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  • Interview with Sami of Poor & Pretty Apothecary

    4/15/2015

    While browsing Pinterest one night, I stumbled upon these adorable Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting on the blog, Poor & Pretty. It was clear they were created by someone with serious DIY skills and a creative eye. Following the blog led me to Sami Jo’s Etsy shop, Poor & Pretty Apothecary, where Sami creates gorgeous collections of salts, scrubs, masks and more. Sami’s products are beautifully packaged and photographed. One of her niches is that her products are 100% vegan. Find out how blogging has helped Sami’s beauty business, along with her tips for starting a blog in the interview below! If you’re looking for even more blogging tips, check out 5 Things to Know Before Starting a Blog post. -A.M. 

    roseproductsA collection of Poor and Pretty Apothecary rose products, including Rose Tea Facial Toner, Rose Face Mask and Rose Salt Scrub. 

    How long have you been making bath and beauty products for and how did you get started?
    I was 13 when I made my first foray into soapmaking. I’ve been a crafter my whole life, and constantly on the lookout for new things to make. I discovered melt and pour soap supplies at my local craft store and couldn’t wait to start my own lab in the kitchen. I melted down the clear, unscented soap base in our microwave, burned it, added fragrance and color anyway, poured this mixture into a few star and moon-shaped molds and anxiously waited for them to harden. Our kitchen stunk, but I was hooked (to my family’s dismay). I continued making soap on and off since then, mostly for myself, family, and friends, and my skills improved tremendously.

    cupcake soapsSami’s adorable cupcake soaps!

    After launching the Poor & Pretty blog in 2009, I created more beauty products. I began testing and sharing cosmetic concoctions made easily with supplies from the kitchen — sugar scrub, sea salt hair spray, an avocado hair and face mask, green tea mask… you get the idea. :) In 2010, I combined my love for cupcakes and non-toxic beauty and launched a line of handmade cupcake soaps, which I sold on Etsy and in a few local boutiques. Last year, I discontinued my soaps and started a new line: Poor & Pretty Apothecary, 100% natural handmade bath & body products. I use only the highest quality natural, organic, and fair trade certified ingredients in my expertly crafted sugar and salt scrubs, bathing salts, lip and body balms, whipped body butters and more. My products contain absolutely no artificial colorants, fragrances, parabens, preservatives, or other toxic chemicals, and they’re vegan-friendly! My motto? You’re a natural beauty; keep your beauty natural.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    Don’t rush. I did a lot of research before launching the cosmetics arm of Poor & Pretty, and I’m still learning, defining, and redefining my brand and product line. It’s important to understand your competition and how your products differ from theirs. It’s equally important to network with your peers, whether it’s other soapers or other small business owners. Find ways to learn from and help each other. Bounce new product ideas off of them, cross-promote each other… you just never know what networking and can lead to!

    productscollageSami’s beautiful scrubs and body butter. Top, clockwise: Vanilla Sugar Scrub, Whipped Body Butter, Coffee Sugar Scrub

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    Definitely my whipped body butter. It makes a complete mess out of my kitchen, but it smells incredible and is so moisturizing! I get oils all over myself while I’m making it, so my skin is always super soft afterwards. It’s my favorite, so I’m not at all surprise that it’s a customer favorite as well.

    What inspires you to create?
    Everything! If I’m not creating, I’m not happy. My Dad and his father were both tinkerers and my family is full of creative, crafty people. My product creation is born out of a need for non-toxic cosmetics. The shelves of grocery stores and makeup retailers are stocked with beauty products filled with parabens, sulfates, aluminum, phthalates, and all kids of unpronounceable toxins. I blog to inform others of these dangers and I create products so we have a healthy alternative.

    rosesalts Rose Salt Scrub by Poor and Pretty Apothecary, made with Himalayan salts.

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    After defining what I wanted my blog to be about, I created a long list of names and words I liked that described my blog. In the end, Poor & Pretty won out because it was short and sweet, catchy, funny, the domain name was available, and it used alliteration and an ampersand (I’m a big fan of both).

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    I love your kits! As both a business owner and a hobbyist, I understand the frustration of hunting down obscure ingredients and trying to figure out how much you need for a project. Your kits make it super easy for me to get everything I need with as little button clicks as possible. I’m especially fond of the Mineral Makeup Foundation Kit, which I’m featuring on Poor & Pretty today. My boyfriend and I have had our eyes on your Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit for a while because we really want to learn how to make soap from scratch. Maybe this summer!

    Homemade-Mineral-Foundation-Tinted-Moisturizer-via-@poorandprettyCheck out Sami’s tutorial for creating your own mineral makeup and tinted moisturizer in this blog post on Poor & Pretty.

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I have a great sense of humor and I really enjoy practical jokes and pranking people. I love bright colors, sequins, and polka dots, and am usually wearing some combination of these every day. So on April Fool’s Day this year, I wore dark colors to work and pretended to be in a sour mood all day, which really freaked out my co-workers. It was great!

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    Reading is my go-to relaxation technique, and I wish I did more of it. I love the tactile experience of turning pages, highlighting passages, and writing in the margins, so I refuse to read books digitally. I’m a giant Harry Potter nerd, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my all-time favorite show. I enjoy baking, especially cupcakes. I love LOVE playing games! We have game night with family or friends almost weekly, and my Dad (from whom I inherited my playful prankster genes) has a fantastic collection of bizarre games.

    collage2From top right clockwise: Sami’s adorable Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting. Sami visits the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and shows off her impeccable fashion sense in a style post. 

    You have a fantastic blog! When did you start blogging, and what motivated you to get started? How has it helped your crafting business?
    Thank you!! The Poor & Pretty blog is the foundation of my business. When I began blogging, I knew I would have to update frequently, and knowing that has pushed me to be creative on a pretty regular basis. My readers (and I) are always looking to try new crafts or cooking techniques, be inspired and entertained, and discover local treasures, all while sticking to a budget. If I didn’t start my blog and find others who were interested in my DIY beauty posts, who knows if I would have ever had the courage to branch out into a beauty line!

    products_edited-1You can find all these beautiful products via Sami’s Etsy shop, Poor and Pretty Apothecary.

