Monday, August 3, 2015

Charity Soap!

Leo's Lion Heart
Flower Wishes


I love having my own business. It has given me the opportunity to stay at home with my children and grow the business at my own pace. The goal is to make this a real income and when Rosalie starts kindergarten, I can work full-time and really grow the business. For now, I have my hands full with 3 kids and the business, but I love that I may never have to return to a desk job working for someone else.

Another thing I love about owning a business is getting my kids involved. I think it's great that the kids have watched me make and sell my soap. They are also great little sales people too and help out as much as they can.

I have had both Leo and Somerset design a soap. They chose the fragrance and colors and I executed it for them. Somerset even chose the name of her soap, "Flower Wishes." I love the color combos they have chosen. Somerset's soap is so girly and beautiful and Leo's color combination is striking. The kids really think outside the box and I love that! The allow me to take my soap designs to a whole new place.

For every bar sold, 1 dollar goes to charity. Leo's soap charity is Champions against Bullying and Somerset's charity is the Make a Wish foundation. I am happy to say that Leo's first batch has sold out and we get to send some money off. Somerset's bars are nearly gone and we are so excited to donate to such a good cause. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beaverton Farmer's Market! I love my job!

Me and my stand. I love my business!

Beautiful NW Berries displayed on the 4th of July
Look, she's holding a bar of Farmer's Market Soap. 

Market customer's always get more options at the best prices. This is Caribbean Coconut!
Farmer's Markets are a huge deal in the Pacific Northwest. Oregonians love farm fresh produce and locally made products! Luckily for me, I am now a part of the Beaverton Farmer's Market. which is one of the largest and most visited markets in our state (22,000 visitors a weekend)!!!

Here's a little known secret. The Beaverton Market only allows agricultural products, which means there are no craft vendors at all, only food related vendors. So in other words, high end dog treats are a go, but handmade soaps are out. Luckily for me, the Methodist church that lines up against the market rents out space each week to artists and craters and has created the very lively and interesting ensemble of vendors known as Art Court. It is so seamless and well integrated within the market that no one knows that we aren't "technically" part of the Beaverton Farmer's Market. It is genius and both the vendors and customers love Art Court. 

I love everything about being a part of my city's market. I have grown to love other vendors and the fares they offer. I am neighbors with Denny, who paints beautiful and affordable works of art and Joe Bennett, who creates very geometric glass creations. They are full of wonderful stories and I love seeing them every week.

A shout out to my competition as well,  Peace of Soap. Their soap is lovely and competition is good for the customer and for keeping my standards high.

Every Saturday, May-September, you will know where to find me, and possibly the baby. She draws in customers by waving, smiling and saying "hi." Who could resist seeing her and while they admire the baby, the are introduced to my soap. Win, win!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Swirl within a Swirl and Marbled Tops

Good Day Sunshine

Leo's Lion Heart

Flower Wishes

Farmer's Market

Summer Melon

This summer has been magical. Loads of hard work with the kids and daily soap making. To keep up with my Made in Oregon orders, I have increased production to 150-200 bars of soap a week.

Making large quantities for Made in Oregon has taught me valuable lessons. The most important is consistency. This is difficult! My soaps are very artistic, so having the colors and quality consistent has been very important. I have become much more proficient at keeping the 7 soaps that Made in Oregon stocks consistent, but I still have missteps. Luckily, I have a very fun and successful Beaverton Farmer's Market to sell at as well. When a shade of blue isn't quite right for my Oregon Coast soap, it will be a great soap for the market. I am after all, a soap perfectionist!

I have come to really love the swirl within the swirl technique and use it in many soap. Almost all my soaps use this technique and I almost always use 3 colors per soap, sometimes 4, with white almost always used to add beautiful contrast. I will do a tutorial some day on my method. I first aw this technique used by Missouri River Soap. I love her soaps so much. I have even made a few purchases even though the last thing I need is more soap!!!

I also love the marbled tops. When the consistency is just right, this method is so beautiful, especially when the colors have lots of contrast. I still love my peaked swirled tops, but the marbled tops are my new favotite.

What are your favorite techniques?


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Made in Oregon!!!

Front Window display from the store at Washington Square Mall
I have been hush hush about something so huge and exciting for my business, but now I can officially share that my soap is being sold in all 9 Made in Oregon stores! This has been a goal of mine for quite some time, but it is actually reality and I can hardly contain myself.

I met with the buyer a few months ago and she decided to place an order. She chose 7 soaps: PDX Carpet, Oregon Coast, Northwest Beer Soap, Grapefruit, Fresh Ginger Lime, Lavender and Lemongrass and Farmer's Market.

