Bath or Shower?

Bath or shower? Which do you prefer? What about your customer base or friends and family?


Personally, I love a relaxing bath with herbs, milk, fizzy and other goodies, but the truth is that I rarely take one. I suspect that these days where most of us are rushing here and there or spending our days just trying to keep up with one task after another, bathing just seems like a time-consuming indulgence that we cannot afford.  That being said, my suppositions may not be true for your audience, and finding out is your job.


If you’re already considering scent and color, but forgetting about your customers’ preferences when it comes to showers vs. baths, you may be creating products that they don’t really use rather than creating the goodies they’re clamoring for.  Of course, it’s less crucial to concern yourself if you’re a hobbyist; yet the knowledge comes in handy at gift-giving time, when you give a gift they’ll really use!


So, how do you find out what your customers want? Ask!  Most will be very forthcoming about their preferences. Ask casually when conversing, form a focus group, conduct a survey or find your own unique way of getting information.


Of course, taking a little extra time for yourself is a good idea as is encouraging your customers and friends to do the same, but it’s easier to sell something they already know they want than to convince them they want what you’re selling.



PS: The upcoming issue of the Saponifier features cosmetics, all sorts of them! Not a subscriber? You can fix that:


 Also, are you working on replicating the designs found in our Design Mania issue?  Take photos because our contest is coming! Details in the July 1st issue.


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier

We Just Love Soap!

In just hours, the Design Mania issue will be released. We are so excited to bring you these new designs to see and try! 


We love this issue because. . . well, what’s not to love? We get to look at beautiful soaps and we get the inside information on how to replicate them. I hope you pour over each and every soap and try your hand at them.  When you do, take good photos for our upcoming contest. Complete details will come later on; but in short, soapmakers will submit photos and the public will vote on their favorites, resulting in some very happy winners of fabulous prizes!


As much as we may like to see photos and try designs, it is but just a part of the soapmaking process and certainly not the most crucial aspect of a great bar of soap! If you’re a new soapmaker, intricate design should be the last of your concerns (although certainly fine to do if you are able). Concentrating on producing a bar that is satisfactory–hard, lathering, moisturizing, and so on is top priority. Even if you’re experienced, but have never attempted to make complicated designs on a regular basis, you’re still making high-quality soap.


I have seen some who are able to create gorgeous soaps from the beginning and I am duly impressed; but given the choice between a gorgeous soap and a well-made one, I’ll take the latter every time. A well made soap from a knowledgeable soapmaker has great worth. So, if you’re  not ready yet or don’t feel capable of turning out batch after batch of incredible designs, don’t feel inferior. Continue to make those wonderful soaps, whatever they look like.


Still, I think that we can well appreciate the beautiful designs we are about to discover (I can’t wait), and yet appreciate even the everyday soap for the amazing creation that it is. Don’t you?


Oh, and if you’re not a subscriber, you can take care of that here:


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax,


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier

We Can’t Wait!

We’re so excited about this upcoming issue of the Saponifier!  Due to be released on July 1st, it is our 15th anniversary edition.  To celebrate, we wanted this one to be beautiful, fun and full of design ideas for making cold process soap.  We affectionately call it, “DesignMania.”  Some of the best in the biz are showing off their design tutorials, along with plenty of photos so that you can learn these techniques to try on your own.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?


What?  You’re not a subscriber?  You can fix that, you know!  Readers worldwide subscribe to the Saponifier since it’s a digital publication–no shipping to worry about.  You have your magazine right at your fingertips with just a download.  Couldn’t be easier.  If you haven’t subscribed yet, follow this link:


As always, we also feature helpful columnists who teach you, inform you and otherwise help you as a soapmaker, bath & body maker and candle maker.  Melinda Coss is teaching us about balancing design with business, and Marla Bosworth instructs us on writing a business plan.  Yours Truly regaled you with a review of the amazing HSCG conference in Raleigh, NC.  But we also have two new writers.  Sue Finley, our Potpourri column writer and Debbie Sturdevant, our resident herbal expert, who will be sharing with us through her column,  Herbal Wisdom.  Sue is writing about inspiration in soap design and Debbie is revisiting an old favorite, Calendula.  She’s even included a couple of her favorite recipes!


Share the fun with us on July 1st.  You know you want to!


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier


PS – Soap designs just beg for a contest.  Stay tuned.  :-)

News About Soapermakers and Soapmakers in the News!

What are your fellow soapmakers doing these days?  From whom do they purchase supplies and how are they promoting their businesses?


