Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Craft Show Success - How to Find a Craft Show That Will Work for You

It's only April but it's already time to get applications in for fall craft shows! The biggest question I hear people ask about craft shows is "How do I find the right show for me?".  There are many shows out there and while one might be successful for somebody, it might be a total failure for somebody else. 

I currently make more in a single day at a show than I make in an entire month on Etsy.  I didn't always though.  The key is to find the right shows.  It took me a few years to find the right ones for me in Virginia and then we up and moved to Kentucky so I had to start all over.  At least now I knew what to look for.

The best thing you can do is check out the show a year prior to signing up.  I know, I know.  This seems like such a waste of time when you could be selling instead.  Trust me, it's worth it.  If you're too impatient for that and know some other crafters in your area that you trust, ask them which ones they recommend.  

Here's are some things you want to know:

How many customers are expected?
Who are the customers?  (Are they your target market?)
How will they be advertising the show?
Are all items handmade or do they allow direct sales vendors?
How many years has the event been going on?
Is it a juried show?
How many sellers of each type of product to they allow?

If you are able to check out the show in person, here are a few things to look for:

Are there clear signs leading to the event so passersby know about it and how to get to it?
Are customers actually buying?
What type of things are other people selling?  Are they well spread out if there are multiple crafters selling the same type of craft?
How big are the spaces and where are they located?  Some spots are better than others and some shows let you choose where you want to be.

While checking out some shows here, there were quite a few that sounded wonderful on paper and when I got there I immediately knew that it wasn't for me.  No signs, no customers, etc.  Then there were others that didn't seem so hyped up but had tons of customers.  Why?  These are the ones that have been going on for years and already have a following.  

Using this method I was able to find 3 shows to sign up for the following year and I did quite well at them.  At these shows I spent time talking to my fellow crafters and asking their opinions on other shows.  Many are very willing to tell you what they like and don't like about a show.  Through them, I learned about another 5 or so shows to check out for the future.  I also met a very nice vendor who was willing to send me her entire spreadsheet of shows in the area.

If you use these tips and check out your shows in advance, there's still a chance you might have a few duds, but you should have a much better chance at success than if you just show up with no prior knowledge of the show.

If you give this a try, please let me know how it goes!  Do you have other craft show questions?  I'd love to hear them.  Please comment below with any other tips as well!

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Green Facial Bar

If you've been to my Etsy shop lately, you might have noticed quite a few new products.  Right now though, I'm only going to talk about the new Green Facial Bar.  I absolutely love this one.

So, you're probably wondering "why is it called green if it's brown?".  That can be explained by the ingredients.  This bar was made with Green Tea and French Green Clay.  Hence, the "green".  Since I used actual, brewed green tea instead of green tea powder, this turned the soap a brown color. 

I thought that adding the French green clay would make it a little greener, but that's ok.  The benefits are all I'm interested in on this one.  As with most clays, French green clay is great for pulling toxins from the skin, as well as gently exfoliating. 

Green tea is full of antioxidants which are great for your skin.  There are other supposed benefits as well, but with soap being a wash-off product, and my products not being evaluated by the FDA for drug claims, I'll let you do your own research on that.

Tea tree and peppermint essential oils have also been added.  Tea tree for its benefits, and peppermint (being completely honest here) mostly just because I'm not a huge fan of the tea tree scent, though it does have its own benefits as well.

As you can see, this bar was designed purely for purpose.  No fancy colors or "fun" fragrances but it's chock full of healthy ingredients.  If you decide to try it out, be sure to let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday - How It All Began

For Throwback Thursday, how about a story about how I started my business?

I actually had no intentions of starting a business at all!  Every year I make a little something to add to everybody's Christmas gifts.  I had always wanted to make soap but never got around to doing it.  One day back in 2006, I was browsing Craigslist (I used to be obsessed with that site) and I came across somebody giving away all their soaping supplies.  Giving away.  For free.  Needless to say, I called them up right away.  Turns out they were moving and didn't want to take everything with them.  Why they didn't want to sell it is beyond me, now that I know how much that stuff was worth.  And I'm kicking myself for getting rid of some of the molds.  At the time they were way to big for me so I passed them along to other soapmakers. 

Well, that was my motivation to start on the Christmas projects.  Since I had never made soap before I decided to do melt and pour.  (The kind where you buy a base, melt it down to add your scent and color, and then pour it into molds)  Everybody loved it and kept trying to convince me to sell it!  I had tons of fun making it but I really wanted to be able to control the ingredients so I took a course on cold process soapmaking (making soap from scratch).  I did start selling the melt and pour soap at craft shows and Etsy while I was learning to make it from scratch. 

