Sunday, January 27, 2008

Low Cost Ways to Keep Long Term Employees

Very few small businesses can compete with the "big boys" when it comes to benefit packages. For most of us, benefit packages are limited (if we have them at all), and even paid time off can put a strain on operating capital.

Our company is located in Michigan which is currently one of the most economically depressed regions in the US. Automotive and industrial plants are closing weekly, homes are going into foreclosure, and many families that were once making six figures are now struggling to put food on the table. When a large plant closes so does a host of other small businesses due to the "trickle down" effect.

So what can a small company do when they can't offer major benefit packages? How can they retain long-term employees on a limited budget? This video offers some creative ideas that have worked for us through the years. The video expresses only a few of the many ways we reward employees (see more below). We believe we are doing something right. Our employee attendance rate is nearly 100% and turnover rate is less than 1%. We continually look for new ways to make this a fun place to work while remaining customer focused.


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Other employee "perks" to consider:

  • Educational Reimbursement. Our company offers employees a $750 tuition reimbursment per year.

  • Twice a year, we take employees to dinner at an up-scale restaurant. Employees jointly pick the place we dine. We all dress up and have a night of fun.

  • If an employee needs something to help them do their job better or more efficiently, we get it! No one knows the job better than the person doing it.

  • Holiday bonuses based on years of service.

  • Cash bonus and lunch on us whenever there is a birthday.

  • This year we are implementing a wellness fund. Employees on the payroll for one year will receive an annual $125.00 wellness reimbursement for anything related to their mental, physical, or spiritual well-being.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You Might As Well Dance!

"Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we're here we should dance.
"

Every sixty seconds you spend upset, is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Today's Message of the Day is:

Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile.

Soap Making: Hippie Chick Retro Flower Soap



You'll love groovin' in the shower (and not just on a Sunday afternoon) with this far-out and hip retro flower soap.

The instructional video from Squeaky Clean Productions gives step-by-step directions for making these fab hippie chick soaps. You can purchase the supplies for this soap project at GoPlanetEarth.com.

For those of you who remember the 60's and early 70's you'll want to check out these two sites. Reading the "lingo" is like taking a trip down memory lane.



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Monday, January 21, 2008

How to Make Sea Salt Gemstone Soaps


Another instructional video from GoPlanetEarth. Learn to make sea salt gemstone soaps. This project offers a host of unlimited variations. For printed instructions, visit the project page at GoPlanetEarth.com.


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All of the supplies for this project can be purchased at http://www.goplanetearth.com/.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The new Thesaurus Arrived Today!!

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that I recently posted about my Thesaurus that was 30-plus years old. Well, I finally laid the weary soul to rest and purchased a new one from Staples.

Why in the world I waited so long to buy a new one is beyond me. My gosh, I can actually flip through it without pages falling out and the words are in bold print. Imagine that... bold print, I wonder what year they started doing that! When I ammoritize the cost of the book over 30 years, it will have cost me 25 cents per year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Soap with a Heart... a strawberry heart that is


Here's another great soap making project from GoPlanetEarth's Squeaky Clean Production company. It's a strawberry soap made from Mold Market's plain heart mold. The green strawberry stem is a mini 5 point star cut to fit the curve of the heart. Droplets of white soap are used for the strawberry seeds. This is an ideal soap for a strawberry festival (like Plant City annual festival in Florida).

View Squeaky Clean Productions how-to video. All of the supplies for this soap making project can be purchased from http://www.goplanetearth.com/.


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Sunday, January 13, 2008

All I REALLY wanted for Christmas was a new Thesaurus


Take a look a this pathetic looking Thesaurus. Yes, it's mine and there is certainly no doubt I've gotten my money's worth. I'm not sure how old it is, but an educated guess dates it to around 1975. Sorry to say, I still use it. As you can see from the picture, it has no front or back cover, the binding is way past the point of taping, and the top pages are yellowed with age.

Every year I put a "new Thesaurus" on my Christmas wish list. And every year... it's zippa-zotta-notta one-a person buys it for me. It's the absolute "cheapest" item I put on my Christmas list. I just don't get it.

Obviously I can afford to buy a new one myself, but it simply never occurs to me when I'm out and about. It's only when I pull it off my bookshelf and shuffle through the mangled, unbound pages that I remember I need to buy a new one.

So here's my New's Year resolution....

There comes a point when you must say good-by to a long-time loyal companion, especially a companion that is on their last leg of life's journey... a companion who begs to be put out of their misery and buried with dignity. So, that is what I will do. I will bury my long-time companion, my devoted Thesaurus. I am saddened by my friend's departure. My dear friend has been at my side for a host of writing endeavors including college papers, a thesis, articles, newsletters, and even wedding vows . But alas, there is hope, I just did a Google search and find that Staples has a Thesaurus for a mere $7.50.

