Several late nights and lots of last minute scrambling equals organized chaos. Everything is ready to load into the car and head down to Overbrook’s Sunset Stroll. In 12 hours I will have my booth set up. *sigh* I’m very ready for this to be over. I found out Tuesday AM that I’m required to put the weight or volume on every item. I can put a minimum amount and the product can exceed that, but the product must never be less than the labelled measurement. It is getting really frustrating to fulfill all of these requirements. In light of that, I did a little more research and found that as long as I don’t make a regular income from it and don’t have a business plan, etc., then I can be considered a hobbyist and can drop the ingredient label. Now that’s a relief! It’s hard to get all of that on one label. I can’t get bigger labels or else there won’t be any product visible! Lol. This is idiotic. Since I had to add weights/volumes, I stopped doing the ingredient labels on everything that I had to label today. So there FDA! *sticking tongue out at the invisible threat* I wish I’d had a helper the last few days to help w labeling and packaging, but on the flip side I’m very proud of myself for managing to get it all done despite the slow pace. I’m hoping that only half of this chaos comes back tomorrow night *grin* I have no clue what might sell, so I have most of my premade items on hand. I’ll keep the additional items of each variety in the car, so it doesn’t look like my tables are going to collapse lol. I do plan to put the fall items front and center though. I have baskets packed (actually the product is in the baskets in the boxes, so set up will be a breeze) and will display in groupings. I have to say that my fall products created in the past 7 days have turned out fabulous except for one total failure that is strictly because the FO isn’t very good. I’m looking forward to seeing if Pumpkin Buttercream or Apple Pie scented items will do well. Please cross your fingers for me that things go well and I get lots of new customers. I really appreciate the encouragement and support everyone is showing me. It really means a lot and keeps me going when the chaos isn’t yet organized *grin* I hope you’re all sleeping well while this insomniac blogger jobbyist (learned this word today – when a hobby crosses over into “almost” a job, but is really just a complicated hobby) starts to loosen my bunched muscles. Happy Wednesday!!
Monthly Archives: September 2011
Today I said goodbye to my booth at the craft mall. It was surprisingly bittersweet to see everything boxed up and empty shelves. My 6 month lease is up in a few weeks and since we are taking everything to the cancer walk next week, it didn’t make sense to put the stuff back in after the event, to just pull back out a week later. I thought the craft mall was the best way to sell my items and remember how hopeful I was when we put my stuff in that booth. I wanted each jar turned just right, soaps in baskets with the cutest ones up front, and the little pamphlets about natural benefits that I had made. In 6 months 2 one ounce bottles of body and massage oil sold at 2-something each. I of course copied the first check from the mall for what had been sold, but it doesn’t change the fact that the only other check was almost the same amount lol. Looking at the boxes of product that I will be repricing (and recoding, since I only need my own code for tracking of sales, instead of the booth info that had to be on tags), I’m a bit sad. I’m really hoping that next week’s event helps generate some business, so I can shake this. Bringing back almost all of my stuff sure makes me feel like I failed. It’s not logical, since I know that people don’t have the money to go to craft malls and find new vendors, like they used to (that’s how I even knew about the mall, since I love shopping there when I have a little extra). Still, it’s a little disheartening to see the boxed up hope that didn’t sell. I’ll brood for awhile tonight and then get into production mode tomorrow, so that I have a decent fall line available next week. Until then, I hope that your version of boxed up hopes have a more successful journey *smile*
I did two experimental pours of the lump of coal soaps. I did a clear base and a .25 oz white base in 2 oz of clear, to make it a little solid. It gives a neat look to the soap when mixed and has a better gloss than solid white base in my opinion. Anyway, like I mentioned in a previous post, I put the play doh in varying spots in the ghost molds to keep the soaps from looking the same and to keep the pumpkin design covered. I did the two pours and let them set. When I removed them from the molds the play doh was still gooey. (Usually it dries out really quickly and I use it for a stopper if I have a lollipop mold that I’m using for soaps.) The moisture of the soap rehydrated the play doh. Lesson learned! Anyway, I worked on removing the slimy play doh and it has left the weirdest texture behind. The second part that makes this an epic failure is that after 26 drops of black dye I only managed to get the soaps to grey. *pouting* Usually I only add like 3 drops of dye to 2 oz of base! The clear soaps took the color better, but it is still a dark grey. *sigh* If I put more dye, I run the risk of the color bleeding onto any surface once wet or even dying the skin of the user. I’m chalking this round up as a loss, since I could never sell them with the possibility of color bleeding and knowing the gross residue/texture that was left behind. Back to the drawing board. I think I’ll omit the play doh, but still use the ghost mold. I’ll do the pours and then whittle on each soap with my Xacto knife, to make each one unique and resemble coal a little better (it’s soap, so I’m not going to try to get too realistic). I’m just not sure about the dye issue. I suppose I’ll have to mix some colors to add to the black. I’d like to do the quarter white base, but white bases make colors soften into pastels, which still happened with the black in such a small amount of white.
