Shopping Cart

Specials

Products

Resources

Soap Making Success Stories

  • Interview with a “Jill of all Trades”

    4/2/2014

    Mom, soaper and self-proclaimed “Jill of all Trades,” Jill Keck of Calise Soapworks is a soapmaker that stands out. She uses bright colors, adventurous techniques and skin-nourishing ingredients to craft one-of-a-kind soaps. After being continually frustrated by “gentle” products that still left her daughter’s skin dry, she took matters into her own hands and started making her own products.

    Six years later, Jill has a successful Etsy shop, a large Facebook page community and she has become a fixture of the local farmer’s market scene in her hometown of Newport, Oregon. Read on to find our how her Calise Soapworks & Such grew from a small operation to a full-fledged business.

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    I’ve been soaping for about 6 years. I made my first batch of soap to try and help my family. My oldest daughter’s skin was continually dry. I kept purchasing all sorts of “natural” products and nothing seemed to be working. My best friend had made soap, and it got me thinking that I could try my hand at it, too. I really liked the idea of knowing exactly what was going into my soap and onto my daughter’s skin. After my first batch, I was hooked!

    Soap Queen: What inspires you to create?

    I create because it makes me happy and I love choosing the amazing ingredients that go into my products. I also get a lot of enjoyment out of making products my customers love and use (and not just look at). Creating a product that is high quality, yet visually appealing, motivates me. No matter what, the Happy Factor has to be there!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of product to make?

    I love making something new and having it come out the way I envisioned (which doesn’t always happen)! I’m an artistic and creative person, so I guess the planning and creating of a visually interesting cold process loaf is one of my favorite things to do.

    Figuring out how to color, scent and pour layers while factoring in soap thickness and how the soap will react to the fragrance and colorant is such a fun challenge. Waiting to unmold and cut the soap can be a nail biter because I never completely know if I’ll end up with a giant smile or a puzzled look on my face once I cut my soap. Figuring out what went wrong and problem solving to correct the next batch is also half the fun, at least sometimes. :)

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    Try, try again and don’t give up if it’s something you really want. It is important to find your niche and have a product you’ve tested and believe in. Research into smart business practices (the Business Musings section on the blog is a great place to start). Creating a product is only half the battle. Figuring out labeling, packaging, selling venues, business registration and insurance is a huge component in creating a business. I’m learning a lot about myself during this journey. Balancing family and work is vital (and often difficult because I usually lack an “off” button).

    Start small and celebrate your successes and learn from mistakes and don’t consider them failures. Be thankful that you caught the oopsie because it could have been so much worse. Be sure to price your products correctly if you are actually trying to have a business and not a hobby (this has been difficult for me, but it is so vital). Most importantly, love what you do because it shows. Being able to connect with your customer makes all the difference in the world.

    Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    Calise Soapworks & Such was inspired by my daughters, Camille & Elise. The “& Such” part is because I never know what great product idea is around the corner! I hope that Baby #3 won’t mind he’s not included in my business name (Note: Baby #3, Davin, was born December 23, 2013).

    Soap Queen: Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself.

    Oh, geez! I guess I’ve had more jobs than most people I’ve known (a Jill of all trades). I think that goes along with my desire to learn and soak up life. Some past interesting occupations have been: office manager for a general contractor, elementary school teacher, veterinarian technician, car sales person, restaurant manager… There has always been rhyme behind my reason. I appreciate all of my experiences because each field has taught me skills that I’m currently using in some form or another.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Oh gosh, picking one product is so difficult! I love how Bramble Berry tests their products, so someone is always there if I have a question. If I have to pick just one product, I think I will choose your fragrances because it is a broad category! I use both essential oils and fragrance oils. I like knowing your fragrance oils are tested in cold process soap, so I have a good idea of how a fragrance will react even before I use it after reading Bramble Berry’s notes and customer reviews. Your fragrance oil calculator is super handy in determining how much fragrance oil I need to use in a batch of soap (or lotion).

    Bonus: Check out our Web Specials and scoop up this month’s on-sale fragrances. Baby Rose, Rain Cybilla, Rosehip Jasmine and Tobacco & Bay Leaf are all on sale.

    Find Calise Soapworks & Such:

    On the web
    On Etsy
    On Facebook
    On Blogspot

    The post Interview with a “Jill of all Trades” appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Cozying up with Kenisco Soap Bar

    3/12/2014

    For many soapers, opening a retail store is a dream come true. Sites such as Etsy & eBay make it easy to complete sales online. However, there’s nothing quite like a brick & mortar store to display your creations and interact face-to-face with customers. With a year and a half of soaping under their belts, Erin and Kirsten opened Kensico Soap Bar in 2012.  Read on to learn her top advice for soapers.

