Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hello World-It's Me, Patrice!

A video about absolutely NOTHING!!!!

Have Ya'll Seen This?

One of my favorite blogs hands down is Etsy Bitch. They are dedicated to not only highlighting Etsy's faults and shortcomings, but they slaughter them in the process. Posting this probably won't win me a featured seller spotlight, but when I saw this, I laughed my ass off. Discuss.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff On My Mind Like: Keep Your Blog Fresh!

What do I mean by that? If you want people to follow your blog, then post more than once a week or month-seriously. I love to follow blogs with content-meaning the blogger posts at least 2-3 times a week or more. Not only is it a way to reach out to your followers, but it will attract new ones. There are so many great blogs out there that I'd love to follow, but when I check them out, they haven't posted since August! Come on! You just lost one! I do, however, believe in returning the favor (you know, follow me, I'll follow you.) One of my goals for 2009 is to blog no less than 3 times a week. I'm also going to be hosting giveaways-with a catch (more details coming in early January.) I'm off now to play with my new camera and plan my blog topics for the next week. Yeah, I actually plan my posts. I am, after all, a former Elementary Education major. Can you imagine me as your kid's teacher? Nope? That's why I'm now an Operations Specialist for a bank....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Little Holiday Booty!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I won't chastise you again with the "you should be grateful speech," so let's get on to the fun stuff! What did ya'll get as gifts? I got some really nice things, but the gift o' the year has to be my new Canon Powershot A1000 IS. I never thought I could fall in love with an inanimate object-until now. Ricky doesn't realize that not only has he bought me an awesome gift, but he just invested in the future success of my business. This camera is awesome. I'm still tinkering with it, but me likey what I see so far. I love how when I take a vertical shot, the camera automatically detects that. I no longer have to re-adjust the pic after I've downloaded it. That's just the beginning. I have much to learn and so little time. I'm totally re-doing my blog and my online craft venues for the '09! Followers and linkers, please note that my blog address is now: http://thesoapseduction.blogspot.com/. Here are a few early shots with my new luva! Til next time.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry KwanChristmakah!!!

(My sister Myia at age 2 and me at age 10 on Christmas morning)

(My sister Myia and I last Christmas-NO FAT JOKES!!!)

Yeah, I made that up, and it's lame, but I'm pressed for time and words! I want to wish everyone the merriest and safest of holidays whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa. Spend this time with friends and family and be grateful what you have instead of dwelling on what you don't. Be thankful for that crappy job because you could have easily been one of the 550,000+ who filed for unemployment benefits last month. So you live in a cramped apartment or house? Guess what? So do I, but it's mine and I don't have to stand in line just to get a hot meal or a warm bed every day. Sometimes we lose sight of our many blessings. We take so much for granted because we've been conditioned to want more STUFF or the latest and greatest. I am so happy to be employed and able to support myself. I'm so thankful that I'm healthy, and I'm able to see and hear and walk and talk. So the next time you're feeling like you have nothing, just turn on the news. There is always someone worse off than you. Count your blessings and rejoice in this glorious time of the year.

I'm off to spend some quality time with my family. I'll be back on Friday to talk about the gifts I've received. Yay!!!! I'm still like a little kid when it comes to Christmas. Peace!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My First Artfire Sale-Whoohoo!!!!

I blogged very recently, albeit briefly about craft sites other than Etsy. I joined Art Fire, the "anti-Etsy," and 1000 Markets. I honestly only joined these sites to gain exposure, not thinking I'd seriously garner any sales, but lo and behold I got one off of Art Fire, and I am so stoked, psyched, overjoyed, and all other happy feelings in between. I sold this Chocolate Fantasy Cold Processed soap, and I feel like I can do anything now. It only takes one to spark the fire (no pun intended.)

I'm going to now more actively market my shops on these venues. There is an audience out there waiting to be "entertained."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree...

Oh Christmas Tree, why every year do you fail me?
I can't get a darn Christmas tree right to save my life! It looks dull and lifeless. Only half of my lights work-the bottom half, so I didn't even plug them in. It's missing something, but I can't put my finger on it. I am definitely going to hit up Target on December 26th and rack up on bulbs, lights, and other cute ornaments. Last year I was in mourning and did not want to be bothered, so I put up this lame pink tree. This year, I'm feeling like my old self somewhat, so I put up this lame green tree. I give up....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cheap-N-Chic Gift

So I get suckered into playing Secret Santa at work. It's 4 days of gift-giving up until December 24th, and I'm sticking to my handmade creed! I actually stole this idea from Oprah, but I put my own little spin on it. This gal that I picked loves chocolate, so I decided to make her a little homemade cocoa brew.