    Do you have any tips for bloggers just starting out?
    Don’t rush. (I know, I say that a lot). But really: take your time with your content, and do it right. My Papa used to say “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right,” so if starting a blog is something you really want to do, give your posts the attention they deserve. If I rush a post just to meet an arbitrary deadline I’ve set for myself, my readers will notice because it will look like I rushed it. Organization is one of my biggest weaknesses (that’s an understatement!), but I forced myself to use a blog planner — I love this one by Regina Anaejinou — and it’s made a huge difference in my process. It gives me a bigger-picture view of Poor & Pretty, helps me schedule time for photography, and serves as a metrics record to help me understand what my readers are responding to. Also: understand your audience and yourself. Don’t follow trends for the sake of following trends. Be authentic and blog what you’re passionate about, otherwise it will just become a chore.

    collage3Some of Sami’s fun crafty tutorials on her blog. From top left, clockwise: Chocolate & Caramel Dipped Strawberries, DIY Confetti Ornaments with the Confetti BarTimex Weekender Dip Dye DIY, Homemade Mint & Rosemary Vapor Rub

    What is your number one crafting tip?
    Embrace failure and always have extra supplies — you’re bound to mess up. I just accept it at this point, because I screw up all the time! I used to get really frustrated when this happened, but I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself to get it right the first time. If I have extra supplies and take my time (and don’t pay too much attention to the TV while I’m crafting), I’ll have a good time and won’t be super pissed when I eventually mess up.

    Have you ever experienced a horrible crafting fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    Yes, all the time! Again, that’s why I keep extra supplies around when I’m crafting, especially if I’m creating something I’ve never made before. Here’s a great example: when I was still selling my cupcake soaps, my sister and I would get together every month and create real, edible cupcakes inspired by one of the soap ones. One of my bestsellers was called Aloe Juniper, a beautiful light spring breeze type scent. We chose not to include Aloe in the recipe (ew), but we at least wanted to include Juniper. I mean, Juniper is used to make gin, right? So it couldn’t be that terrible! It was. Juniper berries are very piney, so when we bit into our chocolate cupcakes topped with Juniper-infused buttercream frosting, it was like biting into a Christmas tree. We laughed, fed the cupcakes to her husband’s unsuspecting bandmates, and blogged about how awful they turned out. It’s very important to have a sense of humor.

    junipercupcakeSami’s juniper berry cupcake fail. Still looks delicious! 

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I love that I know exactly what goes into them. I don’t have to worry about reading ingredients labels, researching chemicals, or consulting the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to see how toxic they are. I know they’re safe because I made them safe.

    Find Poor and Pretty:
    Blog
    Etsy
    Instagram
    Facebook
    Pinterest
    Twitter

    The post Interview with Sami of Poor & Pretty Apothecary appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Interview with Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

    3/30/2015

     Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio creates colorful cold process soaps that showcase what an artform soapmaking is. Several months ago, the talented proprieter Lisa won the Facebook Photo of the Week contest with an intricate swirl cold process soap. After looking at her soap, I immediately wanted to know more. Lisa’s passion for soap shines with a masterful use of color and swirls. Read on to learn more about Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio, including how she came up with her unique business name and where she finds color inspiration. -A.M.

    10174938_685126398248596_2153573933168482667_nLisa’s Misty Rainbow Soap created for the in-the-pot swirl Great Cakes Soap Challenge. 

    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    I have been making soap for about 4 years. I have always had an artistic streak but few opportunities to put it into practice, and I was feeling a bit rebellious one year about the Christmas retail ‘machine,’ so I decided to do my own thing. As I was browsing online bookstores for candle-making guides, there was a suggestion that I may also like ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Soaps’ by Sally Trew and Zonella Gould. Well, I bought the book, and I was promptly so enamoured with making soap that the candle idea went on the back-burner for quite a while (no pun intended).

    collage2Lisa’s skill shines with her wide variety of soapy techniques.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    I would advise 2 things, in essence: be passionate, and be patient. I see so many people asking other soapmakers what sells for them, and it strikes me every time how much the answer varies from artist to artist, and market to market. I even find that I sell different types of soap online to what sells at my market stall. Don’t try and copy someone else’s passion. If you’re passionate about your own soap, it will shine through on every level and your enthusiasm will draw people in. As for being patient – experiment, see what recipes and techniques work for you, test, research, learn, network and share ideas. As they say, more haste, less speed.

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    Cold process soap is my absolute favourite.

    11083834_791032280991340_6512362350966919462_nFig Jam cold process soap, scented with Autumn Fig Harvest Fragrance Oil.

    What inspires you to create?
    Anyone who has made cold process soap will relate to the ‘Christmas Day’ feeling you get when you cut a soap open and you have just nailed that swirl. Or even if you haven’t, or even if there’s no swirl, or you’ve used a single cavity mould, there’s still that sense of achievement in seeing the process through, seeing something that a day or so ago was just regular olive oil is now a gorgeous creamy solid something else entirely! And you made that!

    Your soaps are so vibrant and colorful. Where do you find inspiration for your color palettes?
    One of the themes I keep returning to when I make soap is the rainbow. It has become my go-to palette for almost every technique I have learned, and I never tire of it. Who could ever get tired of a rainbow? I really like to push the limits of that as a concept, and I love what I have learned along the way. But sometimes just a fragrance, a landscape, a flower or even the shape of a mould inspires a colour selection.

    collage A collection of Lisa’s extremely colorful and vibrant soaps. 

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    Kangaroo Apple or Devil’s Apple (Solanum) is a native Australian plant with medicinal uses, and is also used to denote seasonal change by Aboriginal Australians. Just like the lye used in making soap, it is dangerous until ripe, and should be treated with respect. The solanum flower has five petals, which to me represent earth, water, air, fire and spirit, all of which are crucial elements of the soap making process.

