I never really got the point of Etsy’s Treasuries. I mean, sure, I enjoy looking at the one that’s posted on the front page, but besides that — so what? But today I went ahead and made my first treasury, and it was a lot of fun! Kind of like making a Pinterest board with just individual Etsy listings.
My friend Anthea told me today, “I had a dream that I came to your house, where you were experimenting with a formula for blueberry soap. Your work area looked a bit like a chemistry lab. Then we went to this gas station and tested out some time machines.”
And, you know, that’s pretty much a typical day here!
Two weeks ago, I participated in my first craft show! I had originally intended to start doing craft shows in April, but spurred on by my friend Lena (who is a jewelry artist), I signed up for one in March. I was left with only TWO WEEKS to get everything ready, which was both electrifying and panic-inducing!
Thankfully, everything more-or-less came together (thanks to my eschewing a decent amount of sleep the night of the craft show!). Overall, I was pretty happy with my last-minute booth set-up, and I got a lot of positive feedback on it from both customers and other vendors. There’s definitely room for improvement, though; I’m hoping to improve upon my booth design with every show that I attend.
Unfortunately, there were only around 15 customers the whole day! However, I sold to around 80% of them. In fact, I think I may have done the most sales of anyone there.
Altogether, it was a really good test run. I got to come up with a basic booth set-up, get used to talking to customers (which is especially important since I suffer from social anxiety!), and sold a few things. And, after the show, I had two customers contact me via my blog or email! Not to mention that the show’s organizer called me two days ago to make sure I was bringing ‘that pink soap’ back to the show next month, because she wants to buy more!
I’d love to hear about your craft show experiences — positive or negative! And any tips for my next show? Leave me a comment!
I’m happy to announce that I received my Kickstarter funds yesterday! I am relieved to order the things that I need, and I’ve been having so much fun ordering the things that I want (Mmm… Pink Sugar fragrance oil, yum!).
In celebration of my Kickstarter coming to a close, I would like to give thanks to the people who helped make this happen. Some of these folks are friends, some are family, and some are complete strangers to me; but whichever they are, they are truly awesome! Let’s give these folks a round of digital applause! And, if you have a chance, please check out their websites!
If I somehow got your name or link wrong, please let me know! I double-checked everything, but you know how these things go. And if you didn’t request credit, but have changed your mind, that’s cool! Just drop me a line and I’ll add you!
One last thing: Now that I have my funding to play with, I’m curious — are there any scents or products that you’d LOVE for me to carry? Leave me a comment and your wish may come true!
I’ve been having so much fun playing with my new supplies! The bath bombs pictured above are one of three deluxe bath bombs that I’ll be offering in my shop soon. What makes them deluxe? Well, they’re about the size of a softball, for one — they each weigh about half a pound! And they include skin purifying kaolin clay and the moisturizing antioxidant, jojoba oil. Additionally, they contain NO cornstarch. (Although cornstarch is often used as a water softener in bath bombs, it can actually contribute to yeast infections — yuck!)
Here’s a close-up of my RELAX bath bomb — a slightly sparkly lilac-colored bomb that’s scented with a calming, yet sensuous, blend of lavender, vanilla, chamomile, and ylang ylang:
(P.S. I took them out of the second half of the mold right after snapping these pictures and they all came out fine – yippee)!
I also made up my first solid lotions yesterday! Here’s my Creamy Vanilla Cocoa lotion:
The smell of this lotion reminds me of white chocolate… yum! It’s a blend of sweet almond oil, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, beeswax, green tea extract (for those great antioxidants!) and tapioca starch (which gives the lotion more of a non-greasy feel). Solid lotions are nice because they don’t have water in them, which makes them more concentrated than other lotions. And because they don’t have water in them, you don’t have to use a paraben-based antimicrobial in them. Not to mention, they’re far more purse-friendly than liquid lotions!
Tonight I’ll be making more lip balms, solid lotions (in Nag Champa and Lavender Chamomile scents), and maybe even some more bath bombs!
One of the items that I’ve been longing to make is a natural, aluminum-free deodorant. The only problem is that I’m hooked on Lavilin. Oh, I’ve tried other natural deodorants (Tom’s of Maine, Jason, Kiss My Face, and Weleda — just to name a few), but none of them compare to Lavilin.
The funny thing is, most people have never heard of Lavilin. You can find it at health food stores, but it’s not as popular as most of the other brands. The reason? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but my guess is that the price is a huge deterrent — it sells for between $12 and $17! The worst part? You only get 12.5 grams (less than half an ounce!) of deodorant! Most other natural deodorants sell for about $4-$6, and that’s for 100 grams (~3.5 oz).
So what’s the big deal about Lavilin, and why am I willing to shell out big money for it when I’m ridiculously frugal in other areas of my life? (In college I used to routinely go out of my way to the downtown Borders bookstore to buy a 0.49 candy because they would give me two hours of parking validation in exchange. A net savings of $1.31. Yes, this is probably why Borders went out of business.) Well, Lavilin is THE BOMB, that’s why.
You see, aside from Lavilin being free from aluminum, it’s also free of alcohol, parabens, phthalates, BHT, and petrolatum. But that’s not the best part.
The best part is that after you apply it — wait for it — it lasts for nearly A WEEK. That’s a week of daily showers AND daily trips to the gym. And it works. Not just for me, but for my husband who is a big guy.