A whole other meaning to the term "Hand Soap"

Now here's a bar of hand soap you can literally shake hands with. One thing's for certain; your house guests can't possibly miss it in the powder room. For heaven's sake! Why put out all those cutesy little guest soaps when you can put out a friendly, giant size hand? Just for the record, this baby topped the scale at 17.5 ounces. That's over one pound!!

This whole project evolved because my 4 1/2 year old grandson wanted to help me make soap. He insisted on wearing latex gloves just like NeeNee (between you and me... the only reason he wanted to help was to wear the gloves). Within minutes he became bored with the whole project until I suggested we make a "hand" soap using one of the latex gloves he was wearing. This immediately piqued his interest. Here is the result of our hands-on project (Yes, pun was intended!)


BTW...my grandson is taking the hand soap to show & tell day at his pre-school. I would love to record his version of how we made the soap. Surely it would find it's way into one of Art Linkletter's Kids Say the Darndest Things books. Did I mention he picked the blue color and apple fragrance? He told me he picked apple because I keep apple gum in my purse just for him, and blue because NeeNee's eyes are blue.


View the instructional video below:



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Labeling Your Soaps for Resale


OK, you've made your soap, now what?


Both the US Food and Drug (FDA) Administration and US Consumer Product Safety Commission have specific regulations on labeling a bar of soap. In this post, I've given only the basics. I suggest you pay a visit to the FDA website for more in-depth resources.


Cosmetic vs/ non-cosmetic:

  • A bar of soap is deemed non-cosmetic if no special claims are made beyond the fact that it cleanses the skin and is represented solely as soap.

  • A bar of soap is deemed cosmetic if claims are made that is moistuizes, exfoliates, heals, beautifies, or makes any other claims beyond cleansing the skin.

Labeling a cosmetic soap bar:

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the labeling requirements for cosmetic products. The label for a bar of soap must contain the following six components:


  • Ingredients in descending order of predominance

  • Net weight of soap

  • The word "soap" displayed on the Principal Display Panel (PDP). This is usually on the front panel of label.

  • Name and place of business. The street address may be omitted if your business is listed in a current city or telephone directory.

  • A warning statement whenever necessary or appropriate to prevent a health hazard that may be associated with the product.

  • Directions for safe use

Labeling a non-cosmetic soap bar:

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission administrates and regulates the safety of personal care products that are non-cosmetic. Three key elements must appear on the label.

  • The word "soap". Examples include" "Cucumber Melon Soap", Fragrant Soap Slice, Maggie's Handmade Soap

  • Net weight of soap

  • Company name and place of business

These are only the basics. Comprehensive labeling information is available at the FDA web site listed above. Another highly recommended resource is a book by Marie Gale, Soap & Cosmetic Labeling, How to Follow the Rules and Regulations Explained in Plain English. If you order the book, let Marie know that Denise from GoPlanetEarth.com sent you her way!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How to Make Cupid's Heart Soap


Can you believe it? We are almost into mid-January and Valentine's Day is just around the corner. If you're looking for a quick and easy Valentine's soap project, this Cupid's Heart Soap might fit the bill. Hey, we've even offered a few suggestions for the gift card. Consider packaging in a colorful heart printed cello bag tied with red, white and pink curly ribbon.

All of the supplies for this soap making project can be purchased from http://www.goplanetearth.com/.
 
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Suggested gift card verbage:

  • Wishes from the heart
  • You spread love wherever you go
  • Thank you for the love we share
  • Love always come along when you least expect it
  • You're always in my heart
  • You have a heart of gold(color soap heart in a gold color)
  • The heart rules
  • My heart beats for you
  • Lather me in love
  • Let's lather up some love
  • Please, don't break my heart
  • Bathe me in love

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Make Rainbow Colored Soap Labels with Shaving Cream

Here is a unique, inexpensive and simple method for creating banded soap labels. Print the labels using a laser printer. You can print the labels on any paper type that is suitable for laser printers, including color card stock. Once you've printed the text for your labels, follow the instructions given in this How-To video. (NOTE: Do not try to print text once you have colored the paper. It could damage your print cartridges.)

This is a fun project to do with kids. The guest artist in this instructional is my grandson, Carson. He did an incredible job and definitely enjoyed watching himself on the 'puter (that's short for computer).

Look for an upcoming post about how to label your soap for resale. Learn what info must be listed on soap labels.


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Instructional Video: How to Make Duck Pond Soaps with Rubber Ducks

You won't want to miss this new instructional video from GoPlanetEarth on Duck Pond Soaps. It's just one of the many "how-to" soap making videos we have coming your way in 2008. All of the supplies for this project can be purchased at www.GoPlanetEarth.com. Please let us know what you think about this "how-to" video.

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Here's what you'll need:
Rubber Ducks
Soap Base
Duck Pond Mold
Soap Color
Fragrance (optional)If using fragrance, add to soap base when you add soap color