Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stenciling on Soap


This week I experimented with our soap stencils using colored mica powder as the medium. Sapphire blue and 24 kt. gold mica powders were used for this celestial star soap. I used a plain white square soap (a Mold Market mold), but any basic shape can be used as long as the surface is flat.

The secret to stenciling with mica powder is controlling the amount of powder on your brush. You must use dabbing, stippling motions with the brush and make sure that your stencil is pressed tightly against the face of the soap. Mica is like dust and the particles want to go everywhere.

Pictured is a stenciled soap with a ribbon design (ribbon stencil available from GoPlanetEarth.com). These would make great soaps for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.



VIEW INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO:




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Friday, March 28, 2008

Soap Motivates Weight Loss

"Blocks of Soap Motivates Woman to Lose Weight". Reads like a headline on the cover of a tabloid magazine. In this case, the headline reads true.

For most of my adult life I've been fit, trim and worked out at the gym regularly. I was a perfect size 6. The key word here is WAS. When middle age hit and all the hormones went wacky I was suddenly thurst into the battle of the bulge.

For a number of years I've been telling myself I need to lose weight. My intentions are good but I never follow through and every year I add a few more pounds. I never step on a scale unless it's at my annual physical. Well, last week I was forced to step on a scale and was shocked. Certainly that scale wasn't calibrated properly.

A few days later while cutting and weighing blocks of soap I had an epiphany. All those neatly stacked soap blocks equaled the same number of overweight pounds I was carrying. It was a frightening thought. No, let me rephrase that. It was a horrifying thought. In that epiphany moment, I visualized that enormous mound of soap as my body fat. Suddenly that soap became my motivator and I immediately committed myself to losing these middle age pounds. The treadmill has come out of storage and my eating habits are being revised.

I will be posting a weekly blog progess report in the hopes it will give me added incentive to stay on track. My goal is quite realistic. Two to three pounds a week. I hope you'll cheer me on.

Here are the results for Week One.

As you can see, I have a long way to go. The amount I lost this week pales in comparison to what I need to lose. I start excerising on the treadmill tomorrow to step up my metabolism to a fat burning level so I can burn additional calories. Not sure where I will fit this routine into my hectic day, but where there's a will, there's a way!





Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Conversation with Chris from Bathanicals

Chris Dzyngel, owner of Bathtanicals, has a fabulous spa-quality product line. For those of you just starting out in the soaping/toiletry biz, she's an inspiration. Chris started small (like many of us) and has successfully grown her business to include a full line of products that has more than achieved her goals. Here is my conversation with Chris....


Chris, we've been acquainted for a number of years and I know that your business and web site have been an evolution. What processes have you gone through to reach your goals?

Bathtanicals has been in business for about ten years and has evolved from a part-time avocation to a full-time vocation. As a part-time avocation, it was a great stress reliever during my career as an automotive engineering designer. As a full-time vocation, it is an activity I choose to do after retirement.

After several years of researching and observing we put together a business plan to take on Bathtanicals, full time. But, just before transitioning from a part-time to a full-time business, my husband and I were faced with a major health issue. In fact, the diagnosis came in, one week before full-time lift off! We adapted by putting our plans on hold to concentrate on medical treatments. Being able to adapt is an important quality in running a small business. Two years later, we are back to manufacturing and selling bath products. With a revised business plan, a refined product line, and an updated web site we are back at it with a (hopefully) bit more experience but still enthusiastic.

You seem to have a healthy attitude about the things life can throw your way. We all know life deals us a 'monkey wrench' once in awhile. How do you stay focused?

For me, the glass is always full! And the empty half is just waiting to be filled up!! I believe it's critical to have a business plan in place. Over the years, ours have evolved and changed many times. But that business plan keeps us on a path to our goal.

What advice do you have for others just starting out in business, or those wanting to start their own product lines?

Good customer service is very important. It is critical to be knowledgeable, honest, courteous, and available when a customer has an inquiry. That will make your company stand out from a competitor.

We use prototypes help us determine when a product is ready to be added to the line. By actually formulating and packaging a product we can ensure the validity and stability of that product. Prototyping protects against unexpected changes after the product leaves our facility. Some scents can change or discolor a product; the wrong combination of packaging and product can cause shipping or shelf life problems.

Bathtanicals products are based on exclusive formulations, created as natural as practicality allows from the best quality ingredients. We pride ourselves on presenting products without filler or unnecessary ingredients.

Where do you sell your products?