Thankfully the scent is good, though. A strong licorice with just a hint of something else. It’s hard to distinguish, even for me, that there is vanilla in it. You can pick up just a slight different note though.
Lots of work still to do, but at least I learned a few new lessons. It’s still a disappointment and adds some stress, since I wanted some ready for the event at the end of the month. I think I’ll just make sure I make some easier products, like ones I’ve made recipes for and tested, to have on hand.
I’m off to package the last of the cancer ribbon soaps. *happy dance* Have a great day!
I found out that the 100 cancer ribbon soaps for the Sunset Stroll (see previous post) are needed by the 19th, which includes my actually getting the soaps to Overbrook. I pushed myself the last few days to make a batch whenever I did dishes. I honestly didn’t think that goal would ever happen, but boy did it work! I made 77 of them. Added with previous pours and I’m well over the needed amount. Have enough to donate a few, even. Yay! I admit that I really, really don’t want to do pink ribbons again for awhile! Lol. Even makes me reconsider the colors for some Christmas gifts. *grin* It’ll pass soon, I know.
I learned something about myself while pushing to finish this order as quickly as possible. I have creation ADD, I think lol. I do great when there’s a lot of variety. I get bored making the same thing a lot apparently.
Anyway, on now to make some new extra items for my table for the event in a few weeks. I will probably clean out my booth at the craft mall (I don’t get much purchased there anyway) and have that all on hand for the event. I’m seriously hoping to get a few sales this month. *grin*
Oh, very cool news too!! I got a phone call the other day from a gal that got my card from my booth at the craft mall. She invited me to have a booth at the Shriner’s event next month. I’m really interested, but need to see if I’m doing the November event before I give a definitive answer. I can’t do all three. She said she thought I’d be a very unique and profitable addition to the booths. How cool!!
In the meantime, I will have to clean my booth out at the craft mall soon. My lease is up on Oct 15th. I got one hit in 6 months, so I can’t justify paying another 6 months of rent. I think when we get the stuff out for the Overbrook event that I’ll just keep the products shelved at home and work on marketing in a different way.
I seriously would like to do some marketing via FB ads, Webstart (my website’s parent *wink*), WordPress marketing, and the big search engines. Not in my financial grasp at the moment, but it’s shimmering at the top of my to do list. *grin*
I hope you have a great day and thanks for putting up with my random thoughts!