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    We started creating bath and body products over a year and a half ago, and opened our retail store in September 2012. During our decade long friendship, we talked about creating a business that would be fun for our children and be a part of our neighborhood. After exploring several business ideas, a lightbulb went off in workshops held in NYC by Marla Bosworth. We were excited about creating a unique shopping experience as well as place for crafting, and wanted a place that was comfortable for all ages.

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    Lots of research. Starting a business is quite a learning experience. You will make mistakes, which is okay as long as you learn from them.  Also, find a mentor that will support you and be a wonderful sounding board. People appreciate creative products and will keep coming back for more.  

    Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    We live in Valhalla, NY, the home to Kensico Dam which was built in 1915.  When we came up with the idea of the store our children were attending Kensico elementary school.  We wanted a name with local history that people could identify with. And since we are fortunate to have an open studio space with large work counter , we thought Soap Bar would convey the feeling of creating at “the Bar”.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of product to make?

    We have different strengths. Erin enjoys the creative aspect of the melt and pour. Kirsten has fun creating cold process soaps.

    Soap Queen: What inspires you to create?

    Between the different holidays and seasons, and our customers requests, we are always finding fresh inspiration.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Hard to narrow down! Both of us love the fragrance oils – Waterlily Orange, Rain, Pinot Grigio and White Ginger and Amber are some of our favorites.

    Find Kensico Soap Bar:

    On Instagram
    On Facebook
    On Google+
    On their website

    The post Cozying up with Kenisco Soap Bar appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Jabbering with Jangle Soapworks

    2/19/2014

    There’s no doubting the popularity of goat milk soaps, and Janelle of Jangle Soapworks has elevated milk soaping to an art form. Janelle lives in rural Wisconsin with her family and her small herd of alpine dairy goats. The goats are milked by hand and then the fresh, raw milk is added to the soaps for extra skin-nourishing goodness. All of Janelle’s beautiful soaps include 100% goats milk instead of distilled water, and her favorite way to scent and colors soap is with natural colorants and essential oils. Read on to learn more about Janelle and her happy herd of goats!

    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    I have been making soap for about a year and a half now.  I have my own dairy goats that I milk and use the milk in a variety of ways (but soap was always missing).  Quite a while ago, a friend gave me a very simple soap making kit that included everything except the lye.  I didn’t know where to get that and was scared to work with it anyway.  My kit sat unused for a long time.  Finally, I met someone who invited me to participate in an afternoon of soap making with them.  I was hooked!  The lye wasn’t so scary and I got started.  I haven’t been able to stop since.

    On top of the creative satisfaction that I experienced, I was amazed that I no longer needed to use lots of lotions and creams to keep my skin moisturized.  First I just gave away the soaps as gifts and of course personal use, but now I am excited to launch a business and sell to others.

    What inspires you to create?

    Everything is inspiring to me as I think of new soaps to create!  I love looking at pictures of what other people do.  I also try to incorporate colors and scents that I like in other areas of life away from soap making.  Then I bring that to the soap table.  Also, along with that, each soap has an intended audience.  Whether it be men, women, sensitive skin, children, teenagers, or even specific individuals, I try to think of what colors and scents (or none) would represent that audience well.  And lastly, but probably most importantly, my goats inspire me.

    I do my best thinking while I am milking and doing barn chores.  I get most of my soapy ideas at that time.  I also have a soap named after each of my goats and try to gear that soap to represent their personality some how.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    I don’t have much advise for other soapers just starting a business because I am one of them. My only advise as I enter this is just to “go for it”.  I am having so much fun and am so excited by what I am doing that I am almost giddy!  You must love what you are doing and try to find something unique to offer.

    What is your favorite type of product to make?

    I only make cold processed organic and natural goat milk soaps.  I make many different recipes, scents, colors and shapes.  At some point maybe I will hone into a few favorites or specialties, but for now, I can not keep up with my ideas and inspirations.  All I want to do is make soap, but alas, I also have a family, animals and other regular activities that keep me plenty distracted.

    How did you come up with the name for your business?

    My business name is Jangle Soapworks.  I usually am a very indecisive person.  But Jangle Soapworks was easy!  At the time when I was contemplating the business aspect of soap making I received an email from a close friend addressed to me as “Jangle” (my name is Janelle).  I thought it was funny and replied to her email with the sign off as “Jangle”.  I later learned that she had made a speedy typo, but jokingly said that I would name my business that.  Together we still call me Jangle.  I liked it a lot for some reason.  It just feels happy and whimsical.  I want my soaps to feel happy and whimsical.  So my business name was born.

