Education. Do you think of stuffy classrooms where you struggled to stay awake, or was your experience a positive one of engaging discussion and good test results? Do you prefer a formal or an informal mode of education? And why am I talking about education at all on the Saponifier blog?
If you hadn’t noticed, the new issue is all about education, in particular, educating ourselves about soapmaking, candlemaking, and related topics–herbs, chemistry, art and design, and so on. If we sell product, we can throw in accounting and marketing. Fortunately, we can continue educating ourselves, whether we physically go back to school, we learn online, or we learn informally through books and other research.
Tamara Dourney filled us in on some exciting methods of formal education, by way of online learning in her article, Open Source Scientist. If your opinion of this modern way of being educated is negative, think again. Many opportunities for study at recognized institutions are available, and they continue to evolve and develop, making it easier for artisans to increase their knowledge of subjects important to their crafts. Tamara also wrote about various potential career paths that are related to our crafts in, Career Day: Five Options for Continuing Education.
If you prefer doing your own research on a specific topic, Erica Pence’s, Natural Resources and her second article, Candle Resources, both filled with good books for learning soap and candle making, essential oils, herbs, botanicals and other body care products. Your knowledge base is sure to greatly increase by studying them.
If you find yourself wishing to take a class, be sure to read Marla Bosworth’s, 10 Tips for Selecting the Right Soap and Skincare Classes to Match Your Needs. Heeding her comments may mean the difference between a wonderful class you’ll think was worth every penny and one that was a waste of time and money.
In this issue, you’ll even find an educational herb monograph on the lovely Glacier Lily, more commonly called, Dog-Toothed Violet or Trout Lily in my neck of the woods. I had no idea of the food and medicinal uses for this early spring treasure!
Whether you are a staunch believer in conventional education and desire to pursue a degree or you are looking for something less formal, but no less educational, you’ll find ideas in the above articles. Tell us how YOU like to learn.
Until next time,
Happy bubbles & wax adventures.
Whew! The holidays have passed and we’ve survived to tell the tales. Welcome 2012!
If you’re like most of us, you’ve made resolutions or set goals for the year, and we hope the Jan./Feb. issue of the Saponifier is helping, at least where soap or candlemaking is concerned! We probably can’t help you lose twenty pounds, but we can give you some guidance in your hobby or business ventures.
I found Brandy Kayzakian-Rowe’s article, Looking Good in the New Year–Spotlight on Product Photography, to be fascinating and very informative. Her advice as to where to take photos, what kind of lighting to use and other hints, even her advice about hiring a photographer, will be taken to heart by any of us.
In addition, many of us are scrutinizing our products and the ingredients we use in 2012. We want the best for our businesses and our customers. We may also be concerned the economy and with sustainability. Whatever our goals are, we continually hone in on our target markets and the customer base we serve. All of these factors cause us to make decisions, some of them very hard to make. Marla Bosworth’s, Resolving to go Palm-Free in 2012: Will You Join Me? was at the same time, thought-provoking and compelling. Reading it side-by-side with Erika Pence’s, Going Natural, which was also well-written and compelling, will certainly challenge us all in deciding whether to use palm and its derivatives or not. As with most issues, good points are being made for either side and further thought and research are in order.
What about you? What kinds of decisions have you wrestled with for the coming year?
Yours in bubbles & wax,
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,
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.