So I started testing the new acne facial soap. Often when I’m going to be the one testing, then I’ll use an overpour or some other not-suitable-for-sale version, so I’m not really losing much. If an official tester is getting the item to test, then they get the full item usually. Anyway, I had an overpour that I have been using for testing. It wasn’t the smoothest soap, I admit. *grin* There was a dollop of oats that fell at the very end, which didn’t get absorbed like it usually would have, since they had started to set by the time I was pouring the last of it (it made more than expected, but not enough for a full soap, which is an overpour). I was excited to test it and while in the shower (since I had several test items to do, I figured I’d give it all a go at once) I grab up the new round of soap. Stupid, stupid girl…I picked it up and dragged it across my skin, forgetting the little issue from the pour, and scraped the rough oats straight across my forehead. *rolling eyes with a dramatic sigh* Yeah, like I said, stupid, stupid girl. *grin* However, the scratch went away quickly, and the soap is actually pretty neat. I’m still tracking the results to see if it’s coincidental or if it seems like the soap has made the difference. Since it has a combination of oil and lemon powder, it cleans and moisturizes, but leaves a waterproof feel to the skin. Oddest feeling, but really cool! To describe…it’s like running your finger over the surface of a plastic waterproof tarp – that smooth feeling that lets you know that the water will bead up. What happens is that this reaction keeps the ingredients on the skin and penetrating, but since it is oil, water rolls off. Sounds counter-intuitive, but really moisturizes. I just couldn’t believe I did that. lol So far I’m breaking out, but that is normal if the soap is doing the job. (This is where selling Avon and doing other product parties has come in handy…I learned a lot before I started making my own stuff!) You see, when you use an item that really starts to work against your acne, it’ll bring the acne that is in the lower layers of your skin up to the surface. When you exfoliate, you remove the dead cells that are at the surface (don’t exfoliate too hard, because then you remove the healthy skin, which is why your face hurts and is pink as can be), revealing the radiant skin that doesn’t have the dull blah of the surface stuff. I have to keep this in mind while testing the soap, because if it’s just random acne (thanks hormones…), then I’m just out of luck. If it’s because the soap is working, then I’ll stop breaking out. Only time will tell. I love the relaxing spa scent, the oats (except for the lovely dollop on mine) is super soft and exfoliates, but isn’t abrasive, and it leaves that awesome clean feeling. My husband felt my cheek yesterday, raised his eyebrow, and said it felt super clean. At least part of the soap works! lol By the way, the oats are a mixture. I chopped up part of them, so they’re nice and fine. There are some roughly chopped oats that give some real umph to the soaps and add a great texture while using it. It admittedly feels a little odd when there’s something rolling on your skin until you realize that one of the oats has come loose and is all soggy *grin*, but hey, that is so unique!
I’ll be testing this for a while. I will end up using another tester to find out if the lemon powder included in it is working, since it doesn’t for me, but like medicine, it may work on one person’s skin, and not another. For my oily skin, I might be making a lemon soap. I’ll keep you posted. Have a great night!
One of my brothers has a teen daughter who is struggling with acne, as we all do (welcome to hormones). He asked if I had anything that could help and wildly enough I had just been reading about natural items that help with acne and greasy skin, so I asked that he give me a bit of time and I would see what I could come up with. That night I found a recipe on my wholesaler’s site to start with, ordered the remaining items that I needed, and got them in the most recent delivery. I’ve kept researching in the meantime and finally got in to make my first attempt at acne facial soaps.
My kitchen smells fantastic right now! I used the Spa FO (Almond & Honey), which is one of the most relaxing scents I have ever smelled, along with oats (for mild exfoliation), lemon powder (which is a natural astringent, antiseptic, and kills bacteria, while clearing grease and oil), shea butter base (protects skin and super moisturizing), bentonite clay (removes toxins and absorbs oil, among other benefits), and even a little bit of refined sweet almond oil (moisturizing, yet doesn’t clog pores). I did a mixture of chopped oats and finely ground, too, which gives the soap a little more umph. I poured the thick brew (I created a quarter recipe, so I only used 4 oz of soap base, instead of the full pound) into a few rounds in my silicone mold for easy removal once they set. I figure that the oats and clay will make them very tough to remove, so I had to go with silicone. I learned with my Mechanic’s Soap, which has a lot of pumice, that thickening items make soaps very hard to remove from traditional plastic molds. *rolling eyes* That was a very frustrating lesson, let me tell you.
Anyway, they are sitting on the counter under a blanket of wax paper setting up. It’ll take a few days since it’s so warm (in the winter they can set in just a couple of hours sometimes), but I look forward to testing the tiny partial overfill soap. I really hope this works! I’d love to help my niece and I’d seriously love to get further into the teen market.