Some of my Christmas gift soaps:

Strawberry and Cream soap rolls.  One of the very first soaps in my Etsy shop. (And yes, this is the actual picture I used.  What was I thinking??)

After that I was hooked, and started learning to make more things like lip balms, body butters, and perfumes.  Before long, I was running a business! 

And here's one of my current soap pictures for a quick comparison.  What a difference!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Back in Business

Hey everyone!  Now that we're settled and the holidays are over, I'm finally getting back to work restocking my Etsy shop.  I've been busy restocking old products and making brand new ones!

First new product for the year...Body Spray!!
You'll recognize a few scents from my roll-on perfume.  There are also some new ones like Black Amber & Lavender, and Peach Poppy.  (This scent is A-Mazing!!)  Apparently Bath & Body Works sells a similar scent but I've never seen theirs.  I found this one based on a recommendation from my fragrance supplier and it's my new favorite.  After testing them all, this is the one I stuck with as my new personal body spray.  I foresee soap in this scent coming real soon:)

Something else you might be excited about...Soap-To-Go is back!!
I put a hold on making these while we were moving since I was making them as ordered and I didn't have time anymore.  I've decided to cut my scent list down so I can keep an assortment premade and ready to ship.  Yes, this means less scents:(  But I narrowed it down to the best sellers so hopefully your favorite will still be there.  If it's not, feel free to contact me and if I have the scent in stock I can custom make one for you.  At the moment I only have a few listed but I plan on adding about 10-15 scents each, for the pocket and the regular size.

I have a lot of soap restocks curing and a few new ones as well.  I think I'm most excited about the facial bar.  It's packed with skin-loving goodness such as French green clay, green tea, and tea tree and peppermint essential oils.  I've also been experimenting with new colors.  Here's the Cherry Blossom soap with a new natural rose clay colorant:
Well, that's all for now, folks.  More great things to come soon so keep an eye on my shop.  For more frequent updates be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Welcome to Kentucky!

We made it!  We officially moved out here at the very end of June but didn't close on our new house until the end of July.  We started moving stuff in mid-August and I reopened my Etsy shop in September.  I'm slowly restocking everything so please bear with me.  I plan to have everything restocked (and new products added!!) by early 2016.

While I was waiting to move into our new home, I spent a lot of time knitting.  Here are a couple of the things I made:

And here is a picture of our new house:

A lot of the soaps I've been making lately have just been restocking but here's a peek at a new project I'm working on.  Soap swirls!

I'm still trying to get them perfect but they look quite nice while they're still in the wet phase.  Well, back to restocking!  I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Been Awhile...

Wow. I'm rather disappointed with myself. I just decided to hop on over here and write a little something cause it's been a few months...and I realize it's been A YEAR and a few months!! How did I let that happen??? So, I'll do an update post on what's been happening in the past year.

I had another baby!! And it's been so long that he's no even a baby anymore. He turned one in March!

Added some new products to the website:

And we're moving to Kentucky this summer!

This one was a big surprise for all of us. My husband was offered a new job and we decided it would be a good move for us. Which is one of the reasons I've been a little behind on things lately. Getting ready to sell a house and move 10 hours away with 3 children is a lot more work than you'd think it would be. My soap room has been turned back into a bedroom for showing purposes:

But I'm still working! I just have to keep pulling out my folding table and cleaning everything up immediately after I'm finished. All of my products are hiding behind those mirrored doors in that closet there. I'm keeping my inventory to a minimum right now so I don't have to move too much but I'd go crazy if I had to stop completely!

The move is already only about a month away! Which means I probably won't be posting again for awhile but I promise I'll show you my new place in Kentucky as soon as we find one. I'm looking for one with a good soaping room!

Monday, January 27, 2014

DIY Cocoa Bomb Bath Bomb Kit

Who wants to make bath bombs? This great kit from SupplyEmporium gives you all you need to make luxurious, moisturizing bath bombs in your own home!

Following is a step by step, picture tutorial of how to make these. Please note, I've never made bath bombs before so even though I'm an experienced bath and body maker, this process was completely new to me. My point? You don't need to have experience in order to do this!

Here's what the kit comes with:
2 bags of dry ingredients (marked "1" and "3")
1 bottle wet ingredients (marked "2")
1 bottle fragrance oil (fragrance specified upon ordering)
1 bag fair-trade unrefined cocoa butter
1 pipette
1 60mm round bath bomb mold
1 80mm round bath bomb mold

You will also need:
1 large glass bowl
1 small glass bowl
whisk or other stirring implement
gloves (recommended)
eye protection (recommended)

Let's begin!
Step 1:
Add contents of bag "1" to a glass bowl. I used a large Pyrex measuring cup for this.

