26 February 2009

Bee Happy!

What a great treat for me and for new customers! Last Spring, a sweet family bought some soaps from me - all bee-themed, containing honey, and two of them were moulded in my honeybee and comb mould. Back in early January, I guess it was, the father contacted me about participating in a Bee Festival in April. He's a beekeeper and was interested in the fact that I use bee products in my soaps. After several emails and a few phone conversations, he asked if he could take some of my soaps with him to some Beekeeper Association events, and I agreed.

I'm excited about a new group of people getting to experience and try my products. The two products I've got in stock currently that feature honey are my Oatmeal & Honey Goat's Milk soap, made of the finest glycerin bases available (American made), and containing real honey and oatmeal. Rick has also hooked me up with some superior, rich, dark amber honey from a beekeeper in (I think) Georgia that's going to rock in this soap.

The other exceptionally wonderful honey-containing soap I carry is the Soap of Milk & Honey (& Oatmeal!). Just like the biblical Land of Milk and Honey contained good things for its settlers, so does the soap of the same name have all sorts of great, skin-nourishing goodies for its users. Goat's milk is rich in vitamins A, D and E (all fabulous for healthy skin). Following that comes the rich honey, bringing with it its own antibacterial and humectant properties (meaning it will draw moisture from the air to the skin, making lotions unneccessary). Then comes the oatmeal, which helps soothe troubled, itchy skin.

Using some of these great products Rick gave me - namely, the honey and some beeswax - I decided to try a variation on my lip balm recipe. I'm going to be offering Bee My Honey, a fabulous honey and shea butter lip balm with many nourishing ingredients and the lightly sweet taste of honey. Those should be ready for purchase late this weekend after I've gotten them labeled. I'm still debating on making some with added flavors. I've got some new ones, including Cafe' Latte', Grape Soda and Toasted Coconut, in addition to Chocolate Devil's Food and Cucumber Melon.

When I make products containing beeswax and honey, I'm going to do everything possible to ensure that these ingredients are American-produced, preferably from North Carolina. After all, the honeybee is our state insect. (Burt's Bees, now based in NC, imports its beeswax from Ethiopia. And you thought you were getting a completely American product, didn't you?)

I'm offering those customers from the beekeeping community a special offer. Use coupon code "BeeHappy!" at checkout and save 15% off your order. You've still got two months to use this coupon, but, hey, why wait?

14 February 2009

Another New Creation

As you know, I'm all about creating great and wonderful and new things. OK, admittedly, not everything comes out great and wonderful - some soaps turn out ugly or maybe just not at all what I'd planned. There's one creation I'm working on, though... One thing that's great and wonderful and precious and miraculous. Check it out...

Yes, sir, that's my baby! :) I'm 15 weeks along and enjoying the joys of the second trimester - the increased energy being the biggest one. (Hey, I'm a business owner, and life starts getting busy in the Spring!) Not loving so much the fact that, overnight, my favorite Chico's jeans went from having to be hiked up to "Holy crap! I can't get 'em buttoned without sucking in hard!" Unfortunately, the growing baby bump doesn't allow for a great deal of effective sucking in.

Our little family of three's very excited about the baby coming, as are our own families of origin and friends. My dear friend and soapbud Shawna is sending me her old maternity clothes, which is a blessing, and God continues to provide wonderful things for us. We're getting excited about moving, too, though I'm not relishing the packing part. The new start at the coast will be wonderful, though I still won't be able to enjoy the fruits of the sea like I'd want to until after the baby's born. (No albacore tuna, mahi mahi or snapper for this mommy-to-be - too much mercury.)

Being pregnant certainly makes soapmaking more of an adventure than it's been previously. Certain essential oils are off-limits to me because they affect estrogen, lavender EO being the biggest culprit. Guess what's my favorite to soap and my best seller? Of course, my Ooh La La-vender soap. My nose is sensitive to my fragrance oils, and not in a good way. Oakmoss Sandalwood is my favorite to soap, but the first batch I did with it, I nearly puked. Not promising. Fortunately, I received a bar of OS soap in a recent swap, and it smells sexy to me, thank goodness. So, I haven't developed a scent aversion to it, which I was afraid of. The hard part is, a fragrance will smell wonderful when I'm soaping it, but 24 hours later, I'll want to be as far away from it as possible.

I'll have another picture or two in a few weeks when I go for my anatomical ultrasound. Hubby and I are still largely undecided about whether we want to find out the sex of the baby or not. I'd like to this time so I'll know if we need to haul down the 18 million bins of girl clothes when we move. He can understand that. However, he wants to be surprised like we were with DD, and I agree that was fun. So... Who knows? We may not find out until August.

11 February 2009

No More Paypal!!!

It came about because of a Tweet a soapmaking friend posted to Twitter, then it snowballed from there. I received some information about a credit card processing company that provides a virtual terminal that will enable me to accept credit cards at markets, shows and on my website. Well, I already could accept credit cards on my website, but they had to go through Paypal. For a while, I've had the sense that some of my customers would rather wait more than two weeks for a check to arrive to me in the mail and clear the bank before they ever received their purchases, as opposed to enjoying the relative speed of paying with a credit card through Paypal.

I've been thinking for several months about setting myself up to accept credit cards at shows and markets. After all, it's easier for some people - particularly at First Sunday - to pay by CC than to find an ATM. I'm always being asked if I take credit cards, and now my answer can be a resounding "YES!" I'm excited about this, because it will make life easier for my customers and give them a greater level of confidence when buying from me online.