    ‘Kangaroo’ is of course quintessentially Australian. ‘Apple’ is an important aspect of the mythology of the British Isles, my ancestral lands. It is also synonymous with independent women who challenged authority and were depicted as ‘bad’ for it: Lilith, Eve, and countless ‘wicked’ fairy tale characters. These women, their independence and freedom of thought, inspire me. And my spiritual home is Tasmania, the ‘Apple Isle,’ itself blessed with an abundant kangaroo population.

    ‘Kangaroo Apple’ succinctly encapsulates the journey I am on, and so many of my influences and inspirations.

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    Hands down, the fragrance oils. It is hard for me to narrow it down because I have so many Bramble Berry citrus fragrances, but right now, I am a bit obsessed with Energy Fragrance Oil and Pink Grapefruit Fragrance Oil. And I also recently discovered the delectable Coconut Cream Fragrance Oil and sublime Wildflower Honey Fragrance Oil. (I feel so disloyal to my other favourites to leave them out!)

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    That is funny, because usually when I am asked that question, the answer I give is that I make handmade soap! I also love foraging for wild medicinal plants, and I tend to remember the Latin names for many things – animal, vegetable and mineral.

    10394039_722554544505781_8955196595817820705_nLisa’s beautiful rainbow soap. Each layer looks fantastic!

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    I really enjoy photography, to the extent that good photography can be done with an iPhone. I love to visit beautiful wild places, swim in the ocean, and spend as much time as I can in the country as a silent refuge from my city lifestyle.

    What is your number one soaping tip?
    Above all else, keep notes!

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    Oh, the honey soap separation craters I have seen! I learned to rebatch using my microwave, to not let the soap get quite so hot, and go a bit lighter on the amount of honey I add to the soap.

    10676401_722042127890356_2609922912838249167_nKangaroo Apple Soap Studio’s gorgeous Rosehip & Jasmine Coconut Oil Soap. 

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I love the alchemical nature of making soap. It is art, chemistry, magic and therapy all rolled into one. Nobody that has ever had a visit from the soap gremlins can argue there is no magic involved! I also love how handmade soap is such a beautiful luxury product, can be so environmentally sound, and can actually be made from stuff in my kitchen.

    Find Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio
    On Facebook 

    The post Interview with Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Interview with Kevin of Devinely Designed

    3/3/2015

    Kevin of Devinely Designed creates beautiful soap and shares his creations via his YouTube channel, Devinely Designed. With over 100 videos, Kevin has made a name for himself in the community for providing creative and educational soap making videos. From a Dandelion Zebra Swirl Tutorial to his first experience making liquid soap, Kevin’s videos are fun and thoughtful. Read on to learn more about Kevin and his soapy business, along with his tips for creating YouTube videos. -A.M.

    1264779_563842147002784_723216881_oA collection of Kevin’s cold process soap.

    How long have you been soaping for, and how did you get started?
    I’ve only been soaping for a little over two years. I was just surfing the net one day and somehow landed on watching a YouTube video of making homemade soap…and I was completely hooked from that moment on.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    I think I would give two pieces of advice: One, be clear about your goals – are you a hobbyist who wants to sell a little to support your soapy addiction (like me), or are you planning to make this a second or even a primary income? Those are very different things and need different kinds of approaches. Included with that one is deciding if you really want a business at all. If turning the hobby you love into a business makes you hate it, then think long and hard before you make that leap.

    Second, I would say be prepared to work hard and probably not see big (if any) returns for at least a year or two. Even a small business can be a lot of work, and there’s so much to learn. You can’t just open a web store an expect tons of orders. In addition to learning how to source all of your materials and organizing your work space, planning packaging and shipping, figuring out profits and losses, learning tax rules you’ll need to learn to market yourself and your product. You have to be diligent if you want to achieve those goals.

    887016_571577806229218_1336842782_oKevin’s “Peppermint & Chamomile” soap. Click here to watch the video tutorial!

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    Cold process soap. As I said, I was hooked the first time I saw it and it’s still my favorite, although a luxurious emulsified sugar scrub is a close second.

    What inspires you to create?
    So many things! Art, music, color, fragrance, my two cats! I love the creative process of imagining how some inspiration might translate to soap. Fellow soapers inspire me all the time as well, watching videos or seeing posts of gorgeous soaps always gets me itching to get in the soap kitchen.

    What’s your favorite thing about making videos?
    I think it boils down to being able to be a teacher on videos. When I was in school I thought about becoming a teacher and I have always enjoyed learning myself. Videos let you be both student and teacher. An added bonus is connecting with fellow soapers and getting to chat over e-mail about soap related things – no one gets as excited about talking about a new mica or fragrance than a fellow soaper. And, my non soap friends just think I’m a soap nerd, so they don’t really get it.

    1421258_571575709562761_109353626_oKevin’s “Roses in the Cow Pasture” soap. Click here to see a video of this soap being made!

    What advice do you have for people who want to upload their soapy videos on YouTube?
    Don’t forget about the basics. You can make the most gorgeous soap in the world but if it’s in total shadow it won’t make a difference. You don’t need a fancy setup, but have good lighting, good sound and frame your shot so the viewer can clearly see what you are doing. My other piece of advice would be to relax, be yourself and try to have a little fun.

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    My last name is Devine, so “Devinely Designed” is just a play on that. I also liked that it wasn’t soap specific. I do other types of crafty things, so I could apply it to other things as well.

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    The 12 Bar Square Silicone Mold. It was the first “real” soap mold I used and I still use it today. I love the size of the bars and how easily and perfectly smooth the soap comes out. If I can have an honorable mention, I would also say Energy Fragrance Oil, which might be my all-time favorite fragrance.

    1504475_595104870543178_171733578_oKevin’s Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap.

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I’m a nurse in “real” life, I used to be an ER nurse, now I do consulting for a technology company.

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests? 
    I’ve been a crafty person all my life, so I like all kinds of crafting. Paper crafting, card making and mixed media are probably my other favorites.

