Saponifier Magazine The Magazine for Professional and Aspiring Soapmakers2015-08-30T17:37:18Z http://saponifier.com/feed/atom/WordPress Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[Something Old, Something New: Cosmetics and Candles]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=397 2015-08-30T17:37:18Z 2015-08-30T17:37:18Z Do you prefer to make a small number of products all of the time, or do you often want to try something new? You might be the type who, once you make a product and are satisfied with it, be it soap, candles or cosmetics, you like making it over and over. You enjoy making…

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Do you prefer to make a small number of products all of the time, or do you often want to try something new?

You might be the type who, once you make a product and are satisfied with it, be it soap, candles or cosmetics, you like making it over and over. You enjoy making it more efficiently or faster each time or simply prefer the ease and predictability of making what you are familiar with.

Alternatively, you might be the type who wants to try every new idea you come across. Every batch of soap is different. When you see lovely bath bombs, you want to make bath bombs. If you see a photo of cupcake soaps, you want to try your hand at them.

Both types have their virtues. Making the same products frequently, streamlining one’s product line and concentrating on efficiency and speed are good goals to attain, especially for those limited on space or those in business. And, let us be honest here, it saves money when we get more efficient and purchase larger quantities of fewer ingredients and packaging.

On the other hand, attempting new creations keeps us on our toes. We learn more about the ingredients we use and about formulating.  We give our creative urges room to blossom. Our innovations keep our friends, family and customers interested, as well.

The trick, as I see it, is in balancing the two facets. The most regimented person needs to try something new now and then and needs to keep abreast of trends. The most creative person needs to reign herself in and focus on perfecting a product, developing a cohesive line or simply to avoid overwhelming herself and her space with constant changes in direction, while allowing herself the freedom to do what makes her happy.

The specifics of attaining that balance are personal, but smart is the person who knows his strengths and weaknesses and works at attaining balance.

The upcoming issue of the Saponifier features techniques we hope will get you thinking about something new. If you are not yet a subscriber, come join the family!

http://saponifier.com/subscriptions/

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

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K. Tarbox <![CDATA[Vote: ‘Raves for Faves’ – 2015]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=388 2015-08-18T05:43:22Z 2015-08-18T05:43:22Z Once again it’s time for our annual ‘Raves for Faves’, where we survey and report what the industry of soap, cosmetic, and candle makers have been up to, what they prefer and what they are planning for the future. Again we are asking you to take a couple minutes and report your most popular products…

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Once again it’s time for our annual ‘Raves for Faves’, where we survey and report what the industry of soap, cosmetic, and candle makers have been up to, what they prefer and what they are planning for the future. Again we are asking you to take a couple minutes and report your most popular products and scents and what you like best, whether you are hobbyists or in business, as well as other questions about the industry today.

We appreciate you taking your valuable time to answer questions for us as it allows us to give you a good picture of what you and others are up to.

Fill out my online form.

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Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[I’m Just a Hobbyist]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=368 2015-08-06T03:05:38Z 2015-07-30T21:22:24Z I often hear hobbyist who make soap, cosmetics and candles describing themselves as, “I’m just a hobbyist,”  as if their work was less significant than the work of a business owner.  Is a hobbyist less knowledgeable, less skilled  or less significant than a business owner? Of course not! Let us take a look at why.…

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I often hear hobbyist who make soap, cosmetics and candles describing themselves as, “I’m just a hobbyist,”  as if their work was less significant than the work of a business owner. 

Is a hobbyist less knowledgeable, less skilled  or less significant than a business owner? Of course not! Let us take a look at why.

Creativity vs. Production – While the hobbyist has the creative freedom to make each batch different from the batch before, the business owner must concentrate on streamlining and consistency. Once the business owner decides on what and how she is selling, she no longer has the freedom to change without good reason. Neither is superior, but each requires a different focus.

Knowledge vs. Sales – The hobbyist might be a research hound, learning every aspect of what he or she is making, enjoying the learning as much as the production and varying his product a bit every batch. The business owner’s goal, however, is on making a quality product his customers will pay for. He may also be limited to some extent by the cost of ingredients in order to turn a profit.

Sharing vs. Competition – Often, hobbyists are the most open about sharing formulas, techniques and other information because their livelihood is not at stake. Where it might be foolish to share everything the business owner has learned to make his business successful, the hobbyist has less to lose and often finds satisfaction in sharing.

As you can see, the difference between the hobbyist and business owner lies in each of their intentions, not their ability to make a fantastic product, or their knowledge in any particular area. The business owner concentrates on the business of selling  product, not only in making it, but the hobbyist is free to do as he or she pleases.

The hobbyist should never feel inferior or less significant than a business owner. If you have a yen and goal for making a business, do it. Making a living out of selling what you love is a beautiful thing and bunches of women and men in our industry are doing well at it.

