I didn’t increase online sales, but I did actually accomplish some of these goals.  The BIG ticket item here was updating my webpage.  That DID happen. It was a lot of work, but it got done and (overall) I’m really happy with the new webpage. There are still little things I’m working on with it (I think that will always be the case), but the completely revamped webpage is a big achievement.

  1. 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.

I made more progress.  It’s not fully there yet, but overall I’ve got a good system in place and I’m happy with the progress I have made.

  1. 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.

This didn’t really happen. At least not the exploring new options/classes/kid classes.  I did teach a lot of classes this year (on par with the previous years), but I didn’t grow teaching in any way.

  1. 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.

I did get it up and running and I did get one meeting to happen (with a proctored test session).  There was more I wanted to do, but my time was stretched too thin with me trying to take on too many tasks this year.  I will continue to work on building our local chapter.

  1. 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).

This was successfully done!

  1. 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.

Research project was approved and I spent six months working on that. In fact I’m almost done with the project. I just have to finish writing the rough draft and then do revisions and that is almost ready to submit.  This part of the project took a lot of work. I knew it would be time consuming, but I underestimated just how much work it would involve.

I did make progress on the other sections of the test too.  I have three months to complete it and I’m going to be working on it nonstop to get it all done before April of this year.

  1. 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.

I did experiment and play around with bubble bath (bubble scoops). I decided bath comb cupcakes weren’t going to be a part of my product line and didn’t do those.  But I learned a lot from the experiments I did with bath bombs and bubble bath.

  1. If time permits work on growing sales of my custom favor soaps.

Time did not permit. *sigh*

  1. 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!

This was accomplished.  It was important to me to simplify things.  I’m glad I did it.

A look at the Highlights of the Year:

  • I participated in 110 markets (Helpers worked 22 of them).  Last year I did 106 events.
  • I taught 34 classes/presentations. (25 Last year)
  • I made just over 6000 bars of soap this year. (About 700 less than last year.)
  • Continued to do my 12 in 12 on my blog.
  • In total I made over 12,000 products this year. (As opposed to 16,000 last year, though this was mostly intentional as I tried to streamline this year).
  • I put together and completed a controlled testing of Meadowfoam oil.
  • Made progress on my Master Exam.
  • Proctored my first Test Session for the Guild Certification tests.
  • Hosted our first New England Local Chapter Meet Up.

December 12 in 12

December 31, 2018

And here we are at the end of December.  Once again I’m wondering where the year went. They seem to move so fast these days.  It seems like just yesterday I was enjoying the summer and wearing shorts!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful year!  December (as usual) was busy for me.  Here’s your little snap shot of my month!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

December 1, 2018: Hand Balms

When you sell so many hand balm at that days events you have to go make more that night before the event the next day!  These are by far one of my most popular items in the winter.  And with a huge event the next day I was up making more after today’s huge event.  Sleep…that could wait until another day!

December 2, 2018: Shows!

I was in the at the end of absolute craziness! This was my busiest week of the year. I had twelve shows in five days!  It was madness!  I was barely functioning on Monday (though some how I managed to get a good chunk of work done!)

December 4, 2018: Bubble Scoops

After 12 events (and another 6 in five days coming up starting the next day) I had a lot of restocking on items.  Bubble scoops were first up!

December 10, 2018: Bath Bombs

I pretty much ran out of bath bombs. I spent two days making more. Enough to get me through (I had hoped) Christmas.  Let me tell you…I should not leave bath bombs until I get to the point where I run out.  12 batches in one day…I was ready to pull my hair out!

December 12, 2018: Custom Trapeze Soaps

I made these soaps for my trapeze friends.  They were a pain to make, but oh they turned out so well! I loved them and they loved them.  Worth all the effort!

December 13, 2018: Crushed Hand Balm

If you ever wondered what it looks like when a car runs over one of your hand balms…wonder no more. *sigh*

December 14, 2018: Restocking

I always restock on everything at the end of the year.  I’m now completely restocked on all my oils!  There will be some soap making after the new year going on!