    What is your number one soaping tip? 
    Be prepared, and when things go wrong (and they will from time to time) stay calm.

    collage

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    Oh my yes! I say embrace your failures, that’s how you learn. You can see a few of my fails in my videos and people tell me all the time how they appreciate seeing them and how it helps them get a sense of really making soap. One time I was making a round soap in a PVC mold. I had two of the molds nearby but had only prepped one. When I poured my soap I poured it in the one without the end cap on it and had soap go everywhere. That’s the day I learned to only keep the mold I’m using in my soaping area.

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I think what draws me is the combination of art and science. There’s always new things to learn and a great opportunity for creative expression.

    Find Divinely Designed
    On The Web
    On YouTube

    The post Interview with Kevin of Devinely Designed appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Guest Post: A Cleanse That Started a Business

    1/21/2015

    Several months ago, I received a lovely email from Patti Flynn. Patti participated in the “Crazy Sexy Vegan Cleanse,” that I coordinated in 2012, which involved no meat, sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol or coffee. During this cleanse, Patti discovered lacto-fermentation of vegetables. This discovery soon developed into a hobby, which has now turned into a business! I was so inspired by Patti’s story, that I asked her to share it. Read on to learn how Patti went from participating in a cleanse, to developing a new business venture. – A.M. 

    I have been making soap since since early 2001 and I started my soap company in December, 2001. In my previous life, I was a vastly unhappy chef; I loved the actual cooking, but found everything else about restaurants detestable: the hours, the customers, the pay, the other staff, and the owners. You might say I was an absolute curmudgeon, born to work for myself! The stress levels were constantly insanely high and the remuneration, paltry. However, the skills translated amazingly well into a soap making business. After a time, I was grateful for my years slaving away over a hot stove….they were excellent training for the next 13 years of slaving away over a hot soap cauldron.

    Jars

    Picklish jars, filled with fermented carrots, ready for sale.

     I considered myself very lucky to get away from the food industry at all. So, it is with some surprise that I find myself launching a sideline at present, that definitely involves food. Anyone, after listening to me rant about the injustices and indignities of the hospitality industry, might ask themselves what on earth I am doing, taking up my knives again after so many glorious years of comparative rest. It is a very short story:

    In late 2011, Anne Marie threw a suggestion out into a soap making forum. The idea was simple: she was getting psyched up to do a cleanse/detox for 21 days and it involved no dairy, no gluten, no booze, no coffee, no sugar, and no meat. Basically, a lot of raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and water. This sounded very attractive , healthy and wholesome, so a bunch of us signed up immediately and agreed to post on our progress. I announced to my long-suffering husband that we would be living on raw vegan food for a time and that I would make it as delicious as possible. He was in.

    fermentation

    Fresh vegetables fermenting away!

    And so, we all commenced. There was a lot of swapping of ideas and recipes. I started reading a lot of raw vegan blogs. We started to feel pretty amazing, so we kept on going….for six months. Somewhere in that time, I realized kimchi and sauerkraut were raw food. We bought some and added it enthusiastically to our food. I began reading more and more about the benefits of lacto-fermented foods and how the lacking they are in the modern western diet. Apart from homemade yogurt, I wouldn’t have known a probiotic if it jumped up and bit me.
    bettrootyogurt

    Spiced fermented beetroot with homemade yogurt and fresh coriander. Yum!

    So I began to experiment with fermenting vegetables. I read Sandor Katz’ excellent books: Wild Fermentation and the Art of Fermentation, plus a dozen more by other authors. Within two years we were eating a serving of ferments every day, brewing kombucha and jun, and I was fermenting everything I could think of. The sour, salty, complex, original flavours were a revelation to us, and moreover, to all the friends and family upon whom I foisted samples.

    In May this year, I was in Kyoto with my mother. We walked the length of the fabulous Nishiki market, looking at the incredible array of traditional foods, including PILES of naturally fermented vegetables and condiments. Suddenly it hit me: there really wasn’t anything like this commercially available in Australia, so why shouldn’t I start a business? I was resolved at once and telephoned my husband that very evening to let him know he should clear his schedule and drag out his kitchen knives, because soon we would be chopping tonnes of raw vegetables!

    chilisaucedebris

    The debris from a batch of fermented chili sauce.

     Upon my return, I got to work. A business name: Picklish. Graphic design. Labels. A bazillion jar samples….my ferments are going out in solid american-made glass, thankyouverymuch. No plastic here! I had to obtain a food licence which meant I needed to do a food safety supervisor course, which meant brushing up on some old skills. Fortunately I live in the middle of an amazingly diverse farming community, so the raw materials are local, abundant, top quality, and well priced.

     

    Out of the blue, one of my very good soap customers offered to distribute for me. This was a stroke of fantastic fortune; they are a large and reputable certified organic and bio-dynamic dairy producer, with a national supply chain in place. As Picklish is a living raw food, it requires refrigeration from me to the end consumer, so having this amazing dairy network has really made it all possible. I’m currently in a very soft launch phase, with a hard launch planned for early 2015. After the first week, it was painfully obvious that I had woefully under-calculated and needed a lot more volume. So, I have fermentation crocks being made in Poland, as we speak.
    earlyexperiments

    Fermented veggies ready to be consumed.

    The whole thing has been a surprising turn of events and it all started really because of Anne Marie’s proposal. In hindsight, I can definitely say that was the trigger. So as I delivered my first order in early November, I thought of Anne Marie and sent her a note to say: this is what you have done! In the meantime, I continue to throw the soap pots around. But really, who knows what will happen next? I suppose we could always ask Anne Marie!

    I love Patti’s story, because it demonstrates that you can find new hobbies, passions and even business opportunities in unexpected places!

    The post Guest Post: A Cleanse That Started a Business appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Top Soapy Business Advice from 2014

    1/19/2015

    The soaping community is full of creative and savvy business owners who are full of experience and  know-how. A few of these soapers have been featured on the blog, and where asked to give beginning soapers a piece of advice. In 2014, our interviewees had fantastic tips for beginning soapers looking to start a business. If you’re looking for even more business tips, check out the business category of the blog!

    MainImage

    From remembering to have fun, from taking copious soap making notes, each piece of advice was thoughtful and powerful! If you’re looking for some business guidance or motivation, check out the counsel from fellow small business owners below. Then, click through to read the entire interview.