We retail and wholesale to shops, and direct sell on our web site, http://www.bathtanicals.com/. It is important to understand that web sites must morph to adapt business changes, product changes, style changes, new technologies, etc., etc. Once you launch a web site you have a full time job changing content, researching competitors, learning, learning and more learning. You will not get the full potential of your site if you launch it and never maintain it.


The Bathtanical product line is pretty extensive. There are a number of items that piqued my interest.... the Glacier Ice Cold Process Soap with essential oils, the Bathtanicals Hydrating Cream, and the Sole Salvation gift set.


Each handcrafted soap cold process soap has a different formulation and a different purpose or texture…Sweet Milk Lather shaving soap, Berry Orange exfoliating soap, Glacier Ice Bath and Body (invigorating) and Almond Honey Bath and Body (luxurious texture).
We also handcraft bath salts, scrubs, soaks, a spritz, body butter, gift collections and carry bath accessory items. Because we all are so busy we currently are marketing under the "I need a time-out" theme.


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Chris, thank you so much for taking time to share with me. Customers like to read about someone who has successfully marketed their own product line. It inspires them and keeps their dream alive.

If you're looking for quality ready-made bath products with an obvious respect for nature you will want to visit http://www.bathanicals.com/.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Soap Frosting Revisited....

In a previous soap making instructional we showed how to make soap frosting using MP soap base and whipped soap. There was quite a bit of soap frosting left-over from that project and we weren't sure what to do with it. Could it be re-used, re-mixed, remelted, or was it a total waste? We did some experimenting to find those answers.

This video shares some of our initial findings....

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Melt & Pour Soap Making: Soap Frosting

What fun! Soap frosting. This instructional video from Squeaky Clean Productions and GoPlanetEarth.com gives the basic instructions for making soap frosting. Use to frost soap cupcakes, decorate the top of loaf soaps, or just do your own creative thing.

Supplies for this instructional project are available at GoPlanetEarth.com.

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There was quite a bit of soap frosting left over from this project.

Soap Frosting
















We will be doing some testing to see how and IF any left-over frosting can be reused. We'll keep you posted.

Web Site Update

We're wrapping up the final details of the new web site face-lift this week. Our "live" date is sooner than expected and we hope to have everything in place within the next two weeks.

As you can imagine this has been an enormous task. We're hoping for a smooth transfer, but I expect "fixes" will be needed as we become aware of issues.

In the process of upgrading the site, we have added some new product and laid to rest some old. I believe you will be delighted with the overall look and feel of the updated site. Your feedback will be appreciated once the launch takes place.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Overpackaging... where do we draw the line?

This week we had a couple of warehouse workers off for Easter break. I decided to help since there was a backlog of incoming stock. YEOW!!

I was appalled at the excessive amount of packaging used by a number of suppliers. One company in particular packaged every item in its own individual (unsealed) poly bag and then used 4 interior boxes to package 12 identical items. Crazy and excessive to say the least. Just cutting down the packing boxes from this one order took considerable time.

I understand that companies want to distinguish one brand from another which is done using cardboard, polystyrene or plastic wrappings. And certainly there’s nothing wrong with reasonable packaging as it's absolutely necessary to protect goods during transit. But as cited above... packing each item in its own poly bag or using excessive interior boxes is over the top.

Rest assured, I will be contacting this manufacturer directly to voice feedback. It's just a small step, but hopefully it will encourage them to take action to reduce the amount packaging they use, especially if I point out that a competitor has a more ‘environmentally friendly’ packaging.

Obviously, we want to ensure that product arrives safe and sound. But, it doesn't have to have all that extra branded packaging. This is where GoPlanetEarth is commited to buying in "bulk" whenever possible. If we can purchase items without cardboard headers or that isn't packaged inside individual bags or boxes, we will. This means less frills for you, but are all those bells & whistles important to the purpose and functionality of the items being purchased? All that branded packaging just gets tossed.

Rest assured GoPlanetEarth will continue to provide you with ingredient labels and any other packaging critical to soap making or safe handling. However, molds and many items from our packaging menu will be void of carboard headers. We'll label when necessary, but don't expect any "fancy smancy "promo packaging.

Well, there you have it... my two-cents on overpackaging. I'm sure glad I had a chance to get out into the warehouse. It was an eye-opener and certainly made me much more aware of some "green" issues I would like our company to address. Every little bit helps.

Happy Easter!!

Every few months I host a "Soap Night" for some of my close friends. This week we linked up to make Easter soaps. We made Easter duck soaps (using the Mold Market Duck Pond mold). I've posted a couple of the finished soaps. Other Easter related bath products and soaps included the Sea Salt Parfait project and bendable Easter ducks. It was a great time!!!

