Sunday, April 29, 2007

Soap Rocks that will Inspire You

I'm always awe struck by individuals with an innate ability to turn ordinary things into works of art. Todd Pink, in my opinion, is one of those incredibly conceptual individuals. Integrating an eclectic background in art, geology, cooking, gardening, and a little chemistry (thrown in for good measure) he transforms soap into an art form. It's art that touches us intimately. We appreciate its beauty by using it, and then are forced to let it go.

OK, so it took him 36 years and a bunch of soap scraps before that light bulb moment, but who cares. Just the fact he could envision (not to mention master) the whole "Soap Rock" idea is truly amazing. Go Todd!

If you want to be inspired with what you can do with soap, pay a visit to Todd's site at


* Visit for all your soap making supplies and soap mold needs.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Vintage Record Albums and Soap Making?

Vintage Record Album Handbag
How cool is this? Vintage and recycled!

Select from three different handbag styles. All are made from an original vintage record album. You can build your own Le'Album handbag by selecting from a large number of album labels and bag linings.

My mind starting racing as I looked at these handbags. Could I possibly find a way to package soaps using all those 33-LP record albums collecting dust in our hall closet?

I'm, still thinking on it. Should a flash of creative inspiration zap me between the eyeballs, you'll be the first to know. I'm open to suggestions.

New Site Offers Inexpensive Lye Shipments and Accurate SAP Values

After careful research and several DOT (Department of Transportation) consultations, Certified Lye has launched a website for the sale and delivery of lye (sodium hydroxide) to soap makers. The company sells high-quality food grade lye for as low as $3.00 per pound and ships the lye throughout the United States via an expedited air service. Up to 7.5 pounds of lye are delivered to customers within three (3) days for just $9.45.

Lye shipments from most suppliers require an additional $40 per shipment Hazmat fee because they do not use approved packaging materials or qualified shipping methods.

This company offers one of the most accurate saponification values on the Net, found at Includes a complete MSDS for lye, an extensive first aid area, and lists all of the general specifications for lye.

This information should prove invaluable to our CP and HP soapmakers!


Visit for all your soap making supplies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My 8 Favorite Things (for the moment)

1) My flowering cherry tree in the Spring.

2) My "Red BMW Roadster". It's the only luxury item I own. I live in Michigan and can only drive it in the warm months (April- October). HURRAY, it's April and the car is out of storage.

3) Elastic waist bands. Never, in my lifetime, would I have considered this a favorite item. Comes with age, I guess.

4) Our newest workstation at (to better serve our customers!).

5) La Vieille Ferme Wine - Cotes du Ventoux Rouge. Incredible Côtes du Rhône French red at a reasonable price (around $8). Trust me on this one, my husband's in the wine biz. This wine has been around for sometime, but the value for price is incredible.

6) The TV show "House". Love that man! His sarcasm and bedside manner is great.

7) My Dad's cancer radiation treatments are done. Hopefully, it has bought him some time.

8) The song "God is God (and I am Not) by Steven Curtis Chapman. The
video on brings me to tears every time I hear it. The video is about five missionaries killed in Ecuador back in the 50's. It speaks to the heart of anyone going through a loss or questioning "why" things happen the way they do.

* Denise Marks is the president of Nouveau Designs LLC which offers one of the most extensive selection of quality soap supplies and soap molds on the Net. She is an experienced melt and pour soap maker and owner of one of the largest soap mold manufacturing companies in the US. Visit for a complete listing of soap making supplies, soap molds.

Caffeine Without Heartburn. A Novel Idea!

O.K. Someone must of had me in mind when they came up with this soap. I love coffee but get horrific heartburn from drinking it. However, I still need my morning caffeine fix. This seems to be a perfect fit.

The ad reads like this:

Tired of waking up and having to wait for your morning java to brew? Are you one of those groggy early morning types that just needs that extra kick? Know any programmers who don't regularly bathe and need some special motivation? Introducing Shower Shock, the original and world's first caffeinated soap. When you think about it, ShowerShock is the ultimate clean buzz ;)

Shower Shock is an all vegetable based glycerine soap scented with peppermint oil and infused with caffeine anhydrous. Each bar contains approximately 12 servings/showers per 4 ounce bar with 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving. No, we're not kidding and no you don't eat it. The caffeine is absorbed through the skin.

Taking Stock. What's Important in Life

With the recent Viriginia Tech killings, I am once again reminded life isn't fair. Some things are just out of our control. The older I get, fateful events like this force me to take stock of what's truly important in my life. The UPS package that didn't get delivered on time now seems irrelevant in light of recent events.

So, this week I took assessment of what's important to me. Here's my list:

*****My daughter! What a wonderful child. Every moment spent with her reassures me I did at least one thing right in my lifetime. She's happily married with two children and working on her Masters in Education.

*****My Grand kids! I must find more time to play "pirates" (see above photo), dance to Veggie Tale songs, or hide from the "bad" guys (that's usually under the bedcovers) with my grandson. Or kiss the soft cheeks of my blue-eyed grand daughter, Olivia. I spend too much time with my business and not enough time with my grand kids.