    “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! 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!”Rachel from The Daily Scrub

    “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.” – Erin & Kirsten from Kensico Soap Bar

    JosiesBeautyBoutiqueInside Josie’s store, located in Grants Pass, Oregon.

    “The most important thing that has helped me since opening: find out the hours that people get off work in your surrounding area. We found out our 1st week being open that we closed at the same time everyone else was closing. Well…that doesn’t work well for customers to shop your store when they leave their workplace and see you have closed up also.”Josie from Josie’s Beauty Boutique 

    “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.”Janelle of Jangle Soapworks

    “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.” - Jill of Calise Soapworks

    LakehurstFarmsStunning cold process soap, made by Jodi of Lakehurst Farms.

    “Make sure you’re having fun! It’s quite hard to make money selling soap, you have to put in a tremendous amount of time. So I think the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. A lot of my soap and other handmade products end up being gifts.” - Jodi of Lakehurst Farms

     “Do what you feel comfortable with and find a niche within the market. Don’t do what everyone else does. Do what you feel you want to do and have fun doing it. Experiment all the time. Doing so not only keeps you fresh and creative, but you learn so much while you’re doing it even if it wasn’t a 100% success.” - Kristen of The Silk Soap Company

    “The advice that I would give soapers just starting out is to take your time. Learn all you can about the soap making process before you start. I was nervous about using lye for the first time because it is dangerous if not handled properly.” - Jessica from BellaBrice Body Care

    DSC_1894Handmade in Florida’s gorgeous soap, ready to sell!

    “Believe in your product and in yourself! You can do this! Yes, it’s always a bit scary when you’re putting yourself out there, but you’ll never know unless you try!” - Zahida of Handmade in Florida

    “Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to try new things and be creative.” – Donovan from Toil and Trouble

    katiesoapCold process soap, full of chunky embeds and flair, by Katie of Royalty Soaps.

    “There are a few things I wish someone would have told me when I first started. First of all, write down EVERYTHING you purchase for soap from the very beginning. Get into the habit of having this list up to date and detailed. Having this has helped me so much when comparing prices for supplies and charting my growth. Also, use high quality ingredients (like the ones at Bramble Berry) for every product.” - Katie of Royalty Soaps

    If you’re looking for more soapy business advice, check out these informative posts below!

    businesscollageTop row: Fundraiser Kit + Craft Show Tips Galore, Where to Sell Products: Online, Markets & Online 
    Bottom row: Pricing Your Products, 5 Tips to Take Soaping from Hobby to Business

    If you are a small business owner, what advice do you have for soapers just starting out? Or, if you are new to soaping, what is the best piece of advice you have received?

    The post Top Soapy Business Advice from 2014 appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Jabbering with Jodi of Lakehurst Farms

    12/8/2014

    Jodi from Lakehurst Farms creates both melt and pour and cold process soap that is full of color, creative embeds and beautiful swirls. Just one look at Jodi’s soap, and you can see Jodi has a keen eye for design. Jodi’s sister Renee also creates soap, specializing in melt and pour. Together, they are quite the dynamic soaping duo! Read on to hear Jodi’s great soaping advice, along with what inspires her to create such show-stopping soap.

    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    I’ve been soaping for almost two years. One day while perusing a goat supply catalogue I happened past the soaping section. I took one look at the molds and the bottles of FO and it was love at first sight.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    Make sure you’re having fun! It’s quite hard to make money selling soap, you have to put in a tremendous amount of time. So I think the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. A lot of my soap and other handmade products end up being gifts.

    Renee’s soap on the curing rack, cold process made by Jodi.

    You make both cold process and melt and pour soap. What do you like about each soaping method? Do you find one more challenging than the other?
    My all-time favorite thing to make, hands down, cold process soap! I love choosing my oils, extracts and additives. Mixing micas is like a natural mood brightener. I dare you to try and be cranky while mixing micas. Melt and pour has its perks too. I love working with clear bases. You can’t get that kind of color pop in any other soap medium. Plus those crisp, clean lines are hard to beat. A lot of the gorgeous melt and pour soaps on our site are done by my sister Renee. She’s got me beat in the M&P department!
    DSCN6810

    Your cold process soap is full of challenging and beautiful techniques, including swirls and embeds. Do you have a favorite soaping technique?
    It’s so hard to pick a favorite technique, I’m pretty infatuated with top swirling at the moment, that and cutting up swirled loaves to make embeds with. It takes two pours but it’s by far one of my favorite soaping processes. I’m always happy with the results.
    DSCN6838

     What inspires you to create?
    I’m inspired by odd things. My daughter’s Sippy cup has this off set circle on it and I’ve made two loves based on that design. I also had a box of paper cups with a lovely vine design that inspired a hand carved soap series. Another big source of inspiration for me are things like birds and flowers, natural landscapes. Quite often my loaves are inspired by just playing with my micas!

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    The property I live on has been named Lakehurst since it was my grandfather’s. So when I started my little hobby farm it seemed like a natural choice. 

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    I’m not sure I can pick just one product, my husband bought me your amazing cutter for mother’s day. I don’t think I could live without it, that or Energy Fragrance Oil. It just such an amazing FO. So bright and fresh plus it’s such a gentleman to soap with!

    Soap made by Jodi and Renee of Lakehurst Farms.

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I LOVE animals! I keep goats and chickens, I recently started keeping bees. Before I had my daughter I did tons of animal rehabilitation. I’ve hand raised, birds, mice, raccoons, skunks and squirrels.

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    I’m a crafting addict. If it’s a craft I’ve tried it. Lately I’m learning to make candles and I’m about to try translating my top swirling into acrylic painting. We’ll see how all that goes…..
    Aviary Photo_130597933368510365

    What is your number one soaping tip?
    Don’t be afraid to ride the thin trace train. I don’t usually go past a good emulsification until I’ve colored and scented everything. By the time I’m done with all of that business the soaps usually at a light trace which is perfect for all those fun swirly results we want.