Step 2:
If you decided to grate the cocoa butter, add it to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. (You can either grate the cocoa butter or melt it. I chose to melt it so you'll see me add it later)

Step 3:
Add any other dry ingredients such as micas, flower petals, dried spices, etc. I added some purple amethyst mica:

Step 4:
Mix dry ingredients until well incorporated.

Step 5:
Pour half the liquid (or 1oz by weight) of bottle "2" into a small bowl.

Step 6:
Add desired amount of fragrance to the liquid. (I used .5oz)

Step 7:
If you're using a liquid colorant, or if you melted the cocoa butter, add it now. Here's a pic of my pre-melted cocoa butter:

Step 8:
Mix the liquids.

Step 9:
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add slowly in small amounts and incorporate thoroughly. You should have a barely damp consistency after adding. (I recommend using a spoon instead of a whisk for this part. My mixture kept clumping in the whisk so a spoon made it a lot easier)

Step 10:
Add the ingredients from bag "3". You may need to sift the clumps out. Add slowly and mix thoroughly.
You can see there were some clumps in mine so I just broke them up with my fingers.

Step 11:
At this point, you want to get the consistency to exactly where you want it. It should clump and hold when pressed but not be too wet or show signs of reactivity (fizzing or expansion). If too dry, add drops of liquid from bottle "2" with the pipette.

Mine was perfect without needing any extra liquid!

Step 12:
Pack into the molds and gently release them and place on a tray to dry. With the round molds, it is suggested to pack each hemisphere tightly then dump a generous amount in the middle and press together.

A picture of a filled mold:

This is a picture of the smaller mold. For some reason, this one didn't want to cooperate with me so I dumped it out and proceeded with the larger mold instead. The large one didn't give me any problems.

Let the bath bombs dry fully (2-3 days) and store in an airtight container.

My finished bath bombs. Obviously, practice makes perfect. My third one (top right) looks the best out of them all.

I was able to get 3 large and half a small bath bomb out of this kit. The large bombs weigh between 8-10oz each.

Now for the fun part! Testing!
The bath bombs developed some cracks during their 3 days of drying but they were solid as a rock. They also lost some weight, which I expected due to the moisture drying out of them.

Here's a pic of the bath bomb in the tub:

Of course, no testing is complete without actual human testing! So, for the sake of this blog post (poor me, I know) I had to take a nice long bath with it:) The result? I love it! The scent was just perfect. Enough to smell good but not overpowering. It remained on my skin after I was done. The cocoa butter...Oh my gosh! I didn't even need to use lotion after my bath. I give this kit 2 thumbs up!

Here's a video of the bath bomb in action. Listen to that fizz!

Are you ready to buy a kit yet?
Here's where you can get them:

And be sure to follow them on Facebook:

If you make these, be sure to come back and leave a comment!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Studio Tour

Every January I completely redo my workroom. I get rid of everything that I don't need anymore and reorganize everything that I do. While it's clean (this won't last long, trust me) I thought you all might like to see what my room looks like.

My new door shelf to hold my fragrances:

One of my worktables and new curtains I made: (Made with two $5 bed sheets from Walmart. I even had enough left over to make curtains for the window!)

Random crafting and shipping supplies: (see the window curtains?)

Soap curing racks and storage cabinet: (those shelves need to be restocked!)

Wanna see what the curtains are hiding? Random supplies:

And another messy worktable!
I hope you enjoyed the tour! I'd love to see your workrooms if you're willing to share! Post a link in the comments.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Let the Games Begin!

Guess what?! On New Year's Eve I hit 2500 sales in my Etsy shop!!

As promised, that means a game and contest!! Here's what we're gonna do. I've hidden the image below in one of my Etsy listings. You find the picture and message me through Facebook or Etsy, telling me where you found it. In addition, comment "found it!" HERE on my Facebook page. Please do NOT leave a comment with where you found it. You don't want to give away the answer!

The contest will end on January 17, 2014. Everyone who messaged me with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing to win a $20 gift certificate to my shop! The lucky winner will be notified on January 18, 2014.

Good luck everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

We're adopting orangutans!

As most of you know, I use palm oil in my soaps. There is some concern about the safety of the orangutans in harvesting this product. This is why all my palm oil is from a sustainable source.

In an effort to help these animals a little more, starting January 1, 2014, 10% of all soap sales will be dedicated to helping these beautiful creatures. I'm researching different organizations but I think I found the one I want to go with. I'll be sure to update you all with adoption certificates, pictures, and any other news as I receive it!