Thursday, December 20, 2007
Begin to study magazine ads and read trade articles; look at what is currently hot, start to analyze and sharpen your skills to spot new trends that will give rise to new products within your industry. Ultimately, the goal of trend watching is to explore new ideas that will lead to profitable product innovations. Here are three trends I see for 2008.
1) The Premiumization of everything and anything. No product will escape a premium version in the next 12 months. With money to burn, more and more consumers will be looking for quick status fixes derived from premium products.
A great example of this trend is represented by The Laundress. Lindsey Wieber and Gwen Whiting, co-founders of The Laundress™, created this luxury fabric care and specialty detergent line to take the chore out of laundry. They saw the necessity of properly caring for their clothing and homes, but were not able to find products on the market that met their standards of delicacy, fragrance and sophistication. This propelled these entrepreneurs to design a luxurious brand of detergents and fabric care with their own uniquely developed fragrances.
Expect to find the same trend with lotions, shower gels, soaps, and other bath and body products. Start looking for ways that you can "Premiumize" your current product line or, develop new lines that are a step beyond the average. and then market them as up-scale, sophisticated bath and body products.
2) Eco Status Sphere is not stopping in 2008. In fact, expect to see trends for both green and blue. Consumers will continue to seek out products that are organic and ego-friendly. Consider using bath and body containers that can be recycled or refilled. Products geared toward fitness and outdoor living will continue to grow. Foot and hand care, body soaks, lip balms are all products that can be developed to greenify the life's of a ego-conscious consumer.
3) Expect online sub-cultures like Face Book and My Space to begin dominating the advertising and selling world. Do-It-Yourself and Make-It-Yourself will continue to emerge from this thriving online sub-culture.
CafePress.com is already offering this type of online platform, but you will begin to see FaceBook and MySpace users doing the same. The days of offering a limited number of choices to online customers, is becoming a thing of the past.
A make your own "virtual" bath and body product web site may be something to consider. Generation C is here to stay. What is Generation C? The Wikopedia definition: People who use the web to create user generated content and participate in the co-creation of products and services.
As 2007 comes to a close, I wish each of you great success in your 2008 business ventures. GoPlanetEarth.com will continue to supply you with products that will help you reach your goals. As the owner, I sincerely thank each and every one of you for your continued business and support. So many of you have become like family to us. We look forward to servicing your soap making needs in 2008.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you!
Denise & the GoPlanet Team
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Etsy.com is an online community with a mission that enables people to earn a living "making" things. Esty.com then connects those makers with online buyers. In a nutshell, they are creating micro-economies within corporate America. The vision of Etsy is to build a new economy and present a better choice of goods. These goods, by the way, are all handmade.
As posted on the Etsy site:
"The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. We created Etsy to help them reconnect, and swing the pendulum back to a time when we bought our bread from the baker, food from the grocer, and shoes from the cobbler. "
If you are not yet familiar with Etsy.com, I encourage you to check it out. It's a haven for those making hand-made products. Even if you don't make anything hand-made, you'll find it the place to buy ALL things handmade.
As we move into a new year, may each of us be aware of the social and environmental implications of our purchases and become a consumer conscious of the true value of handmade goods. My personal New Year resolution is to buy handmade whenever possible.
Pictured is Death by Cinnamon. It's a heavily scented soap topped with cinnamon "syrup" -- a thick bar, lusciously creamy and excitingly spicy. It's available at Esty.
The things one can find to do with melt and pour soap. I've been in this business a good number of years; I must admit, this is a first for me.
This link gives instructions on how to make a flashing soap that emulates the beating of a heart. I would take heed to the writer's words of CAUTION about using an LCD battery in soap. I'm certain this can work, BUT I would sure hate to lose any of you to a heart throbbing soap explosion. Might be best if you just let this spark some inventive soap making ideas for the new year.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The card read, "Thanks for an evening of good "clean" fun. I am blessed with the best neighbors anyone could have."
