From Supply Warehouse Manager to Artisan Soapmaker

Erin Southern Soapers Warehouse2010

Erin Laraine Groves, former Soap Slave at Southern Soapers

Meet Erin Laraine Groves, owner of Nederland Naturals in Nederland, Colorado. For those of you that remember when I sold my fragrance oils with my former Southern Soapers brand, you will have had many of your items poured, labeled, and packed by none other than Erin Laraine Groves. In the photo at left, you will see Erin in one of the empty BTMS drums, playing around.

Over the course of the first 5 years of my fragrance and supply business, three of my four daughters have worked extensively in the warehouse. During the Summer of 2010 and through the Spring of 2011, three of my daughters worked the warehouse at the same time!

Erin moved to Nederland, Colorado in 2012, had a baby boy (my first grandchild, Robert Burrios), and started Nederland Naturals in 2013. Erin spent many years watching and/or assisting me with my own wholesale soap company (BloomWorks Soap Company), as well as the Southern Soapers branded supply business.

Erin has her soaps in 6 stores in the Nederland, Colorado area as well as an Etsy store

2013-12-27 08.05.32

Erin Laraine Groves, Soap Pimp & Owner of Nederland Naturals

Using fragrances inspired by the city she loves, Erin Groves makes soap a new old-fashioned way. As a child she learned the process from her mother.

“My mother taught me the art of soap-making,” says Groves, founder of Nederland Naturals. “Helping her stir, cut and package soap bars is among some of my best childhood memories. When she retired, I continued to experiment with her recipes and invented my own along the way. I was always trying to get her to incorporate crazy things like wild herbs and botanicals into her soap, but she wouldn’t go for it. Now that I have my own soap company, I can add whatever I want.”

You can find Erin on Facebook here, and her Nederland Naturals Facebook page at this location. Below is a gallery of some of her most recent soap creations. Erin uses the Soapalooza  fragrances, which are the same formulas I used to sell with the Southern Soapers brand, in her soapmaking.


Awash in creativity, Nederland Naturals offers many handmade bath and beauty products, including soaps, brown sugar body scrubs, body butter, lotion bars, and natural perfume with prices ranging from $5 for a single bar/jar to $35 for a gift basket. All products are made with — and inspired by — local ingredients and fragrances.

“With all of my products, I strive to use formulas and methods that no one else does — even if it means getting really dirty. I love creating soap with a mix of fun, unusual, and natural ingredients for colorants and textures. ” Her top selling soap, Indian Paint Brush, is blended with local red clay. gingered Lavender is made with a beautiful French yellow clay. Other scents like Deep Purple Dreams and Pink Pepper Berry have fun exfoliants like purple jojoba beads and blueberry seeds.

Nederland Naturals

Nederland Naturals

She is currently working on a ‘specialty skin care’ line of soaps inspired by time honored remedies for problem skin, like green clay, pine tar, charcoal, and sulfur. “Everyone’s skin has a natural ‘soap prescription’. I love to work with base oils that are skin type specific.” Her ‘Spiced Pumpkin Harvest’ pumpkin seed oil and goats milk soap for dry skin came out this fall along with ‘Acorns, Amber and Spice’ shimmering shea butter body lotion bars. Look for her products around town in Nederland, Colorado at Dandelion, Blue Owl, Mountain Man, and the Co-op.

I am having so much fun watching my #3 daughter take off with her soapmaking venture!

End of Year Reflections

Christmas at Gal Pal's house

Christmas at Gal Pal’s house

This is the LAST Sunday morning of 2013. Mug of fresh brewed, strong coffee in hand, I’m lounging in my PJ’s (still) in my silent house. My son is still sleeping, my daughter and granddaughter are still sleeping. It is peacefully quiet, with the rhythmic sound of the rain the only background noise. I love grey, cold mornings like this. I love the sound of rain. They make me grateful for my warm, comfortable life! They make me reflect upon where I have been, and even re evaluate where I want to go with this life, but especially this brand new 2014 that is dawning upon us in just a few days~!

2013 has been a ‘best year ever’ sort of year. So much has happened, and all of it wonderful. Even when things happened that did not seem wonderful, and actually seemed SCARY, they were sill in the end wonderful. And, doors opened to new possibilities that I never dreamed of!. I am borrowing a few lines of gratitude from another FB friend (Bina Patel) below:

– Thanks to those who hated me, they made me a stronger person.
– Thanks to those who loved me, they made my heart bigger.
– Thanks to those who were worried about me, they let me know that they actually cared.
– Thanks to those who left me, they made me realize that nothing lasts forever.
– Thanks to those who entered my life, they made me who I’m today and tomorrow.
Just want to Thank you for being there in my life!! Lets create another Best Year Ever in 2014!