*****My Dad and hero! He has end-stage prostate and bone cancer. He won't be with me too much longer.

*****TRAVEL!!!! I currently have 8 FREE airline tickets. I need a vacation, but keep postponing travel due to business. My husband has traveled the world twice over. I would love to see France (and NOT on business).

*****My honey-man! That would be my husband. An incredible man, great mentor, absolute "wine geek" cuz that's his business, and the person I will grow old with. I should let him know more often how important he is to me. We still kiss every morning and every night.

Create realistic human skin tones in colored soap

Cameo Girl, Calla Lily Lady, and Mother & Child molds are from the Mold Market Collection.

1) Pale: which is just a little brown oxide in a white soap base and a TINY hint of red oxide. If you've added too much red at any time (sometimes the brown oxide is quite reddish) a hint of the green oxide (chromium green) will cure that without leaving a green tone (since red and green make brown anyway).

2) Tan: Just a little more of each in the white base.

3) Dark: Use half clear and half white base for this and a little more red. The addition of the clear base wipes out any of that pasty look and gives the skin tone some depth. A bit of clear base was used in the Calla Lily soap since the mold was cut deep enough. You couldn't use any clear base with the mother & child or they'd look like ghosts.

Visit for a complete listing of soap making supplies, soap molds, or more FREE articles. Finished soaps by

©2001-2007 Nouveau Designs
All Rights Reserved.

Marketing Your Home-Based Soap Making Business

The first home-based business went to Market with a plan,
The second home-based business went to Market with none;
The first home-based business went "he he he he" all the way to success!
While the second home-based business went OUT of business.

I'm always interested in hearing how others got their start in soap making. On a personal level, I never really aspired to be the owner of a soap making supply company. It was an evolution that happened through experience, opportunity, preparation, and a passion for something I loved. I can't even say that my business degree played an important role in where I am today. I certainly don't discount the value of my business education, but it's certainly not necessary to run a profitable business.

In my early years, I dabbled in many entrepreneurial ventures. Some successful, others not. My first business venture was back in the late 70's. It was a mail-order catalog for doll making supplies. Apart from buying television air time, the only means of marketing a product was by advertising in the back of a magazine under CATALOGS. Internet technology, as we know it today, did not yet exist. (I'm really dating myself!!) Starting any new company is hard work. Let no one kid you about that. It's no secret that a good number of new businesses fail every year. Every day, I receive emails from customers wanting advise and assistance about starting a soap making business. It seems working from home in pajamas and doing something you love is everybody's dream. This article addresses some of the questions presented to me about marketing products as a home-based business. My company has now grown well beyond those home-based years, however, those start up days provided me with valuable lessons beyond any university textbook or lecture.

Below are some tips that I believe helped to grow my business to where it is today.

Can you really succeed in a home-based business?

YES, but not without a business plan, sheer luck, or divine intervention! A business plan is your best choice. Unless you're a leprechaun with a pot of gold, or have a direct line to God, you're destined for failure. Seeking the advice of a reputable accountant and banking institution about start up costs is invaluable in developing a business plan.

What does it take to succeed?

  • Powerful desire to achieve

  • Ability to carve out a new niche in the market, often a niche invisible to others

  • Willingness to step outside your comfort zone and take a risk

  • Persistence to transform your vision into reality

  • Viewing failure as a chance to prove you can get it right a second time

  • A gut feel for what customers want

  • The ability to build on your own special set of skills, strengths and weaknesses

  • An ABSOLUTE knowledge that there is no "get rich scheme" in operating a home-based business

Know Your Market and Competition

All the business capital, marketing skills, and inventory in the world won't result in sales unless you've researched your particular market. At least once a week I receive an email from someone wanting to know how much to charge for a particular hand-crafted soap product. Crystal balls don't work. A West Coast market may sell a handcrafted soap for $7.00. In the rural mid-west the same soap may fetch $4.50. I can't emphasize enough...RESEARCH YOUR MARKET!!

Who's your competition? Whether it's a neighbor, local retailer, or an internet web site; know your competition. Don't try to follow the masses, but do have an awareness of your competition to enable you to carve out your own niche. Build your product line and business based on your own creative sparks. Always take note of your competitors but never base your business decisions, product lines, or marketing strategies on what they are doing. Be inventive and carve out your own piece of the pie. Create your own trend and product line so competitors follow YOU!

Final Note

Your smartest strategy as you start to develop a home-based business is an awareness of your own special skills, strengths and weaknesses, and build on these.

Strive to be first in all that you do.

* Denise Marks is the president of Nouveau Designs LLC which offers one of the most extensive selection of quality soap supplies and soap molds on the Net. She is an experienced soap maker and owner of one of the largest soap mold manufacturing companies worldwide. Visit for a complete listing of soap making supplies, soap molds, or more FREE articles.

©2001-2007 Nouveau Designs

All Rights Reserved