I took my fanciest candle jar with the rose patterned flat top lid and filled it with powdered cocoa, marshmallows, and Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. Voila! Cheap and chic! I wrapped it in an old cloth wine bag I bought from Pottery Barn about 10 years ago. I spent about $10.00 on this gift altogether. When the drink is all gone, she can use the jar for whatever...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turning Trash Into Treasure

Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but is it me or do companies send out freebies of their least-selling product or overstock? Case in point, I ordered some stuff from Brambleberry recently, and I got this soap mold of a bear. My first response was "Ugh!!! I don't want this crap," and I tossed it to the side. Three weeks later, I'm cleaning my work space, and I find this mold buried under some bubble wrap, and a light bulb goes off: Add it to your Soapy Critters collection dummy! Well, a bear is a hell of a critter, but I'm now in love with this mold. It holds a whopping 6+ oz of MP soap, and I love the look of this bar! I decided to stick with Brambleberry throughout this creation, and I used their Almond fragrance oil. This thing smells so good, I want to bite it. I'm using an olive oil soap base. The pigments are from Peacock dyes. I used Paula's Tool Kit from PJ soaps. As a MP soap artist (as I like to refer to myself,) you must have this kit. It has everything you need to color all those little crevices of your soap mold. It's a time-consuming process, but the end result is so worth it. I use it on my Monkey Bars and all my other little critters.
So, in parting, I say "Thank you, Brambleberry for unloading (or bestowing) your extras on me." Honestly, it was a nice departure from the mini FO sample I usually get.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flame Porn: Candle Confections

It's Monday, so I'm doing my regular, weekly feature. This week's Queen of Flame is the owner of Candle Confections. I met Sherry months ago thru an Etsy convo, and we've sort of lost touch, but I've never forgotten her or her scrumptious-looking flames. I told her how in awe of work I was, and that I was insanely jealous of her talent. Look at this delicious Strawberry Covered Chocolate Cake in a jar. Don't you just want to grab a spoon and dig in? Oh how I long for smell-o-vision! One day I'll try to make my own version of this decadent candle. Look for a tutorial soon. I think this would make a nice gift for the person who has it all

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recession Follow Up!

The party is over and my meatballs were a hit. I got lots of compliments on them, so I think I'm kinda stuck making these from now on. Also, I decided to participate in the white elephant game. It was disastrous on so many levels, but I ended up putting together a couple of candles in a shoebox, and I wrapped it in brown paper. I then wrote the first verse to My Favorite Things on the top.."Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things...."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't They Know We're In A Freakin' Recession?

Whether you choose to admit it or not, we are, and for the life of me, I can't understand why I got some strange looks from my co-workers when I told them I was NOT participating in the holiday gift exchange. Give me a freakin' break! I'm broke! I'm a single lady living (barely) on the outskirts of one of the most expensive cities in the country, and I'm a struggling entrepreneur. I am struggling financially as I am sure lots of people are, so please forgive me if I'm sounding a little Scrooge-ish. Ninety percent of my gifts this year will be handmade-if not by me-then by my fellow crafters. I don't feel the need to play white elephant with a bunch of folks who barely give me the time of day as it is, and $25 is more than I'm spending on gifts for my own family! Okay, I'm jumping off my soap box. I just had to get that off my chest! Oh, I also forgot to mention that I'm making turkey meatballs for these moochers. Okay, I'm done for real this time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pardon Me, But I Prefer Foodie To Glutton or Pig

Who am I kidding? I am a weekend glutton and a part-time pig-sometimes. I love the smell of food-particularly baked goods, and that translates into the scents I offer for my soaps and candles. For the life of me, I've tried to fall in love with florals, and orientals, and smoky scents, but I keep gravitating toward chocolate, cream, and vanilla-based scents. I find them comforting and appetite-suppressing. Weird, huh? When I burn my banana bread pillars, I don't feel the need to have a snack because I'm constantly inhaling the scent. It doesn't always work. When I want chocolate, I have to have chocolate!

So I'm off to make food-shaped candles while I burn my banana bread candle. They're always a big hit around the holidays, and of course, my family always waits til the last minute to order a bunch for their co-workers, friends, kids' teachers...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flame Porn

No I aint talkin' about gay porn you pervs (smile), I'm talking about candles! Everyone in the soaping circle knows that soap porn is a popular feature, but dangit, I want some candle porn! I love candles, and I want to spread the love! First up, someone I consider the queen of flame, Misty-owner of Burnt Mill Candles and Soap. This gal's got skills! Check these candles out! I am so jealous right now I could scream! Look at the craftmanship and the color. These are awesome. I actually ordered some from her that are waiting for me at the post office (can't leave work earlier enough to pick them up-will get them this weekend for sure!)

I'm gonna make this a weekly feature. Chandlers need love too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Move Over Etsy...

