July/August Review–What About You?

When you read articles in the Saponifier about your craft or your business, do you put what you’ve learned into practice or does it go into your “Maybe Someday” file?

 

I confess that some of that great information goes into that file until I’m ready to use it, but I try to make good use of each issue.  For instance, some possess a fair amount of knowledge of herbs, while others are rank beginners. Calendula is the perfect herb for beginners, but still very useful for veterans, so Deb Sturdevant’s article was either an informative primer or a helpful reminder.  I still need to make the recipes she provided! Did you make them?

 

Whether you attended the HSCG conference or not, we hope you found, HSCG Conference in Review, to whet your appetite for future conferences if you’re a soap or cosmetics maker to take your skills and business to a new level.

 

Speaking of business, I love reading each column of Marla Bosworth, for instance, and her most recent, Beyond Daily Duty Mode, is no exception.  A business plan is key to starting a business, even if we know we’ll be amending it along the way. In addition, Melinda Coss’ warning in her article, Design to Profit, not to let our creativity run amuck in order that we might run our businesses profitably, was timely information, was it not?  The balance between creativity and efficiency and consistency can be a tenuous one, but mastering the business side is as important as mastering the skill.

 

In, Design Your Soap, Sue Finley’s advice on creating our soaps from product to packaging was a good reminder that simply making soap was not enough. In creating a product, we must create a brand, from conception to selling and everything in between. Indeed, the role of small business owner is not a simple one as it requires us to become expert and disciplined in each facet of our business.

 

Nevertheless, where would we be without exercising some creativity? That brings me to asking, how did you like those tutorials?  How many are you trying? I can’t wait to see your submissions!  Just as a reminder, here’s how the contest works:

Submit photos of your best soaps among the tutorials offered in the July/August issue.  You may enter a total of two photos, but they must each be from a different category:

  1. Drop Swirl
  2. Tiger Stripe Technique
  3. Paint Chip Technique
  4. Peacock Swirl
  5. Squeeze Bottle Swirl

You may submit your photos by filling out the form on the website between August 26th and September 9th, 2013.  We will then post your photos on the Saponifier website.  Beginning September 16 and ending September 30, the public will vote on their favorite soap in each category.  The winner from each technique will receive a prize!

 

 

Note that the form won’t be up on the website until August 26th; so, until then, get soaping and clicking!

 

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:  http://saponifier.com/subscriptions/

 

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.  :-)

Jekyll & Hyde in the Herb Garden

Do you grow Barberry?

Some would call the European Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) a weed shrub, but thanks to Elizabeth Sockol, we know that although it is weedy, Barberry is also a useful shrub.  Along with its close relatives named in her article, we now know that its berries are edible and loaded with vitamin C.  Additionally, it had been used in the past for a long list of ailments.  Nevertheless, this attractive shrub has a dark side due to the fatal fungus that resides within–a fungus that very nearly wiped out wheat and barley growing in the US.

Intrigued?  Make sure you read this most fascinating article and tell us if you don’t agree that Barberry might be called the Jekyll & Hyde of the herb world.

Fortunately, we can turn to one of my favorite herbs, indeed an favorite of many, Calendula (Calendula officinalis).  This lovely, cheerful annual is not only delightful in our flower gardens, but an extremely useful herb, as well, Lindalu Forseth explains.  She talks of Calendula infused in oil, teaching how to grow, harvest, and infuse it for use in a variety of ways.   It’s a known anti-inflammatory, helps heal wounds, and may even be useful as an anti-cancer and anti-viral.

Many soap and b&b makers love Calendula for its skin-loving qualities.  After reading this article, you’ll want to give it a try!

Do you have questions regarding what you’ve read in this issue of the Saponifier?  Did you like particular articles, finding them helpful in your soap, bath product, or candle making?  Let us know.  We love to hear from our readers.

Lastly, be sure to drool over the photos sent in by our readers, and to read the bio of Maria Sarafi from Greece.  You’ll be inspired!

What did you learn from reading this issue?

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.