This post is for Nancy. My wonderful neighbor and friend. Everyone should be lucky enough to have great neighbors. I have been fortunate. All my neighbors (including former neighbors) are still very much a part of my life. Even with moves, life changes, kids growing up... we've kept in contact and remain close friends.
Life is good when you're surrounded by friends. Today, I give thanks for the gift of friendship.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Post Script: I am fortunate to have one of the most wonderful group of lady friends. The more time I spend with them, the more I treasure and appreciate their friendship. Life is good when you're surrounded by incredible friends.
All of the supplies used can be purchased at GoPlanetEarth.com.
Missy (far left), my long-time employee, is showing the gals how to add the snow effects to the top of the duck pond soaps.
Betty is putting the finishing touches on her bendable holiday soap.
Our lovely, crazy Mo (short for Maureen) showcasing her work.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
If you're looking for more holiday decorating ideas, pay a visit to uglychristmaslights.com. I guarantee you'll find something that strikes your fancy.
In the above picture, I'm guessing the canopy tent is where the manger scene is set-up. The homeowners didn't want Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be out in the rain or snow. It just wouldn't be right.
The house with all the lights.... again, I'm just guessing, but I bet there were no lights left at the local Wal-mart after this homeowner left the store. Thankfully, none of these homeowners are my neighbors! In fact, these pictures inspire me. Not to decorate, but to send a wonderful gift to my neighbors for NOT decorating.
Sure hope all of you are making time to enjoy this joyous holiday season.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Here's what you'll need:
Use the spoon to sprinkle salts into your next bath. You'll be saying Ooohh-la-la the next time you soak in the tub.
Monday, November 19, 2007
This morning, I received the following message in my email box:
I know I am the last person who should be telling you not to stress about work. That is the pot calling the kettle black. But, I think that both of us need to learn to slow down and enjoy life a bit more. I printed this and have taped sections of it to the wall in my office and on my mirror at home as a reminder that life is short, money will come and go, and stress is not worth it. Thank you very much for all your help this weekend. I like coming home. Love always"
I have no idea who should receive credit for this, but it sure made my day. Hope it uplifts and sheds new perspective on what's really important in life.
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.
The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, I'll have to call an ambulance."
"In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."
"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."
1) Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
2) Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
3) If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
4) It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
5) Never buy a car you can't push.
6) Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
10) Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
11) Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
12) The second mouse gets the cheese.
13) When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
14) You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
15) We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.As we move into this busy holiday season, may we all take time to put down our burdens, slow down, and enjoy life. Remember, the truly happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This week marks official Nutcracker week at my house. It's the week we bring down all of the nutcrackers from the attic, unpack them, repair as needed and meticulously place them in their chosen locations. I love it! The down side....packing them all away. Every year I say this is the last time I'm displaying nutcrackers. Every year, I continue to do it. Maybe I'll stick to my guns once the grand kids are grown. For now, I couldn't bear to disappoint them.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Joseph and I just wanted to share a great story with you, and you can post this on your website if you wish. It is so cool.
We ordered five of your Mold Market breast cancer awareness molds back in September since we met a radiologist from a local hospital in our area who was looking for a way to get women to come to the hospital to get their mammograms and bone densitometry tests. Joseph and I thought taking your mold, making it in light pink and unscented (since many of the ladies would not care for scent) would be a great incentive. We approached the radiologist who went to her higher up at the hospital, and flyers went out that this free gift would be given to women on October 21, 2007. Well, to say the least, the women flocked in and they had 200 tests performed that day! We thank Go Planet Earth for providing us with the catalyst for not only a great idea, but a helpful one that may have actually saved lives."
Jayne and Joseph in California
Most of us have family or friends who are battling or have died from cancer-related diseases. I hope this post will encourage you to begin a crusade within your own community to raise cancer awareness. Let's all do what we can to promote mammogram testing, smoking cessation programs, annual colonoscopys, prostate testing, and any other educational programs that help prolong life and identify the risks associated with cancer.