There's some new sheriffs in town-at least deputies anyway. Let's be frank shall we: Etsy is pissing a lot of people off for a number of reasons. Let's break down a few of 'em:

  1. Flooded marketplace
  2. Sneaky re-sellers
  3. Obvious favoritism: Same shops being featured on front page, gift guides, etc.
  4. Admin having shops and not disclosing that they're admin
  5. Admin just not doing their job of policing the site for breaking the rules

I could go on and on, but Etsy gets enough publicity from their top sellers. I'm here to talk about some up and coming craft venues. I've joined two of them recently in an attempt to hopefully stand out a little more. The first is 1000 Markets. I actually found this site thru a member of EAOC (Etsy Artists of Color.) It's a growing online marketplace for crafters and the look and feel is very different from Etsy. It's much more streamlined and "cleaner" in its overall appearance. I haven't garnered any sales yet, one because I've been busy and haven't been actively promoting it-yet. The second site is called Art Fire. I found this one thru Etsy Bitch. If you haven't visited Etsy Bitch, then you should check it out. This is a site totally dedicated to sticking it to Etsy by calling them out for every thing done or gone wrong. The talk is frank, candid, and admittedly, dead-on. Anyway, Art Fire is really cool because there are two sign up options: The verified and basic packages. There are NO listing/commission fees except for the verified package which is a flat $7.00 a month fee.

It's good to have options. This isn't an Etsy bash post. I like Etsy. I've made many friends thru Etsy, but Etsy isn't the only choice. Check out 1000 Markets and Art Fire to name a few. Maybe you'll find a new home for your handmade goods.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Like A Moth To A Flame...

burned by the fire. I love my candles, can't you see my desire? Okay, I stole that from Janet Jackson, but I've been on a candle kick lately. I made this strawberry shortcake one that I just listed on Etsy. I've been neglecting my flames, and I need to get back on track. I've been so consumed with soap lately, that I actually forgot how to make this friggin candle. Can you believe it? It's not rocket science, but I have my ways of doing things. The strawberries are made wax made just for embedding. I don't use soy wax for my embeds because its too soft, and I can't get it out of my molds. I just don't recommend soy wax for embedding. If you know of how to use soy wax to make embeds, let me know.

I'm off to make more candles. We're having a gift exchange next week, and I'm making a gift basket of my different offerings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

That Darn Cat!

Every time I turn around, this little monkey is into something she has no business being into. Pepper loves my light box. For one, it's a box. Cats love them for some reason. I'm surprised she actually "posed" for this pic. Getting her to keep still is like pulling teeth. I love her though.

Yeah, it's a slow day. Can't you tell?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Well Aint I Just Miss Popularity Today???

Last night I tossed and turned and did not get one hour's worth of sleep, so I was tired, cranky, and downright bitchy all day today. I publicly apologize to anyone I've pissed off today. I'm tired!!!

One of the first things I do when I get home is fire up the ole laptop and pop a Mike's Hard Lime in the freezer. I then change into something comfy, feed my greedy cat, and plop down on my pleather (it may be leather-I inherited it from my late father) sofa to begin my evening routine: unwind by emptying my brain from reading all my favorite gossip blogs. It's so nice to know the rich and famous are screwed up just as badly as us regular folk. The next thing I do is read all of my favorite craft blogs. By this time, a good hour has passed. Oh, I eat in between this too. Next I skim my blog for comments even though I get those e-mail notices that I have one. Well whattaya know? There's a comment on my latest post about the Monkey Bars. It's from Delightful Divas In Business telling me how cute they are and that I'm featured on her blog today. I'm so blown! I usually do the courting when I want to be recognized, but to be featured on some one's blog because they really like your product or your shop is truly an honor. Check out what DDIB has to say here.

Lastly, I check my e-mail. Maybe I'll have an order or two. Mostly it's tons of ads (I shop way too much) and countless SPAM (die Spammer scum of the earth!) letting me know I can buy drugs of any type without a prescription! Anyway, I get one from a fellow Etsian who's also a member of Etsy CREST (Capital Region Etsy Street Team.) I'm in her treasury. Yay!! So, a sh*tty day has been made a little less sh*tty with all the love flowing from my fellow crafters. Ahhhhhhhh........

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who Knew.....

that this monkey soap would be my best seller? Not only is it my most popular soap, but it's the most time-consuming and difficult to make. Don't get me wrong, I love my Monkey Bars, but whenever I get an order for one, I'm like, "Don't make any plans for the next hour and a half...."

I truly love the art of melt and pour soap crafting, especially when there are multiple crevices involved such as this one. Take a look at all the individually-colored parts of this soap: the fruit (looks like a mango, but I color it yellow to make it pop), the stem on the fruit; the monkey's eyes; his face; his body; and finally the background. When I first started making this soap as the first pic will show, I colored the monkey one color all the way through. I was too intimidated to try to show the detail of its face. Then I discovered these crafting tools from PJ Soaps. They are another "why didn't I think of that..." I let each section dry for at least 20-30 minutes depending on the size. When I'm working with small sections like the fruit and the monkey itself, I don't scent it. I save the scent for the background since it's the "meat" of the soap. Monkey Farts (a delicious blend of banana, mango, strawberry, and bubblegum) is a powerful scent, and all you need is a little.

Well, I'm waiting on my little monkey to harden before I pop it out of the mold. I let these set a full 24 hours because in the past I've always popped it out too soon, and I'd lose an eyeball or the fruit would stick. Then I'm like "%$#%P%" and have to start all over!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Last Day!!!