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    I’ve been plagued for nearly two years by the curse of the lemon chamomile. Every lemon chamomile soap I’ve made has been terribly ugly. They smell gorgeous but have all been well….visually challenged. This was really discouraging and it happened so many times, I almost gave up on the ideal. About two weeks ago I finally nailed a lemon chamomile. Sweet victory was mine. I think struggling makes us better, no question. We learn from our failures, push through and try again!

    DSCN6769

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    Getting to customize my own products is so much fun, choosing your favorite oils, additives and scents. I thinks it’s a healthier product as well. You never go wrong when you use less chemicals on your family’s skin. I just need to come up with a good everyday shampoo and conditioner!

    Find Lakehurst Farms
    Facebook
    Etsy

    The post Jabbering with Jodi of Lakehurst Farms appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • From Online to In-Store: Josie’s Beauty Boutique

    10/22/2014

    I have enjoyed seeing Josie’s beautiful soap on the Bramble Berry Facebook page for some time. Right away, Josie showed immense talent and an eye for design. Josie began selling her soap on Ebay, and several weeks ago opened a brick and mortar store, Josie’s Beauty Boutique, in Grants Pass, Oregon. Josie creates both melt and pour and cold process soap, as well as body butters and lotions. Josie specializes in colorful, feminine designs including her gorgeous soap cupcakes. Read more about Josie’s soapy journey, including her tips for opening a store in the interview below! -A.M. 

    Josie in her store, Josie’s Beauty Boutique, located in Grants Pass, Oregon.


    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    I have been making soap for 11 months, I made my first soap November 14th 2013. I had an Ebay store and was tired of having a middle man to purchase my beauty products from. A lady that worked at my post office wanted to know if I would buy her soap and sell it for her on my ebay store, again was having the middle man and not making any real profit. So I decided to see what soap making was all about, never really thinking it would go anywhere. I actually watched all the soap video’s that Anne-Marie made on soap making, over and over and over again. ;-)

    I started researching more on the internet and purchased Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie. The next thing I knew I had Anne Marie in the kitchen with me when I made my first loaf of soap by way of my lap top :). I set my computer on the counter, turned on her video and went step by step with her. When I was done I thought “WOW that was so fun, and nerve racking at the same time.” I made melt and pour for about 2 months before I started tackling cold process soap.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses? 
    I have only been open for 7 weeks, but I would say to believe in yourself. If you are starting your own business and putting out a good product and it has been received well from the public already, then just believe in yourself! Look straight ahead and don’t let negative comments get in your way, tell yourself that you can do this. On the other hand, be open minded to suggestions that come from those who care about you. Even though you think you have it all together, you may not see what others see, so be a good listener to those who care about you.

    The most important thing that has helped me since opening: find out the hours that people get off work in your surrounding area. We found out our 1st week being open that we closed at the same time everyone else was closing. Well…that doesn’t work well for customers to shop your store when they leave their workplace and see you have closed up also. So we are open until 6:00 PM every night all week because we found out that everybody gets off work around 5:00 PM. So even though I am staying open another hour longer, it has been well worth it. After all, the customers are the reason I opened my shop in the first place. So that has been key for me.

    What have you learned from your first month of having a store?
    I have learned people really like how I try to be as chemical free with my product lines. I didn’t know there were so many people that felt like me about chemicals in products. Just about every person that comes in is overly happy when I tell them that I try to go as chemical free as I possibly can.

    I learned it’s really good to be diverse with my products. Not everyone likes heavily fragranced items. I learned this before going into the shop. So I decided that I would always have fragranced and unscented items. Because some people can’t handle fragrances, but can handle essential oils or some do not like anything fragrance at all. Even though my soapy cupcakes are adorable along with my pies and cakes, not everyone wants that. So I make my soap loaves scented and unscented, some with herbs and spices in them and some with chocolate, cherry, and coconut cream fragrance inside.

    Before you open, make sure you have a little something for everyone, from the very natural bars of soap to the “WOW! What the heck? Is that soap?” I get that all the time. People say, “What the heck?? Is that really soap?” Haha, it is so funny. Its a kick. It takes lot of preparation getting a diversity but you will find it’s well worth it because everyone is so different. Their wants and needs are different. Williness to do special orders for people will also help increase your sales and your customers feel special too.

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    My body lotions are one of my favorite products to create. But I think my #1 most favorite is my soapy cupcakes. They are tricky and challenging for me because most of the time I like doing 3 to 4 different colors when piping. I always seem to learn something new when making them. Plus the “WOW” factor in my shop when people see them is so hilarious. What I hear everyday is, “It looks so good I want to eat it!”

    What inspires you to create?
    My imagination is what inspires me, wanting to share all the designs that I have stored in my head that people have not seen yet. I have so many ideas that I have not yet created. I lay awake sometimes at night dreaming up my next soapy cupcake. Then sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to make until I get into the kitchen and start. I also switch gears right in the middle and change the whole thing into a completely different design than what I started out doing.

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    Oh boy, that is a loaded question. Ok ALL!! Hahaha. I mean that. I have shopped with Bramble Berry from the very beginning.  The fragrance lines are out of this world. When people come into my shop and try my tester lotions & body butters or smell my bath salts… they are really wowed by the fact that they smell so outrageously good. And the fragrances last and last.

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I let my hair go completely gray last year. I cut off all my hair which was down to the middle of my back (I had like 3 different colors in it always). I got tired of doing my hair all the time and decided to let my gray hair take over. I use purple shampoos on my hair to keep the yellowing away, but I don’t like all the chemicals that are in the shampoos. So I made a shampoo bar that is violet in color, and I use it in-between the Dark purple shampoo I get from the beauty supply, so I am doing something good for my hair in-between.

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    In the spring/summer here in Oregon, my awesome husband Dale (who by the way has supported me in this from the very beginning, when I told him in our front room one night, “Dale, I’m going to start making soap”). Anyway, Dale and I love to go boating. We have a large bright yellow pontoon boat that we named Cove Hoppin, because that is what we do when we go the endless amount of lakes in our area. We are fully stocked on board to spend days out on the water. It is something we look forward to every year.

