New Website for Soapalooza

Soapalooza_smlWe have a new website coming!
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/Any day now we will be swapping out our store front shopping cart platforms! The new online store platform will allow so many more features, from ease of Gift Certificate generation, to sales and specials, and much more. You may notice a few hours of down time while we put the new cart into testing mode.
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/We think you will enjoy the enhanced B2B features.
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Alabama Soap & Candle Convention, June 7/8


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/I had an amazing time! I got to revisit soapmakers I have not seen in several years, meet new soapmakers that I have only emailed or spoken on the phone with, and also meet NEW soapmakers! It really was a fantastic weekend for me!
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/I drove 8 1/2 hours to the Atlanta, Georgia area and stayed the night with a friend. The next day was a 3 hour road trip to Prattville, Alabama where the Alabama Soap & Candle Convention was taking place.
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/I gave a demo on making an emulsified scrub without using BTMS, as it tends to shelf out sometimes with an odor that can smell unattractive to a prospective customer. That is because BTMS is Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. The methosulfate part is the culprit, it can break down with a sulfur odor over time when combined with various ingredients. So, my demo was creating Truly Scrumptious Sugar Scrubs. I took the new Fresh Mango fragrance oil that Soapalooza has been testing since January. I had planned to introduce it in the Soapalooza webstore next Spring, perhaps late Winter, but the response to the new fragrance was pretty huge. It is pretty scrumptious in itself! I have actually put it up in the webstore and called it in to the manufacturer. It will be delivered next Monday or Tues.
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/In July, I will be presenting the same sugar scrub demo at the Mid Atlantic Lights & Lather convention in Winchester, VA. After that event, I will do a tutorial here online for the sugar scrub, with a PDF print off.
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/Kim McNutt, from Essential Soaps, has made a YouTube video of many of the convention highlights:
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/http://youtu.be/UFD34ZpAozY
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How Do I Link My Facebook Account to My Facebook Page?

The other day I asked soapmakers to send me a link to their Facebook Page so I could “like” it.  In the process of being gobsmacked by some pretty amazing soap creations, I noticed that not all my soapmaker friends have their Facebook page listed, or linked, to their Personal Facebook account. So, here is a quick overview on how to do that!
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/First, what do I mean when I say Facebook Page “linked” to their personal Facebook account? Well, you have a main Facebook account, in my case it is simply https://www.facebook.com/kellyjbloom and I have a Business Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/SoapaloozaFans . They are very different, and serve very different purposes, even though they share a lot of the same information.
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/FanPageLink1
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/The Personal Facebook account is where I put the personal stuff, like where I live, where I work at, what I do, whether I am married, ‘in a relationship’, or ‘it’s complicated’, etc. This is the account that you choose to keep public, set to only friends seeing, collect “Friends”, post albums or upload your iPhone photos, and what you see on your “timeline”. Your personal Facebook account can be connected to Twitter or your WordPress blog and posts can move in both directions, saving you time.
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/So how does this differ from a Facebook Fan Page, Facebook Business Page, etc? Well, the Facebook Business Page is more for business and advertising purposes. They let your brand, business, or organization have a unique space separate from your personal account. Technically, Facebook does not allow businesses to have “personal” Facebook accounts.
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/FanPageLink2You can ‘boost’ posts with a flat fee, a daily rate, or a click cost. But most importantly, even if you do not chose to do any paid advertising, your FREE Facebook Business/Fan Page allows you to connect with other main Facebook accounts, and be “Liked” and “Friended” just like a person! So, pretty cool huh? So far we have a main personal presence, and a business Page presence that can be linked together. Look at the two screenshots. A personal page is actually very different looking than a Business/Fan Page. You do not see the “employment, education, relationship status, etc” on the Business/Fan Page. Both Personal and Business/Fan pages can be manually “Shared” in our Facebook Groups, Timelines, friends timelines, pages we manage, etc.
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/The trick now though is set up your personal Facebook account so that all those “Friends” you make have a way to FIND your Facebook Business/Fan Page also. Most of the Facebook Business/Fan Pages I “Liked” yesterday I had NO IDEA they existed. They don’t show up in our Newsfeed. Facebook lets personal accounts show up in the Newsfeed, but not Business or Fan Pages. Yes, I know you will see some business names in the Newsfeed, but if you look closely, they are not Facebook Pages, but personal Facebook accounts with a business name instead of a personal name.
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/Anyway, genuine Facebook Business/Fan Pages are not included in the Newsfeed, so we don’t see them unless we promote them, share them in emails, blogs, postings in our newsfeeds, etc.  So, if we make a link on our PERSONAL Facebook account page, we can increase visibility.
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/Here is how. When created your Personal Facebook account you had the option of FanPageLink3including the last few places you have worked at. Click on the About link at the top. Then click the “edit” link (see red circled locations).
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/NFanPageLink4ext, create an employment section for the current business that your Facebook Business or Fan page represents. You will start typing in the name of your Facebook Fan page in the provided field. Facebook will auto complete, finding your Fan page if you have already created it. If you have not, than you need to do that first or the link that is created will go to a dead Facebook page. Finish filling in the date of employment/affiliation and make sure it is the most recent in your job/employment/affiliations, as that is the one that will be displayed on your personal Facebook account. Save everything, and then go look on your personal Facebook account and you can now see your Business/Fan Page “linked” to your personal Facebook account. If you simply put “self employed” it will link to absolutely nothing.
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/FanPageLink5Now, as you browse through your time line and interact with other Facebook members, you can hover your mouse over the employment section of the Facebook user and “Like” their Fan or Business Page, and they vise versa!
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/My Soapalooza Fan Page says “liked”, which means that my personal Facebook account has also “liked” my Facebook Business/Fan Page.
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/FanPageLink6When you float your mouse you will be able to “Like” right there. If they don’t have a Page, it will not have a pop up.  Good Luck, I hope that helps you link your Facebook personal account to your Facebook Business or Fan Page!
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/And again, if you send me a Facebook message with your fan page I will “Like” it. I also go through the Soapalooza “Likes” and make sure I have returned likes to those that like our page too!  I am really enjoying seeing the products soap, cosmetics, and candle makers are creating.
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/Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20 year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.
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/Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!
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/Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!
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/PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