(Here's a pic of my weekend profits)

I have never been so glad to see November 30th in my life! I made a personal challenge to myself that I'd blog every day for the month of November being that it's National Blog Month or something like that. Unless I'm getting paid to be a professional blogger, there's no way I could do it every single day!

In other sad news, my Black Friday sale has been a total bust! I guess the economy has taken a bigger toll than I imagined. I thought handmade would be the answer, but I guess I was wrong. Yeah, I'm more than a little disappointed, but you know what? I'm not going to let poor sales deter me. I'm still here, and I'm going to keep pushing on. I was reading an interesting thread on Etsy about crafters undervaluing their goods just to make a sale, and it has really given me some things to think about.

Well, I'm going to take a few days off to rest my fingers and to concoct some meaningful blog posts. Congratulations to all the sellers who've had a successful weekend. I'll blog to ya'll soon!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Give Me Body-Productt Body!

I hope everyone is having fun shopping and selling and eating leftover turkey! I know I am! Since I do work all day outside of my home, I often miss the mailman when I have packages that won't fit in my box, so I get one of those pink slips letting you know that you have a package. When I come home after a hard day of basically hating having to work for someone else (although I am so thankful to have a job right now), nothing makes me happier than getting that kind of pink slip!

Anyhoo, I typically do not buy from other bath and body makers because I view them as the competition, and why the heck should I support the competition right? Wrong! I've made many online friends (at least I consider them friends) since I've started blogging, and they make some damn good stuff! I have a list of folks I intend to buy from, and now that the holidays are here, I'm not only a seller, but I'm also a buyer. One of my favorite blogs is The Soap Bar, and while Joanna basically does product reviews (I have yet to send in a soap. I'm a nervous wreck.), she also has her own beauty site Product Body. I decided to check out Product Body site, and I was blown at all the major press she's received. That's what I'm talkin' bout! I was mucho impressed, so I decided to order the Cream moisturizer in Vanilla Mango. It has shea butter in it, and it smells light and lovely. My ashy, dry skin soaks it right up and there's no sticky feeling either.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Cream by Product Body. Bonus: Joanna also sent me a healthy sized jar of Crush On You scented in Apple Crisp. Thanks Joanna. I'm adding Product Body to my "Loves It" list.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's On!!!!

Get thee over to The Soap Seduction now!!! It's Friday. Black Friday. I've got all kinds of stuff for sale, and I'm shipping for free all weekend long!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tomorrow's The Day!!!

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

I hope you had lots of turkey and stuffing and everything else in between. I think I had one too many cocktails because I am too relaxed right now! As you know, tomorrow is the sale of all sales everywhere. I was reading my e-mails today, and I've been flooded with rock bottom sales ads from everyone from Eve's Addiction to Reed's Jewelers. I love online shopping, and I hope you do to. I, along with many of my Twitter friends will be hosting mega sales starting tomorrow. I've seen ads for free shipping, BOGO, even 75% off! This economy has really affected the way folks spend money. That's why now more than ever, I think buying handmade is the way to go! Stop by The Soap Seduction and my Etsy shop beginning at 6am for some cool stuff. I'll be shopping too! Now get some rest!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Twas the day before Thanksgiving, and I have such high hopes,
Of selling out all my candles, body balms, lip lushes, and soaps.
My website is being prepped for a barrage of sales.
I've got many new things for everyone-even males.
My gift sets have been packaged,
With the utmost of care.
In hopes that all the curious shoppers soon will be there.
So I'll end this little rhyme with a hope and a prayer,
That you all have a Happy Thanksgiving,
And I'll holler at ya'll later!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm So Disappointed....

Don't you hate it when you order something in what you think is enough time, but it doesn't arrive when you need or want it to? Well, that happened to me, and I'm a little disappointed for more reasons than one. I was approached by a very popular soap blog to do a tutorial for one of my creations, and I was so gung-ho and ready because I knew in the time that my "assignment" was due, I'd have all of the materials for my project. Lesson to you and to me: DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING! I'm too verklempt to continue...I'll talk to ya'll later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

To Sample or Not To Sample Before Purchase?

That is the question? I received an e-mail from a potential buyer the other day asking me very nicely if she could sample my Orange Chocolate Truffle Body Balm? My immediate reaction was, "Have you lost your damn mind? You have the nerve to ask me to send you something for free???" Whoa!!! I had to take a step back and re-evaluate this. I truly feel like I'm on the cusp of something really tremendous. I have someone who took the time to visit my website and show genuine interest in something that I made, but she wants to try it before she buys it. Why was I so angry initially? Was it because I was expected to come out of pocket to give a freebie? Yeah, it was. I'm not gonna lie to ya. What was $1.57 in postage compared to a possible lifelong client? Maybe she'll fall in love with her sample, and buy a few full sized products for herself and her friends. Maybe she's a big time magazine editor shopping for some cool indie finds. I sent my lady prospect her sample, and I hope she adores it and comes back for more. I'm glad I cooled off and acted with some level of professionalism. I'll keep you posted on the outcome of "The Sampler."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Does Advertising Really Pay Off?

