Okay, good news! The soaps are sellin' and Shenandoah Soaps is becoming a bit more than a hobby these days. If business continues to go well, I'm considering making this an official small business in the beginning of next year. This means that a lot of things are going to have to change. Things like paying attention to how much I give away, instituting some sort of real financial practice (luckily, I have accountants in the family), and learning how to feel confident about selling my products.
First of all, I'm going to have to figure out what products I would like to focus on making. Right now, I'm knee deep in fabric (with a broken sewing machine) and Knitorious on Watson is starting to recognize me (although, I'm a closeted crocheter and not a knitter). But, the idea behind Shenandoah Soaps is fairly self-explanatory, and I want to continue to improve and expand my soap product line.
Secretly, my goal has been to begin making my own fragrances with essential oils and use them for my soaps. I've been researching essential oils and will soon be providing all natural products, including the use of Spectrum brand palm kernel oil, to help save the orangutans.
Oh yeah, finances. Obviously focusing is going to be a challenge with all of the different things I like to make as well as organizing finances. I continue to give half of my products away and buy half of Etsy as soon as I sell something. Practicing frugality will be on my "to do" list every day.
I am in serious need of some sweet marketing skills. I get unbelievably nervous when selling at a craft fair or talking with people face to face about the soaps. Sometimes, I accidentally say the opposite of what I mean. Matt as my witness, it's true. For example, recently I told some people that my soaps are "vegan made with ALL animal fats." I should have said the soaps are vegan made with NO animal fats! Ugh. Embarrassing.
I hope you will all enjoy the positive changes that will be made toward all natural and eco-friendly products coming up next year. I will definitely keep you posted.
Three years ago, I got fed up with holiday gift giving pressure. The anxiety and financial obligation compounded and turned into some ugly Scroogery on my part. The expectation that I had to spend money on someone in order for him or her to feel some sort of fulfillment bothered me ... a lot. So, I decided to start creating useful handmade gifts for friends and loved ones, because I enjoy gift giving.
Coming up with something that men and women could both enjoy was tough, so I made some soaps and lotions. I never had the intention of selling them, but I had so much encouragement from people who tried them that I've decided to try to make it work.
Consider giving some handmade gifts this season. There are a lot of excellent quality products out there that provide charm and character. Click on those links to get to some of my Treasury lists on Etsy.
You should also try to make it to this if you can:
Thanks to my co-worker, Kimberly P. (who has great ideas for soap making), I've made a couple holiday style soaps. Nothing too silly that you might feel embarrassed buying. Personally, I never go for anything that is Christmas themed unless it's for my Christmas tree.
Two nights ago, I made Peppermint Bark and Chocolate Mint soaps, and they smell delicious. Matt test- smelled them for me and said, "Whoa, that smells like food. Yeah, can I have one of the peppermint ones?" This means that these have officially been approved by both men and women.--Safe for the gift giving season.
These soaps will make their first appearance at the HOLI-DIY craft fair coming up on Dec. 4th, and they will be sold at Maude's Market that weekend as well.
Honestly, I enjoy using the soaps I make. I've been doing this for about a year now, and I've been able to find a recipe and some scents that I love. I also like the fact that the soap is biodegradable and detergent free. BUT what I really love is this body butter that I made a couple weeks ago.
There are a lot of benefits to using shea butter and apricot oil. If you click on the previously highlighted words they will take you to some informative links. If you would like the short version. . . they are both naturally moisturizing and absorb easily into the skin. They are said to have anti-aging properties and are high in vitamin A and E. Shea butter also acts as a natural spf in the range of 6.
The recipe is very simple, but it is time consuming to make. It's a blend of melted shea butter and apricot oil whipped together while cooling. You can add a scent or keep it plain with only the fragrance of the shea. Shenandoah Elbow Grease is made plain or has a more masculine scent. Yes, I said masculine. Men actually like using this, too! It helps soften hard worked hands, feet, and elbows. This stuff goes on slightly greasy (because it's oil) but absorbs within about a minute and you will only notice the moisturizing effects.
Next week, I'm going to show you how to make it! I'll even show you where to buy the ingredients! All right, calm down! You all can't start commenting at once!