On a side note, some of the cancer ribbon soaps that I poured the other day were a total fail. *disappointed sigh* The super thin molds make it almost impossible to unmold the soaps without breaking the “legs” of the ribbons off. What made it through will be the ones that I donate to the survivors, since they actually smell really nice. The rest go into my “melting bowl”, which are scraps that become mysteriously scented soaps later when I melt the wild mixture down. That’s how I ended up with the “At the Fair” soaps. I’m sticking to my old mold from now on! *grin*
I was in a hearing the other day and when asked what my goal for my business is I replied immediately that I want to help people. Someday I’d like to offer an extensive line of essential oil infused products that help with medical conditions. I said that I’d especially like to help people with Fibromyalgia, since I have it too. I don’t think that I’m a real do-gooder as one friend calls me. I just feel that there isn’t a whole lot that I can give this world or impact them with, since I’m no longer out there socializing really. If I can help someone with my products, if I can reach out to the right person and change things, then I have found the purpose of this new life. If things go right and I get some money together, it’ll be so awesome to get that supply delivery of new EOs. *sigh* At least the hearing helped me identify my new goal. *smile*
I had a really cruddy day Wednesday, so as a treat for surviving I got to go to the candy making supply store in Topeka. I absolutely love looking at candy/chocolate molds. There are so many possibilities that clutter my mind, since they’re made to stand up to higher heat, so I can use them for soap making. I found an awesome website with thousands of molds, but I like being an informed buyer. *grin* I want to personally look at and touch molds. I guess I’m like a shoe or purse shopper, but a little quirkier. When looking at a wholesale website, it’s really hard to get an idea of what the soap would really look like and I seriously bite when it comes to dimensions. I may have done great in school, but I still have no idea how I passed the measurements portion of school. *rolling eyes with a sigh* Anyway…
I’m happily twirling the racks, filing in my mind a few to get later on for holidays and what have you. Suddenly I see this incredibly odd-shaped mold. It has a really deep impression for each candy and as I lean over to look closer at it, I realize that the odd shape will work perfectly for the lump of coal soaps! I’m so insanely excited over little things, I tell you. I finally get a good look at it and it’s a mold for really cute 3D ghosts. The little guy is holding a pumpkin and in full boo mode. *grin* Really cute and I can so use it for Halloween, so I have a few options available at my booth in a few weeks. I think that if I put a little dot of playdoh over the pumpkin part and some other random ones, the soaps will be very oddly shaped, and be a lot closer to a rock shape than I otherwise probably would have been able to do with just a flat pour and breaking. I can’t express just how excited I am over this mold! I haven’t been feeling the greatest, so they’re going to have to sit on the back burner, but I’m just tickled that I found a mold that I can use. It is so much easier to use a mold than try to break MP soap into pretty anything but slivers.
I also got two more small cancer ribbon molds, so that when I feel up to making stuff for the event in a few weeks, I can do thirty at a time. I got all wound up Thursday afternoon and set out supplies, heated up the base, added the goodies, and then went to pour…um, the new molds are maybe half as deep as the original mold. *sigh* Remember, I suck at dimensions…*rolling eyes* The nice thing is that one batch pour nearly filled both of the new molds and I’ll have a cheaper alternative as well (not that the others are expensive in bulk, really). At least I’ll get a lot of them made pretty quickly.
I also found some Christmas molds I had bought on sale years ago (I’m a sucker for a sale, let me tell you) and tucked away. Cute little ornaments, reindeer, and the like. I think I’ll have some cute stocking stuffers and guest soaps available this year. *big grin* I think Christmas has the cutest options available. I have a few larger molds, but I think I’ll do more of the small ones for my first official holiday season.
Making bath products is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. When I walk through a store or flip through a catalog, I always see something that I can repurpose to use in my business. I’ve even found some silicone ice trays at Dollar Tree that will be perfect for soaps. I’m in awe of the crafters that make their own molds, since that’s a lot of work and totally cool, but whenever I’m tempted to hit the “add to cart” beside a starter kit, I think about all those easy options that I would never have thought of on my own, and skip it. So when the next year’s city-wide garage sales start back up, I’ll be there with a new purpose. *grin* Repurposing!