(Okay, if I actually had cash like this, this would be a moot point!)

I'm asking this because I've been spending money like mad on some very popular blogs and craft outlets (I won't name names because I really like and respect these blog), and I haven't had ONE sale as a result. That's not to say that I haven't had any "hits." I really need to learn how to track my website stats. Please pardon my tone, I'm just venting a little...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Just Sent My First Newsletter. I Hope Somebody Reads It!

You know I've been blogging about this Black Friday event for about two weeks now, but I decided to take it to the next level. I sent my first newsletter out to all the nice folks who bought something in the past from The Soap Seduction or my Etsy shop. This is such a major fete for me because I feel like I'm begging in a sense when I'm announcing, "Hey, I'm having a sale. Come check it out!" What is wrong with me? It's that shyness thing again. I know it. I really want this event to go well. When you work hard, you want to be recognized and rewarded, right? I'm brimming with nervous excitement. I can't wait to check out all the other shops as well as the shops of my crafting friends. I'm expecting to see some really unique offerings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can Beggars Be Choosers?

I know this is the season of giving, but I am receiving requests out the yin yang to donate products or gift baskets to some organization or charity. I am all about helping those in need-I used to be one of the needy myself, but I can't afford to donate 250 soaps or gift items. Do you know one lady had the nerve to cop a 'tude with me because I told her that I just couldn't give her what she wanted? If you are asking me for my services, and I offer you an alternative, do you really have the right to get pissed if I can't oblige you? I politely and professionally explained to the broad (I'm heated at this point) that while I was thankful that she thought my goods were worthy of her cause, I was not in a position fiscally or time-wise to give her the samples she needed in the time she wanted them. She basically told me that there were many other bath and beauty makers who were willing and able to donate to her cause and that I should be flattered that she even thought of me. WOW!!!! I'm batting a thousand this week. Could it be karma for turning down that craft show????

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shyness Can Kill Your Business

Someone over on Etsy convoed me the other day (that's contacted me via the Conversation tool for all you non-Etsians)and asked if I would be willing to participate in a local craft show on December 6Th. Of course my first reaction was "Hell yeah," but then I thought about it for a sec and basically replied "Hell no!" Of course I was the utmost professional in declining the invite, but now I've been thinking: Why did I say no? Was it because this show was only 2 weeks away and there was no way I could pull it off in such short notice or was it because I was afraid of the crowd and talking to people? I am so not a people person. I don't do well in crowds. I'm a poor socializer (I haven't Twittered in over a week!) My sister did all the selling for me. I just stood there nodding and smiling and answering questions if a shopper had one. I felt so awkward. Thank God for the Internet. If I had to talk to you good people face-to-face, I would die! I've always been an introvert, but it's high time that I start shaking this shyness because it's affecting my ability to grow my business. While it is too late to rescind my declination, I will do the next one when asked. Now is the time, if I want this venture to succeed!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Just For Candles

When I shop for fragrance oils, I use about 3 or 4 vendors exclusively, and I can't believe I forgot to mention them in my Honorable Mention post regarding Suppliers of the Year. Click here to check it out if you missed that one....

Without further ado, I'd like to honorably mention Candle Science as a supplier of great fragrance oils. Not only do they have great fragrances, but their customer service is top notch, and the shipping is lightening quick! I'll place an order on Monday, and it's at my door by Wednesday! It also helps that they're based out of North Carolina which is only about an 7-8 hour drive from me-not that I would drive to pick up my order. I love them, but I can't stand being in a car for more than 2 hours. Anyhoo, many, if not most, of their fragrances are bath and body compatible which is a BONUS for me because I can not only use them in my candles, but my soaps. Even better is they now offer 4 oz. sizes. Until now, I'd have to buy either a couple of 1 oz bottles or a big 8 oz bottle which I don't always want or need. Another bonus is they have really neat specials on their FO's. Sign up for their mailing list, and you will get cool deals in their newsletter. They often do $.99 1 oz FO's. You can get up to ten at a time I think. That's how I discover many new scents. My current faves from Candle Science are Black Currant and Nectarine and Rainwater. Check em out. You just might be surprised!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


No, the title is not a typo. I'm spewing a string of expletives. I've decided to temporarily stop making the cupcake soaps with the whipped frosting because they don't ship very well. I've tried everything from padding the sides of the box extra snugly to taping the cupcake box to the shipping box, but in all the instances that I've sold them, they've arrived smooshed, and I've had to refund money. So until I can come up with a better solution, I'm going to substitute them with something else. I'll reveal sometime next week when I've worked it all out. If you' have a solution, please share!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Are You Ready For Holiday Sales?

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful time of the year (besides tax season). The Black Friday bonanza at The Little Black Box is coming a week from this Friday, and I realize I haven't done a darn thing!!!! Where did the time go? I am in serious shock! I've got major packaging to do! I've gotta take pics for the website and Etsy. I've got product to actually make! I have to check my shipping supplies! Arghhhhh!!!!

