November/December in Review

As I perused Facebook this evening, Marla Bosworth’s article from our current issue (Nov./Dec. 13)  rang in my ears.  Yes, I was spending too much time there and I hadn’t accomplished all of my day’s goals.  What about you?  Did you find her piece to be eye-opening and a good reminder?  Granted, Facebook is a wonderful medium and a great business tool for many of us, but too much of anything loses its wonderfulness (is that a word?) and simply becomes a distraction and a time-gobbler.  Of course, Facebook isn’t alone, but it is the most widely used form of social media.  So, how do you apportion your time?  Share with us your tips for making best use of Facebook without getting lost in it.

 

Off the Facebook soapbox and on to the holidays.  Did you not love Suzanne Finley’s poem,  “A Poem of Holiday Favorites?”  I was amused and delighted.  Any of us making product for sale or for gifts this time of year are sure to relate.

 

I hope you enjoyed the Castile soap article written by our newest columnist, Marina Tadiello.  Castile’s place in history is as fascinating as is this one-oil soap, itself!  I loved gazing at the photos supplied by Castile soapmakers.  Do you like Castile soap?  Do you make it?

 

Where would we be without the clever and knowledgeable Kevin Dunn, who educated us in a most fascinating way in his article, “Phun With Ph?”  I’m wishing that my junior and senior high school teachers had been as fun (or phun) as Kevin is.

 

Deb Sturdevant’s sharing her life and memories of her favorite herbs was a respite from my day and a reminder to count my favorite herbal memories and where they have taken me over the years.  Karen Mallinger’s monographs on bayberry and cloves were a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys herbs and would like to learn more.  I really wanted to find bayberries and extract the wax.  Perhaps someday, I will.  For now though, I have lots of cloves to experiment with.  What are your favorite herbs and why?

 

Of course, everyone’s favorite November/December issue article, “Raves for Faves” was eagerly anticipated.  I love finding out what everyone else is doing, and apparently, so do you.  How do you stack up among your fellow artisans?

 

I must mention that I always enjoy the writings of Melinda Coss, esoteric ramblings or not.  Although she knows more than I ever will about soapmaking and the business thereof, she is so down-to-earth and easy to read that I look forward to seeing her name.

 

Looking for some new ideas for the holidays?  Diane Pither-Patterson is your girl.  Her article on creating candles by upcycling pieces you find was timely in that upcycling is a trend we shouldn’t ignore and during the holidays is a great time to introduce something like this.

 

What?  You don’t subscribe, but you’re dying to read this issue?  No problem.  http://saponifier.com/current-issue/ will provide you with the information that you need.  Join the family!

 

Please note the ads of our fantastic business partners and consider purchasing from them.  They provide us with the best of everything.

 

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

 

Beth Byrne for the Saponifier

Four Ideas for Super Sales!

You’ve sold your lovely soaps (and/or candles and bath and body wares) to friends and family.  Perhaps you’ve branched out to farmers markets and craft shows.  You may, however, have found them incompatible with your schedule and personality, or you may simply want to expand your business.  Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about wholesale, and many in our industry have created a thriving business doing just that.   But, what else is there?

 

Thanks to the new, Sept/Oct. 2012, issue of the Saponifier, you have more sales avenues to consider, some of which you may have never given thought to before!  Erica Pence explains the concept of direct sales, and further expounds upon the two types.  If you’ve read her article, Configuring a Direct Sales Company, you now have a good idea and may even be in the preliminary stages of planning your own strategy.  If not, well, get cracking!

 

Remember Tupperware?  Pampered Chef?  Start your own home party plan for your business after reading Beth Byrne’s interview with Becky Gentile and Lucia Felty, who share their structures for home parties.  In the article, Tips for Super Sales With Home Parties, you’ll learn their secrets for creating a successful home party plan that will  make your hostess feel like a queen, your guests ravenous for your products, and you, a happy seller.  Have you been contemplating your own party plan?  We’d love to hear about it.

 

Cindy Noble, in Safety in Numbers:  Planning a Multi-Vendor Trunk Show, instructs us on sponsoring your own show, where you choose the vendors, the date and the location.  With this concise, yet informative guide, you’ll be off and planning your holiday show!   What is the date of your show?

 

If what you’ve been doing has become rather stale, or if expansion is on your mind, answers are right at your fingertips–and just in time for the holidays!

 

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

 

Beth Byrne

Spinning Your Way to Prosperity

It’s gardening time in North America.

 

Spring trees and flowers are blooming and even in the coldest areas, perennials are popping up out of the ground.  Have you ever thought about planting a soap garden?

