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.
We at the Saponifier are delighted to announce that we have added a new column and author
Many of you are quite familiar with the author of soapmaking books, Melinda Coss. Melinda is the author of 27 books on various crafting topics, three of them featuring soapmaking. They include: The Handmade Soap Book, Gourmet Soaps Made Easy and Natural Soap.
What you may not know about Melinda is that she is widely credited as the pioneer of modern cold process soap making in Europe. She began a soap making company in the 1990?s in the UK, which subsequently became the largest company of its kind, supplying UK stores and hotels with soap and other toiletry products. She sold her company in 2004 and moved to France, where she began teaching classes there and in England, which she continues to conduct. She also acts as a consultant to soap making companies. Melinda additionally works with social concerns in Africa.
And now, Melinda will be writing a column for the Saponifier, Savoir Faire.
Join me in welcoming Melinda to the Saponifier!
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Scents of summer. . . what are your most popular scents from June – August?
I have a two-pronged purpose here. The first is to get an idea of what’s hot; the second is to put scent selection into perspective.
Some soapmakers and chandlers like to offer special scents for seasonal sales. Do you make product with special summer scents, for instance? This tactic can be a great way of creating anticipation and consequently, demand. It may offer you a chance to test out scents for a permanent place on your scent list. On the other hand, however, it could distract you from your core business and become an expensive proposition if you’re always chasing after new scents to offer.
I have seen fellow crafters of scented products own so many scents that they can barely count them all, and they strive to have product for each one in stock! Their goal is usually to make sure they have whatever scent the customer might desire. Of course, we all want more business and we want to make our customers happy, hating to turn away a sale. While that’s understandable, it isn’t likely to be part of a smart business plan. Even large companies limit their offerings.
That’s not to say that offering a seasonal scents is a poor idea , just that taking a good look at your business plan and checkbook should be number one on your list!
So, tell us, what do you do?
Have you seen it? Some very good news for the United States soap and cosmetics industry has just been released!
First, some background:
As you may already know, the Safe Cosmetics Action of 2010, if passed as originally written, would have stifled the small business soap and cosmetic industry. Its labeling, registration, and other requirements were an undue burden that literally would have put many out of business. It was then that many of the leaders in our industry began meeting with lawmakers to let them know that small soap and cosmetic businesses existed. These businesses were adding to their local economies and providing income for many families while providing safe products to their customers.
It wasn’t long, however, before the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HSMG) realized that to negotiate the system in Washington, they would need to hire lobbyists to lead the effort. They were joined by business people in the field of soap and cosmetics, suppliers, as well as associations, and so on. Through the efforts of the lobbyists and others, they eventually paved the way for our industry to gain a seat at the table in writing legislation that would ensure that small cosmetics businesses were represented.
As a result, the House has a bill that is considered to be very fair to our industry, and leaders are behind it as it is currently written.
Does that mean we can all sit back and relax? Not quite! The bill is not law as yet, so it behooves each one of us to contact our federal legislators, letting them know our thoughts on the topic. They need to know that you care and what you think.
A synopsis of the House bill can be found here: http://blog.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/2011/06/legislative-update.html. You will also find updates and opinions on the blogs of other major suppliers, such as Essential Wholesale and Bramble Berry and others. HSMG’s blog contains factual information, as well. If you sell product, you owe it to yourself to research the bill and to do your part if you support it.
After many years of efforts, it seems quite possible that we will soon see legislation passed that will allow small businesses to continue operating and growing without undue government intrusion.
What do you think? Have you been following the issue? Is this a bill you can live with?
With our recent candle discussion, I’ve been wondering about a few things.
How many of our readers create both soap/bath & body and candles? Which came first, the soap or the candles? What led you from one to the other? Which sells better?
Other than the historical precedence of a local candle/soap maker supplying the town with their goods, what ties the two crafts together? Is it the fragrance, or something else?
Since soapmaking and candlemaking are two very distinct processes, we certainly cannot assume that one leads to the other on a knowledge-based level. Knowing how to make soap, for example, does not uniquely qualify an individual to make make candles. Nevertheless, something certainly entices many to expand their skill sets from one to the other. Is it that mastering another craft that uses fragrances already owned makes sense? Is the motivation for learning a new skill the realization that offering more products in a certain scent to give prospective customers more to choose from?
Curious minds want to know! Please share your story.
Are you a subscriber to the Saponifier?
If you don’t yet subscribe, or if it’s time to renew, grab a friend and get on over to www.saponifier.net and take advantage of a fantastic deal.
Our 2 for 1 sale starts today! Yes, you get two subscriptions or renewals for the price of one.
Simply fill in the information for the first person, either a subscription or a renewal, and then in the Comments Box, enter the name and e-mail address of the second party.
Hurry! This offer is for a limited time.
I was recently thinking to myself that February is awfully long for being the shortest month!
Does it feel that way to you? The holidays are over, and we’ve survived January. But, by the time we get into February, I just want winter to be over.
Something to remember, however, is that winter brings with it more opportunities to make soap, candles, and b&b products! What’s not to like about that? Just last week, I whipped up a nice batch of shower scrub, and have soap on the agenda for tomorrow.
On March 1st, your new issue of the Saponifier will be released, and you’ll find that our writers have been busy searching out the best for you in making goodies for The Spa Experience. We think you’ll love the formulas you’ll find, and will be inspired by the ideas presented. This issue alone will keep you busy, happily creating new goodies for bath time, whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist.
If you’re not a subscriber, well, what are you waiting for? Just visit: http://www.saponifier.net
Saponifier’s ‘In The Lab’ writer, Dr Robert McDaniel, just sent word that he received a pre-publication copy of his new book, “Soap Maker’s Workshop” which includes a DVD of him taking you through the process of making soap from ingredient selection to pouring it into the mold. At 160 pages it is a serious expansion of his original book published in 2000. This time he has included hot process soapmaking in most of its iterations.
Dr Bob, states: “It looks good though the publisher did not include several of our special graphics. According to amazon it will officially appear July 7. Note: the cover was changed by their marketing department so it will appear somewhat different from the picture on amazon.”
Soap making artisans Dr. Robert and Katherine McDaniel created this workshop to help you on your journey into soap making, whether you’re just starting out and planning to make a few bars for gifts and fundraising events or you are planning to join the hundreds and thousands in the soap cottage industry with plans to expand to a sustainable business. Thirty step-by-step, detailed recipes and photos showcase a variety of soap products including: liquid soaps, mousses, shampoos and African Black Soap, touted for its healing properties for extreme dryness, blemishes, wrinkles, stretch marks and scars. Learn to work with fragrances and discover the benefits of aromatherapy associated with many essential oils; take control of the ingredients and learn to use sustainable resources. A bonus DVD tutorial walks you through the soap-making process.
About the Author
A chemist and teacher, Dr. Robert McDaniel is the holder of 14 U.S. patents and currently writes for The Saponifier e-magazine (a bimonthly publication for the soap- and candle-making industry). Katherine McDaniel is co-manager of their home-based company, Dr. Bob’s Herbal Soap. The McDaniel’s first soap making book, Essentially Soap, sold over 33,000 copies worldwide.
* Paperback: 160 pages
* Publisher: Krause Publications (July 7, 2010)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1440207917
* ISBN-13: 978-1440207914
Saponifier is looking forward to reviewing a copy of “Soap Maker’s Workshop” in an upcoming issue!
Home Care Products
Expanding Your Business
Rules and Regulations
Advanced Techniques For Soap and Candles
Swirling with the Best!
28 page Tutorial on Swirling, written by top winners of our ‘Best Swirl’ contest.