Want to host a "Girl's Night Out Soap Night" for your friends? Contact us, we'll help you select the right products for a night of good, clean fun.

New Mold Market Molds have Arrived!


It's always exciting to receive Mold Market's new designs. There are some really neat molds in this bunch. My favorites are the pirate, sunflower and dog print. They are all way cool. Mold Market molds continue to be our top selling mold line and are always putting out new designs. Guess that's why the company slogan is "There's always something new in the works at Mold Market!"

I encourage my soap making customers to support this mold line as they are one of the primary sponsors for the April 28-30, 2008 Handmade Soap Makers Guild (HMSG) conference.

You'll want to take a peek at the latest Mold Market designs that just arrived at GoPlanetEarth.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Melt & Pour Soap Making: Pouring Soap in Layers Part 3 (final segment)

Here is the final segment on pouring soap in layers. There are so many possibilities when working with layered soaps. This three part soap making series provides a basic understanding of the "concept" of layering soap embeds to create dimensional soaps. Hopefully it will inspire you to experiment with new and creative ways to make signature soaps that are both fun and functional. Supplies used in this 3-part project will be listed on our web site within the next couple of days and will include EZ links for purchasing.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Bragging Rights!!! Here's our Gerber Baby

Forgive me, but I just can't help myself. I've gotta brag. This is not soaping related, BUT you must admit that this is a really great pic of my daughter and granddaughter doing butterfly kisses. If there was a mother & child 2008 poster of the year, this photo should win. I'm a wee bit prejudice; ya think??

Here's a shout out to the Gerber marketing department. Should you need a toddler to represent your baby food line... here's your girl. What more could you want? Turquoise blue eyes, a winning smile, out of control curls.... and yes, those curls are all natural. I swear it takes a half bottle of conditioner and detangler when shampooing those golden locks.

This post is actually a "Bravo" to my daugher who just completed her Master's program in education. As you can see, she's pregnant and due to deliver "Baby Boy Fisher" in late June. Fisher will be our third grandchild.

OK, OK... I'm giving away my age. Doesn't matter!! I've earned every single year and wouldn't trade one minute of my fabulous life.









Melt and Pour Soap Making: Pouring Soap in Layers Part 2

Hey fellow soapers! This is part 2 of a 3 part series on pouring layered soap. Part 3 should be online in a couple of days (gives you something to look forward to!!!).

Part 2 shows you how to prepare layers of soap for embedding in a multi-cavity mold.

The entire GoPlanetEarth crew recommend using the Mold Market brand of molds for this soap project. These molds are durable, flexible and withstand repeated use.... not to mention they have an incredible selection of designs. We used the heart and oval for this project, but you can use any of the designs from this branded mold line.

Supplies for this project can be purchased at GoPlanetEarth.com. I will be posting a printed instruction sheet on the "Projects" page of our web site that lists the ingredients used for this project including links on where to shop for these items on our web site.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Melt and Pour Soap Making: Pouring Soap in Layers Part I

This is the first in a melt and pour soap making mini-series on using layered soap as embeds. Part I shows how to pour multiple layers of colored soap. The creative possibilites are endless. Part II of the mini-series will show how the layered soap was used to create some really awesome looking soaps. It should be posted in the next day or two.

All of the product used in this instructional video can be purchased at http://www.goplanetearth.com/.


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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ooops! How NOT to Pour Melt & Pour Soap Layers

Well.... things didn't quite go as planned when pouring layered soap for an upcoming project. A little faux pau on my part. A chunk of white soap wasn't completely melted. In the process of pouring the soap, that one little unmelted soap chunk did a cannonball dive into my soap layers. This short video tells the story. Anyway, here's what NOT to do when pouring soap layers. Not only should your soap be cooled down (so it doesn't break through the colored layers), it should also be completely melted. As you can see, even experienced soapers have bloppers. Only goofy gals like me film it.


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Saturday, March 01, 2008

A snapshot of things to come...


You may have noticed that the blog has received a face lift. It's just a sneak preview of things to come. We have been working with our web site design firm for several months to bring a whole new look to the GoPlanetEarth web site. Just this week we finalized proofs and will begin the work of transferring data from the old site to the new. As you know, our web site is pretty extensive, so this will take some time. We are employing a number of trained specialists to assist with the transition. If all goes well, we are hoping to go live with the new design early summer. It's a massive project, but once completed, we believe you will find the site even easier to navigate.

This new, jazzy and fun look reflects the attitude of our company and those we employee. Staff voted on the proofs they liked best. Their vote played an important role in the final design selection.