Snowflake Melt & Pour Soap Project

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It is that time again. Fall, the time when the kids head back to school and you have time to focus on upcoming Fall & Winter Product lines. We have a small project that is perfect for you and your child to make the cutest Let the Snow Begin Soaps. This soap uses the Wilton Silicone Snowflake mold and makes six 3 oz to 4 oz snowflake soaps. Instructions arebelow:

 

Step 1. Melt approximately 2 oz white soap base gently in the microwave. If using PJ’s injection tool (or any other medicine dosage syringe), you will need the soap to be thin. If you do not have an injection tool or syringe, you can still do this but you will need to let your melted soap cool to a thick, viscous consistency. Use either the injection tool to fill the tiny snowflake lines, or use the back of a spoon to squeeze in the thick melted soap base. Save any unused white M&P, we will use it again later for the top layer of this soap.

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Step 2. Using the back of a spoon, gently scrape away the excess soap from the snowflake lines, pressing down gently as you scrape. You do not want to pull up the soap filled lines, so pressing down helps. I recommend filling one snowflakes at a time, then immediately start clearing the excess before the soap gets too firmly set up. It is easier to scrape the excess without damaging the snowflake lines while the excess soap is still pliable.

Snowflake-step2

 

Step 3. Now you have your silicone mold with filled in snowflake lines and cleared of the excess soap from the outlying silicone areas. Wait until your white snowflake lines are firm, about 30 minutes. Now melt approximately 12 oz clear M&P soap base. We tinted red ours red using a Red Lake and some Burgundy oxide dissolved with alcohol and then added to the soap base. This prevents pigment lumps. Alternatively, you can use liquid gel colorants. Fragrance your red tinted clear Melt & P

 

our soap base and then let it cool until pourable, but cooled to a thicker state. We do not want to cause the heat from the red tinted M&P to melt the delicate Snowflake lines.

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Step 4. Spritz the surface of your white Snowflake lines with alcohol. This will allow the next pour of M&P soap, the red tinted clear, to adhere well. Gently divide the red tinted clear M&P soap base among the 6 snowflake mold cavities. Wait 1 to 2 hours for the red tinted M&P to firm up. My son and I were in a hurry and we should have waited another 15 minutes.

Step 5. Now melt some additional white M&P soap base with the left overs you have from making the snowflake lines. You will need about 10 oz of white M&P. Fragrance this portion of white M&P base. Using your sprayer with alcohol, spritz the red tinted M&P soap surfaces of the 6 snowflake molds. Now, divide the white M&P soap base evenly among the six molds. Let sit and firm up for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 6. Gently pull the silicone mold away from the firm soaps, removing the soaps as you do so.

This was a fun project for my son and I. We will be doing some more using white & blue Hannukah theme, as well as white and Christmas green themes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

stockxpertcom_id440246_size1[1]Happy Thanksgiving! It has been awhile since I had the time to blog. I was so busy that my mind was just not able to focus on topics long enough to put words on the blogosphere.

First, a quick update to catch you up (and be sure to get down to the ‘second’ at the end also!):

I went back to school to learn about Real Estate in June. For the last 4 years the idea of committing to a building on a piece of dirt, with me completely responsible for it, has overwhelmed me. After 35 years living a gypsy lifestyle the military gives you, the idea of owning my own home felt scary, kind of like having a ball and chain on my foot. The idea of not being able to call a landlord to fix the leaking roof, the broken heat pump, or other unexpected repairs was a bit overwhelming, especially after never really having to ever be responsible for such things! Also, the fear that I might change my mind and feel trapped to the location was also frightening. I knew I needed to do something to make sense of my irrational fears, and learning the ‘behind the curtain’ details of Real Estate was the only way I could fathom being able to ever buy a home on my own.