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Hmm…this is a hard question…because there are so many favorites.  I am going to give you two answers instead of one.  The first general product that I love of Bramble Berry’s are the natural colorants.  I LOVE the natural colorants! I have ordered and tried them all.  Lemon peel is my new favorite though:  just the right amount of color, scent and exfoliant!  I can’t stop smelling it when I use it.  But all of them are nice.  Madder root is another favorite.  Since I try to use only natural colorants, finding a true red was hard.  Finding madder root was wonderful!  It provides such a rich deep color.

    My other favorite “product” of Bramble Berry’s isn’t really a product at all.  It is the support.  I love the personal blogs and answers to questions!  I love that you always answer my questions immediately.  I love that you provide us soap makers with so many ideas and tutorials.  I love the recipes.  I love the FUN inspired by your business and all your sites!

    Find Jangle Soapworks:
    On Facebook
    On the web

    If you’re interested in making goat milk soap yourself, check out these tutorials, videos and milk soap kits. Keep in mind making milk soap is more difficult than making traditional cold process because milk contains sugars and proteins that react differently with lye than water does. It takes an experienced soaper to make milk soap, but there are plenty of resources to help you out:

    The post Jabbering with Jangle Soapworks appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Getting the Dish on The Daily Scrub

    2/5/2014

    Welcome to Wednesday, everyone! We’re giving you the momentum to finish out the week strong with an interview with Rachel of The Daily Scrub. Rachel’s positivity and excitement about soaping (and life in general) is infectious, and her creations match that enthusiasm. Her handcrafted soaps tend to feature her signature colorful soapy curls. Rachel has been a member of our soapy community for sometime, and last May she even won our Facebook Photo of the Week contest. Read on to learn more about this inspirational soaper — and her cute Boston Terrier pup Charlie!

    Soap Queen: What inspires you to create?

    My biggest inspiration comes from a loving and supportive husband — Jeff is my biggest fan! Now don’t get me wrong — my parents and his parents are right there too, but he’s with me day-to-day, building my molds and displays and setting me up at this show or that. He believes in me and always encourages me to do what I love and be more. I’m so grateful to have someone building me up! He inspires me to be a better me. All you have to do to find inspiration is to look. All around us are beautiful colors and patterns!

    I’m so blessed to have been given an artistic gift. In the beginning I would always compare my soaps to other soapers. Sure, it’s okay to admire someone else’s work, but you have to come up with your own style and signature look. It was important for me to be different and unique. Other soapers inspire me just as other artwork does. I use it as a springboard to creating my own color combos and designs. And, I’ve always been the type of person who needed to create. It’s important to have an outlet, whether it be drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, etc. It gets your mind thinking differently!

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    I’ve been soaping regularly for about 4 years. I’ve played with it off and on, but never got really into it until someone took the time to teach me the basics. My mom and I had a booth at our local farmers market for years selling cut flowers (we still do, but just added soaps to the mix). I bought soap from the nice soap lady next to us. We would chat and trade goodies, and I mentioned that someday I would love a lesson. But, I never wanted to compete with her, so I just continued to buy soap from her and wherever I saw it.

    One day she told me that their family was being transferred (they were in the military) and she asked me if I wanted to come over for a lesson. She said that someone took the time to pay it forward and teach her, so she felt that teaching me was her paying it forward. So, the rest is history I guess! I was bit by the bug and never looked back! Now, there’s soap curing all over our house.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Really? You have to ask? I love them all! The best part about Bramble Berry isn’t just the fabulous high quality soap fragrance oils, essential oils, colorants, etc., but instead the people. The reason I continue to shop with your company is because I want to support another “small” business (even when it takes 4 – 7 days to get products to me on the East Coast), but mostly because I appreciate what your company stands for. Sure, your prices are good and that helps, but quality of service and product means the most to me. Your customer service is top notch. You answer any and all questions whenever I have one.  And, most of all, you believe in helping others. You set the example for how a business should run. I’ve learned a lot just from seeing how you do business. I feel like I know you all and all I see is what you post on the internet!

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to soapers who are just starting their businesses?