KellyValentines14Kelly 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.

Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

/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!

How Much Fragrance Oil Should I Use?

tallanimeBORDER-240x120Fragrance Oil Usage Guidelines

/
/Customers ask us frequently about fragrance usage levels. Each fragrance we sell is formulated to hold up well in Cold Process soap and has undergone a great deal of testing for this more rigorous soapmaking/manufacturing process. Fragrances sold by Soapalooza can be used for many other crafting purposes however, including melt & pour soap, lotion, scrubs, potpourri, incense, and both soy and paraffin candle waxes. Our testing processes focus on Cold Process soapmaking, because this is the most difficult process for fragrance oils to hold up in.
/
/
/
/Below are some general usage guidelines for our fragrances. Each individual fragrance we sell has unique guidelines on its description page also. Be sure to read the fragrance specifications on each of the fragrance pages when shopping. This information provides flash point information, whether the fragrance can be used in gel candle, and whether the fragrance is non discoloring in cold process and melt & pour soap formulations. ALL our fragrances are skin safe, so you can safely use them in lotions and other bath and body product formulations. We do not sell any fragrances unless they are skin safe.
/
/
/
/General Usage Guidelines for Fragrance Oils:
/
/

    /
    /
  • Cold Process Soap: .5 oz to .8 oz per lb of base oils (3 – 5%). Remember to weigh ingredients, do not use kitchen volume measurements. Smaller batches will use the upper usage range, as the small batch can not compensate as well against the lye. Larger batches often can use the lower ranges of usage guidelines, as the mass of the batch allows more fragrance to survive. Each fragrance may vary slightly as to this upper and lower range due to personal preferences of intensity. Fragrance oils are an additive, they are not calculated in your SAP values for determining the required amount of lye to use with your ‘base oils’ (coconut, olive, palm, etc). Hot Process & Re-batch Soap: .2 – .3 oz (1 – 2%) per lb of soap.
  • /
    /

  • Melt & Pour Bases: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp per lb of soap base. Use less with strong fragrance, you can always add a few drops more if it is not strong enough. If using percentages, use the same measure as Hot Process or Re-batch above.
  • /
    /

  • Lotions & Body Wash bases: General rule of thumb is that pre-made bases can handle up to 1 to 1.25 oz (by weight) per gallon of pre-made base. This is based on fragrance at no more than 1% of the formula (128 oz = 1 gallon, so 1 – 1.25 oz is less than 1%). You should also check with the base manufacturer/distributor to find out for sure. It is a good idea to test the fragrance in a small amount of base first before adding to the entire gallon, as some fragrances thin bases, others cause thickening. This lets you prepare for surprises without loss of your supplies.
  • /
    /

  • Candles: Most waxes (soy, paraffin, parasoy) can usually accept 6% fragrance load per lb of wax. That equates to 1 oz per lb of wax. Some specialty waxes can accept up to 9% (1 1/2 oz per lb of wax), but you will need to test this with each fragrance, as this is not always a guarantee for every fragrance. Test for changes to burn pool, wick smoking, and any fragrance ‘weeping’ before selling candles that are maximum loaded with fragrance. Make sure to test each fragrance you use in your wax system.
  • /
    /

  • Toiletries items (Salts, Bath Bombs, etc): Generally 1/8 oz – 1/4 oz per lb of product base (salts, scrubs, bath bomb mixture). If using percentages, calculate .5 to no more than 1% if using percentages. 1% of 16 oz = 4.5 grams.
  • /
    /

Want to be a Melt & Pour Soap Pro?

Little Helper

Little HelperBe A Pro At Melt & Pro Soap


/
/
/
/Be a Melt & Pour Soap Pro – Using Melt & Pour soap bases is fun and easy! You can create special soaps to give as gifts and have projects safe for even young children to participate in. Let’s get started!
/
/
    /
    /
  1. MELT – Melt your soap base using your microwave. Any microwave safe bowl will work, but our preference has become a Pyrex mixing bowl because it has a natural pouring spout. If using your microwave, melt your base in short 1 minute intervals. You can also use a crock pot on the low setting, or a double boiler type pan on your stove top (put heat on med low).
  2. /
    /

  3. COLOR & SCENT- Once your soap is melted you have a world of creativity at your finger tips! Select a colorant to tint your soap. We do not suggest using Food Colors, as these dyes will “bleed” if you make two color soaps. Non Bleeding pigments are best for Melt & Pour Soaps as the color stays “true” and also stays “put” in your soap creation. Now add a fragrance oil to your soap mixture. A good starting place is 1/4 oz of fragrance oil per 1 lb of Melt & Pour base. You can always add more if you like. You can also use essential oils instead of soap fragrance if you prefer. Open your spice cabinet and try adding small amounts of herbs or spices to your creations also! When you finished designing your soap creation just pour the still liquid soap mixture into a mold or container of choice. When your soap creation hardens, it will pop right out of your mold.
  4. /
    /

  5. CLEAN UP – Melt & Pour soap is Easy as 1 – 2 – 3!  And because this is soap, clean up is a snap!
  6. /
    /

What Is A Cheap Thrill?

tallanimeBORDER-240x120What Is A Cheap Thrill?