With all that being said, are YOU prepared????

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Me And My Big Mouth!!!!

Left to Right: Me, Myia, Kellie, Alisa

Warning: This post has nothing to do with crafting, soaping, or candlemaking!

My sister Myia, her sister-in-law Alisa, and my cousin Kellie think of ourselves as sisters because of our close relationship. We are united in fatdom. Like many women, we all lead very hectic lifestyles and weight has become an issue. So mush so, that the four of us have posed a little challenge: Diet or Die! Not in the literal sense, but we are killing fat! We are sick and tired of being sick and tired! We have put our 8 feet down and declared, "No more!" But why would we decide to do this at the height of the glutton season??? With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas approaching, I had one question for them: "WTF????" Now is the time. Not only will it test our will, but it will give us a head start over all those New Years dieters.

Kellie and I are in DC so we'll be each other's buddy. Myia and Alisa are in NYC, so they'll be buddies. Today is the big weigh in, and tomorrow is the beginning of a new chapter in our quest to get and stay healthy. My game plan? Basically, to exericse. I think I already eat pretty sensibly. I just hate physical activity! I'll be posting updates throughout my normal postings, but I thought I'd get a little personal for a change. Stay tuned....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sneak Peek

Never tell me a juicy secret because I am notorious for letting the cat out of the bag-unintentionally though. I just can't contain myself especially when it's good news. I've been coming up with all kinds of stuff for the holidays. I've even got a few things in the works that folks wouldn't expect of me.

One of my favorite types of scent are food scents (cuz I'm a pig, by the way). I never thought to incorporate food scent into soap or bath and body products until I first smelled Philosophy's Cinnamon Buns 3-in-1 body wash over 10 years ago. I was blown away by how realistic it smelled. No one else had mass-marketed food-scented body products like that before. I loved how they even included a recipe based on the fragrance right on the bottle. While I don't have recipes to offer, I do have a peek at one of my newest soaps, Lemon Oatmeal Crisp. It's part of one of the many soap sets I'll be offering. This is a true to life scent. I just want to drink it straight out of the bottle. It's got ground oatmeal in it, hence the darker color. Stay tuned for more sneaks!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's The Little Things That Excite Me

I love packaging! Is that weird? I think I'm as excited about how something is packaged as I am the about the product itself. To me it conveys a message of pride and love of the actual merchandise being sold. It doesn't have to be fancy or frilly or ornate, but I do look for originality and uniqueness when I'm buying indie. It's funny that I'm talking about this because I now have to re-evaluate how I package my own goodies. How can I profess my love of packaging when my own looks like crap?

With that being said, I did a little shopping on Nashville Wraps the other day, and I've already received my stuff! They are quick, efficient, and very reasonably priced. I won't reveal anything until November 28th, the day of the big Black Friday Bonanza sponsored by The Little Black Box, but I have never put so much thought into my own packaging until now. Heck, I've never put so much thought into my product line until now. I've many new things in the pipeline: I've got soaps curing that will be ready just in time for the big sale. Check them out here. That's just a taste of what's to come. Can't wait to reveal everything, and I can't wait to check out everyone else's goodies too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get Thee Over To Smitten Blog Designs

Believe it or not, I'm participating in my very first giveaway! It's not that I don't like to give. Believe me, I do, but I've never felt that I had a large enough audience to make it worthwhile.

Well, I received an e-mail last week out of the blue asking if I'd be interested in participating in a giveaway. Sure! Why not! It's practically free publicity, and it is the season of giving (although you should give all year round). Kate over at Smitten Blog Designs is hosting the "Give, Oh Giveaway Contest". The contest runs for 12 days, so there'll be 12 winners. There are some really cool prizes to be had-including these gems from moi. It's a 2 oz body balm and CP soap-both scented in Orange Spice. It's delish!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Etsy Treasury but....

Okay, is it me, or are Etsy Treasuries just a bunch of hype? I'm truly honored that somebody finds worth in my creations, but I've been featured in about 6 of these things, and I've yet to make a sale as a result of it. If you've been featured in an Etsy Treasury, have you gotten a sale or sales as a result? If so, what's the secret?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wishful Thinking....

Since the Obamas will practically be my neighbors (The White House is only about 6 miles from my home), wouldn't it be cool to welcome them with a soap basket? Secret Service would probably hack it up so badly, it would be shredded soap by the time they finished with it. Then they would give it back, and I'd re-batch it...

And that, my friends, is Wishful Thinking 1001....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hold On....It's Coming.....

It's Black Friday at The Little Black Boxes, and I am a part of the action!!!!

