Perfumery, Distillation, and Faves–it’s all Here

Have you been pouring over your new issue of the Saponifier?  I have.  

Thanks to those who participated in the Raves for Faves survey (by Beth Byrne) by taking the time to vote honestly and carefully.  How did your favorites match up to those that placed?  Were you surprised at the outcome?  Of course, we all know that many amazing companies serve our industry; still, it was fun choosing the top three in each category.

It was interesting, also, to see how much or how little popular scents and products change over the years.  How does your product line compare?  Do you find your customers enjoying new products and scents or do they stick with the tried-and-true?

Reading,  A Day in the Life of a Natural Perfumer (Marla Bosworth) gave me a new respect for perfumers, as well.  Although I do enjoy blending scents fairly frequently, Sharna Ethier’s knowledge and how she puts it to work was fascinating to me.  I also found it remarkable how young she discovered that she had a keen nose for scent.  Including the recipes was icing on the cake!  Do you see yourself as a budding perfumer?

The Art of Distillation: From History Directly to Your Backyard, by Cindy Noble, was one that I was looking forward to reading.  I don’t think my life will be complete until I have my own distillation unit!  What about you?  Knowing more about the ancients and their love of distilled herbs and other materials was compelling, as was the information gleaned from Copper-Alembic, which manufactures these beautiful devices.

I hope I haven’t given anything away that would spoil your reading, but I did want to whet your appetite if you haven’t had a chance to sit down with it yet.  You’ll be glad  you did!

Until next time, Bubblingly Yours,


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!

Recycling and Social Media: What About You?

All those bits and ends of candles, you’d like to find a way to use them, but how?  Erica Pence comes to the rescue in Recycled Candles, explaining just how easy it is to remake those stubs into tea lights, votives and even decorative candles.  She even gives simple directions for making candles in pumpkins and other seasonal produce for a lovely holiday theme! Naturally, I purged my leftovers not long ago, but will save them again so I can give Erica’s advice a go.

Have you tried this yet?  Let us know how it went.

In this day and age, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Social Media.  Clearly, the buzz phrase of the decade, Social Media brings to mind probably at least a couple of types.  The question is, how well do you make use of it as a tool for marketing your business?  Is the entire topic an unknown that you’re afraid to explore?  Or is it a lake that you’ve dipped your toe in, but you’ve been afraid to jump?  Perhaps you feel as if you have jumped in, but belly-flopped.  Read, Five Steps to Social Media Success:  An Interview with Donna Maria Coles Johnson, written by Beth Byrne.  In it, dM as she likes to be called, outlines the major Social Media types, as well as a few not so major, and helps us to both understand them, their purpose, and how to use them effectively in our businesses.  Ever amazed by dM’s knowledge of the latest and greatest in marketing and technology, I just know you’ll find her thoughts helpful in your own efforts.

Have you implemented any of the strategies mentioned in the article?  Share with us how it’s working for you!

Until next time, happy bubbles!

Oils, Oils, and More Oils!

Do you feel comfortable using essential oils?

If the answer is no, but you would like to learn, Marge Clark on The Essentials of  Essential Oils is for you.  Beth Byrne interviewed Marge to get the scoop on essential oils, from what they are to how they are obtained.  She explains the production processes, how to choose oils of acceptable quality, and questions to ask suppliers to ensure pure, good quality oils.  She also talks to readers about proper and safe use of essential oils.  Read the article and arm yourself with the knowledge to make appropriate buying decisions!

What are your favorite essential oils for your products, and why?

No doubt you know of a soapmaker who has sought an alternative to palm oil–maybe one of these soapmakers is you.  The reason?  The rampant burning of the rainforests in order to create farmland for palm trees to satisfy the needs and desires of the world.  The effects of this uncontrolled practice are widespread and alarming, and who could look at Orangutans losing their habitat and not feel a pang of guilt?  Erica Pence, in The Search for Sustainability, aptly explains the situation, not simply for palm oil and Orangutans, but also for other products and causes, and urges us to search for sustainable products, instead.  She makes a compelling case and even provides us with two formulas to try out.

Have environmental or social global concerns affected the way you do business?

Carrier oils, how much thought do you give them?  Except for getting the right balance for soap, do you pay attention to them?  I admit to being an oil afficionado, so Sherri Reehil-Welser’s article, The Beauty of Carrier Oils, was on my must-read list.  She reviews a long list of oils, ranging from the most common such as olive oil, to a few that are more obscure, namely Tamanu and KuKui Nut.  She informs us as to the vitamins and other properties of the oils, as well as their effects and what products or conditions to use them for.

How many of your favorites were mentioned?

Until next time, may bubbles be part of your day.

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!

Coming: Calendula, Social Marketing, and Recycling!

Coming September 1st!  Calendula, what do you know about it?  

This lovely, prolific herb is just waiting for you to try it.  Easy to grow, Lindalu Forseth shares why Calendula (aka Pot Marigold)  is the perfect herb to grow and use in soapmaking, whether you’re an experienced gardener/soapmaker or a novice.  Look for her Monograph and be amazed at what Calendula can do for your products.

Do you make use of Social Media in marketing your products?  Be sure to catch Beth Byrne’s, Five Steps to Social Media Success, where she welcomes back contributor Donna Maria Coles Johnson.  Founder of the beauty organization, Indie Beauty Network, dM focuses on helping her members navigate the complexities of building their businesses.  Embracing technology and using it as a marketing tool by communicating with customers is an ideal tool for the small business owner.  Learn about the various forms of social media and how to use them successfully in your business.