Soapmaker Spotlight : Platypus Dreams

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/At this recent Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild Convention I got to meet a soapmaker that I have admired for quite a few years. Back in 2006 I shared a few emails with her, and got to see one of her early renditions of her Soap Cupcakes. At the time, it was so cutting edge, so out of the soap box, that it has stayed in my brain like ‘visions of sugar plums’. The item was a shocking pink cupcake base with a deep purple ‘fondant’ type of overlay on the heaped up cupcake top. The overlay looked like it was shaped like a 5 petal flower, then draped over the entire confection with pink ‘frosting’ showing at the base of the cupcake top. Finished with a generous helping of Fairy Dust glitter and sparkle. Simply stunning, and it has been the ‘standard’ of soap cupcakes in my mind ever since.
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/Sharon Elvin is the owner of Platypus Dreams, located in Australia. She does fascinating work, and newcomers to soapmaking might not realize that the soap art she creates is entirely made with cold process soap. When I look at the items I see how much technical skill is required to negotiate the texture, set up time, and the artistry of even fashioning the hand piped flowers. One has to be able to create a soap formula that stays fluid long enough to work up what she has created, yet firm up fast enough to stabilize everything. A degree of gel is required to bond the layers of the cake items, and yet a long enough time to remain ungelled is also required in handling a frosting bag of raw soap.
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/Each violet is hand piped. Each leaf. The cakes have delicate string work on the surface. Beads and flutes on the sides. Pretty amazing work when one considers this is all cold process soap. Then, remember how large these cakes are… cutting them is another aspect entirely! That is a large mass to cut and not have get scrunched up and the layers mussed up!
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/In any case, I thought I would share these magnificent examples of pushing our cold process soap art to new levels of artistry.

HSCG Convention Trip Review


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/Before I head down to the Alabama Soap & Candle Association conference in Prattville, AL on Thursday, I really want to share about my trip to the 2013 HSCG Convention in Raleigh, NC.
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/First, I am still adjusting to the new name (Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild, formerly the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild). I really like the change, but I have a bunch of website pages that I need to now update both logo and text! I will get to it. I love the name change because it encompasses everything we do. It is easier to address the issues of both Melt & Pour soap mediums as well as natural processes for soap (Cold Process, Hot Process, etc). In my opinion this name change was important for FDA and labeling purposes because most Melt & Pour does not qualify as a ‘soap’, but is actually a cosmetic, and has to be labeled in accordance with those FDA rules. Whereas, most naturally processed soap does not.
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/But I digress. I really want to share how fun the convention was! I’ve been attending the HSCG (formerly HSMG) Conventions since 2009. I’ve only missed the one last year that was held in Portland, OR. I wish I could have gone, but too much in my life has still not sorted itself out.
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/This year though, Raleigh, NC was only a 3 hour drive away! How could I not attend? I arrived just in the nick of time also, as Cheryl Peterson was wrapping up registration, saw me unloading at the lobby, and brought me my registration materials. It was a good thing she brought them to me was I was loading the dolly with my suitcases and customer orders that I brought. Because that 2013 HSCG goody bag was so heavy that it practically needed a bell hop to haul it upstairs! Seriously, the vendors and sponsors that contributed really outdid themselves this year. I’ve unloaded my goody bag into the Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio where my students just drool over the items that are available to soapmakers!
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/After I got settled and back downstairs the convention attendees were milling around the vendor rooms socializing and schmoozing. It was wonderful to see long time attendees (Lebermuth, National Shrinkwrap, Marie Gale & her helpful books, Jackie Thompson and Gaily Rebecca, as well as others I am forgetting). I was thrilled to see new vendors on the scene also (Essential Depot, Jessica Bay, Alimar Labs).  Then there was the people that I’ve only emailed or been on the phone with, never actually met (John See from The Chemistry Store).
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/I loved Kevin Dunn’s presentation on Lye Discount or Superfat. Loved it, because it confirmed so much that I also experimented with. I am sharing my data with Kevin so we can see how we each arrived at similar outcomes.
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/I had a blast eating chocolate truffles and winning a RED Mold from Essential Depot also. I have the mold in my studio for my students to admire and use. Wholesale Supplies Plus had the best game show party. Many of those questions probably come directly from one or more of the Certification Quizes also!
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/I had a marvelous time. This convention I was actually able to stay for the awards dinner on Sunday also. I had to leave before the dinner and awards were completed though, as I had to be home by midnight to get my son, and get him off to school on Monday morning right and early. So, like Cinderella, I had to dash out at the very end.
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/I am going to put a separate post up on one of the other people I finally got to meet in person. I met her online in email/yahoo forums in 2006 when she was making what I thought was cutting edge, totally out of the box cold process soap creations. I will share about Sharon Elvin of Platypus Dreams next!