I've mentioned in a number of posts that my Dad is battling prostate cancer. It is stage IV and has metastized to the bone and bladder. In this same year, I've witnessed the horrific effects of cancer with a number of other family members and close friends. Some did not survive. Cancer is no respecter of persons or age. We are all at risk even with a healthy lifestyle. My Dad bears witness to this.
I applaud Jayne and Joseph for the dedication and unpaid work in donating soaps to save lives!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Here are ten pointers I've found helpful for “out of the box” thinking….
1) Look for opportunities that others miss.
2) The more diverse your experiences, the bigger your box will become.
3) Build your creativity on collective interaction. Seek out the perspective of many people. When everyone overlaps their boxes, incredible ideas can emerge.
4) Don’t be afraid to fail, think of it as a learning tool.
5) Deliberately explore the absurd and unusual to inspire new ideas and concepts.
6) Be open to new ways of looking at things.
7) Understand that sometimes expertise in an area can hinder creativity because it fixates us on a certain line of thought. Work to eliminate barriers that result from preconceived notions of what the idea should be. Take a leap of faith and test assumptions so that you can expand on the possibilities.
8) Be willing to face ridicule from people who cannot see things from a new perspective.
9) Understand that creativity is defiance from past experiences and procedures. Keep in mind that there is more than one way to cut a cake, peel a potato, or decorate a Christmas tree.
10) Embrace the concept that you can take any idea or product and make into something new.
I hope this post inspires you to take your ideas, turn them around, inside out, upside down, and back to front to see what happens.
As always, I wish each of you much success in your soap making ventures.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
I hope you take time to read the interview as it provides some great soaping tips.
Also, be sure to register for GoPlanetEarth’s FREE soap giveaway (a $42.00 value AND we pay shipping). One lucky winner will receive (6) decorative and deliciously fragranced soaps handcrafted by Paula using Mold Market molds. Winner’s name will be posted November 15, 2007 on Denise’s Yadda Yadda blog.
Denise: What prompted your interest in melt and pour soap making?
Paula: My partner Jan has always been a lover of the highest quality exotic soaps from around the world (which is pretty neat since he competes in strongman competitions, you know where they pull airplanes, carry refrigerators and lift cars etc.) So up until 2003 we were buying fancy soaps from a bunch of different places. Then one of my best friends who I play scrabble with almost daily told me how he was going to make M&P soaps for holiday gifts! It didn't phase me at first because I thought, right, he's an astrophysicist; I'm sure it won't seem difficult for him. Well after he showed me a picture of his first batch and I had to ask him all about it. He said it couldn't be easier and the clincher for me was when he said "clean up's a breeze!" I found that I could completely control the ingredients, fragrance and look of the soap. I was ready to sample and test bases, colorants and fragrances until I found ingredients that matched my desire to remain as close to nature as possible and for overall excellence.
Denise: When you make a bar of soap, it looks like a work of art. It’s truly amazing. How long did it take you to develop the technique you use for multiple colored pours?
Paula: I started just making plain slabs of solid colored quality soap with amazing fragrances then stamping a design on the top of each bar. Then every night I went to bed I'd think "I bet I could do x, y & z" then the next morning I'd try something like layering a soap with 3 colors. Then I'd go to be thinking if I can lay down 3 layers I could do 2 clear layers and anything I want in the middle (like I could stamp out soaps with cookie cutters and put a bear and a tree in the middle of clear layers). I always wanted the best so I wanted the image to last which embedding is perfect for. Then I started to find chocolate molds that I could paint and embed in the soap. At first, I tried soap paints but they were so frustrating to work with and the whole pot would turn to rock after 2-3 uses, anyway that wasn't the kind of stuff I really wanted to be putting in my soap. So I thought I'm using these basic pigments, mica's and clays to color the soap, why not try painting the soap embeds with a straight concentrated form of the pigments. Well it worked perfectly, however you need to lay down 3 layers of each color and dry for 3 days. LOTS of work, but really worth it for things like the Designer Easter egg embeds.
