The Studio has new paint!

2015-03-28 09.15.48 2015-03-28 09.15.59 2015-03-28 09.16.25 2015-03-28 09.16.58 2015-03-28 09.17.07I spent last week painting Soapalooza Studio with fun, inspiring paint! We stained the floor, and added vibrant curtains! The lease is locked in for the next 4 years, hurray!

I waited until the lease was locked in to do the redecorating, and then it was a rush to get it all done in time for the Saturday VA Area Soap and Bath & Body Products Meet Up. It was the first meet & greet, so I wanted the Studio to look fantastic.

We had four people show up on this first event, and it was fun! One attendee also had contracted for a Wine Soap Making Class directly after the Meet Up also.

Later in April, a handyman is coming to construct a cabinet and shelf system around the two areas that house mechanical devices for the facility. Can’t move them, so we will encase them so we can show off the space more effectively. Also, an electrician comes and rewires, or ‘tones’ the electrical outlets so we have more places to plug in at! Hurray!

Don’t forget about the current Spring Fragrance Pre Sale… all these fragrances are returning to my fragrance library. The sooner we complete these, the sooner the next batch of my fragrances to return also! The June line up will include several long awaited fragrance oils of mine also! All Pre Sale fragrances are offered at at 15% discount over their regular retail prices, and will NEVER be offered this low again.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

KellyJan2014Kelly 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.

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!

 

Congrats to Jocelyn Dyckson of Joss’s Hair & Skin Care

BizInsuranceCongrats to Jocelyn Dyckson of Joss’s Hair & Skin Care for renewing their HSCG Membership and obtaining business & product liability insurance through one of our industry trade associations!

Soapalooza offers a $20 Gift Certificate when you join or renew your membership with either the HSCG or Indie Business Network (formerly Indie Beauty Network) and obtain your business and product liability insurance through them. Simply send us a copy of your insurance certificate PDF with date issued, and we will issue you a $20 Gift Certificate to shop at Soapalooza.com. More details on our exclusive promotion at the Soapalooza website.

 

 

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

Congrats to Laura West of Miss Jessie’s Soaps

BizInsuranceCongrats to Laura West of Miss Jessie’s Handmade Soaps for renewing their HSCG Membership and obtaining business & product liability insurance through one of our industry trade associations!

Soapalooza offers a $20 Gift Certificate when you join or renew your membership with either the HSCG or Indie Business Network (formerly Indie Beauty Network) and obtain your business and product liability insurance through them. Simply send us a copy of your insurance certificate PDF with date issued, and we will issue you a $20 Gift Certificate to shop at Soapalooza.com. More details on our exclusive promotion at the Soapalooza website.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

Congratulations to Lisa Reilly of Lisa’s Soaps Naked & Natural

BizInsuranceCongrats to Lisa Reilly of Lisa’s Soaps Naked & Natural for renewing their HSCG Membership and obtaining business & product liability insurance through one of our industry trade associations!

Soapalooza offers a $20 Gift Certificate when you join or renew your membership with either the HSCG or Indie Business Network (formerly Indie Beauty Network) and obtain your business and product liability insurance through them. Simply send us a copy of your insurance certificate PDF with date issued, and we will issue you a $20 Gift Certificate to shop at Soapalooza.com. More details on our exclusive promotion at the Soapalooza website.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

Making Clay Masques

MineralClayMasqueBelow is a basic Dry Clay Mask formula/recipe for readers to begin experimenting with. Later this month, we will have a training module in PDF form on the website for purchase. This post here is simply a teaser, as the PDF has much more information, to include wet and dry clay and herbal masques.

This blog post only provides one simple dry clay masque formula, the PDF will include six dry masques, and five WET masques.
Wet Masques require more formulating care, as they can grow bacteria. Dry masques allow you to choose ingredients, package them as an anhydrous product to sell, and let the customer then choose the liquid to hydrate their masque materials. Often the choice of liquid to rehydrate with can compliment their skin type! Dry and Wet Masques, to include clay ones, are just one of the products we teach students to make at the Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio 3 Day Bath & Body Boot Camp. Be sure and check for upcoming Boot Camp dates for both the rest of 2014 and Spring of 2015!

Basic Clay Mask Recipe:

Makes enough for 10 treatments

¼ C. clay of choice (suited for your skin type)
1-2 Tb. milk powders, ground oats, and/or cocoa powder (optional)
1 Tb. total other additions/herbs (optional)(these should be dried and ground fine)
4 drops essential oil (optional)

To Apply:

Makes enough for 1 facial mask

2 tsp. clay mask mix
2 tsp. water or other liquid (milk, aloe vera juice, herbal tea)

Directions:

Mix the dry mask formula and liquid to reach the desired consistency. Pull your hair back and apply evenly to your face. Let it dry for 5 minutes for sensitive skin up to 15 minutes for oily skin. Rinse off with warm water and a washcloth. Apply a homemade moisturizer.