This event is going to be major. All the participating shops will have phenomenal deals, as will I. Save your pennies. Hoard your dollars. Visit my website and make your wish list now. I've got some new things in the pipeline and some deals and steals you won't want to miss! More updates to follow....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lessons In Failure

The old adage proves true, "If I'd have known a year ago what I know now...." Case in point: I started making soaps and candles as a hobby and as a means of giving inexpensive, personalized gifts to friends and family. When the demand and the interest grew, I decided to "open a business." It couldn't be that hard right? WRONG!!!! I didn't know I needed a plan and money-I'm not talking a few bucks either. I went into this thing so blindly that I'm still feeling my way to the light. Please learn from me. It can save you many sleepless nights and hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars:

  1. Develop a business plan: Research the industry you intend to jump into. What are the trends? the pitfalls? Who is your intended market base? Is your product something you can sell online and/or in a brick & mortar? Is it product- or service-based?
  2. Develop your product line before you begin ordering materials. Don't make the mistake of shopping or browsing and just buying stuff you think is cute or may be a hot seller. That's where research comes into play.
  3. Research vendors before ordering. Not all vendors are the same. Choose quality over quantity. Order in small quantities before making large purchases. I am so guilty of this! What looks good online can look like crap once you get it in the mail.
  4. If you plan to sell your goods or services online, secure your domain name early. I like GoDaddy.com because they are so user-friendly. Also, research web host providers before choosing one. In the year and a half that I've been online, I'm now on my 3rd provider. I'm currently with WahmShoppes because I like the ease of it, and I like all the tools they provide. Not all are the same. Do a little comparison shopping by visiting sites that you like. At the bottom of their home page should be their web host and quite possibly their graphics designer.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: Make and sell something you love, and ask yourself: Would I buy this? If you love it and believe in it, it will not only show in the quality of your work, but your customers will appreciate your efforts, and they will be your best advertisement. When I started, I was making everything-soap, candles, bath bombs, lotions, shower gels....but the quality (I can say now) sucked because I was trying to keep up with the Joneses instead of focusing on what I really loved which was making soap and making candles. My bath bombs and lotions were okay, but I wouldn't have bought it if I were a paying customer.

So there you have it. Just 5 of my many lessons in failure. I don't consider myself a failure at all, but a student of this growing phenomenon called the small business owner. What are some of your hard lessons learned?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blogzilla-Day 7

It is not easy blogging every single day. I don't know how the pros do it. I guess it's easy when you have something relevant and interesting to blog about. I warned you in my first post that I might just babble for the sake of blogging. I think this may be one of those times.....

I'm making some upgrades to my website, The Soap Seduction-adding new sections, re-arranging categories. With the holidays fast approaching, I'm going to give it a more festive look. I've also decided to start promoting my personal site and not my Etsy shop as much. If I'm going to brand The Soap Seduction, then I have to give it its own identity. But Etsy is unbeatable when it comes to instant traffic. We'll see.....

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Scream, You Scream.....

We all scream for......


After days of doing nothing, I finally made some soap using the all natural Shea butter base I got from Wholesale Supplies Plus and made this fantabulous soap. I love it! It's not sickeningly sweet, but it smells distinctively of chocolate, strawberry, and....coconut??? Yep, I used coconut instead of vanilla. Also different is my technique. I tilted my loaf mold instead of doing a regular, straight pour. I really dig the way it turned out. I was nervous about my layers because pouring them must be timed properly. Pour them too hot, and you'll end up with one, big glob of un-layered soap. Pour them too cool and they might not stick-even when spraying alcohol between the layers (a must by the way for the layers to adhere.) Pick yours up today at my Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Worth Mentioning

In the previous post I revealed the winners of the annual top suppliers according to Saponifier magazine. Before I do my "Honorable Mention," I will reaffirm why the top overall faves are so deserved of this honor:

  1. Brambleberry: If you want superior quality with superior customer service, then you have arrived! The old adage proves you get what you pay for. Brambleberry aint cheap compared to the many suppliers you can find online, but their fragrance oils are un-beatable. What I love most about them is the descriptions are dead on! I also love the fact that they tell you how the FO performs in the different soap- and bath and body-making processes. There are also many useful tools on the site such as a lye calculator, links to affiliate sites, recipes, scent-blending options, and pre-made kits. No, I'm not on the payroll. My one little poo-poo: They need an east coast distributor!!! My favorite scents: Relaxing, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, and Orchard (discontinued I think because I don't see it on the site anymore.)
  2. Elements Bath & Body: Elements is a modge-podge of a supplier, if you will. I buy my labels from them as well as some containers and dry additives such as rose petals and lavender buds. They constantly run specials on their entire product line, and the shipping is quick! My recommendation: the labels!
  3. Southern Soapers: I love SS because they're in Virginia which is "around the corner" from me, so the shipping and service is quick and efficient. More importantly though, they carry some of the best-smelling FO's out there. When I'm looking for something truly unique, I go to SS first. I also like the fact that Kelly, the owner, often holds free online classes. I'm also a member of her Yahoo group, SouthernSoapers. My favorite scent? Spiced Orange!