    The Daily Scrub is my part-time artist gig! I make soap because I LOVE to be creative. I’ve always been crafty, but never could find that thing that people wanted to buy. Until now! It’s an opportunity for me to be artistic, but at the same time create a useful product. My biggest piece of advice would be to get “legal.” And, yes, it does cost money to get “legal.” Get all of your appropriate licenses and permits and register your business. Get insurance! (Soap Queen note: we recommend going through the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild to purchase insurance for your soapy business. Learn more about it on their website here.)

    Take time to keep good records — yes, I know this is the not-so-fun part about making soap! I am here to tell you that 90% of my time is spent doing paperwork, packaging orders, communicating with customers, and marketing my products. Making soap is the easy part! Be realistic and know that when selling your product directly to the consumer you have to be personable and communicative (and it helps to have a dog like Charlie too! He’s my sidekick at the farmers market). Respond promptly to emails and posts on your page – and, most importantly – get a Facebook page and post regularly! Be diligent! Facebook has done more for me than I could have ever imagined.

    And, one last tip — always go above and beyond to make sure the customer is completely satisfied with your product!

     Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of product to make?

    Right now I only make cold process soaps! I’d love to make lotions and lip balms, etc. but I have to be realistic with my time commitments. I make what I love to make, and I’ve found that there’s something to be said for making one thing well.

     Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    This makes me laugh because my husband and I spent lots of hours discussing the options! One day it just came to us — it just made sense! I think that was one of the hardest decisions. I didn’t want my name or to make it location specific. So, The Daily Scrub was just right!

    Find The Daily Scrub:
    On the web
    On Instagram
    On Facebook

    The post Getting the Dish on The Daily Scrub appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Chatting with Kenna of Modern Soapmaking

    12/16/2013

    A talented crafter whose soapy empire seems to expand year after year, Kenna of Modern Soapmaking and the Gratitude Soapery (formally Amathia Soapworks!) is one businesswoman we sincerely admire. Kenna has been soaping for almost a decade, and in that time she has made a name for herself as someone with a meticulous eye for detail. No swirl or sparkle is ever out of place! I often draw inspiration from Kenna and her designs, and earlier this year we were pleased to feature her 100% coconut oil cold process recipe on this blog.

    Earlier this month, Kenna announced the retirement of Amathia Soapworks and introduced Modern Soapmaking, which she hails as the soapmaker’s companion. Loaded with tips, tutorials and ebooks, it’s a soapmakers best friend. Not only that, she also announced her newest business outfit, Gratitude Soapery. A portion of the soapy sales go to a featured charity, as well as to programs that benefit Kenna’s local community in Kansas City, Mo. Read on to learn more about what inspires one of our industry’s most cutting-edge soapers:

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    I have been soaping for almost ten years now. I began soaping in 2004, with my introduction to soap making guided by a lovely local soap maker named Judy, the woman behind Sunrise Soaps. At the time, they had a shop on Main St. in Gardner, Kansas. I wandered in there one day and we hit it off.

    And then there was Kathy Miller’s website. At the time, Kathy’s website was one of the very few online resources for soap making. My first batch was peppermint soap with a red clay swirl. I used common grocery store oils, from a recipe on Kathy’s website. It was poured in a $2 kitty litter pan I bought at Wal-Mart and lined with a trash bag. That batch made something ridiculous like 30-40 bars of soap, but turned out great and sparked my love affair for the craft.

    Soap Queen: What inspires you to create?

    EVERYTHING. I have made soaps inspired by nature, music, people, colors, artwork, moments, scents, and so many other things. I have always been a very artistically expressive person, who feels the need to be creating something. For me, soap making has become a passion of exploration and refinement that fulfills that need and in essence, inspires itself. For instance, once I made a rainbow tiger stripe, I wanted to see how many other design techniques I could put rainbows in!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of product to make?

    Cold process soap, of course! I’m a soap maker through and through, no other skincare product comes close to that passion! Sometimes, I make melt and pour or hot process, but I feel cold process allows me the largest playground to frolic around.

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    Oh, gosh, I could give all kinds of advice. Most importantly, I think it is uber important to be 100% invested and confident in the products that you make and sell.

    Beyond that, my biggest mistakes in business have always been not planning or budgeting properly. I think knowing how you are going to sell your soap is far more important than making it. From marketing to branding to packaging to sales venues, and so much more, there are way more factors to a soap company than making great soap.

    Plus, having a plan of action (and set milestones/goals) helps in holding yourself accountable for what steps you are taking towards success. Even when you are self-employed, somebody still has to be the boss, right?