And I’m addicted to that convenience.
Interestingly, when I’ve talked to other people about Lavilin, they seem a little freaked out about the fact that it lasts for more than one day. Their fear seems to be that they won’t know when it stops working, and they’ll go out of the house one day, seemingly fresh, and embarrass themselves with reeking underarms by the end of the day. But from my experience, that fear is entirely unfounded. First of all, Lavilin seems to gradually stop functioning. Secondly, since the deodorant lasts for nearly a week, you run the risk of smelling like BO about once per week. With other deodorants (including conventional deodorants), you run that risk DAILY.
All of this is to say — if I’m going to make a natural deodorant, it has to work like Lavilin. I’ve searched the internet for ideas of how to do this, but so far the only thing that I’ve found out is that Zinc Oxide is probably the active ingredient in Lavilin. So, I’m going to go off of Lavilin’s listed ingredients and just try a few things.
I made my first attempt at making Lavilin yesterday. It was a failure on all counts. The texture was all wrong, for one. Lavilin has a thick, creamy texture, much like the Zinc-based sunscreens. My texture was like a too-hard lip balm. Also, it did not work as deodorant. But, for posterity’s sake, here’s the recipe I tried:
20 g Castor Oil
17 g Coconut Oil (in place of the Hydrogenated Castor Oil)
14 g Beeswax (in place of Carnauba Wax)
4 g Cornstarch (1 t) (in place of talc and potato starch)
2 g Zinc Oxide (1/2 t)
1 g Fragrance (1 mL) (I used Aqua – Pier 1 Type from Elements Bath and Body)
100 IU drops Vitamin E (5 drops)
10 mg GSE (1 drop)
My next attempt will involve using more Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, and Zinc Oxide and less Beeswax. I’ll let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you have any ideas, let me know!
Thanks to Jim Nix for the use of this beautiful photo!
Happy March! I don’t know about you, but I am TOTALLY ready to be done with February!
I have lots of big news! First of all, I am happy to announce that my Kickstarter is fully funded! Thank you for helping me succeed! (Want to pre-order soap or lip balm? There’s still 48 hours left to pledge! My Kickstarter page has all the information about what scents and flavors are available to order.)
Secondly, my Etsy store is now open! You can check it out here. There are only two items available right now, but I will be making more available as I make more products and get to use my Kickstarter money! Also, if anyone is interested in a custom order, just drop me a line at andi at welovesoap dot com, and I will create the perfect package for you.
So what else has been going on? Well, I’ve been busy promoting my Kickstarter, ordering new supplies (including organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, and organic AND sustainable palm oil!), learning how to make awesome Lush-like bath bombs, and trying to make a Lavilin-like natural deodorant.
With the February blahs over, I will be updating about all of these things soon!
In other news, I applied to my first craft show today. It’s a small monthly affair in the neighboring city of Ypsilanti. I chose it because it IS monthly (so if I like it I can do that show regularly!), because their requirements as per their application are pretty minimal (i.e. they don’t need a picture of your booth set-up, which I’m still working on), and because the fee was ridiculously small (just $15!). My friend, Lena, who is a jewelry-maker convinced me to sign up for both the March (eek!) one and the April one, even though I had originally intended to just do the April one. The March show is on the 10th, which is really, really soon! But with the booth fee so low, I figured what the hell! I will consider it a practice run. That being said, I placed a HUGE (well, for me) order from Brambleberry and Soaper’s Choice today, in preparation for the show. I don’t have that many soaps ready to go, so I’m planning on rounding out my selection with bath bombs, solid lotions, and, of course, my lip balms — items that don’t take a month to cure! If I’m accepted to the show, I will let you know the address, if anyone local would like to come out and say hi!
Speaking of craft shows, I still haven’t finished my pennant banner for my craft show set-up. It’s all cut out and I’ve adhered the letters of my logo with Steam-A-Seam, but I haven’t sewn it up yet! One more thing on my to-do list. I promise that as soon as I finish it, you will be the first to see!
The only other news I have is that my Kickstarter is at 82%! Yee-haw! Only 8 days left, though. I urge you to check it out, if you haven’t yet! Clicking on the widget on the right-hand side of your screen will take you to it.
For the past several days, I’ve been working really hard, but I haven’t had much to show for it (on my blog, anyway). But I just thought I would post a little update on all the things I’ve been working on.
Several days ago I started working on a pennant banner for my business. I ordered a few beautiful fabrics from HB Fabrics, an Etsy seller who lives nearby to me IRL. Here’s a picture that shows the fabrics I ordered:
I’m now at the point where I’m sewing the banner together. Up until now I was working on transferring my logo onto the teal fabric, and adhering it to the other fabrics with Steam-A-Seam. It’s looking pretty good, and I should have it finished by Monday!
Today I ordered new lip balm supplies: oval-shaped tubes (as seen in the picture above), lip balm labels (which I stayed up until all hours of the night last night designing!), shrink-wrap, a non-gritty lip balm sweetener (I wasn’t thrilled with using Stevia at the rate that I needed to get a decent sweetness), and a few new flavors — honey, champagne, blue raspberry, and cappuccino! In about a weeks’ time I should have nearly professional-looking lip balms! Yay!
I also sent out some paperwork (a questionnaire and liability release form) to my product testers. If you’re a product tester, you should receive it in the coming week.