I decided not to make an announcement until the soap was in the store and when a friend of mine texted me a photos of my soap from the airport location, I was beyond thrilled. I had no idea the soaps were even in the stores.

Apparently sales are going well because they placed another order after 2 weeks and the PDX Carpet soap sold out at the airport.....yeah!!!

Our family has always been big fans of this store, so it really is a dream come true to have my soaps in Made in Oregon!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Farmers' Market Season Begins!

Farmers' Market Soap

She sells soap too!

My treat from the market
And so it begins! I have started my farmer's market season. I have now worked 3 Wednesdays at the Tigard Farmers' Market from 3-7 p.m at the Grange. It has been a slow start, but lots of fun. I am gaining confidence setting up shop with baby Rosalie in tow. She has been the perfect selling partner, rarely fussing and always engaging with customers. Plus, she's darn good company.

I also love meeting other vendors. I get a delicious BBQ dinner, beautiful flowers, fresh bread and I can't wait until the fresh produce is ready to be sold!

I will be selling at my community's largest farmers' Market, the Beaverton Farmer's Market, every Saturday, starting May 1st. I am ecstatic for this opportunity and have high hopes. Also, since Beaverton is my hometown, being a part of this market holds a special place in my heart.  My fingers are crossed that this will be a successful market for me.

So far, my biggest seller of the season has been my Farmers' Market soap. Is this good marketing, or is this soap really just that great? It is a new scent for me, Bramble Berry's Kumquat, and I adore it!

When I first started markets and bazaars, I was so anxious and tense about sales. I am finally at the place where I can take a deep breath and relax when sales are slow. I love being content knowing that my product is solid and that when I have a slow day, it isn't because my soap is inferior. I just try to enjoy the slow sales days for what they are: an opportunity to spend alone time with my baby, a chance to chat with fellow vendors and customers, being able to hand pick local goods and support my fellow vendors. It's alwats a good day at the Farmers' Market!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Winner is announced!

Thanks to all who entered the 2015 Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Panel contest. I randomly assigned numbers to each entrant and then used a random # generator to pick the winner. The winner, Emily Fehrenbach, entered the contest twice, and her perseverance paid off!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The results are in!!!! Contest!!!!

Boy was this fun! I loved being a tester for these mystery fragrances that may become part of the amazing fragrance collection from Bramble Berry. After so many years of soap making, I know what I look for in a fragrance oil, so I will report about my personal experiences and impressions of each oil:

  1. Discolored to medium brown. Easy to work with. No noticeable acceleration. Scent is chocolaty with a hint of mint.
    Name Choice: After Dinner Mint
  2. Discolored to a medium brown. Easy to work with. No noticeable acceleration. Bakery-type scent. Hints of spice, perhaps nutmeg or cinnamon. Super yummy.
    Name Choice: Biscotti
  3. No discoloration or acceleration. This scent was the most intriguing to me. It smells of jasmine rice and a soft floral. To me, it's an Asian inspired scent.
    Name Choice: Japanese Garden
  4. Discolors to light tan. No acceleration. Smelled chocolaty OOB, but smells more like a light chocolate and hazelnut mixture after it is used in cp soap.
    Name Choice: White Chocolate Delight. 
  5. Discolors to medium tan. No acceleration. This is another bakery scent. Smells like
    Pecan pie.
    Name Choice: Pralines and Cream
  6. No discoloration or acceleration. Very fresh and a clean shaven man. Could market this as a spa scent as well.
    Name Choice: Barber Shop or Clean Shaven
  7. No discoloration or acceleration. This scent was the most intriguing to me. It smells of jasmine rice and a soft floral. To me, it's an Asian inspired scent.
    Name Choice: Chinese Garden
  8. No acceleration or discoloration. Smells fruity, like grape candy. I am guessing this would be a big hit with little girls.
    Name Choice: Grapes and Giggles
  9. Very slight discoloration to cream. No acceleration. Very masculine, in a fresh and green kind of way. This smells like a fresh, crisp mountain air kind of day.
    Name Choice: Mountain Fresh Air or Mountain Mist

The real winners for me are #5,  #6, and #7. I am really intrigued by #6. This one baffled me the most and although I like it, it may not be a good seller for me. I feel that #3, #5, and #7 would be big sellers. I would market #3 toward men. It smells fresh and clean, like shave gel. #5 is a delightful bakery scent. I personally don't use these fragrance oils because I don't like brownish soap and but I do understand their appeal. #7 would be a big seller with the younger girls. It smells so fun and fruity.I had an amazing time on the 2015 Spring S.O.A.P.  Panel. What an honor it was to help take place in this testing process!

Please leave a comment below to be entered to win all 8 of the soaps I tested, and then you can judge for yourself!The contest ends Sunday, April 5th at midnight PST.