 

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

Soapalooza Boot Camp Coupons!

DoorMagnet1We have Soapalooza BOOT CAMP Coupon Offers! These coupons are good for any of the remaining 2014 Soapalooza Boot Camps (2 Day, 3 Day, or 5 Day) You can use a $50 Coupon for any upcoming 3 Day Bath & Body Boot Camp, the 5 Day Fast Track Boot Camp, or a $25 Coupon for our 2 Day Intensive Soap Making Boot Camp. Just in time for Holiday and Fall Soap Making!  We also offer MONTHLY INSTALLMENT PAYMENT PLANS!

Learn the science behind soap making. Learn the basic math skills so that you can troubleshoot your soap and design your own formulas. Learn about soap labeling. Learn to make Milk Soap, Salt Soap, Swirled Soap, Layered Soap, Pine Tar Soap. Learn to use Natural Botanicals for coloration, Learn about Dyes, MIca, Oxide. Learn the Nuts & Bolts of starting your own Soap Making Business. PLUS, all the tricks of the trade from a 25 year veteran Soap maker that used to product over $76,000 of soap a year as well as owner/operator of a Cold Process Soap fragrance supply business.

You learn the in and outs, from a veteran Cold Process soap maker, to include How to wholesale, and what you need to have an efficient cold process soap making business. You also get 3 months of email/phone support!  We offer a convenient MONTHLY INSTALLMENT PAYMENT PLAN on each of our Boot Camps to make it easier for you to budget. And don’t forget, your professional education is TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

We have the best fun! I hope that you will join us in one of the upcoming Soapalooza 3 Day Bath & Body Boot Camps (use Coupon Code 50OFFCLASS), or even one of our 2 Day Intensive Soap Making Boot Camps (use Coupon Code 25OFFSOAPCAMP).

Both Coupons are only valid until Sept 30, 2014… So HURRY and sign up!

 

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

Make your own Solid Perfume

IMG_0010Make your own Solid Perfume using this basic formula. It is very flexible, you can use it not only for a solid perfume. If you use flavor oil instead of fragrance oil, you can make this be a lip pot. If you you use infused herbs and essential oils, this can become the backbone of a salve. If you add some Titanium Dioxide, this can be a Baby Bottom Cream. This formula will even work for moisturizing Cuticles. Wonderful, huh?

The gold lid perfume jar is the Perfume I made for a 2009 Southern Soapers Swap in the old Yahoo forum.

Solid Perfume 

2 oz beeswax, bleached or natural
1 oz Jojoba oil
few drops of your favorite essential or cosmetic grade fragrance oil

Combine in a small Pyrex pitcher and microwave in 20 second bursts until the beeswax has melted into the jojoba oil. Remove while the beeswax still has tiny unmelted bits and let the hot jojoba oil finish melting the mixture. Do not overheat in the microwave, as beeswax will get hotter than the glass container.  Add fragrance oil or essential oil after your wax & oil is well mixed and begins cooling. For larger portions, use the stove top for melting your beeswax. Pour your cooling mibloominglips2xture into small, 1-oz balm tins.

Have fun adapting this formula. Don’t be shy about changing out the oils or the type of wax you use. This is what makes a product your own, as well as teaches you from trial and error what works for you and your business. The orange & pink lip pots are Swinging Stackable pots from Qosmedix . We used oil based FD&C pigments for our lip tints. Soapalooza will be bringing back the lip tints later in 2014 also!

Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking!

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!

Congrats to Colleen Hoitt of Rose Moon Soap

BizInsuranceCongrats to Colleen Hoitt of Rose Moon Soap for renewing their HSCG Membership and obtaining business & product liability insurance through one of our industry trade associations!

Soapalooza offers a $20 Gift Certificate when you join or renew your membership with either the HSCG or Indie Business Network (formerly Indie Beauty Network) and obtain your business and product liability insurance through them. Simply send us a copy of your insurance certificate PDF with date issued, and we will issue you a $20 Gift Certificate to shop at Soapalooza.com. More details on our exclusive promotion at the Soapalooza website.