     

    Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    When it came time to choose a name for my first soap company, my affinity for Greek mythology reared its head. Amathia is the name of a nereid in Greek mythology. It was said that the nereids were graceful sea nymphs who often accompanied Poseidon and provided aid to sailors during dangerous storms. Amathia (Amatheia/ Ἀμάθεια) was mentioned in both Homer’s Iliad and Hyginus’ Fabulae.

    My new company, Gratitude Soapery, was named simply for what soap making has given me and what it gives others – absolute gratitude. I wanted a name that would be memorable (no one ever remembers how to spell or pronounce Amathia), as well as a name that made it clear what the purpose and product was.

    Soap Queen: Tell us something unique or unusual about yourself!

    I hate questions like this, so I asked Benjamin of Prairie Soap Company (a very dear friend!), and this is what he had to say: “Patient, thoughtful, really picky eater, driven by caffeine but not coffee, performs good deeds, hoarder of fonts, great mother, great cook, hardworking, loves cream cheese.” Truth, all of the above!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Without a doubt, the 10” Silicone Loaf Molds. I have so many of them. Even when I’m making upwards of 20 lbs of soap, I will line up those molds and do multiple pours. The soap is so easy to get out of the silicone, with nice square corners. Having a ton of them on hand was more cost effective than buying larger block molds made in silicone, plus I can use just one for a test batch or limited edition, or I can fill them all for a production run. Love!

    Find Modern Soapmaking:
    On Facebook

    Find Amathia Soapworks:
    On the Web
    On Facebook
    On Twitter
    On YouTube

    Find Gratitude Soapery:
    On the Web
    On Facebook

    The post Chatting with Kenna of Modern Soapmaking appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Squeaky Clean with Soap4Squares (Interview)

    12/2/2013

     The soaping community is as diverse as they come, but it’s safe to say we all have one thing in common: we all like to “nerd out” when it comes to soap! Andrea Edgar took that idea step further in 2010 when she opened Soap4Squares, her soapy business that caters to fellow soapy nerds. Andrea has been a long time Soap Queen reader, and last year she was even one of 11 sponsored athletes for our first ever Bramble Berry Athletic Club. Read on to learn more about her soapy business and geek out over some totally cool soaps!

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for?  And how did you get started?

    I began soaping in 2010 while pregnant with my son.  My skin became so incredibly sensitive during the pregnancy that almost everything on the market caused me to break out in hives!  In my search for a gentle, natural, and fun cleansing option, I stumbled upon the Soap Queen blog and Soap Queen TV channel.  I was intrigued with the idea that I could make amazing products at home, that were better for my skin, and a fraction of the cost of store bought soap!  I dove in head first and haven’t looked back.

    Soap Queen: You have such unique soaps, how do you come up with the ideas for them?

    Honestly, some of my best ideas were formed on accident!  For example, when I first started using the Bramble Berry column mold I accidentally ripped the inner liner off of my fresh soap instead of sliding it off, leaving the soap log pocked and rough.  This happy accident led to the creation of our recently released Charcoal Shave & Body Soap!  I now use this technique deliberately to make rounds of soap resemble bricks of charcoal!

    I also get great ideas from real life items I use or eat everyday. I’m a total foodie so many of my soaps are inspired by my fave snacks!  Our Caramel Crunch Brownie Soap was inspired by my favorite iced brownies at a local bakery, our Espresso Fudge soap was inspired by an adorable fudge boutique in Flagstaff, AZ, and our Pumpkin Bread soap was inspired by my favorite mid morning snack from a national coffee chain ;)

    I’m also continuously inspired by the Soap Queen tutorials and the Bramble Berry Facebook Page!  The possibilities are endless and I’m continuously impressed with the creativity in this community.

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    Oh wow, this is a hard one.  There are so many things I wish I could share with new soapers to make their journey easier!   If I had to choose just a few though, I would first say get involved in the soapy community.  There are so many forums, blogs, and tutorials that allow you to learn from others’ mistakes, successes, and ideas!  Having a soapy support system to help you navigate the various aspects of starting and running a business is invaluable.

    Second, I would say it is very important to remain business minded as you build your business and grow.  More specifically, I mean run your business like a business and not a hobby.  Make a budget, stick to it, create a business plan, know your goals, control your growth rate and know your brand.  If I had been more focused and honest with myself in the beginning about how much I wanted to (and could afford to) spend, what my goals were, and what I truly wanted my business to stand for, I could have saved time, money, and headaches.  Lastly, have fun!  This industry is unique in it’s diversity and creativity.  Don’t be afraid to take chances and make something beautiful!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    I am currently in love with the Quick Mix Oils: Lots of Lather Quick Mix.  The quick mix oils basically take the work out of recipe formulation, master-batching, and pesky trial and error!  They ensure the result of each soap batch is exactly the same, giving customers consistency and high quality.   I just love how the perfect soap recipe comes delivered, ready to go, right to my door — and I can attest, the title is pretty accurate.  The mix is quick and gives lots of lather! =)

    Soap Queen: Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself.