Now, for the honorable mentions, and I have two:

  1. Sweet Cakes: I cannot stop raving about this supplier. Her designer dupes are dead on!!! Even the most discriminating nose would have a hard time picking the real scent from the faux one. I highly recommend SJP Lovely.
  2. Day Star Supplies: I buy many FO's here as well, and I love DSS for the variety. I swear there are over a hundred different scents available on this site. What I love most though is you can buy five 2-oz samples for $25.00. They too are very concentrated and you can get a fragrant batch of 3 pound soap with one 2-oz sample. I recommend Iced Lemon Biscotti, Cherry Meringue Bites, and Cranberry Yuzu.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And The Winner(s) Is......

Fooled ya!!! You already know Barack is the man! This post is about who the Suppliers of the Year are according to the annual poll at Saponifier Magazine. I'm going Blogzilla and watching MSNBC, so I'll do a quick rundown with a more detailed post later....

The top three overall faves:

  1. Brambleberry
  2. Elements Bath & Body
  3. Southern Soapers

Top essential oil supplier:

  1. Essential Oil University
  2. Camden Grey
  3. Brambleberry

Top herb supplier: (Do you say herb with a silent "h" like "irb" or hard "h" like her-b?)

  1. Mountain Rose Herbs
  2. San Francisco Herb Co.
  3. Atlantic Spice Co.

Top supplier for general soap and cosmetic ingredients:

  1. Soapers Choice
  2. Wholesale Supplies Plus
  3. Brambleberry and Lotioncrafter
Top soap mold supplier:

  1. Milky Way Molds
  2. Brambleberry
  3. Upland Molds

One quick question: Is Bramberry on the take?? Just kidding. I'll be doing honorable mention in my next post which is no put down on the winners. Til then....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Only Do One Productive Thing Today....




Monday, November 3, 2008

The Wax Woman Cometh

A few posts ago, I lamented how I frustrated I was that my pillar candles were not turning out the way I wanted. Well, I'm happy to say, that things are vastly improving. I still have issues with the bottom being un-leveled and perfecting the 2nd pour, but it's getting better. I've been combing the web for a professional leveler, and they want over $100 for a fancy plug-in hot plate. OH NO!!! One thing my mama always taught me was to be self-sufficient and creative-especially when dealing with a lack of funds. Guess what I used? An old sauce pan!!! I just put the setting on a low heat and rubbed the bottom around til it achieved a decent level. These flames are scented in Black Cherry and Red Currant and Raspberry. I love the color! The Red Currant & Raspberry will make a wonderful holiday candle-it just smells like Christmas to me!

Another quick tip: Use an old stocking to buff out fingerprints, smudges and other little imperfections.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

It's day two of Blogzilla!!!

I always read on other blogs about the blogger being tagged by another blogger. It's basically a "tell me a little about yourself" type of deal. It could be personal, random, trivial, whatever. Well, my buddy over at Milk and Cookeez tagged me. She's a follower of mine, and I never even knew she had a blog until she tagged me! How pathetic am I? Note to all you bloggers: Check out your followers-for good and bad!

Anyway, here are 7 revealing things about moi that I bet you didn't know:

  1. I am a huge fan of the Polish singer Basia (One day, while in the south of France. My good friend, said I should hug an olive tree.....)

  2. I usually root for the bad guy in the movie.

  3. I sometimes polish my nails only to peel it off-usually with my teeth.

  4. I wish I'd gone to a regular public high school with a track & field program. I'd be a much better runner. Well, I'd be a runner....

  5. If I could do anything besides make soap and candles, I'd be a gourmet chef. But I'd probably be morbidly obese if I did though....

  6. My porn name is Lacy Hobart (It's the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on-or something like that....)

  7. I don't have 7 blogger friends to pass this fun game on to, so feel free to share amongst yourselves.....

Thanks MC!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's National Blog Posting Month!!!

Betcha didn't know that huh? Well I didn't either til I read about it over at The Soap Bar. The premise is you blog every single day, including weekends, for the month of November. There's actually a ning group for it, but I'm going to try this on my own. I'm going to be blogging about any and everything. Some posts might make sense. Others, might make you go, "What the hell is she talking about??" That's the beauty and hilarity of it.

So stay with me as I turn into Blogzilla. I may be back later for another post.....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I never dress up for Halloween, but this year, I did!!! I had a blast and hope you did too.
Now, I'm going to eat some candy to offset all the imbibing I've done. Tomorrow we start power blogging. Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lotsa New Stuff On The Horizon

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

Oh no, don't say it!!! Not....Christmas????? Yeah! Where did the year go? It seems like it was just the 4th of July, and Halloween is tomorrow! Okay, I'm jumping holidays now. The point is, it's almost Christmas, and I'm making soaps out the wazoo! I'm going to fill my Etsy shop and my website with all kinds of soap. Soap for men. Soap for women. Soap for kids. Soap for grandmas. Soap for teachers. Soap for EVERYBODY!!!!

First up is my holiday cold processed soap. I call it Merry Christmas, Baby! It smells of holly and red berries with a dash of cardamom and vanilla. I sprinkled a little gold glitter on it for a sparkly, festive touch. I wasn't crazy about it at first, but it's growing on me by the day. I'll be blogging much often about my latest creations. Stay tuned....