I also needed to see what the business world outside my home office was like. I needed to measure who I was. I have this business degree, yet I have never worked for anyone with it! I have always simply run my own business, fitting it around either a military lifestyle, or my family routines. I’ve set my own hours, and they typically are a moving target … one day I may work 7 am to noon, another week I may be in the studio on a 10 am to 5 pm basis. Another part of the month I may be only working mostly 7 pm to 2 am in the morning. Just depended on what my family needed first. I wanted to see what working in a typical business environment was like. To measure my mettle, to mentally do a cost benefit analysis of my time and worth. I wanted to see the value of my time as a home business consultant and internet based business compared to the 9 to 5 business office lifestyle. I needed to find how my business and business model compared to that of people working for others.

And while I have been an employee before, it has been a long time, and in the teaching profession, not in the business world. It was really important for me to learn if I was using my graduate business education in the most profitable manner, one that I could measure against a tangible standard.

I learned SO MUCH! I learned my business unleashes me from so many constraints that most of my Real Estate professional cohorts or business industry peers are hostage to! I learned the value of my time as well as the ability to be in control of how my time is allocated during the day/week, and how incredibly priceless that is. I will never discount that benefits of being a successful entrepreneur again! I learned how very much I AM indeed the Chief Excitement Officer!

The June through October Real Estate training was money & time well invested, even though I know this is not where I will be focusing my business energies. The training and office/field time has removed my fear of buying my own home! It has taught me the value & power of being in control of my time, and has allowed me to measure my business acumen against something tangible. It has taught me also how MUCH I actually bring to the table as a single woman in areas beyond the business conference room! The education and on the job training was in many ways liberating on more intangible areas than I could ever have imagined. Additionally, I have made fantastic new friends, I’ve gotten to know my community better, and I have a marvelous seasoned business mentor. I learned more than if I had enrolled in a semester of business Real Estate courses at the College of Williams & Mary or VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University).

I am planning to maintain my Real Estate license and use it periodically for friends and family needs, but I don’t see myself pursuing the profession more than on a limited basis or for my own investment purposes.

2015-03-28 09.15.59My passion and heart are still with the soap making and independent bath & body industry. One of the unexpected outcomes from my Real Estate training is that my fear about being  a manufacturer when single and on my own has also disappeared! I am going to restart my soap & body products manufacturing business again!  The Real Estate training took away not only my fear & anxieties of purchasing and owning my own home, but also the fear of manufacturing without that safety net of a Plan A (husband’s primary income as the back up plan)!

The experience matured me, gave me confidence, and increased my excitement to do what I love best!

Second, I have a series of topics planned that I will be publishing on the blog regularly again! All on either soap making, body care products, fragrance, supplies, my new Savon & Bain soap making venture, and well ..just my circumlocutious, saponified life!

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!

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 Fragrances. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20+ year veteran soap maker and supply business owner, consultant, trainer, and supplies wholesale soap for private label as well as Back Bar products for local boutique spas.

PS: We would LOVE to connect with you 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! Look for us on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter as well. We would love for you to join us!

Soapalooza’s HSCG & Indie Business Network Membership Rebate Program

Handmade Soap Makers Guild

Handmade Soap Makers Guild

Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild & Indie Business Network Membership Rebate Program

Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio is very excited to announce the reinstatement of the Business Insurance Rebate Program. This is the same business insurance rebate program that I designed when I formerly ran Southern Soapers. Please read the press release below with details:

Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio will reimburse $20 of your new or renewing Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild membership

Indie Beauty Network

Indie Beauty Network

dues. Alternatively, we will reimburse $20 of your new or renewing Indie Business Network membership dues. Simply forward us a copy of your PDF insurance certificate to Kelly@Soapalooza.com

Who is eligible? This Rebate Program is for anyone initially joining or renewing membership with the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild or the Indie Beauty Network. Only one rebate per person or business, either the HSMG or the IBN rebate, not both.

What is the Rebate? Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio will issue a Gift Certificate for $20 of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild membership dues OR a Gift Certificate for $20 of the Indie Business Network membership dues.

