Sunday, October 18, 2020

Priority Shipping...

I thought I should explain why I ship Priority USPS. It isn't the cheapest way to go, that's for sure. 

To send a package First Class with one bar of soap it would cost the buyer around $3.50 (I'd love to offer free shipping but it's just not feasible). Most people purchase more than one bar at a time, postage goes up as the weight goes up. It only takes a bar or two more to reach Priority prices.

I can get up to 8 bars of soap, possibly more depending on the size of the bars, in a flat rate envelope. There are boxes called Scotty Stuffers that are made to fit inside one of these envelopes, just had to order more. I get the flat rate price with a bit of protection for the soap.

Priority is better for timing. I work compacted work weeks, 12-hour days, 3 days on 4 days off, then 4 days on 3 days off. When I receive orders on the days I work I can print Priority labels and get the package ready when I get home. The package is picked up by the postal worker the very next day. Shipping quickly is very important to me. Priority labels are the only labels I can print at the moment. 

Priority is faster by a few days.

I can get free Priority boxes and envelopes from the Post Office, they deliver them to me for free, too. Anything I can save is reflected in my soap prices.

Sometime soon, maybe at the beginning of next year, I plan on signing up at an online postage printing site. For the most part I would still ship Priority but if it's cheaper for my customers I will be able to print First Class postage.

So there you have it. I want to offer the best service possible to my customers and to get orders on their way quickly, Priority shipping is my only option at the moment. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Who do You Tube?

There are only three things I watch on YouTube. Soap makers, to get inspired to make soap,  Dungeons and Dragons terrain videos to get ideas for...building D&D terrain, and a few streaming D&D games to get Dungeon Master tips...which includes watching Critical Role.

Everyone has their likes and dislikes of the various YouTube shows, stars, genres, etc. I'm going to share some of my favorite soap makers with you...not in any particular order. A lot of people find it relaxing to watch the soap making and cutting process, some of us find it inspiring.

Not affiliated with anyone below...well...we're all soap makers so we're kindred spirits.

Katie Carson at Royalty Soaps. Katie is the epitome of quirky. She's funny, lively and extremely artistic. Her soaps are colorful and fun and each month she releases several batches that reflect a theme. Recently the theme was Disney Villians. She also does a secret soap series where she makes a different soap each week for several weeks and gives hints. Viewers can guess in the video comments and the secret is revealed with the last soap in the series. Katie also has a great tutorial on how to make soap (including this one on using lye) and she uses two recipes, one is basic and less expensive, the other takes it up a notch or two.

Clyde Yoshida at Vibrant Soap. Clyde's gift with color is amazing and it reflects the fact that he's an artist. He's actually well known in soap maker circles for the Clyde Slide soaping technique where you mix several colors of batter and alternating the colors, gently pouring them down the side of a large bowl in layers. Then pour that into your mold. The results are very thin, colorful layers. Beautiful!

Tierra Hayes at Gypsyfae Creations. Tierra does some pretty creative fandom soaps! She's done a Golden Snitch soap as well as the various House soaps from Harry Potter. There were also Star Wars fandom soaps. She makes gorgeous seasonal and cupcake soaps! 

Billie at Hippie Mumma Artisan Soap. Billie is an organic dairy farmer and soaper in Victoria, Australia. She uses the organic milk from her farm in her soap and her soaps all look amazing. She's great at making beautiful bars. I also love that you hear the occasional rooster crow when watching her videos!

Keeley at Soy and Shea. Another Australian soap maker, Keeley is fun to watch and isn't afraid to share videos where things go wrong. Usually it's a battle with a fragrance oil that moves the batter too quickly. But, she always manages to get a beautiful bar of soap no matter how stubborn the fragrance oils are and she does it while keeping her sense of humor. It helps other soapers learn how to deal with these types of issues. She, like others in this list, make gemstone soaps and sharing geological interests in such things I find her discussions on the gemstones very interesting. 

Lastly, but definitely not least, Valerie Mosher at Shalebrook Handcrafted Soap. Valerie is a soap maker in Canada and she uses some of the most unique ingredients I've seen of any soap maker. Many of which I'd like to eventually incorporate into some special soaps for my shop! Sea buckthorn oil, a variety of teas and milks. Things that are great for your skin! I believe the majority of her soaps are hot process and most, if not all have maple syrup. 

There are many more amazing soap makers out there! If you've ever thought about making your own soap to create something good for your skin it can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. My first soap was shortening, water and lye. And it was pretty awesome. Coconut oil can be inexpensive at places like Big Lots and 100% coconut oil soap can be one of the best soaps for your skin! Do your research, use a lye calculator to make sure your soap isn't lye heavy and I highly recommend Katie Carson's Royal Creative Academy videos. With a few inexpensive tools you can make soap for your family and friends!

Friday, October 16, 2020


No affiliation with any of the links below...except the ones that take you to my soap shop.

It has been too long since I blogged, I guess I don't feel the need to write about everything I think in my head. Do y'all have that thing where your thoughts bounce around like a ball in a pinball machine, too? 

I've been making some changes in the ol' soap business, mainly converting all my recipes from hot process to cold process. I'm finding I like the resulting bars much better. Still a bit rustic, though!

Another change I've made is the beveling of edges on my bars. My granddaughter pointed out that they were too sharp at first. I still don't plane them so there will still be cut marks or drag marks from botanicals on or in the soap. I will use all of the shreds from the corners that I've been saving for a confetti soap sometime in the future.

I also purchased a "joyssoaps" stamp from ThreeDGeek over on Etsy. I'm really happy with the quality, it's exactly what I was wanting! 

I'm wrapping a wee bit differently... 

So, here's the thing about that, soap continues to evaporate off water after it's cured. If I label the soaps once they had finished curing after 4-6 weeks, the soap would still shrink up a bit and the labels would slip off. Before the change, I basically had to label everything when I got an order. Hopefully this new way of wrapping, with a dab of glue to affix the label to the raffia, will allow me to have things ready for orders. My next option is wrapping the soap in biodegradable cellophane bags. 

In addition to all of that I've been making imbeds with organic melt and pour... 

Sunshine imbeds!

It's quite a bit of fun to find cute things to add to the bars. It's slightly challenging getting natural colorants to disperse well but the imbeds are looking pretty cute!

This was a harder change to make. Titanium dioxide. It drives me cray not to be able to make white soap. Titanium dioxide is used in practically everything white, medical creams, sunscreens, ointments, toothpaste, makeup...soap. Does that mean it's safe, or maybe used too much? I really can't answer that.

But, I've spent some time looking into this and found a titanium dioxide that is 99.5% TiO2. It's non-Nano, Food Grade, nonGMO...and vegan. I'll probably only use it in soaps that require a white-white, which not many of my soaps do.

I'll be shifting some things in my shop, some soaps will be discontinued and placed in the Sale Bin. If you've not tried handmade/handcrafted soap this would be the time to check it out. I've talked with a lot of people about handmade soaps, and not necessarily mine, I have never heard a single complaint about handmade soap being worse than store-bought. Always the opposite, it really is worth a try. 

One change that should hit my shop in the first two weeks of November (I can't believe it's almost November!), Andee's Facial Spa Soap is shrinking from a rectangle to a heart. After talking to my daughter about it, we thought a face soap bar didn't need to be as large as a body soap bar. It's still the same recipe, just a bit smaller and it will also be less expensive. This is the most expensive bar in my shop and one that goes pretty quick so being able to drop the price and make more bars is pretty exciting!

I hope everyone is staying safe, and to steal a quote from Critical Role's Matt Mercer, "Don't forget to love each other."