If you find yourself better as a hobbyist, feel proud of the fact you are learning every day and are freely creating. Share what you learn with others. Whatever you do, do not feel that you do not measure up.

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

 

 

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K. Tarbox <![CDATA[Meet our 2015 Design Mania Winners]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=347 2015-07-01T22:50:10Z 2015-07-01T22:50:10Z Congratulations to all of our 2015 Design Mania contest winners!! This years design contest was based on 4 spectacular design technique tutorials published in the May/June 2015 issue. Grand Prize Winner Daniela Naumann – Austria dandelionSeifee.blogspot.de Turkish Embru Technique Elena Lobanok – Belarus Flower Power Technique Daniela Naumann – Austria dandelionSeifee.blogspot.de Inverted Stamp Technique Svetlana…

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Congratulations to all of our 2015 Design Mania contest winners!!

This years design contest was based on 4 spectacular design technique tutorials published in the May/June 2015 issue.

Grand Prize Winner

Daniela Naumann – Austria
dandelionSeifee.blogspot.de

Turkish Embru Technique

Elena Lobanok – Belarus
24-Winner-TurkishEbru

Flower Power Technique

Daniela Naumann – Austria
dandelionSeifee.blogspot.de

1-Winner-FlowerPower

Inverted Stamp Technique

Svetlana Avtonova – Russia
byfreshsoap.blogspot.ru
28-Winner-InvertedStamp

Embedded Circle Technique

Jelena Vasiljeva – Canada
soaptechniques.blogspot.com
35-Winner-EmbeddedCircle

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Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Your Business]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=333 2015-06-30T16:16:51Z 2015-06-30T06:39:52Z It’s time to get social! It is time to use social media to your advantage, that is. If you are like millions of other soap/bath & body/candle makers, you use social media. But, do you use it to spread the word about  your business? If not, you are missing out on the fastest growing method…

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It’s time to get social! It is time to use social media to your advantage, that is.

July2015If you are like millions of other soap/bath & body/candle makers, you use social media. But, do you use it to spread the word about  your business? If not, you are missing out on the fastest growing method for reaching your current customers and obtaining new ones, not to mention quite possibly the least expensive. Even if you do use social media for business; like me, perhaps you could improve your strategies.

You will be happy to know the issue you will find in your mailbox on July 1 features using social media for business.  Erica Pence educates us on visual storytelling marketing, while Kylie Wolfson advises us of five simple tips for boosting our businesses on social media. “Being Visible” by Melinda Coss is sure to give a boost in using Facebook.

You are not a business person? You will find a great deal of other information to tantalize you:

  • Design Mania Winners Announced
  • Non-anionic surfactants as can only be shared by Kevin Dunn
  • Power of the Seed – Your Guide to Oils
    for Health and Beauty
    book review written by Marina Tadiello
  • Making herbal teas and tisanes from Natalie Wilson
  • Understanding web hosting terminology with our new Working Smarter columnist, Michelle Rhoades!
  • How social media is like the wild, wild West explained by Anissa Patten (which I know those of you on Facebook groups will love).

We at the Saponifier are so excited for you to read this July/August 2015 issue! Yes, I  say that each time, but it is because we are. Yet we also know we have so much heartfelt work to offer to you, our readers. Let us know what you think.

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

 

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K. Tarbox <![CDATA[VOTE: Design Mania Contest – 2015]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=249 2015-06-16T16:42:59Z 2015-06-01T18:38:03Z Voting is now CLOSED. Photo entries have been uploaded to our Pinterest page. Votes are being tabulated and the winners will be contacted. Winners will also be announced in the July/Aug issue. The person who garners the most votes (across all design categories) will be our Grand Prize Winner! Those receiving the most votes for…

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Voting is now CLOSED.

Photo entries have been uploaded to our Pinterest page.

Votes are being tabulated and the winners will be contacted. Winners will also be announced in the July/Aug issue.

The person who garners the most votes (across all design categories) will be our Grand Prize Winner! Those receiving the most votes for their categories will become category winners. Prizes will be awarded to all category winners with the bulk of the prize package awarded to the Grand Prize Winner.

Design Technique Categories: Click each category link to view the entries

    1. Embedded Circle
    2. Flower Power
    3. Inverted Stamp
    4. Turkish Ebru

 

Saponifier’s 2015 Design Mania contest is based on 4 spectacular design technique tutorials published in the latest issue (May/June 2015).

**We would like to express sincere thanks to our sponsors who so generously donated prizes to make our Design Mania contest a success! Please visit their websites to see the great selection of products they have to offer!

