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 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.....