December 16, 2018: Christmas Cheer

These cracked me up.  One of the events I was doing had these all on the ground leading you to the different events.

December 17, 2018: Grab Bags!

This was pretty much the last thing I had to do to finish up work in my studio.  Put together grab bags from all my end pieces, odd shapes/weights, left over soap from projects.

December 18, 2018: Empty Cure Rack!

And here’s what the end of the year looks like!  Empty cure rack! (Well, almost empty.)  I have started on my standard soaps that need restocking.  I’ll do that little by little in January and restock on anything else I’m low on.

December 22, 2018: Last Event of 2018!

And I’m officially done! The last event of 2018 is in the books!  I’m ready for a few weeks off, then there’s work to do!

December 25, 2018: Merry Christmas!

Remember there’s no such thing as too many Christmas Cookies!  Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Inspirational Friday

December 14, 2018

Something a little different for December!  I love books (obviously).  Every year my goal is to read at least 50 books.  If you ask me for a book recommendation I could give you dozens upon dozens. I have favorite books I’ve read over and over. Reading lets me disappear into my imagination and get lost on the most amazing journeys!  So, I want to challenge all of you!  Read more next year.  Set up a challenge for yourself.  I’m on GoodReads (you can friend me).  If you want recommendations ask me! I’ll share my favorites.  Books are amazing things that will make you laugh and cry and add something special to your life!

Part 2: Guilty.  I generally have multiple books going at any given time.  I currently have about four books going.  I know! I know!

November 12 in 12

November 30, 2018

To be honest, this month almost didn’t get done.  I’m so busy and the last thing I felt like doing today was getting up a snap shot of my November.  It was crazy. It was busy.  There that summed it up.  But that’s not living up to the true intent that the 12 in 12 was suppose to show. And since I’m too disciplined to leave it be one month, here I sit putting this all together so it’s ready to go tomorrow.

November 2, 2018: Packaging

Nothing like last minute packaging as you try and get ready for one of your biggest shows of the year.  #lastminute #justalittle

November 4, 2018: That’s a Wrap

And the car is all packed up and the three day Boston Christmas Festival is now complete.  See you next year Boston. Aren’t you impressed with my car packing? I can even see out the back. Ha!

November 8, 2018: Custom Cupcake Favors

It’s always fun when I get to make someone’s day a little extra special!

November 9, 2018: Dryer Balls

This is round 3 (step 3…whatever you want to call it). They’ve been wrapped and washed and now I have to go through the tedious process of removing them all from the stockings. *sigh* (can you hear me groaning through the computer!)

November 14, 2018: More Dryer Balls!

And here we are again with me having to undo dryer balls.  These have gone through their second wash and will come out much easier.  I’m in the last stages of making these here.  I’m doing a happy dance!

November 15, 2018: Last stage (yes, yes, more dryer balls)

They’re out, they’re sorted into their groups of four. Now I just have to package them!

November 16, 2018: Rough Draft Done!

I finally finished writing my rough draft today.  It has to be typed and there are a ton of charts/images/graphics I still need to complete to finalize it, but it’s written and once I get it types and the other stuff done editing should go pretty easily!

November 20, 2018: If it could go wrong it did…

Today was one of those days were nothing went smoothly.  It was one little thing after another and by the time the day was done I was also done with it all. 😛

November 23, 2018: Frozen Olive Oil

If you leave olive oil in your car and the temps drop to the single digits that night you will wake up to frozen olive oil in the morning.

November 25, 2018: Packaging

And the cupcakes are ready to go to their new home! Hope they’re a hit at the baby shower!

November 26, 2018: Bow tying – Righty vs. Lefty

If you follow my FB page you probably so the post on this.  In the category of useless things to know in life I realized this month that righties and lefties tie their bows differently and I tie like a lefty (not surprising as I do a large number of things lefty).

November 28, 2018: Lip Scrubs

You’ll notice a lack of show set up pictures (I had 22 events over 30 days in November).  You’ll also notice a lack of product making pictures (outside of dryer balls), but I was also crazy busy making hand balms, foot balms, soaps, lip scrubs, bath bombs, and many many other things.  I could have given you a picture for every day with some sort of craziness going on! One month left now to get through and then I earn my break from life for a few weeks (or a month ha!)