(Sponsors retain the right to award either product or gift card when a winner resides outside of the USA)

Sponsors

onlinelabels
Aftelier Perfumes
Wholesale Cosmetic Pigments
Formulator Sample Shop

Winning Prize Packages

Grand Prize Winner (1)

  • $100.00 Gift Certificate / Formulator Sample Shop
  • $50.00 Gift Certificate / Online Labels
  • Signed Copy of Fragrant:The Secret Life of Scent, by Mandy Aftel
  • $50.00 Gift Certificate / Wholesale Cosmetic Pigments
  • Saponifier 15-Year Collection: DIGITAL USB Flash Drive
  • Formulator Lab Notebook by Saponifier Magazine
  • 1-YR Subscription (or applied extension to existing) to Saponifier Magazine

Category Winners (4)

  • $50.00 Gift Certificate / Online Labels
  • Signed Copy of Fragrant:The Secret Life of Scent, by Mandy Aftel
  • Formulator Lab Notebook by Saponifier Magazine
  • 1-YR Subscription (or applied extension to existing) to Saponifier Magazine

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Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[Stick Blender Basics]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=305 2015-06-01T06:19:34Z 2015-06-01T06:19:34Z What would we modern soap and lotion makers do without our beloved stick blenders? Now considered basic equipment, we study the features to determine which among the many brands will serve us best.  Which one will perform well? Which one will give us the longest use? Which one comes in my favorite color? What? That…

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What would we modern soap and lotion makers do without our beloved stick blenders?

Now considered basic equipment, we study the features to determine which among the many brands Stick Blenderwill serve us best.  Which one will perform well? Which one will give us the longest use? Which one comes in my favorite color? What? That isn’t important? Think again. Happy is the user with a purple blender! Or maybe that is just me.

The best blender is dependent upon the product one is making, so features to look for are categorized by use.

CP/HP/Cream Soap – I have used many brands of stick blenders in a wide price range. For the newbie, I suggest the cheapest tool you can find. Check thrift shops and garage sales, paying as little as possible just in case you do not like soapmaking (gasp) or your goal is to keep your family in soap, and you will be making fewer than ten batches a  year. This also gives you the opportunity to decide what kind of stick blender you really want for your second blender. Even if you do plan to buy a brand-spanking new blender because you just know you will be using it often, having a back-up is smart.

I bought the $10 discount store version when I began making soap and it only broke after years of use because it was knocked off the counter–and not on purpose. Honest. This blender was basic plastic except for the blades, of course, and the shaft could not be removed from the handle, so I had to be careful not to submerge the motor in water. It was somewhat inconvenient finding a container to soak the blender in after use, but not insurmountable. If you find one with a removable shaft, all the better. Two speeds is better than one.

Liquid Soap – Since you are mixing heated lye water and heated oils together and even heated glycerin if you use that method, a blender with a stainless steel shaft is preferable to one with a plastic shaft.

Lotion – Due to the sanitary requirements for safe lotion making, a stainless steel shaft is preferred over plastic because, given its non-porous nature, it is more sanitary if prepared correctly than plastic. Take into consideration also, the batch size you will be making. I found stick blenders with a large bell (the wide part at the bottom) and large holes in the bell to be more suitable for gallon sized batches than one pound batches. Because the bell could not be submerged deeply enough, the holes caused lotion ingredients to fly everywhere. Scraping lotion off prep surfaces and one’s safety glasses is not fun and should be avoided. If you do use a stick blender with a large bell in a small batch, you will need a deep, tall mixing container.

To use a stick blender correctly, following a few simple rules will help.

1.    You may have to “burp” your blender by plunging it up and down a few times to get the air bubbles out of the bell. This prevents air bubbles in soap.

2.    Keep your blender low to the bottom of the container and tip it a bit at times when necessary, to get the most shear.

3.    Stir your oils and lye water with a whisk or heavy spoon; then mix for a minute with the blender.  Stop and let it rest while you stir again with the spoon. Repeat until your mixture is emulsified. This is true for soapmaking and will prevent your motor from burning out, which is the leading cause of death in stick blenders. Knocking them off the counter is second, carried out by those desiring a purple blender.

With these few tips, choose the right blender and get going!

Speaking of going, did you submit your photo for the Design Mania Contest? I cannot wait to see what you all created!

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

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Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[Guess Who is in Design Mania!]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=274 2015-05-03T02:38:46Z 2015-05-01T07:09:54Z I am so excited about the newest issue of the Saponifier that will be delivered to your inbox in just hours. Why am I so excited? It’s because we are featuring four tutorials for fabulous soap designs by some of our favorite soapmakers!   Do you want to know whom they are? Okay, I’ll tell:…

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Cover-May/June 2015I am so excited about the newest issue of the Saponifier that will be delivered to your inbox in just hours. Why am I so excited? It’s because we are featuring four tutorials for fabulous soap designs by some of our favorite soapmakers!