Paula: Sure. I actually have a basic hand out I give to my students so they can avoid most of the disasters I've encountered through the years. For example: never pour a layer of M&P on a 2nd layer until it is fully set (hardened), then sprits the surface with rubbing alcohol or the layers will NOT bond (and who wants to spend hours making an American flag that falls apart when you pick it up)? If you are pouring a mold with a 3D surface, start filling in your colors the lowest depression. If you want a top color to look gold and you have darker colors to be poured on top of that gold, you must first add a thin layer of white to cover the gold after it's set or your gold will come out looking green. This is a rule anytime you want to retain a true color and keep it distinct from the additional layers.
Denise: Mold Market is a major USA mold producer. This company showcases many of your finished soaps. What top 3 Mold Market molds would you recommend for someone just learning melt and pour?
Paula: Good Question....GoPlanetEarth actually stocks the new Starfish Mold. That would be ideal for just training the brain to pour one color carefully into the starfish (without over pouring) and then spritzing with alcohol immediately before the next layer/color is added. It's also good for learning how to clean up any over pours. If you've filled the starfish too full, don't worry, just let it harden and hold it to the light and trim any excess soap away from the starfish. It will look as good as if you never did the over pour.
Denise: What business advice and encouragement can you offer to someone just starting out in the soap making business?
Paula: Wow, if your aim is to make money and put food on the table. I can't suggest doing what I do. It can take hours just to make a dozen soaps. Don't get me wrong I LOVE it and would never do it any other way, but I also want the best ingredients and they cost and arm and a leg. You can make money making soap and you can do it with great ingredients, but then you're talking about being able to make batches of 2100 in a day rather than 18 in a day (which is about the most I can make in a day). Look into CP soap making and make sure you wouldn't rather do that and make a living. If you decide you want to do your soap PJ Soaps style, you can pay for your supplies but there isn't a lot left over. I know if I land a few B&B's as a base for regular income I will be able to do this for a living. But as of now, for me it's a beloved art driven by the will to master the art & craft.
Denise: You seem diligent about working with inorganic pigments such as mineral/oxides and ultramarines. What’s your voice about color choices?
Paula: I regard them as "closer to nature" in that they either originate from rock, minerals or clays or they are created to mimic same (although they have all been processed to remove impurities such as lead and other heavy metals). They also do NOT bleed which is essential for what I do. They don't stain hands, clothing or surfaces they all rinse off with water. They do have a drawback and that is you get a limited range of colors.
Denise: How long does it take you to handcraft a bar of soap… for example, the Christmas Candle Stick or Star Santa molds from the Mold Market collection?
Denise: You recently took 1st place for the most artistic soap at the 2007 ISOCAN convention (Illinois soap and candle conference) using the Mold Market Bass mold. What a great honor. What are your thoughts on winning?
Paula: It really meant the world to me to be judged by people who actually make soap themselves and to win. M&P soaping hasn't really gotten a lot of respect over the years and understandably so, given how easy and almost fool-proof it is. But finding a top of the line soap base, colorants and FO's or EO's and then making an art of it is really fairly new. So my guess is that got me the award more than anything, bringing something new to the process.
Paula: If you love and believe in your product and the ingredients you put in them, and would bathe your own sensitive skin baby in it with confidence, the sky is the limit. Seriously. I am not afraid to contact 5 star hotels or sell soaps to people with sensitive skin. All they have to do is try the product and it simply sells itself. Sometimes just the look or smell of the bar sells it, but that's the great irony. The quality of the soap is so high that it would a crime to have it sit there forever looking pretty and not be used. My suggestion to the shops I sell at is to tell customers to do what I do. I put a fancy bar on my sink for a few days until it stops looking fancy then it goes into the shower for the best shower EVER. I also remind the shops that the soaps have about a 1 year shelf life before they will start to lose their look. My soaps are very high in glycerine so they are very soft and can sweat in humidity. Just be upfront about all of it and try not to get lazy about posting positive feedback on your site. (I got busy and skipped a few months and have to go back and fill those in) .
