Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Workshop Series: T-Shirt Bags

The Summer Workshops at Soapendipity have been underway for a few weeks and everyone is having so much fun completing the projects. Here are the photos from the first project: recycled t-shirt bags.

Before everyone showed up, I gathered all of the materials. For this project I had fabric paint, fabric for appliques, puffy paint, an assortment of foam stamps and paint brushes.

The t-shirts I picked up at the Goodwill for $1.00/each. I chose plain colored shirts in children's sizes so that the bags would not be too big, but really you could use any t-shirt.

The applique idea came to me the morning of the workshop, so I quickly grabbed some scraps from home. It was a big ol' mountain of fabric!

The girls started by cutting out their appliques and planning their design.

Once the design was ready, it was time to cut! To make the bag, simply cut off the sleeves and around the neck. Because I wanted to kids to be able to complete the bags from start to finish, we used a no-sew technique to close off the bottom. At home, you could use a sewing machine and sew up the bottom.

It was so much fun to watch the bags come together! For the sun, Reegan used a piece of fabric for the center and half of a swirl foam stamp for the rays. I don't think I ever would have thought of that.

Here is an applique butterfly she created using two hearts for the body. We used Heat 'n Bond and an iron to apply the appliques.

The finished products were really great!

The girls had such a great time that they even came back the next week!

Workshops are held at Soapendipity weekly, through August and are offered at 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Class space is limited, so please RSVP if you would like to attend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Top 5 Best Selling Soaps

In the almost two years since I have been selling my soap I have have offered my customers a lot of fragrance choices. At times, I have had over 20 to choose from! By far, these five have consistently been my top sellers.

5. Moroccan Mint
This blend of peppermint, spearmint and corn mint is cool and refreshing. With a sprinkling of black tea, this is more of a sophisticated mint, rather than a WOW! mint scent. It will give your senses a lift without you smelling like a stick of gum.

4. Lemon Verbena
This is a duplication of the popular Yankee Candle fragrance. Along with the lemon verbena, there are also notes of bergamot, primrose and violet. Keep smelling this fantastic fragrance and you might also detect notes of amber, white musk and an itty bitty drop of peppermint. I have tossed in some poppy seeds for gentle exfoliation.

3. Summer Melon
The first time I put this soap out, I sold 20 bars in one day! It is a perfect summer fragrance, with cantaloupes, watermelons and canary melons coming together, topped with Japanese grapefruit, crisp apple, pomelo and a dash of tonka If you are a fan of cucumber melon, you should definitely give this one a try, for a delightful change of pace.

2. Dragonsblood
In spite of its funny sounding name (or maybe because of it), I can not keep this fragrance in stock! It is well loved by both men and women. This alluring blend has notes of amber, incense, Madagascar vanilla and patchouli.

1. Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
I use farm fresh goat milk, honey and colloidal oatmeal to create my best selling bar of soap. A sweet and toasty fragrance combined with skin loving ingredients combine for a bar of soap you and your skin will love.  

All of these soaps are available in my retail store, my Etsy shop and at both the Ellensburg and Roslyn farmer's markets. If you are having trouble deciding, you definitely cannot go wrong with choosing one (or more) of these fragrances.

Which is your favorite?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soapendipity: In Haiku

Soap, scrub, moisturize
Keeps us clean and smelling good
Don't eat the cupcake!

Monsters in the soap
They smell like watermelon
The kids want to wash

A place for friends to gather
To make soap and stuff

There is a soap for that too
Little wiener dogs

Lip balm in a tube
It's like lotion for your lips
Smooth and kissable

What every girl needs
A bag to put it all in
With a zipper top

Monday, June 13, 2011

Please do me a favor.

A week ago, I posted the winner of my party favor giveaway. And since then I have been working with Belle to design her custom party favors for her father's day party. In case you missed the winning announcement, here is her story:
I will be having a large fathers day party this year. (We have a large family and our dad is in liver failure so we celebrate every chance we can for him) I would love to try out your lotion and this would be the perfect chance.
I was very excited to be able to do this for her and her dad and I couldn't wait to get started! From our initial contact, she told me she wanted the color scheme to be blue and the theme to be "Reach for the Stars". From that, I ended up with this initial design:
I sent her this proof and she said it was great, but I still thought there was something missing:

More STARS!!  Now it was perfect and I could move on to the next step:

Labeling and filling the bottles.
 As you can see, she selected the popular Cucumber Melon fragrance.