/
/What is a Cheap Thrill, and what can I do with one?
/
/

    /
    /
  • Our Cheap Thrills fragrance vials are an economical way to smell a fragrance before purchasing a larger quantity. This lets you save money and prevents you purchasing fragrance oils you find you really don’t care for. But, what can you scent with a Cheap Thrill? Each small glass perfume vial holds 1/8th of a teaspoon of fragrance oil (7 drams). Soapalooza sells each fragrance oil in a variety of sizes ranging from a Cheap Thrill Vial that holds 7 drams, 1 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz, and 16oz  bottles. Additionally, we also sell 5 lb, 10 lb, and 25 lb discounted bulk sizes!
  • /
    /

/
/A Cheap Thrill will scent:
/
/

    /
    /
  • A Perfume Roulette filled with jojoba oil, making a wonderful perfumed body oil to dab on pulse points.
  • /
    /

  • A 4 oz Melt & Pour bar of soap.
  • /
    /

  • A small wax tart for your wax melter.
  • /
    /

  • A bath bomb (make mix, scent small portions individually.
  • /
    /

  • An 8 oz jar of bath salts or sugar scrub.
  • /
    /

  • A 4 – 8 oz bottle of lotion.
  • /
    /

  • Add to a cotton ball and place in your vacuum cleaner bag.
  • /
    /

  • A 4 – 8 oz bottle of body wash.
  • /
    /

/
/So, even though the Cheap Thrills were designed to just let you sniff before buying, you can still use them for many creative products. Many customers blend a few and create unique fragrance blends.

Make Blackberries & Sage Swirl Soap

Learn to Swirl, brownie pan style!

/
/
/
/There are different kinds of swirling, everything from peacock, funnel, drizzles, layer swirls. Sometimes we pull a comb, sometimes we drizzle in layers, sometimes we simply swirl much like we would if we were baking. This swirl tutorial is much like making a pan of brownies that you are swirling in a cream cheese and fudge component on the top. In this type of swirling, you will be cutting your soap into squares or rectangles, much the same as you would be cutting out cookie bars or brownies. The swirl effect is concentrated more on the TOP of the soap, with less visible swirling in the depth. This type of swirling is not very effective in soap logs where you will be slicing your soap like slices of bread… these swirls do not go deep enough.
/
/
/
/So, first you will need a soap mold that will allow you to pour your soap to no more than 1″, 1 1/2″, or 2″ deep. Typical bars would then be cut out like cookie bars in the size of perhaps 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ with the swirl design only on the top surface.
/
/
/
/Blackberries & Sage Cold Process Soap.
/
/
/
/Ingredients:
/
/

    /
    /
  • 8 oz Coconut Oil, 76 degree
  • /
    /

  • 7 oz Olive Oil
  • /
    /

  • 12 oz Shortening, vegetable
  • /
    /

  • 3 oz Palm Kernel
  • /
    /

  • 3 oz Babassu
  • /
    /

  • 11 oz water
  • /
    /

  • 4.8 oz sodium hydroxide (for a 5% lye discount/superfat)
  • /
    /

  • 2 oz Soapalooza Blackberries & Sage fragrance oil
  • /
    /

  • Colorants: 1 teaspoon Titanium Dioxide, 1/4 teaspoon Chromium Green Oxide, 2/3 teaspoon Violet Ultramarine. Mix each of these colorants ahead of time with a teaspoon of hot water, and set to the side to be used later.
  • /
    /

  • 2 small bowls
  • /
    /

  • 1 ‘brownie pan style” or Slab soap mold, silicone lined or plastic paper lined previously.
  • /
    /