 

Read, How Does Your Garden Grow?  A Soapmaker’s Garden, by Beth Byrne, and then tell us what you’re growing or planning to grow in your soap garden.

 

In a completely unrelated topic, what do wars have to do with soap and candlemakers?  Quite a bit, actually, if you sell them.  Tamara Dourney explains in, Remembering the Post-War Era why and how the various war efforts affected the economy in the past, and speculates on the possibilities that may take place once the current war that the US is involved in is over.  Prosperity or doom?  While the outcome is yet to be determined, you can prepare and position yourself for either scenario.

 

On the formulator’s front. . . a natural preservative, how many of us wouldn’t want something all natural for our lotions and creams?  Does one exist?  Erica Pence gives us the low-down in her article, The Great Debate:  Is There a Natural Preservative?  Not surprisingly, the jury is largely still out regarding the new, natural preservatives, but we do get to read about some of them.

 

Denise Marks gets our wheels turning in, Spin for Success.  In an entertaining way, she teaches us about business and life, helping us to overcome failures and obstacles while taking advantage of our good ideas.  Be sure to read this one if you haven’t already.

 

Until next time, happy bubbles and wax as you spin your way through life!

 

Beth Byrne


 

 

Natural Scent Music, Hydrosols, and Projects for Chandlers

The Thanksgiving weekend is wrapping up as I write and I reflect on all that took place.  I had such a wonderful time with my family and our friend who spent the day with us.  I hope yours was equally as blessed.

 

On Saturday, I met up with a couple of soapmakers who hadn’t heard of the Saponifier before, so of course, I directed them to the site.  It made me think about how the past articles have helped me to become a better soapmaker and how much I have enjoyed being on staff.  Aren’t you glad you have the Saponifier?  If you know of a soapmaker or chandler who doesn’t read the Saponifier, show her or him the light!

 

Interested in natural scents and blends?  If you’ve read Erica Pence’s, Scenting Naturally, you’ve not only expanded on your knowledge base, but are likely composing beautiful scent symphonies to use in your products.  If you don’t know why I am using musical metaphors, you haven’t read the article yet!

 

Hydrosols, also known as hydrolats and distillates, are lesser known aromatherapy products, but certainly no less useful.  Sherri Reehil-Welser introduces them to us in The Healing Art of Hydrosols.  If you’ve been wondering about them and how to use them, I’m sure you are or will find the information you read invaluable as you seek to use them more.

 

What are you doing?  Go outside, gather a pile of pine cones and get busy making dipped cones!  What a lovely gift they’ll be to your fireplace-owning friends and family, and so easy to do.  If that’s not enough, Erica Pence also explains how to make Whipped Snow Cones and Snowballs in Winter Snow and Pine Cones – Making Whipped and Dipped Candles.  Have you made any of them yet?  Let us know how it was for  you.

 

Talk to us and let us know what you think about this issue.  We love to hear from our readers!

 

Best wishes for a happy holiday season,

 

Beth Byrne

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!

Four Good Summer Reads. . .

By now, I’m sure most of you have read your July/August 2011 issue cover-to-cover and packed with helpful articles and ideas to implement in your business.

Are you a maker of natural products?  The term, “natural” is extremely popular right now, embodying products full of synthetic ingredients to those made with entirely earth-based ingredients.  With the marketplace saturated with natural, how can you promote yours?  Erica Pence details the difficulty of defining natural in her article, Promoting Your Natural Products,”  as well as properly labeling your product so that it will stand out. You will gain confidence in marketing once you understand the ins and outs.

Interested in perfumery?  Read, Perfume Oil Blending 101 – The Fragrant Body, by Sherri Reehil-Welser, to learn fragrance notes, blending mediums, and even a blend recipe for a “Daily Devotional” blend.  Go ahead, try it.

If you have thus far resisted the temptation to make candles, beware that reading Erica Pence’s, Marbling:  Torching, Hammering, and Painting Your Candles, may just change your mind!  She explains the various techniques in detail, so if you’ve been thinking that your candles are a bit on the boring side, you can remedy things.

Are your marketing strategies less effective than you would like them to be?  Perhaps you’re struggling with determining the best way to turn interest into dollars.  Tamara Dourney explains the kind of demand that customers display will decide the type of marketing you choose in order to convert more “maybe” into “yes.”

Have you thought about or implemented any of the business actions outlined in this issue?  Have you made the booth bunting?  What do you think?

If you’re participating in or gearing up for fall craft shows, and want to set your booth apart from the competition, you’ll need something unique.  To the rescue comes Rachel Wolf  with Creating Your Own Booth Bunting.  With just a little time, a bit of fabric, and a dose of creativity, you too, will create a bunting worthy of your product line.

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!