    I love to sing karaoke!  Something about singing Black Velvet in the style of Alannah Myles really makes my night!  =)  I can’t say I’m any good, but I sure love to sing!

    Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    Well, it was kind of given to me!  I’m a total book worm,  an avid reader and self-proclaimed “nerd”.  I’m also an avid collector of bath and body products!  Hence, my husband affectionately dubbed me a “soap nerd”.  I wanted to create fun and affordable bath products for other soap lovers, aka “soap nerds”, so I created a business that does just that: creates soap for squares!  The name Soap4Squares quickly followed. It’s silly and fun! =)

    Find Soap4Squares:

    The post Squeaky Clean with Soap4Squares (Interview) appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Talking with Tanya of Baby Duck Soap Co.

    11/20/2013

    Ever since Tanya Rasley included some adorable samples of her lip balm in her April Soap Swap package, we’ve been hooked on her beautiful soaps and high-quality products. Tanya owns and operates Baby Duck Soap Co., and she offers a wide variety of cold process soaps, body butters, lip balms and sugar scrubs. Since then, I found her on Instagram and love to see her happy soap and family photos frequently. Read on to learn more about one inspirational small businesswoman.

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?

    I’ve been soaping since July 2012. I taught myself how to soap through devouring any soap making books I could find, reading the Soap Queen Blog about 1800 times and watching every YouTube video ever made on the subject.

    When my son was born in January 2011, I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom. That was a huge adjustment for me given that I used to 60-80 hour work weeks. I started taking up hobbies to keep my brain busy — soapmaking being one of them. I knew that I didn’t want to leave my son for 60-80 hours per week working for someone else again. With the unwavering support of my husband, I ignored the negative voices in my head, opened my Etsy Shop and started selling at my local farmers market. It’s been a non-stop roller coaster ride since then!

    (Zen Garden Soap, Cedar & Saffron Soap, Good Day Sunshine made with Orange Valencia Essential Oil & Yuzu Cybilla Fragrance Oil)

    Soap Queen: What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

    Stop listening to the negative thoughts in your head and just go for it! There will always be a reason to NOT move forward with your craft/ business/ life. If it doesn’t put you in the poor house or harm you in any way, dive in feet first!

    (Bonus: the soap in the top left corner won our Pinterest Soap Crafting contest back in September!)

    Sop Queen: What is your favorite type of product to make?

    Cold process soap. From trace to cutting, seeing how each bar and each batch differs is super addicting.

    (Sweet Berrywine Soap)

    Soap Queen: What inspires you to create?

    Anything from a smell of a new fragrance, to the beautiful colors of a crisp autumn day, soap challenges, a beautiful painting, browsing social media soap porn… Luckily, soaping is my therapy so it doesn’t take much!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    Definitely anything fragrance oil-related! My top five favorites would be: White Tea & Ginger, Yuzu, Bonsai, Summer Melon Spritzer and Cherry Blossom.

    Soap Queen: How did you come up with the name for your business?

    My husband’s father used to call him ‘Baby Duck’ when he was little. When my son Liam was born, he inherited the nickname. It only made sense to name the company after him since everything I do, I do for him.

    (Just Ducky Soap fragranced with Celestial Waters, Yuzu and Red Apple)

    Find Baby Duck Soap Co.:
    On the web
    On Etsy
    On Facebook

    The post Talking with Tanya of Baby Duck Soap Co. appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Enjoying Soapy Cupcakes with Lucia Soaps

    10/26/2013

    I just can’t seem to get enough of soapy cupcakes lately! Earlier this week we featured a soaper who specializes in dessert-themed treats (including plenty of cupcakes!) and I’ve made many batches of cupcakes myself (check out these cuties we made earlier this summer for the Soap Crafting release party.) Soapy cupcakes have always been one of my favorite things to make, and I’m always excited to see my fellow soapers’ take on them. Lucia Felty, owner of Lucia Soaps Etc, LLC., shares my enthusiasm for soapy cupcakes and other soaps with a foodie flair, and I couldn’t wait to chat with her about how creates her sweet treats.

    Soap Queen: How long have you been soaping?  Why did you start?