Picture yourself surrounded by the glow of candlelight.  Doesn’t it sound romantic and cozy?  Picture yourself with the bits and stubs of wax left over from your candle burning.  Ugh.  Is there anything to be done with them besides the trash bin?  Erica Pence has the answer in, Recycled Candles.  She explains the process of sorting the candles into similar batches and magically creating new and amazing candles!  As if that’s not enough, Erica also explains how to make a lovely autumn tabletop candle from your scraps.

Are You Business Savvy?

Have you been reading the new issue of the Saponifier?

I’m sure you’ll agree that our writers have outdone themselves this issue, especially if you own a business.

Niche?  Target audience?  What do these terms mean to you and your business success?  Read Marla Bosworth’s, Identifying Your Niche and Target Audience,” to find out!  If you don’t have one, you need to get one.  Marla warns us that instead of trying to be everything to everyone, we need to find a niche market to concentrate on.  But don’t forget to peruse the article, or you’ll miss out on some very helpful information.

If you want to keep it local, read Cindy Noble’s informative article, Backyard Marketing.  Find out how to put together a business prospectus, how to find the right demographics for your product, and how to get ready to market your business.  Additionally, get ideas on where and how to find good advertising sources so that your market can find you.  Cindy tells us that although the focus these days is on globalization and international markets, we can still find a foundation at home.

Did you attend the HSMG Conference in May?  If you did, read Beth Byrne’s review, Miami Bubbles with Soapmakers, to relive the excitement and energy.  If you didn’t attend, read it anyway to see what you missed!   Read who came to speak, who came to learn, vendor-sponsors who support us, and much more. You might even find yourself in a photo!

Happy reading!

What’s New in the Saponifier?

Summer is here, or nearly here!

We all know that as much as we love the sun and summer activities, it can be hard on our skin.  Want to know all about keeping your skin soft and sexy for summer fun?  Check out Sherri Reehil-Welser’s article where she talks about hydrosols and butters that will help keep your skin in great shape.  Recipes included!

Are you a melt & pour soaper, or do want to learn?  How about candles?  Erica Pence has written a how-to article on beautiful fancy soaps and candles that you’ll enjoy making.  You’ll amaze yourself at your talent!

Do you know what Business Valuation is?  Alexander Sherman sheds some light on the subject of determining the value of your business, and other pertinent points such as adding value to your business.  If you’re a business owner, you can’t afford not to read this one!

If you’re looking to add something that will give your products a special touch, consider making gift bags and pouches.  Rachel Wolf shows us how to make lovely lined bags and pouches that will set your products apart.

The Saponifier will be at the HSMG Conference!  Tamara Dourney and Beth Byrne are attending the conference, so be sure to find them and provide feedback on the magazine.  We’re offering prizes for some lucky attendees, too.

Babies & Bases and Codes and Spaces

Have you tried anything formulas or ideas from the new issue yet?    Did you learn anything new?

Beth Byrne’s, DIY Bases, will get you started on making your own soap and cosmetic bases if you’re set on your own formulas, but need to save time.  Have you tried any yet, or are you planning to try making your own?  I think making your own bases is among the best ideas for smaller businesses who are working to be as efficient as possible.

Tamara Dourney’s article about QR Codes was very informative and on the cutting edge of technology.  It’s exciting to think about the possibilities that using these codes hold for our future.  Don’t wait.  Jump in now!

I read with interest Erica Pence’s article, Natural Bath for Babies and Children, about using essential oils in baby care, and will take heed of her recommendations as I make products for the babies in my life.  It’s so important to learn all we can about essential oils before we use them, and doubly so when we intend them for use with infants.

With the craft show season upon us, Tamara Dourney’s, Redesigning the Market Stall is a timely piece challenging and encouraging those of us who do shows to give our set-ups some thought and thinking of new solutions to the problem of merchandising in small, temporary spaces.  Anyone who has tried it will understand how important it is to design booths to maximize exposure and attract customers, all in a 10 x 10 square!  Study the photos and see if you can glean some tips for your booth.

I’m sure that by now, you’ve read at the least, a few articles.  Let us know what you think!

Bases, Bases, Who’s Got the Bases?

What a terrific issue!  I am thoroughly enjoying the time I get to spend reading this issue of the Saponifier.

I was looking forward to reading Marla Bosworth’s review of melt and pour soap bases.  She certainly delivered in this article, as she took on the major sellers and solicited reviews from soapmakers.  Did reading her article help you to decide which one you’d like to try?  I liked that she established criteria for testing the bases.

Tamara Dourney’s article, Redesigning the Market Stall, was excellent, as well, giving us tips to increase sales, from business plan to focus groups.  Anyone selling at shows will benefit from reading this one.

A Canadian soapmaker, Louise Vargas, was the spotlight of Lindalu Forseth’s article.  Find out how she went from the bookstore to establishing her own business.  She’ll share her success with you!

Are you thinking about using bases for all or part of your product line?  Don’t order anything until you read, The Basics on Bases:  A Review, by Beth Byrne.  She solicited the opinions of other soap and cosmetic makers in order to bring you a good deal of information that will surely help you to decide which bases you want to work with.  This may help you to choose the best one for your needs.

What do you think so far?

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