My Saponified Life – Frozen Dead Soap

PirateSoapToday I made the rounds of the Nederland, Colorado stores. I was accompanying my daughter as she made her wholesale soap stock exchange. We stocked Dandelion Fine Art & Gifts with a limited specialty selection of Frozen Dead Soaps for the upcoming weekend Frozen Dead Guy Days. These special skull, bone, cannabis leaf, and dancing bear soaps will be available only at Dandelion or the Nederland Visitor Center. I really enjoyed seeing the variety of soap makers products in this tourist town as we made our way through the stores filled with talented local artist’s creations.

Nederland is like a modern day Amsterdam. Nederland decriminalized marijuana several years ago, long before Colorado’s Prop 64. There are between 8 to 10 medical marijuana dispensaries vs one grocery store. Everything is locally owned, no chains, and is strictly an entrepreneur’s town. Breweries, dispensaries, local artisans are in such close proximity that you really don’t even need a car. There is a bus line going from Boulder to Nederland and Nederland to the ski resort on fairly regular basis, or travelers can hitch hike with friendly residents.

During the soap stock exchange today, I recognized some of the other soap maker brands. At Dandelion Fine Art & Gifts, not only did we see Nederland Naturals soap, I saw soap by Spinster Sisters (Golden, CO), and The Mod Cabin (Lafayette, CO). In other shops around town I recognized Sad Cat Soap Company, Mountain Moon Glow Candles (Nederland, CO), The Pampered Pioneer (a private label by an actual soap friend), Ostara Organics (Longmont, CO), and The Clean Get Away Soap Company (Denver, CO).

I had not believed my daughter when she told me I really did not need a car while in Ned. The thought of being on foot all day, every day, for week was just too much for me though, so I had a rental car arranged. The first day here in Ned, we just went out and about with stroller exploring, getting lunch, and generally site seeing in town. The baby slept most of the duration, lulled to sleep by the rhythmic jostling of the stroller. It was a fun, and easy to maneuver outing with us toting along all the accoutrements needed when going out with an infant and conducting some business in a few of the local cafe’s like Salto, and the Train Cars.

Last night however, a foot of snow fell so we loaded up the car this morning and drove to a central location in downtown Nederland. That’s where we attended the Baby Story Time at the Nederland Community Library, afterward strolling across the street to The Business Connection for a full color label print. After printing the Frozen Dead Soap labels we returned to our car where we proceeded to label all the soaps that were intended for Dandelion. We dropped the soaps off and visited two more shops to check stock, then went down to the Nederland US Post Office where my daughter mailed off a few Etsy soap orders. We then stopped by the feed store and purchased pine tar for the upcoming Mountain Man Pine Tar Soap, but stopped off at that only grocery store for the few items we needed for dinner.

We took a time out for lunch and hot tea at the Blue Owl after stocking a fresh round of hemp seed oil soaps at the Mountain Peoples Co Op, scented with Soapalooza’s own Truly Patchouli and Wicked Ganja! My daughter used the interlude to catch our breath, feed the baby, catch up on email, and manage some custom orders in her Etsy store.

At this point, I was having traumatic flashbacks of when I had three children under the age of 5 years, shuffling them in and out of coats, mittens, and car seats and into strollers, in a town where it was impossible to get really anywhere without a car. I was convinced that not only was it easy to do pretty much all you need to do in Nederland on foot, but glad that we were not waking a baby up from a car seat nap, folding & unfolding a stroller, and loading and reloading as we drove 40 to 150 feet every 30 to 45 minutes. The idea of coaxing a wriggling 14 lb sack of potatoes into a happy state after being woke up from a car seat nap every 45 minutes is mentally exhausting, and I am convinced would have been more physically exhausting than simply walking and pushing a stroller loaded to the gills with soap and computers.

Tonight I am teaching my daughter how to use the Low Temperature soap making method with her new Mountain Man Pine Tar Soap. Last night we poured her very popular Mountain Woman Soap, both exclusively available at the Mountain Man Outdoor Store in Nederland, Co. You can download a Pine Tar Soap Class PDF from Soaplooza to learn how to make this also!

Now that the baby is sleeping, I am teaching my daughter a few more Melt & Pour techniques to make Pirate Soaps for the Renaissance Woman costume & gift shop Friday.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!

My 5 Most Important Business Tips

SoapaloozaWORD-LogoThis article is something that I originally wrote for my old Southern Soapers forum in response to customers asking how I built BloomWorks Soap Company. These five things are what I felt were the most important elements of growing my, or any Soap or Bath & Body business.

I have updated this 2003 article to include not only Google page ranking aspects, but also social media that has since exploded, as well as some of the new marketing tools that potential customers with Smart Phones have at their fingertips.

