Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I get this question all the time, and my reply goes a little something like this:
"I can understand why you think I am overcharging for a bar of soap, but let's really look at what you are getting for your money: The "soap" you're buying for $2.00 at Wal-Mart isn't soap, but a detergent bar. A detergent bar is just that: A bar of foaming agents and other additives mixed together with a bunch of heavy fragrance that's mass-produced and packaged very prettily. What I sell is real, handmade soap. It's primary ingredients are olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil. My soaps retain their natural glycerin to deliver a naturally foaming, ultra-moisturizing cleansing experience. The stuff you buy at Wal-Mart is stripped of its glycerin and replaced with other non-pronounceable additives that rob your skin of its natural moisture. That's why your skin sometimes gets that dry, itchy feeling after you've showered or bathed. Using natural, handmade soap not only delivers moisture, but with continued use, can help your skin retain moisture...."
It sounds like a long monologue, but when you're engaging a potential client, you're not only selling your client on your goods, but you're educating them as well. Many people don't know what real soap is made of, how it's made, and the benefits of the ingredients that you use to make your soap. Nine times out of ten, I've won over the prospect and turned them into a paying customer, but you still will get that one who only speaks in dollars and cents. You can't win 'em all, but an educated consumer is truly your best customer (I took that right from Syms, but it's true!)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Here is my campaign platform:
- Branding The Soap Seduction, thus the reason for the name change
- Incorporating my business colors into my blog layout-black, pink, and white
- Sparking my creativity and dropping the dead weight (lots of new things on the horizon)
I'm still crazy, crafty, and cool, but change is good. Stay tuned....
PS-I'd like to give a big shout out to Candy at Divalicious Designs for the facelift. You go girl!!!!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
So, I've been reading and studying and stewing in my own frustrations trying to make this thing work! So, I'm back to the drawing board. I'll be in the lab (a/k/a my kitchen) making another batch of pillars. I'll post pics in my next post. Til then, it's happy soap making for me!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It's almost always certain that when I make cold processed soap, I have a few scraps left after I slice and neaten up the soap. Sometimes there are a few pieces left over, sometimes there are enough pieces it seems to make a whole bar of soap. These scraps are often not pretty. They're wrinkled or buckled, perhaps slightly off-colored, etc. So what can ya do with them besides tossing them? Hand roll them to make soap balls! The soap is still pretty pliable because you've just unmolded it, and it can be shaped into just about anything. I like soap balls because they're quick and easy. You don't need any special equipment except maybe a pair of gloves because it is messy and it's still raw soap.
You can roll your soap in different sizes, but I like to make mine uniform. Remember it's still raw soap, so you will want to let them cure as you would a normal bar. Package them up prettily in jars or plastic bags with ribbon, then sell or gift them. It's just a thought.....
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
With that being said, I found one of my oldest and dearest friends George last night. We don't have a steamy, jaded history (that would've been juicy). Our friendship was real. We met in high school. We attended the "nerdiest" public high school in Washington, DC at the time-Benjamin Banneker, and I could not STAND George in the beginning. He was a true nerd in every sense-the clothes, the glasses, the intellect....I was part of the beautiful crowd-clothes, hair, intellect...Yes, we were beautiful AND smart-go figure. I think George liked me. No, I know George liked me, but he was so not my type. I treated him pretty badly at times. Our friendship did not actually begin until after graduation, and we grew pretty close I think. He even came to my cousin's wedding with me. My uncles teased me mercilessly and referred to George as Malcolm X. Well, he did sorta look like him with the suit and the dark rimmed glasses.
Sadly, we grew apart. I don't know how and when, but we did. We found each other throughout the years online, but we never really re-connected. George moved to the Bay area on the West Coast, got married, and started his career as a writer. I stayed in the DC area, met and fell in love with the greatest guy on the planet, and blog about making soap. I'm hoping that George and I can reconnect through Twitter. Although we're on different coasts and our lifestyles are completely different, I miss my friend. He was a good listener, gave good advice, and was funny (in his own nerdy way.) Here's to you George. May the tweets be with you!
Friday, October 17, 2008
That sounds weird, but I'm going with it! I've been meaning to blog about this fab chick for months since we've started working together, but now I must! Jen Stuart who does all my graphics for my Etsy shop is the bomb! I'm always changing something at the last minute and calling on her and she always comes thru like a pro. Last night, I needed a banner ad for Wickedly Chic, and of course, I had nothing that I wanted to use, so I call Jen at the 11th hour, and voila, she hooked me up in a matter of minutes-literally. Check out her shop and her blog. I love people who get me without having to explain every detail.
Okay, enough kissing up, here's the piece on moi. Jen, you're check's in the mail. I mean, I'll be sending you the money via PayPal (wink.)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Before you even make a batch of cp soap, write down your ingredients. This includes the oils you use, the amount of water and lye used, and any additives such as exfoliants, herbs, etc., and the fragrance you use.
Only used distilled water in your formula. This can be argued til the cows come home, but I've tried using regular tap water with several batches, and my soap always came out jacked up! I don't know if I have hard water or soft water, I just know that tap does not work for me. I've tried filtered drinking water and have had moderate success, but distilled is the way to go. Buy several gallons at once. It's something you never want to run out of.
Only use 100% lye in your formula. If it doesn't say 100%, then it's most likely cut with some other chemicals that I would not dare use in my soap. Remember, lye is corrosive. It can burn, and it can kill. Never have lye setting around especially where there are children and pets involved. When handling lye, make sure that you're in an open or well-ventilated space and that you're wearing long sleeves and long, rubber gloves. I've burned myself plenty of times with splashes while stirring my lye solution. Lye can be purchased online, but in 99% of the time, you will be required to sign and fax a waiver form before they will even ship it to you. I've been fortunate enough to find my lye at a small, local hardware store. I buy about 5-6 bottles at a time at about $5.00 each for a 16 oz bottle.
Please, please, please! You must use a lye calculator! You can't just throw a bunch of oils in a pot, and dump water and lye in it and think you have soap. IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!!! The amount of lye you use is based specifically on the type of oils you use. I learned this the hard way. You can't substitute one oil for another and think that the amount of lye you use will be the same. WRONG! Your soap will either come out lye heavy or lye deficient making the soap totally unusable. There are many lye calculators online that are available, but one that I really like is by Summer Bee Meadow. One caveat for those who use the metric system: It only calculates in oz, so you'd have to convert to grams.
Keep in mind that the combination of oils you use will determine how hard or soft your finish bars will be. The general philosophy is that a good bar of soap should possess the properties of being hard, lathering, and conditioning. It's a good rule of thumb, but it's not the only solution. If you do use mostly "soft" oils in your recipe, your bars will take longer to cure.
I like to add my FO or EO at light trace because I never know how the fragrance will react once I add it to my raw soap. It could have no reaction or it could seize and cause the soap to almost completely harden. Once I add my fragrance, I stir it by hand and not using a stick blender as it could facilitate trace.
Lastly, document your findings once your batch is complete. Was it successful or a complete failure? Did your fragrance oil seize in your soap? How does your soap smell? How did your coloring or additives fare? You get the picture...
In conclusion, this is just one of many ways to make soap. I've been successful using these tips. I welcome every one's input and tips. Happy soap making!