Why are we doing this? If you are selling soap, candles, or cosmetics and toiletries than you need Business & Product Liability Insurance. It only takes one customer to spin your world out of control. Please do not take chances with your assets, don’t sell without insurance. The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild insurance policy is the same policy available through the Indie Business Network.

What does it cost to join the HSCG or the IBN? The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild the Independent Business Network have their membership plans posted on their website:

HSMG: http://www.soapguild.org

IBN: http://www.indiebeautynetwork.com

There is a membership that will suit every soapmaker or cosmetic formulator.

Why should I join? Joining a professional trade association in your industry helps keep you aware of regulatory issues and concerns, provides education and business assistance, creates networking opportunities, and raises the level of professionalism as well as creates an esprit de corps among association members. Joining one or both of the preeminent professional trade associations in our industry provide you with tools to help your business thrive. Additionally, you will not likely find as comprehensive or affordable Business & Product Liability Insurance at the non-hobby level.

You can call us at 757-804-0416 for more details.

(This Rebate Program is sponsored solely by Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, formerly Southern Soapers Fragrances. Please do not request your rebate from the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild or the Independent Business Network. This Rebate Program is valid for new and renewing memberships starting April 1, 2013 and until further notice. Not retroactive for memberships already purchased prior to April 1, 2013. Rebate limited to one per person or business per year. Minimum purchase required.

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!

Thank You and Many Thanksgiving Blessings

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Thank all of you for your continued support at Soapalooza! 2014 has been a year of many blessings and abundance here at the Soapalooza Studio and within my own family.

This time last year my grand daughter had just been born, and come home from the hospital with my daughter to stay with me. My daughter and baby Sophia are now happy in the Atlanta area. My daughter & Sophia’s daddy had their own special Thanksgiving this year! I am Thankful that my daughter & son in law are happy, and that I got to help deliver Sophia at the hospital and have my daughter and her with me while they needed my home.

My son came back to live with me after some turmoil at his father & stepmother’s home. It has been wonderful to have him back here. He is in 8th grade now, and taking some High School credit classes, and I am so proud that he made the A/B Honor list for the first marking period! I willingly let his father have the chance to finish raising him, but am so thankful that I get to do this!

My daughter in Colorado has grown her soap business, Nederland Naturals, to a point that she is supporting her business and supplementing her own income! I am so proud of her also. I am so thankful that I could pass on the skill set for her to do this! I am thankful my daughter is strong and resourceful. I am Thankful that Robert, born early at 5.6 lbs, is a happy, healthy, thriving little boy that I adore.

I am Thankful that my daughter in Miami is safe and happy with her boyfriend, and that she is also strong and prevails over the periodic turbulance that occurs in her life also! She is my youngest daughter, and still making her way in the world.

My eldest daughter, up in New York, I am Thankful that she is happy creating the life that she wants.

I am Thankful that my loved ones are safe and healthy. I am Thankful that I am safe, happy, and healthy… I am Thankful that I am able to do all the creative things that pop in my head, create the Soapalooza Studio and curriculum, to share it with others that want to learn from my experience.

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!

Soapmaking 101 Studio Class


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/We had a terrific class today! My students got incredibly excited during the class watching the saponification process. Later, after we had done a recap of the lesson and process, they were brainstorming ways to being their own entrepreneurial journey. That was probably the most exciting part of the day for me. Watching them network among themselves … listening to their own unique ideas for potential soap businesses!

Peppermint Poppy Seed Soap

Studio Soap Log

Studio Soap Log


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/One of our students learned to make cold process soap today… They chose Peppermint essential oil with poppy seeds sprinkled in for visual effect.
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/This was my first male student to teach soapmaking to! Over the last 20 years I have tried, without success, to engage my husband to make soap with me. I thought it would be a fun thing for a couple to do together. He did not agree, ha ha.. So, this was really unique for me to have a male actually interested in learning to make soap, much less paying me to teach him! How novel! It was a lot of fun, and he took home recipes and the mental acuity to embellish with his own ideas. He was a quick study!