Thursday, April 30, 2009

We're in the Soap Biz... but, Let's Talk Chocolate

I recently returned from a business trip in Washington state. While there, I stayed at the Green Gables bed & breakfast in Walla Walla. It was an incredible stay and I was delighted to see that they support local artisians and wineries. Businesses supporting their local community will always get my vote.

I was so impressed with the gourmet chocolates (from Petits Noir) left in my room each morning that I had to visit this local boutique and meet the owner. So glad I did! Lan Wong, the owner was nothing but gracious and helpful. Her specialty is crafting chocolate creations that are not only inspired by the fresh produce grown in the valley, but also derived from the various complex notes found in the beautiful wines produced in the area. With flavors such as oak chestnut, lavender, rosemary, clove, and violet. These chocolates are a natural accompaniment to wines found throughout the Walla Walla Valley region.

I snatched up a number of Lan's beautifully packaged chocolates as homecoming gifts. Lan apprenticed with one of New York’s finest chocolatiers, and along with her husband, an artisan baker, they have worked with some of New York’s superb artisan bakeries.

If you're looking for great chocolate gifts, this is the place to visit online. I promise you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Showcasing the Spring Fling Butterfly Soap

Spring Fling Butterfly Melt & Pour Soap Making Project

It's always a delight to find online companies using the many instructionals offered by GoPlanetEarth. I stumble upon this photo of the Spring Fling butterfly . I listed this tutorial in our Resource section a number of years ago. The above photo is an example of this soap and was made by Magic Senses (and beautifully done I might add). The butterfly mold is from the Mold Market line and available for purchase at GoPlanetEarth.

Mold Market Cut Glass Butterfly Soap Mold
Our site gives you detailed instructions on how to make the soap curl embeds that you see inside the butterfly. What a perfect Mother's Day soap and you can't go wrong when adding one of these lovely, aromatic spa-quality scents.

Olive Asian Tapenade Spa Quality Fragrance. A luxury Mediterranean spa fragrance that is pure harmony. A blend of Asian fruit, sweet olives, and Japenses florals with hints of Eastern spices.

Paradisus A floral spa quality scent that is soft, subtle, sexy! Transport your mind and body to a tropical paradise.

Japanese Cherry Blossom A blend of pink Japanese cherry blossoms and fragrant mimosa flower petals, with warm base notes of vanilla, tonka bean, and oriental woods. Well rounded and very romantic.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Melt & Pour Soap: What is Color Bleeding or Color Migration?

If you are new to soap making, you undoubtedly have many soaping questions. One question or concern that jumps to my mind (because I receive calls or emails weekly) is about "color bleeding". First, let's clarify that color bleeding doesn't mean the soap color stains your body while bathing. Color bleeding, AKA "color migration", occurs when the color is not appropriate for the material/application being used (Melt and Pour soaps, in this case) .


The colorant type used in melt and pour soap base determines whether a color bleeds. You need to select color types that are labeled as non-bleeding. I've pictured two examples of noticable color bleeding. See how the colored embeds have bled (migrated) into the surrounding white or clear soap base? Over time, the color penetrates and bleeds (migrates) into all of the edges of the embedded material. It's not a pretty site, but is easily fixed by using the right pigments. I'm guessing food dye was used to color the embeds pictured. These are NOT a good choice for soap but often used by beginner soapers.

To avoid the problems presented in these photos, purchase non-bleeding pigments. GoPlanetEarth offers a large selection of non-bleeding pigments/dyes that are colorfast and give outstanding color intensity. When you see the term "non-bleeding" next to a color on our web site, you can be assured the color is non-migrating and you won't experince the problems shown in these pics.



Classic & Timeless: Melt & Pour Cameo Soap from Bunny Bubbles

Mold Market Cameo Soap Mold What a classic look and timeless design. This finished melt and pour soap was beautifully done by Terry at Bunny Bubbles and is part of the Mold Market Mold collection available from GoPlanetEarth. What a great display, Terry... good job. Learn how to create this duo-pour soap using PJ's Professional Mini Tool Kit.


GoPlanetEarth.com Cameo Soap Mold


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Business Shout-Out to Fizzy Bubbles

Soap Crayon Mold from GoPlanetEarth.com This top selling mold is available at GoPlantEarth.com. Glad to see our FREE custom template label is being used. The clear crayon box is also sold by GoPlanet. These finished soaps are from Fizzy Bubbles, an Estsy shop, and are a nice example of the finished product.