    I began soaping about 10 years ago when I was almost 50.  My friend Becky, who had been reading a book on soapmaking, asked me to join her making soap because the lye made her nervous.  I still remember us watching with awe as the soap reached trace.  In no time I was hopelessly addicted — searching the internet and reading everything I could find.  Ten years later, I’m still doing that!

    Soap Queen: What prompted you to start your business?

    I couldn’t (and still can’t) get enough of making soap!  I loved using my soap, and I gave my friends and family soaps as Christmas gifts.  Still I made more soap so I started doing some craft shows.  I got a business license, registered my business as an LLC and got my logo trademarked.  I continued to learn all I could about making soap and other skin care products.

    From very early on it was my dream to have a shop and be able to make product there.  Anne-Marie’s newsletter about writing out your plan for “Ten Years From Now” prompted me to take action.  I rented a very small space for my shop just 2 years ago.  Then, six months ago, I was able to add a large room for production and classes.

     

    Soap Queen: What kind of lessons have you learned from owning your own “brick and mortar” store versus an online store?

    I have had to work on my sales skills because I am definitely an introvert and not particularly outgoing.  My husband “doesn’t meet a stranger” and has worked in sales so he has been coaching me.  He is my #1 supporter and helps me tremendously. In a “brick and mortar” store, I think it is important to offer “local” products.  I offer Kentucky Rain, Mint Julep and Kentucky Bourbon Ball soaps.  I’m thinking of adding Bluegrass Sunrise.  People who are visiting and want a Kentucky souvenir are attracted by these as well as people who want to send a Kentucky memento to someone who has moved away.

    Soap Queen: What business advice can you give soapers who are just starting?

    Learn all you can and strive to do things right.  Learn all you can about the products you make.  Learn the laws and comply with them.   Learn to keep good records, production records and financial records.  Do right by your customers. Conduct business with honesty and integrity.

    Soap Queen: What are your dreams and goals for your business?

    I love my nursing job but I want to retire from it sometime.  When my husband retires, we will work in the shop together.  My plan (he doesn’t know this yet) is to delegate some of the drudgery (record keeping) chores to him.  Then I can make more soap!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of bath and body product to make?

    Cold process soap!  The scents, color combinations, artistic possibilities are endless.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?

    I love Bramble Berry’s fragrance oils, especially Lemon Verbena!  I use it in bar soap, liquid soap and lotion.  I use a blend of Bramble Berry fragrance oils to create my Kentucky Rain scent.  Plumeria is another favorite.  I’ll try more when I clear some room on my fragrance oil shelves!

    You can find more about Lucia Soaps at their website or on their Facebook page.

    The post Enjoying Soapy Cupcakes with Lucia Soaps appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Chatting with Silvia of S.V. Soaps

    10/21/2013

    A few years ago on the Soap Queen blog, I introduced Silvia, an up-and-coming soaper. She owns S.V. Soaps, and specializes in selling vegan dessert-themed bath and body products. She was kind enough to give us an interview back in  2011 (you can see the two-part interview here and here). This weekend — between visiting a lovely apple orchard and baking my mom’s famous sour cream waffles — I was browsing Etsy shops and came across these adorable Pumpkin Spice Cold Process Cupcakes. Turns out, they were Silvia’s! I wanted to catch up with her and see what had changed with business since her last interview, and see what other goodies she had planned for the festive holiday season. Read on to learn more about how her business has changed in the last two years and what advice she has for new soapers.

     

    Soap Queen: What aspects of your business have changed and what kind of advice would you give to those in the business about soaping over time?

    My business has changed quite a bit since my first Bramble Berry interview. I have to make a lot more soaps than I used to and I had to learn to master batch and delegate my work day a lot better.  I have learned a lot about my business in general, such as what works for my business and what does not. I’ve learned how to stay calm, professional and objective when dealing with a difficult customer or situation.  I strive everyday to learn, grow, and make my business the best it can be. It is truly a learning process that is not always easy.

    Soap Queen: What kind of business advice do you have for new soapers?

    My advice to new soapers is to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Be willing to take the risk of rejection, because no matter how fabulous your products are, you will face rejection at some point or another. Do not let it bring you down. Learn from it, grow from it, and try, try again. Also, make your products look professional! You do not have to spend a lot to have a professional looking product. Work to make your product unique.

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite type of soap to make?

    My favorite soap to make is cold process soap. I love to make soaps with a lot of detail and my favorite thing to do when soaping is piping my soap tops. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop adding things to the soap and just walk away! Sometimes, I will think about it all night long — It can be hard for me to turn my brain off when it comes to soap. But I am usually happy with the turnout, and if I am not I will just change it up the next time around.