Inspirational Friday

November 16, 2018

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  When I look back at things I didn’t “get” in life I am kind of thankful now.  There are many things I still “wish” I’d gotten accepted to, relationships I wanted to work out, jobs I didn’t get that I still sometimes wonder about.  But I also know I wouldn’t be here with my own business if I hadn’t been “rejected” by those things I thought I wanted more than anything else.  Life has a funny way of working itself out despite our plans for it. 😉

October 12 in 12

October 31, 2018

I don’t know where October went.  We’ve reached that point of the year where I’m pretty much just a crazy lady who is tired and doesn’t remember what she did just two days ago! Ha!  I love being busy. I’m not complaining, but it’s definitely that time where life goes from controlled crazy to uncontrolled nutty! 😀

October 1, 2018: Dryer Balls

Oh my word!  I’ve said this before. I will say this again (and again and again ha).  Dryer balls are sooooo much work.  I’m making progress.  (Note: I’m still working on them at the end of this month ha!)

October 4, 2018: Bath Bombs

I should not leave my stock to the point of having almost nothing.  I made like 30 batches of bath bombs over a span of 4 days.  And more still had to be made, but I put them off until later this month.

October 5, 2018: Monster Molds

This was an impulse buy, but they were just too cute. So I made monster soaps.

October 8, 2018: Foot Balms

I’ve been slowly redoing all my labels.  Updating everything with a new (cleaner) font, and with “color”!

October 13, 2018: And now Dinos!

Monsters weren’t enough…Now I had to create dino soaps too.  These make me smile.  I love the baby dino in the egg!!!  Isn’t it so cute!

Part two: Mini soaps. I decided to make mini soap sets for kids. I had a wholesale request for it and decided to make a few for myself to see how they sell.

October 14, 2018: Last Outdoor Market!!

Happy dance! The tent is DONE for the season!  Don’t have to think about it again until next May rolls around.

October 15, 2018: Sorting Hat Bath Bombs

More bath bombs (there will be more yet)!

October 16, 2018: Lip Balms

I thought I was all restocked.  Well a week later I realized that I need to make another 5 batches.  The work is never done!

October 18, 2018: “Swirl Swoon”

Isn’t it sooooo pretty. I love swirling the tops of my soaps.  This one I could stare at all day.

October 19, 2018: Aloe (and lots of it)

My mom broke up an Aloe plant she’s had forever that was just way too over grown.  I couldn’t bear the thought of her throwing out this big section and so I took it and “de-aloed” it and froze it.  I’ll have aloe for soap making this summer :D.

October 21, 2018: Keep Calm and Carry a Wand

This soap as you can see from the edges is going to go dark.  It’s currently in a funky green stage (the end of October). I hope it continues to go darker cause I don’t like the color ha!

October 26, 2018: Photo Editing

When I’m not stressed and I have time I actually really like to edit photos.  It’s fun taking a photo I did and then making it better.  Photoshop is an amazing program when it comes to photo editing!


Inspirational Friday

October 19, 2018

Recognition is nice, but don’t just do work just for it.  I’ve learned a few things in life watching award shows, attending award events, seeing people work for a prize: only a few come out with the “trophy”.  Guess what, that doesn’t mean any of the others were undeserving of that same reward.  And guys 99% of the time award giving is so subjective.

As an introvert with very high standards who doesn’t make waves or standout in any way I’ve seen myself passed over time and again for awards, recognition, and what not.  When I was a senior in high school I got really upset when I was over looked for an award.  It was then that I realized I was never going to be the outgoing person who made waves and stood out–like the student who did get the award.  Somewhere between freshman and senior year of college I stopped caring about trying to stand out.

To this day I’ve done everything (starting a business, teaching, taking on projects and other responsibilities, being in charge of projects…) because I wanted to.  Because it’s made me happy.  Because I knew I could make a positive difference.