Saturday, October 17, 2015

Makers' Masterminding Day with Donna Maria!

Donna Maria and me!

I am giddy like a school girl because I was able to spend a day of masterminding with Donna Maria of the Indie Business Network. Last Monday, October 12, I spent the day soaking up kernels of business wisdom from Donna Maria and the amazing team at Essential Wholesale,

Alex Badcock, VP of Marketing for Essential Wholesale wrote a  blog post that sums up the lessons learned from our day of masterminding. His post is so eloquent and insightful, so I must share! Please read this: 5 Take Aways from Portland Connection Day 2015

Not only did I learn a lot from the expert speakers, I was so encouraged by my fellow makers. What a supportive and creative group of business owners! I was so impressed by how intelligent, creative and energetic this group was. We even had belly dancing lessons from the Vanessa of Herbs of Grace.

Also, we left the event with plenty of swag from Essential Wholesale.There products and ingredients are amazing and after meeting their wonderful staff, and touring their immaculate facility, I would encourage any soap maker to buy their products.

If Donna Maria comes to a city near you for a masterminding event, I would strongly encourage any maker to participate. It was fun, insightful and inspiring! I am amped to take my business to the net level.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Holiday Events!

Fall is in the air! Apple Harvest Soap!
Soaps made in honor of Oregon's rival colleges: OSU and U of O
She's walking and finally got her first tooth at 15 months!
Stickering soaps for my big wholesale account!
Back to School!
I love fall! The kids are back in school, the air is crisp and I get to start making Fall/Winter soaps! I am loving my Apple Harvest soap. It is scented with Bramble Berry's Red Apple and smells so good! It has been selling so well at the farmer's market that I decided to make another batch, but modified it a tad by adding a touch of Bramble Berry's Sleigh Ride, which smells quite spicy, to create a spiced apple scent.

As a mom to 3 young kids, I have so many days when I feel as though I can't fit it all into a day. This summer, I focused on getting my kiddos out and busy. We had swim class, days at the pool, play dates, time at the park etc. I feel the need to get these Oregon kids out in the sun as much as possible, because once the rainy season hits, we are home bound a lot! As a result, so much of my soap making and business stuff was saved for the evening, so I was one exhausted Mama.

Now that Leo is in 2nd grade and Somerset is in preschool, we have fallen into a new routine, which frees up a little more day time for me. That means I can make soap during the day. I do as much prep work as I can with the baby around and then when it is time to make soap, I have the baby in the high chair for a snack. I have become exceptionally efficient!

Our baby girl is now walking! She is such a peach. She is my #1 marketing tool at the market too. When she is at my booth, she waves, smiles and says "hi" to all who cross her path.

I am now starting to plan for the upcoming  Christmas season. I hope to add a few more dates too. For all who are local, here's where I will be selling:

November 7: Annual Mountain View Holiday Bazaar
17500 SW Farmington Road, Aloha OR 97078, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

November 14: Beaverton High School Bazaar, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m,
At Beaverton High School

November 21: Lake Oswego Farmer's Market Reunion, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Millennium Plaza Park
200 First Street
Lake OswegoOR 97034

December 5: Garden Home Recreation Center Bazaar
7475 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223

Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Soaps and Something so Exciting!

Scented with Bramble Berry's Red Apple

Inspired by My Little Pony's Twilight Sparkle
(I have a 4 year old daughter).
Scented with Nature Garden's Love Spell

As you can see, I am loving making these beautiful marbled tops. I love the look and it is relatively easy. I find that using high contrast colors always look more dramatic. So I always use white to make the other colors pop. I also don't let the soap batter get too thick. Using wooden skewer sticks has worked well for me. 

My big news is that I am going to be a part of Indie Cruise 2016. I have loved being a part of the Indie Business Network and am so inspired by Donna Maria, who I consider a mentor (she doesn't know it yet though)! I love her podcast and have learned so much from her while doing mundane chores around the house or going on a run.

Also, Bramble Berry's Anne-Marie will be attending as well. She is another personal mentor. Being surrounded by these inspirational, positive, like-minded, business leaders in paradise is a dream come true for me and a once in a life time opportunity.

So what does this mean for me? Well, I will be thinking of what I can do to prepare for this experience. I plan to soak up the sun and soak in knowledge from my mentors and other successful business owners...I have so much to learn! I try to explain to my friends here in Oregon what this means to me and no one (except my dear husband), can truly grasp the scope of this trip.

It doesn't hurt that all of this wonderful masterminding will occur in Cancun.  I plan to hit the gym hard! I also have to be away from my sweet family for a week, which will be difficult, but it will be so worth it. I can't wait!!!!

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!