If you’re curious, you’ll soon find out–that is, if you’re a subscriber of the Saponifier Magazine.  We’ve spent a great deal of time compiling votes and getting the results ready for you to peruse, so we’re eager for you see them!


Meanwhile, it’s been exciting to hear reports from my fellow soap/candle makers about their success in getting public exposure for their products.


One such person is Michelle Rhoades, who incidentally, is a Saponifier subscriber.  Michelle recently reported that she has been featured in Southern Living’s Christmas at Home Edition, 2012. She was contacted one day by a representative from Southern Living because they liked her website.  She was skeptical about whether the offer was genuine or not, but it was, and now Michelle’s soap is beautifully photographed and described in the magazine!


Michelle only began making soap in 2009, but quickly, by 2010, in fact, quit her day job and began her business,  Mossy Creek Soap.  Michelle not only sells her soap and candles, but also teaches classes.  She and her husband Dan reside in Kathleen, Georgia, and have an 11 year old daughter. Michelle mentors her 15 year old niece, as well.


Michelle gives the Saponifier partial credit for her success by stating, “. . .  information that I received from Saponifer helped me succeed.”


Another soapmaker, Lauri Isle, of South Bend, Indiana, was also recently featured in Midwest Magazine for her soap, candle and body products business.  Lauri is co-owner with her sister of SACS & Co, a brick and mortar business located in Winona Lake.


You may also recall reading a blog post not long ago about Andrew Fuller of  Tonsorial Parlor and his involvement in the Martha Stewart Handmade contest.  You’ll be interested to learn that he came in third place!  Way to go, Andrew!


A hearty congratulations goes out from the Saponifier to these fine artisans, along with our wishes for great success.


Remember, keep an eye out for the delivery of the Nov./Dec. issue in your mailbox on Nov. 1st!


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne

Parties and Sales, Do They Go Together?

Soapmakers and chandlers fall into many different categories when it comes to finding homes for their products.  


Some are hobbyists who make soap for their own enjoyment and to give to friends and family.  Others sell at a moderate level, attending craft shows or selling via word-of-mouth advertising.  Still others have production space and sell wholesale.  Some even have brick and mortar locations where they produce and sell their goods.  Of course, a few sell using alternative methods, some more common than others.  Are you selling or do you want to sell your products?


Good research and preparation is essential to the success of any business.  You not only need to know your products inside and out, but you must become knowledgeable about business practices.  Simply loving to make soap or candles isn’t enough. You must decide how to structure your business and how to operate effectively to reliably produce your creations and make a profit, taking into account your talents, lifestyle, and resources.


In choosing a business model, it’s important to carefully and truthfully analyze your strengths and obstacles.  For instance, if you work weekends, but your local farmer’s market is on Saturday, it’s not an option for you unless you can find a way around your obstacle.   Although a brick-and-mortar store may appeal to you, if you are a caregiver, then it is not for you, at least not at the present.  If you can’t raise capital, then your plans are confined to what you can afford at the time.


What to do?  One concept that some soapers/chandlers employ is the home party plan.  It may ideal because you can produce out of your home or in a location less expensive than a retail location, you can plan parties around your schedule, and your initial overhead is lower than several other methods.  You tap your friends and family to get started, so no panic-inducing cold calls are necessary.


Interested?  Good, because the upcoming Saponifier issue is all about home parties.  Learn what they entail and how to get started. You may just find your business taking off!


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne

Watch Your Inbox!

Watch your inbox!

 Tomorrow, you’ll see the latest edition of the Saponifier awaiting you.  And, Considering that many of us in the US are sweltering in the heat, sitting down with a cold drink and the Saponifier might just be what the doctor ordered.  If you’re not in the US or sweltering, you still need that drink and a good read!


Have you seen designs embedded in melt and pour soap and wondered how it was done?  Marla Bosworth, in her article, Soluble Paper in Melt and Pour Soaps: What Designs Will YOU Put in Soap? explains it all.  Once you start thinking of the possibilities, you’ll want to start right away!


Speaking of soap, using colorants in soap is a topic that frequently mystifies soapers.  Fortunately for us, however, Amanda Price lays it all out out in, The Color Wheel: A Simple Guide to Colorants.  You’ll want to read and refer to this one often.


Did you miss the 2012 HSMG conference?  Read all about it in Beth Byrne’s, 2012 HSMG Conference in Review, as related to her by three attendees who share their perspectives of their experience.  It’s almost as good as being there!