 

Do you want to know whom they are? Okay, I’ll tell:

Tanya Bainbridge with Turkish Ebru Design

Sabine Milby with Flower Power Technique

Jodi Berg with Embedded Circle Design

Clara Lindberg with Inverted Stamp Tops

 

Some of you know these talented women and what they are capable of. Some of you have seen these designs and have been asking for a tutorial. Now, you will have it.  Clara, Jodi, Sabine and Tanya have labored to explain their innovative work just for you. Once you read the magazine, be sure to try the designs out for yourself. Take good photos because we are again sponsoring a contest with prizes you’re pining for!

Happy reading and wishing you the best on your own soap designs.

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

 

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Beth Byrne http://www.SoapandGarden.com <![CDATA[Why Do Soapmakers Make Soap?]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=232 2015-04-03T05:11:23Z 2015-04-03T05:10:09Z I was pondering recently, why do we soapmakers love making soap so much? What is it that captivates us nearly to the point of obsession? Of course, it did not take long for me to answer my own question. Soapmakers love to make soap for many reasons. We love the science of soapmaking, the practicality,…

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I was pondering recently, why do we soapmakers love making soap so much? What is it that captivates us nearly to the point of obsession?

Of course, it did not take long for me to answer my own question. Soapmakers love to make soap for many reasons. We love the science of soapmaking, the practicality, the endless variety and the creativity.

The science explaining how water and oil combine to make an emulsion is much more fascinating when contemplating soap than any school lecture ever could have been. And learning how molecules with hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends lift off dirt is a marvel.

Additionally, knowing this product we make is a practical–indeed, lifesaving product is gratifying and excuses what I spend in supplies. . . right? I like knowing what I make is a practical and usable luxury.

Let us consider the variety. We make bars, we make liquid and cream, we use colors of all sorts and endless techniques. Don’t get me started on fragrance. I’m quite sure I could make a different batch every day, yet never exhaust the possibilities.

As if that isn’t enough, let us consider the creativity of soapmaking. Plotting and carrying out the soap best expressing our imagination, our feelings, our needs and our desire to please others is both consuming and satisfying. I see new ideas more frequently than I would have thought possible. Soapmakers are a creative bunch!

Speaking of creativity, the Soap Design issue is coming soon. Look for it in your mailboxes on May 1st. We are offering four gorgeous design tutorials by talented soapmakers just like you. We are sure you will love to follow and try them for yourselves, but be sure to take a photo when you do! Did I hear someone say something about a contest?

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

Beth Byrne, for the Saponifier

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K. Tarbox <![CDATA[How to Make Soap Without Lye]]> http://saponifier.com/?p=196 2015-02-27T08:39:34Z 2015-02-27T08:14:20Z So, you’re afraid to make soap bars because you don’t want to handle lye, aka caustic soda, sodium hydroxide. Either that, or you were warned of the evils of lye in handmade soap. Yet you want to make something like the beautiful photos you see of handmade soap that smells wonderful and treats your skin…

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So, you’re afraid to make soap bars because you don’t want to handle lye, aka caustic soda, sodium hydroxide. Either that, or you were warned of the evils of lye in handmade soap. Yet you want to make something like the beautiful photos you see of handmade soap that smells wonderful and treats your skin like gold, and you are looking for directions for making it.

Just one problem. You cannot make real soap without using lye. Why? Because soap is the result of mixing oil (fatty acids) with alkali. A chemical reaction takes place and voila, you get soap. In fact, the FDA defines soap, in part as, “the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product’s detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds,. . .” Read it for yourself here.

If you’re worried about lye, keep in mind people have been using soap since ancient times to clean themselves. Moreover, famous soaps such as Marseille and Aleppo have been known for their skin qualities for almost as long.

All the lye is reacted in a correctly made soap, so you need not worry about harming your skin. As a matter of fact, some of the soap you purchase in the store is likely made in part, of real soap. Most are synthetic detergents; others are part soap and part synthetic detergent.

Still don’t want to handle lye? Purchase soap base where the manufacturer has already used sodium hydroxide so you can make soap without using it yourself. Look for melt and pour base at Glory Bee or Mold Market.

You can also purchase already made soap, called soap noodles or shreds, and add your own colors and scents. They were made with lye, but it is reacted so you don’t have to work with it.

If, after reading this, you’d like to learn to make soap using lye, perhaps you’d like to attend classes such as: Bath Alchemy Lab or Blue Ridge Soap Shed. Another option is to find a teacher through the HSCG (Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild) or our events and classes page.

As you can see, if you do not care to handle lye, you can find other products to use. Make no mistake, however, lye is essential in making real soap.

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

Beth Byrne for the Saponifier

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