    What is your number one soaping tip? 
    This tip would be for those who are making melt & pour soaps. If you are doing layers in your design, don’t forget to spray your layers with alcohol each time before you pour your next layer. If you are placing embeds into your soap, spray with alcohol also along with the layer you are placing them in or on. I use to forget to do that sometimes and end up with peeled layers separating. When you are going through all the time and effort to do layers it pays to spray, spray, spray! Be careful not to have your soap pour through the next layer, so pour into a large spoon and let that spill over on to the soap layer.

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    This would be my soapy cupcakes. Not too long ago I was making cupcakes and I didn’t let the soap batter set up enough for the pipe. I started  piping about 6 to 8 cupcakes. Everything seemed to be going along fine, or so I thought.  I looked back at my cupcakes I had finished, and the cupcakes I piped were all leaning. When I tried to touch them they were in a very melted like state. I did not wait for the batter to thicken up enough.

    So what I did was I took a large spoon, and scooped all the tops off of them and put it back into the bowl I started with.  I took my stick blender to it again, but that wasn’t helping which I know it can, but not this time. Well I didn’t have any fragrance in this part of the batter at all. I wanted a white topping and didn’t want to use vanilla stabilizer in this recipe, so  I grabbed some of my Bramble Berry Cherry Almond Fragrance Oil that was in the bottom of the cupcakes and poured it into the batter.

    It started getting thicker right away, yay! Saved! I knew this fragrance oil would make it accelerate. I was able to put it back into my piping bag and pipe away without any more problems. Some of the paprika bottom got mixed into the topping when I used the large spoon to scoop the tops off, so instead of white topping I ended up with a very light peach like color. They smelled great and wash wonderful. Sometimes when you are in the moment and you don’t have time to figure out what the heck you’re going to do, you just have to do something quick!

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I just love everything about it. Everyone tells me, “Josie you finally found your nitch.” I would have to agree. What I love is seeing the lil’ soapy treasures when they are finished. Its so gratifying. And when someone uses one of my bars of soap and loves it. Oh man, it is just so fun for me to know that I have made someone happy with something I have created.

    Find Josie’s Beauty Boutique
    Facebook
    YouTube
    Pinterest
    Twitter
    Ebay

    The post From Online to In-Store: Josie’s Beauty Boutique appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Turning Gifts into a Business

    10/8/2014

    Jessica started soaping during the holidays to make Christmas gifts for family and friends. This sparked a passion and, an idea and her gifts turned into her company Bellabrice Body Care and has been creating beautiful soaps every since. You never know when a new found passion will emerge! Read on to learn more about Jessica, her business tips and what inspires her to create gorgeous soapy creations.


    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    I have been soaping for about 9 years now. I was a stay at home mom with two little kids and a tight budget. I could not afford to buy everyone in my family a Christmas gift so I thought about making something. I went to the library and checked out a few soap making books and read them all.

    Soap making fascinated me and when I finally made my first batch of cold process soap, I was hooked! I loved the smell of the soap batter, the process and all the creative ways to make it. I gave away a lot of soap and people wanted more so I decided to make it a business.

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product?
    I just love Bramble Berry and choosing just one of my favorite products is difficult. If I had to choose something it would be Bramble Berry Fragrance Oils! They smell so good and really give my products a professional touch.

    My favorites right now are Yuzu and Energy. Just about all of my soap making supplies come from Bramble Berry; I love the high quality products and  friendly customer service I get from the company.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    The advice that I would give soapers just starting out is to take your time. Learn all you can about the soap making process before you start. I was nervous about using lye for the first time because it is dangerous if not handled properly.

    I recommend that new soapers watch You Tube videos about soapmaking, especially Anne-Marie’s how-to videos at Soap Queen TV. Once you understand the process and know the safety precautions, soapmaking is a fun and rewarding craft. There is just something special about using a useful product like soap and knowing that you made it!

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    Right now I am trying to make every type of soap there is. I’ve made cold process soap, hot process soap, liquid soap and melt and pour soap. I like to try  to make everything just to get a feel for it and to say I’ve done it. My favorite type of  product to make is the faux funnel pour technique in cold process soap. I like using different colors and fragrances to make a unique soap.

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    My business name comes from a nickname my mom called me when I was little. I thought it would be a fun and personal name to my business.

    What inspires you to create?
    I am inspired to create by looking at other soap makers products on Facebook, Pinterest, and soapmaking blogs. I really admire the creativity of my fellow soapmakers and I am continually inspired by their work. When I started out, I had doubts about my ability to create beautiful soaps like the ones I have seen so many others make. My confidence was boosted by following the Soap Queen blog, Soap Queen You Tube videos and making many of the projects Anne-Marie created.

    My biggest inspiration is Anne-Marie — we are about the same age and I am in awe of what she has done with Bramble Berry, her blog, you tube channel, and her strong work ethic. My goal is to be a soapmaker like her: I want to make beautiful products, give back to the community and run a successful company.

    Find BellaBrice Body Care:
    On Facebook
    On Etsy
    On the Web

    The post Turning Gifts into a Business appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • Chatting with Zahida of Handmade in Florida

    9/24/2014

    Zahida of Handmade in Florida creates stunning cold process soap featuring signature swirls and gorgeous colors. With numerous soap challenge wins under her belt, Zahida has popularized several soaping techniques including the “Butterfly Swirl.” Her passion for creating and eye for design shines through in her blog and YouTube videos.
    Before diving into soap, Zahida worked in corporate management and was an active member of the aviation industry, serving on several boards including the Pass Bureau Association. Zahida took a break from the corporate world after the birth of her son, and began soaping shortly after. Read on to learn more about Zahida, her business, and what inspires her to create such gorgeous soap!

    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    Like many soapers, I made my first batch out of necessity seven years ago. I had just given birth to my son and as an uber-cautious-first-time-mom, my hands were cracked and painful due to so much washing. I had gone through countless “gentle” soaps and lotions and nothing helped…infact, it got worse. My husband and I decided to try making our own lavender soap. Fortunately, it turned out great and helped my skin tremendously! I soon whipped up some hand cream and have been hooked on handmade body care since!