Friday, October 26, 2007
I received my package in good condition. I was disheartened to see the Styrofoam peanuts in the package as well. I ordered from your company understanding that it was an environmentally-conscious company.... Please consider switching to other earth-friendly shipping materials, such as biodegradable peanuts. Also, would it be possible to return the "melt and pour containers" for refills, instead of chucking them in the garbage?"
Without some sort of support, product can get bruised and broken during shipping. To provide that support, we often use Styrofoam packing “peanuts.” GoPlanetEarth has tried (and is always searching) to find better packaging solutions. We have tried using a puffed cellulose product that was indeed biodegradable. It was so biodegradable that any kind of moisture melted the puffs, leaving the product unprotected and the package contents spotted with "melted" cellulose peanuts.
We also use recycled Kraft paper and recycled corrugated boxes for packing. However, paper product also raises other environmental concerns such as the harvesting of trees to produce this paper product. We have used the air-filled plastic bags. They took up so much space in a carton that we were shipping two cartons when one would have been adequate. Customers didn't appreciate the added cost of a second carton.
We strive to be a paperless company. Customer sales receipts and packing lists are sent via email. Transmitting this data electronically limits the consumption of printer ink (which is extremely difficult to recycle) and minimizes the use of paper based materials which thereby reduces garbage.
Concerning MP plastic containers. These containers can be recycled locally at your nearest recycling center or with refuse companies offering recycling options. The cost of returning the containers and the energy used to re-melt soap base outweighs the cost of recycling the plastic. You might consider using the plastic containers for storage. Since the soap base it contains is unscented/uncolored, the containers could be washed and used to store left-over food product.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Felting is not difficult. If you're interested in learning the basics, I suggest watching this video on how to felt soap by Suzanna Anna. An sample of one of her felted soaps is shown below. The lime green, hot pink, and orange fibers work together brillantly.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Hope you enjoy these pieces of pavement art as much as I did!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
A good number of the ladies at my party were thrilled with the idea of a monthly Bunco party. However, there were a couple of ladies who called it "an old persons game" and wanted no part. I was actually surprised that someone would put this type of label on Bunco. Come 'on, how can you possibly place Bunco into a select age group? Bunco lets you to....
1) socialize with good friends,
2) leave cares, worries, and kids behind (with dads and baby-sitters)
3) snack on M& M's. Chex-mix, or anything else that's not on your diet plan
4) sip on wine, guzzle soft drinks, and eat appetizers with total disregard of calorie intake
5) talk with friends about anything that tickles your fancy, inlcluding husbands, kids, movies, TV shows, and anyone who doesn't show up
6) play a silly, mindless dice game with wild abandon and laugh until you almost pee your pants
Needless to say, I've totally ignored those who diss Bunco and ordered the official game with plans to start a monthly Bunco party. I'd sure love to receive tips and comments about the game. If you belong to a Bunco group, please post anything you believe would be helpful.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
There are a number of fun shapes that are ideal for chalk. I've listed a few of my favorites along with a easy to make chalk recipe. Colorful shaped chalks make great birthday party favors for kids. It's also a simple enough project for teachers to do with younger students in the classroom and mom's to do at home.
Here are a few of my favorite molds to use.
- 1 cup plaster paris
- 1/2 cup cold water
- tempra paints or neon gel colors
Combine all ingredients. Color with paints keeping in mind that the amount of paint used will determine the intensity of the chalk color. Pour the mixture into molds. Let dry.