In addition, Cindy Noble imparts some serious information on nutrients in our skin care products.  You’ll want to pay close attention to this one to help you formulate and refine your product line.


Also coming:

  •  Denise Marks on writing.  She’ll inspire you with confidence!

  • Erica Pence on the Dead Sea and in a separate article, mottled candles

  • Tamara Dourney on apps for smart phones that will make you smarter and more efficient.

  • Elizabeth Sockol on seaweed as an herb with varied uses for soapers and bath and body artisans.  Yes, an underwater herb full of goodies for you!

    Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.

    Beth Byrne

Coming Right Up!

Have you been wondering what the next issue of the Saponifier will bring?  Here’s a bit of what you have to look forward to:


Education is the theme, and we offer it in spades.  We’ll be offering summer recipes and ideas that you can incorporate into your fair weather sales and activities.  For some of you, this information is none too early.  For others of you, well, let’s just say that you’ll have time to decide what to make and get your supplies before summer plants itself in your town.


We’ll also provide an open source scientist for your learning pleasure, as well as the list of books that you must have.   Want to make a career of your craft?  We’ll have help for that, also.


If that’s not enough, do you know anything about the Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)?  If not, you soon will by reading the herb monograph!


And soap scum:  is it one of those things you simply have to put up with when it comes to handcrafted soap, or is it just a bit of bad PR?  Read and find out.


Finally, is everything you’ve been taught about soapmaking oils true?  Which oils produce a hard bar, soft bar, a lathering bar,or  a white bar?  A Single Soap Oil Swap was conducted to prove or disprove everything we’ve been taught about oils, and I can only say that I think you’ll be surprised at some of the findings; but, you’ll have to wait until March 1st to find out!


Is your appetite whetted?  Good.  Be sure to download and read your issue on Thursday and then tell us what you think.


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne

Three Reasons to Read the Saponifier

What’s New?  Well, almost new.  More accurately, the question is, what’s coming up in the Nov./Dec. edition of the Saponifier?

You voted, you waited, and it’s almost here–the Raves for Faves, 2012 results!  Find out your colleagues’ favorite suppliers, form of communication, scents, products, and more!  Will you be surprised by the results or will they be what you expected?  No hints today.  You’ll have to read the article by Beth Byrne to find out!

As if that’s not enough, you’ll also find. . .

Sustainability in the Aromatic Market

As a soapmaker or chandler, the scent aspect of a product is essential to developing not only a cohesive retail line but also in the development of a loyal customer base. In layman’s terms, scent is extremely important to everyone involved in the toiletries and cosmetic industries. Yet the production of scent, the very building blocks of the aromas relied on by so many, is affected by numerous outside influences. As researchers across the globe turn their
attention to the aromatic market, they all echo the same sentiment: Will our current actions lead to a day when it is impossible to create
a scented product?


Scenting Naturally

Just as you can use essential oils to scent your soap and bath products, you can also use essential oils to create all natural perfumes. First you need an understanding of some of the basic elements of perfume. In this month’s Herbal Wisdom column, Erica Pence walks us through the building blocks of a natural perfume, giving us the tools to begin producing our own custom essential oil blends.

Just a few more days and you’ll be reading your very own copy!

Focus & Topics for 2012 – Let’s hear from you!

Though its hard to believe 2011 is almost over (time flies!) the staff at Saponifier is working to lay out the themes and articles for each issue of the coming year. With that in mind, we want to know what YOU would like to see in 2012.

  • Promotional ideas?
  • Business help?
  • Tips on particular ingredients?
  • New products?
  • or ?

Comment below or send us your reply to

Butter and Oil: What You Need to Know!

Are you eagerly awaiting September first?  You should be!

Among the many fine articles in the next issue is Erica Pence’s, In The Search for Sustainability.  In it, she provides us with cold, hard facts on environmental and social concerns as they relate to oils and butters that we use in our products.  Beware:  you may not like what you read!

Thankfully,  Erica does offer alternatives, showing us how we can be part of the solution by explaining where to go for more information, and key words that you need to know.  To emphasize sustainability, she includes two formulas that will enhance your product line while protecting our future.

Finally, what do you know about essential oils?  Perhaps you’re a rank beginner at using them.  If so, you’ll want to read Beth Byrne’s  interview of Marge Clark from Nature’s Gift, The Essentials of Essential Oils.  Marge starts at the beginning, from how essential oils are obtained to safe use, finding a vendor, and spotting a fraud.  Even if you use essential oils frequently, you’ll enjoy the information Marge offers.  Enjoy the benefits of essential oil use without the dangers!

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