/
/oils, lye, and water come to 48.8 oz, and cure up to 39.4 oz weight. This is considered a “3 lb” batch of soap.
/
/
/
/How to proceed:
/
/Weigh out your water into a plastic container. Since the water and sodium hydroxide get extremely hot, choose a container that can handle heat: Rubbermaid pitchers are my go to.
/
/
/
/Weigh out your sodium hydroxide. Slowly add the sodium hydroxide to your water in the pitcher. Stir slowly until it is dissolved, taking care not to breathe in the fumes or splash, as this is caustic and HOT. Let your sodium hydroxide and water cool down to just a slightly tepid to cold temperature.
/
/
/
/TIP:
/
/Water weighs the same liquid or frozen. You can reduce your cooling down phase time by weighing half of your water as ice cubes (1/2 water and 1/2 ice cubes). Stir slowly and constantly when adding the sodium hydroxide to your ice water solution.
/
/
/
/While your sodium hydroxide solution is cooling, measure out your oils. Start with the solid ones first, such as the vegetable shortening. Measure it into your stainless steel pot, and melt it. Turn off the heat and use the remaining heat to melt the coconut, palm kernel, and babassu. Last, add your olive oil. This process of melting the oils that require the most heat first, then adding the liquid oils last, will allow your hot oils to be cooled rapidly, and you will not have to wait so long to make your soap. It will also ensure you don’t process soap with too hot of oil temperatures. I typically process my oils at about 85 to 90 degrees and my lye solution at a cool room temperature. You do NOT need your oils and sodium hydroxide solution to be the same temps.
/
/
/
/Next, Pour your cooled sodium hydroxide solution slowly as a thin stream into your stainless steel pot holding your melted and cooled soap oils. Stir with a spoon while adding your sodium hydroxide solution. Next, add the 1 teaspoon of Titanium Dioxide to a small cup, add 1 teaspoon of warm water and slurry. Now add this to your soap pot. Using a stick blender, mix your soap oils and sodium hydroxide together with the 1 teaspoon on Titanium Dioxide until you have a thin, white liquid. Last, add your fragrance oil to your soap mixture, and mix again with your Stick Blender to fully incorporate. Do not over mix!
/
/
/
/Ladle off approximately 1/2 cup of soap mixture into two small bowls, or better, the 1 cup Pyrex pitchers. Add your Chromium Green oxide to one, and the Violet Ultramarine to the other. Gently stir in with a spoon… do not stick blend these yet.
/
/
/
/After preparing your swirling colors, bring the main portion of your soap mixture to a medium trace. This means you and drizzle your soap mixture and trails will show on the surface but quickly be absorbed by the soap body and disappear. This is the best time to pour into your ‘brownie pan type” or slab mold. Spread your soap mixture evenly in the mold, the same way you would spread out brownie batter in a cake pan.
/
/
/
/Next, using your stick blender, bring the bowl with the Violet UM to a medium trace. You can either quickly rinse your Stick blender before proceeding to the Chrome Green, but the green is strong enough to hide the bit of violet soap mixture on the stick blender. After bringing the Violet to medium trace, bring the Chrome green soap bowl contents to medium trace also.
/
/
/
/Your colored soap bowls should still be fluid enough to “flow”. Drizzle the contents of the green colored soap and the violet colored soap over the top of your poured white soap mixture. After bowl contents are evenly distributed, use a table knife, spatula, or a spoon to “cut” through your soap, pulling the color into trails and tendrils as you fancy.
/
/
/
/Let your soap sit for 12 to 24 hours until firm and set up, then turn out and slice. Cut into dimensions of soap bars much like you would cut cookie bars, and your beautiful soap swirls will remain on top! Let cure 3 to 4 weeks before using so that the water content evaporates and you have hard, long lasting soap.
/
/
/
/You can connect with Soapalooza using social media now:
/
/Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page
/
/Facebook Soapalooza Group
/
/Twitter: @soapalooza

It has been busy!

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2013


/
/
/
/And there has been much to be Thankful for this Season. I hope that you had a Thanksgiving that included friends and families, and that they were able to stop and really enjoy your families.
/
/
/
/Our family had the BEST Thanksgiving we have had in probably 5 or 6 years. I had two of my five children and one of my two grandchildren with me. Additionally, a best pal and her son shared our Holiday.
/
/
/
/We concentrated on making healthy Holiday fare, as we have all been working so diligently the last few years to either get weight off, keep weight off, maintain weight, or to get fit and healthy. We discovered that many of our favorite Holiday foods can and do taste as fabulous in their healthy format as in their traditional manner.
/
/
/
/Since the Cranberry Orange Marmalade fragrance oil was inspired from one of my Thanksgiving standby items, I will also share that recipe here!
/
/
/
/Cranberry Orange Marmalade (Relish)
/
/
/
/1 bag of fresh Cranberries
/
/
/
/2 large Oranges
/
/
/
/1 1/2 Cups Sugar
/
/
/
/1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
/
/
/
/1/2 Cup of Water
/
/
/
/Peel your oranges and cut into 1″ chunks. Pop your cranberries and your orange chunks into a 3 quart saucepan. Add the water and simmer until you can see that the fruits are softened. Crush the fruit to the consistency you like, then add the sugar. Simmer for about 30 minutes, adding the cinnamon very last. Cool, and serve cold with your Turkey this Holiday season!