Real paper and honest face to face time (even via Skype or Youtube videos!) are still the core to creating authenticity for gaining and sustaining customer trust though, and this is still a key component for these 5 most important business tips.

My five key tips for any business, regardless of what you might be selling are:

1. Pay a professional to do your website. It is an investment, the “E-retail” image you will convey. It is also easier to hurt the feelings of a designer you are paying, than hurt the feelings of a relative you still have to live with. It is easier to be demanding and exacting so that you get what you really want as your company image. You can get a quality website from many designers, as little as $300 to as much as $3500, depending on level of design, features, complexity, and shopping cart functionality suited for your needs.

2. Invest in Quality Labeling/Packaging. Get a good color laser printer and get nice clear, glossy, or matte waterproof labels. Your label and packaging will not only be your first impression made to a buyer, but also your foot in the door to many opportunities. Invest in the most professional presentation of your product that you can afford. Each labeled product is your company ambassador in bathrooms and homes all over, hopefully flung far and wide!

3. Front Load your profit margin. Buy fixed oils, essential oils, and other raw ingredients and supplies in bulk. 50% of your profit margin is tied to the buying side of your business. Money not spent is money in the bank.

4. Cost in your Time, and Work Smart. The opportunity cost of what you would be doing otherwise, in conjunction to what you would have to pay in wages for another to do it when you can no longer do everything on your own, is a good rule of thumb. Set your processes up so that you are using your time at maximum efficiency. Stop and review your highest expenses each month. Evaluate and streamline your time. That is where you will also find a large hidden profit center: Use of one’s time… Less time used means less cost per bar, in turn resulting in higher profit margin.

5. Market Yourself and Your Product. Start with products you love, believe in, and can get ‘Religiously Fanatical’ about. Beware of spreading yourself too thin, do what you do best! I advise new business owners to select a maximum of 5 products to sell (example: soap, scrub, bath bombs, lotion, lip balms). Push for the highest price per ounce that the market will bear on those products, so that when you do offer discounts, the ‘discount’ is really the initial price you might have been willing to settle for! Remember, you can never compete on price alone, there will always be someone willing to undercut you. Promote your products with a price that reflects their exclusive nature.

Build attractive Marketing materials. Even if you do not have an artistic bone in your body, you can find polished templates at places like Vista Print. Decide if you are going to be strictly Retail, Wholesale, or a combination of both. Choose a cohesive color scheme, logo, and “theme” for your business and marketing materials. This should reflect well what your products and business are trying to project. Create a business card. Develop a series of branded collateral (marketing) materials that include possibly a glossy, two sided company presentation, or showcase sheet, a tri fold brochure on your products, a post card that can be sent to special loyal customers on their birthday, and a sell sheet (if you are wholesale).

Use QR codes on your business cards and flyers so that the Smart Phone Savvy will use this function to immediately use them to “like” you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter, and/or access a Coupon you might be promoting.

Use good search engine optimization practices; join the Handmade Soap & Cosmetics Guild and/or the Indie Business Network professional trade associations. Connect with the Social Media channels. Be sure to create links from higher Goggle page ranking sites that will market your product to prospective buyers, not just industry peers. The Handmade Soap & Cosmetics Guild, The Indie Business Network, the Real Handmade Soap Index, all have ‘authoritative’ Goggle Page Ranks of 5 or greater.

Generally the average soap website falls at 1, 2 or 3… on a scale of 1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest. Etsy has a 9. Seek to link with websites that have higher page ranks than your own. Keep in mind that forwards and redirects from your main index.html page to a /cart or /store landing will show a deduction of one full rank point from your page ranking of the /cart or /store website level, but that your website will still benefit from the overall network effect in Google Search returns from the higher index.html page rank score. You just will not get to see it due to the redirect. Don’t try to figure Google out, they change too frequently. Just concentrate on a quality presence in a variety of advertising venues.

You can go to Google.com and download the page rank tool and install it on your toolbar, it will show you PR on every website you visit, if they have a PR.

Last, I would recommend using customer testimonials, Blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, Etsy, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and other social networking tools to build and extend your web of network and social media links. Each link to your business in the blogosphere and internet creates a new interstitial connection to your business website. All auction listings, blog entries, and many public forum postings are indexed by Google and contribute to your website ranking. Create and Repeat ‘Talking Points’ in your signature files, blog posts, emails, and any blogosphere dialogues. Build your own news releases, press release, and online dialogue, even if no one else is ‘listening’ yet.

Gradually, you will increase in mass like a snowball rolling down a mountain, effectively creating your own true “Network Effect”.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

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.

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!