    Sweet Fig Cold Process Soap

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    Believe in your product and in yourself! You can do this! Yes, it’s always a bit scary when you’re putting yourself out there, but you’ll never know unless you try!

    What is your favorite type of product to make?

    Cold process soap, hands down! I love everything about making cp soap (with the exception of cleanup and waiting). I love playing with the oils and butters, fragrances and colors…each batch of soap is an adventure.
    What inspires you to create?
    People, places, colors, scents, nature, art…pretty much everything!

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    It’s kind of funny…I was looking for a name that would allow for creative freedom and I live in Florida…thus, “Handmade in Florida”. It’s about as generic as it gets!

    Secret Feather Swirl Cold Process Soap

    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    I love everything from Bramble Berry! If I had to pick just one thing that I could not live without, it would have to be your heat resistant plastic pouches! I love using them to masterbatch my oils, they are so convenient!
    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I started my first business at the age of 14. It was in the early 90’s when handpainted t-shirts were “the thing” lol. I painted every day after school and soon had several wholesale accounts that kept me busy until college! At one point, my mom, dad and sisters were even helping to paint t-shirts!

    Pumpkin Spiced Chai Cold Process Soap

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    In addition to soap making, I enjoy watercolor painting, photography, sewing and baking.

    What is your number one soaping tip? (Could pertain to oils, trace, molds, colorants, fragrance…anything!)
    I like soaping cool (room temp)….I find that it gives me the most time to play with my soap :)

    Romeo and Juliet Cold Process Soap

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    Oh my goodness, my very first soap was an adventure! My husband and I were suited up to the max and the soap making session was so stressful that I didn’t think I’d ever make soap again! Luckily, I loved the soap and just had to make it again (without the hazmat gear)! Unless I’m working with some crazy expensive and/or rare ingredient, I just go with the flow…if it turns out, great! If not, lesson learned!

    In the Pot Swirl Coffee Soap

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I love that I can create a variety of ultra luxurious and skin loving products that would typically be out of my price range…if even available!

    Find Handmade in Florida
    On the Web

    Blog
    Facebook
    YouTube

    The post Chatting with Zahida of Handmade in Florida appeared first on Soap Queen.

  • A Young Entrepreneur with a Cause

    9/3/2014

    Soap making is not only fun, it can have a dramatic impact on lives. After falling on tough times, Casey started teaching her son Donovan how to make melt and pour soap. Donovan fell in love with the craft, and quickly began selling his creations at a local farmers market in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on Etsy. Donovan is currently looking into selling his soap at local stores, and was chosen as a featured artist in the upcoming issue of Albuquerque Magazine.

    Donovan donates half of the profits from his soap to the program that helped him and his mother get back on their feet, the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. Donovan’s fun melt and pour creations include Mac and Cheese Soap, Ice Cream Soap, and Millennium Ship Soap. Read on to learn more about Donovan and Casey’s inspiring story!


    How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
    I have been soaping for 2 almost 3 years. I started by watching my mom soap and then she started teaching me as part of my homeschooling for math and science lessons.

    Casey Smith (Donovan’s Mom): Donovan & I were homeless 3 years ago. Prior to being homeless I soaped and did cake decorating as a hobby. Once we were out of the shelter and had our own apartment I went back to soaping. I also decided to homeschool Donovan since it would mean he would be going to his 5th school in 2 years because of homelessness. Soaping was a fun way to incorporate math, science, art in and now that he has his own business he is learning entrepreneurial skills, how to spend and save money, and how to give back.

    Donovan donates 50% of his Pie Soap sales to the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. It was through their housing program we were able to get out of the shelter and back on our feet. Donovan now is able to help other families fight homelessness by donating. He will also be donating about 300 soaps to the Stand Down Albuquerque in October…which helps homeless veterans here. I am a disabled Navy Veteran.

    What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?
    Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to try new things and be creative.

    What is your favorite type of product to make?
    Deodorant because it helps people, its fun to make and easy.

    What inspires you to create?
    Knowing I can help other people by making soap.

    How did you come up with the name for your business?
    Its a line from Shakespeare and I like to read. My mom and I came up with different business names and then sent those to my big brother to chose which one. He chose Toil and Trouble from them.
    What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
    The fragrances. My favorite scent right now is Chipotle Caramel because it smells really unique. I also like Lemon Cake and Coconut Citrus Sorbet Fragrance Oil. The Aloe Vera Melt and Pour is great also….customers really like my popsicles made with it.

    Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!
    I learned Spanish last year when we lived in Puerto Rico and Ecuador for the year. I am now learning Thai and French.
    Donovan’s Mom: As part of homeschooling and just trying to make up for being homeless I took a ‘world-schooling’ year for him. We lived in Puerto Rico for half the year and then in Ecuador for the next half. He was able to fully immerse in learning the Spanish language, learn history first hand, he actually visited the Inca Ruins Ingapirca in Ecuador vs sitting in a classroom for a day. We are saving up now to go on his dream trip to Paris so he can draw under the Eiffel Tower…fingers crossed!

    What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
    Reading…I read 150 books one summer. I love to draw and hope to be an artist in Paris when I grow up. I love music.

    What is your number one soaping tip? 
    Try to be unique with your soaps. Mix colors and fragrances to make them unique.

    Have you ever experienced a horrible soapy fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
    Yes, my first popsicle soap was crazy looking. It was a Spiced Pear Popsicle. I think I added extra oil or too much fragrance but it had holes and lumps and was crumbly. I learned that less is more and its ok to make mistakes.

    What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
    I like trying new things and surprising people with new items. Its fun to trick people…when they realize that its not food but soap it is pretty funny.

    Incredibly inspired by Donovan and Casey’s story, Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies and Soap Queen are happy to make a donation to the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

    Find Toil and Trouble:
    On Etsy
    On Facebook

    The post A Young Entrepreneur with a Cause appeared first on Soap Queen.