    Soap Queen: Do you still make vegan products or has the scope of your business changed?

    I do still make all vegan products and will continue to do so. The only thing I would love to make that is not vegan is cupcake bath fizzies. I have made them a few times before for family and I absolutely adore the way the turn out, but since they aren’t vegan I won’t include them in my shop. Maybe someday I will be able to come up with a recipe for the piped tops that is vegan!

    Soap Queen: What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and has it changed?

    Bramble Berry has so many fabulous products. My favorite used to be the Rise and Shine Fragrance Oil (still fabulous), but my current favorite is the Pumpkin Lager Fragrance Oil. It is a beautiful pumpkin scent with warm spices and a yummy vanilla undertone. It is the perfect holiday scent. It will definitely be a part of my holiday line this year. Thank you so much to Anne-Marie and Bramble Berry for providing us soapers with such fabulous services and amazing products. I’ve also really been enjoying the new Soap Crafting book, it gives people trying the craft a great start!

    Be sure to check out Silvia on Twitter and Pinterest.

    The post Chatting with Silvia of S.V. Soaps appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Belly Dancing and Soapmaking … and Swords

    10/12/2013

    We’re always excited about meeting fellow soapers, and after one of our social media team (Hi, Becky!) ran into this soaper at a summer fair (and kept raving about her soap), I was intrigued.  You may recognize today’s interviewee from the Gorgeous Geode Soap Tutorial, which originally appeared on the Otion blog. Read on to learn more about Marlona, one of our local soapers and owner of the Little Things Store.

    Soap Queen: How did you first start soaping?

    Marlona: I saw some small guest soaps in the shape of Easter figures about ten years ago and fell in love with them, and in fact, the lady who gave them to me actually cited Bramble Berry as her source! Years went by and my life changed dramatically with the birth of my daughter.  My husband and I sold our home to move to Washington state to be closer to my family — it was time to reinvent our lives and start over.  I had waited so long, and was so in love with my little girl that I just couldn’t bare to leave her and return to work.  We had to find another way.  I thought to myself, ‘what have I always wanted to try?’  Then it came to me…soapmaking! As soon as I made up my mind that’s what I wanted to try, I was determined to find Bramble Berry!

    I could have searched the internet for soap supplies, but instead I walked around my home determined to remember the company name.  As soon as I remembered Bramble Berry’s name, everything started to happen so fast.  I researched everything I could get my hands on and would dream about making the products I wanted step-by-step before I even started.  I made my first batch of soap 2.5 years ago and haven’t stopped since!

    SQ: What inspires your business and products?

    M: My inspiration comes from the information I find on Soap Queen, looking at soaps on Etsy, and from the fragrances themselves.

    SQ: What is your favorite bath and body product to make?

    M: My favorite product to make is glycerin (melt & pour) soaps; I get to express my creative side when making them!

    SQ: What is your favorite Soap Queen tutorial and why?

    M: My favorite tutorial is the conditioner recipe.  It is easy to make, and I love to use it! It’s not slimy like store bought ones, and it rinses away so silky soft!

    SQ: When you aren’t soaping, what are you up to?

    M: When I’m not soaping, my husband and I are usually preparing to sell our soap at medieval themed events, spending time with friends from the Society for Creative Anachronism (S.C.A) and the Empire of Medieval Pursuits (E.M.P), or preparing for holiday bazaars.  We have been reenacting the medieval times for over 20 years, and we enjoy the heavy armored combat, belly dancing, and learning skills such as card weaving and brewing.  I absolutely love making things, especially if they are useful.

    SQ: We just fell in love with this project you shared with Otion. How did you come up with it?

    M: The idea for the geode came from the Everything Soap Making Book, which I actually picked up locally at Otion. Once I read about it, I absolutely fell in love with it and knew that I had to start making these geode soaps.

    You can make these fantastic geode soaps too! Check out the tutorial at the Otion blog or right here on Soap Queen. 

    SQ: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into soaping?

    M: My advice for anyone soaping is to never give up and never be intimidated by another person’s amazing work.  Through admiration comes inspiration!

    To find out more about Marlona and her soaps, visit her website or Facebook page.

    P.S. Marlona gave birth to another baby this summer. Congrats again on your new little boy, he is such a cutie-pie! =) ~A-M

    The post Belly Dancing and Soapmaking … and Swords appeared first on Soap Queen.