Don't they look great?! But they are not quite done. To finish them off, they went into a cellophane bag and were tied up with matching ribbon with the tag attached.

I just love curling ribbon!

Now they are ready for their close-up!

The perfect little party package!
They are now on their way to Belle and her family, just in time for Father's Day. I cannot wait to hear all about the party, where I am sure they will be a hit.

Do you like what you see here? Let me know about your upcoming party or event and I will design you your own unique favors. And now through the end of June I am offering 10% off on all custom designs (minimum order of 10). Please click the pink "email me" button at the top right of the page and include the following:
  • How many guests?
  • What you would like? (lotion, lip balm, soap, or a combination)
  • Date of the party?
I will get you a price quote within 24 hours. Please allow at least 2 weeks for completion and shipping. If you need a rush order, please let me know and I will try to accommodate the request.

P.S. For those of you with eagle eyes, you may have noticed that there was a watermark on the image in first two pictures. You will be happy to know that once the design was approved, I did obtain the rights to use the image.


Conquering My Fears

Most people wouldn't know this about me, but I have social anxiety. Panic attacks included. When I think about it, it seems completely irrational to me. I am a teacher, after all. I have zero, zip, zilch fear of giving speeches, being in front of a classroom or talking to people...when they approach me. Ask the guy at Safeway where the Cheerios are? Piercing my ears with a dull needle would be less painful. Make a phone call to pretty much anyone? I'll take the root canal, please. Walk into a store and ask them if they would be interested in selling my products? Kill me now.

It's the last one that has me writing this post today. I love what I do and I know the products I create are wonderful, but...I. Can't. Sell. And if you are going to own a retail store, be able to promote the business, and have any hope of it being successful, you just have to be able to go out and make the sale. So what's a fear and anxiety riddled girl to do?

Make a little, sell a little, take small steps. 
3M Corporation Creed 

1. Focus on all the things I can do, rather than dwell on the things I can't do. I made a list. You know what? There are lots of things I can do and things that I am really good at. Now, how am I going to use those qualities to my advantage? I made a list for that too!

2. Remove the word CAN'T from my vocabulary. This one is easier said than done. When I feel that paralyzing fear take over my entire body it really does feel like I physically can't do something. But the word is so limiting - when you say it, you are telling yourself, "Nope, not even going to try."  And I really do want to be able to do it. So it isn't that I can't, but that it is just really hard for me. 
3. Say it loud, say it proud! Part of the fear is admitting I have the fear. So I am telling everyone. Friends, especially. I have received so much encouragement and offers to help, it is truly amazing. Which brings me to part B: accept said offers of help! Yes, please. 
4. Do one thing each day in facing my fear - no matter how small. In a meeting last week, I was sitting next to a local business person I want to talk to about selling my products. I proceeded to have a conversation with my head. At that moment, it was enough and the next moment, it will be more.
5. Start with the people that I know will not say no. This is the first cousin to 3 and 4, but I thought it deserved its own number - because as obvious as this one sounds, it is still one I get hung up on. Face it, when a friend rejects your business idea it is both a personal rejection and a business rejection, right?? Wrong! First of all, some of them have already offered to help, their yes is already in the bag. Secondly, will we still be friends, even if they say no? Of course we will! 
6. Take advantage of all the opportunities that happen inside my comfort zone. I can talk to you for days about my products - as long as you initiate the conversation, or walk into my store, or check out my booth at the market. This is my comfort zone, but I still miss thousands of opportunities to ask for the sale.  
This goal also includes bringing up my business in casual conversation. Yesterday, at the grocery store, I ran into another mom I know. We started talking about coupons and summer vacation. She has a daughter that is the perfect age to enjoy the Soap Bar, so I suggested she bring her in with some friends this summer and I handed her my business card. She hadn't even heard of Soapendipity, but agreed that her daughter would love it. How many of these opportunities do I miss out on every day? Tons! And it really wasn't that hard.
Why am I sharing all of this with you?

"The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen."
Lee Iacocca 

That, and it goes along with #3 very nicely, don't you think?  As I am writing this, it does occur to me that it probably won't be one of my most read posts. I mean, it is long, there are no pictures, it is long, it is pretty much all about me, and it is long. But, in the off chance you have made it this far, I would love it if you would share with me what you have done to overcome your fears.

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