Jumbo Soap Crayon Mold

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Melt and Pour SoapMaking: Adzuki Olive Tapenade Spa Soap


Learn how to make adzuki goat's milk melt & pour soap. Also referred to as Aduki or Azuki Bean, has been used in Japanese skin care regimens for centuries. Ground adzuki beans exfoliate skin leaving a soft, radiant glow. They are probably the closest thing to a face lift without the need to undergo surgery. Grind the bean to a powder and use in soaps.


You'll need both Goat's Milk and Suspension soap base, Adzuki beans, and GoPlanetEarth's Specialty fragrance oil... Olive Asian Tapenade. Trust me, it's an awesome uni-sex scent! You won't be disappointed.

Here's a tutorial on how to make this spa-quality soap.

video


Hello Washington State


I'm out of the office next week (Wednesday - Sunday). I'm flying to Washington State (with my honey-man) on business and staying at a way cool B & B. I selected this B & B because they employ a local chef that prepares some pretty outstanding organic dishes using ingredients from local vendors. (Not to mention a great wine cellar!)

I just finalized dinner reservations at a couple of notable restaurants in the area. There are a number of obsure, but renowned, wineries to visit in our down time. There's nothing better than being able to mix business with pleasure, especially when my honey's career is in the wine business.

I've posted a few pics of the B & B where we're staying. It's roomy, quaint and way more romantic than a traditional hotel room. We are in the heart of town and within walking distance to everything. The only down-side is the 3 hour time difference. It's not so bad arriving, but the return trip is a bear. Trust me, I'll be less than functional next Monday.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Business Shout Out

Mold Market Cupcake Soap Mold
Lookee here! Aren't these the cutest soaps ever? These are made with the way cool Mold Market cupcake mold. And guess what? GoPlanetEarth.com sells the Mold Market brand. The cupcake soaps pictured are sold by Kimberley at her Klean Kitty Etsy shop. Don't yah just love the packaging? Way to go, Kimberley!

Some similar cupcake boxes will be arriving soon at GoPlanetEarth.

Check out our instructional video on how to assemble these specialty cupcake soaps.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More On Creating Your Own Labels for Soap

Creating labels or packaging your soaps so they stand out from the rest can seem like a daunting task. You've created your soaps, now what? Here are a few pointers I've found helpful over the years. They have proven to work for me and I want to share.

First and foremost. KNOW YOUR MARKET. Are you selling to high-end spas or targeting the "tween" or college kids. This will determine how you label and package your soaps.

For this post, I'm showing an example of selling to young college students. They love bright colors, fun soaps, and are very much into labels that speak to them personally. Remember how you loved (and maybe still do) reading your horoscope in magazines? Those printed words seemed to jump off the page and speak to you on a very personal level. You would read it and say, "Yes, that's me exactly!" We've applied that horoscope type personality to our soap labels.

The labels were created with eye-catching colors and simple in design. The wording is easy to read and the term "Kick Butt" on the front panel is a familar term with this age group.

Selecting names for the scents used is very important. Apple is boring, Apple Autumn Affair has more appeal. Japanese Cherry Blossom is not so exciting, but Sexy Sukura, well, that might make this age group stop and smell the soap. I think you get the idea.

OK, you've lured your buyer into smelling the soap. So... how do you clinch the sale? Including a brief "trigger" descriptor on the label might be the ticket that seals the deal. When your buyer reads it, it's much like that horoscope that shouts out, "Yes, that's me!" Here are some of the descriptors we've used successfully:

For Apple Autumn Affair:

If you love Autumn, football, hay rides, and fresh apple cider... then you've found your magical scent. You can have an affair with this yummy, delicious smelling soap year-round.

Sexy Sukara:

A blend of Asian cherry blossoms and mimosa flowers with warm vanilla & orinetal woodsy ntoes make this a very romatic, sexy scent. If you want to kick things up a notch... this is the soap for you.

Paradisus Riveria:

Hikes along the beach, porch swings, candlelight dinner for two, spa get-away, curling up with a good love story... this is your signature soap. A soft, romantic floral scent with hints of tropical paradise.

Hometown Girl:

Warm creamy milk fresh from the farm & nutty almonds mingled with natural grain oats. If you're a hometown kind of gal... this scents for you!

Limon Mojito:

A soap cocktail of juicy lime, sugar, mint leaves and rum. Are you trendy, colofrul, energetic, adventurous, love sunsets & strolls on the beach? Then take off those big-girl panties and lather up. This is the soap for you!

I've offered some teasers to help get you started. Hope it stirs up new ideas for you!











Monday, April 13, 2009

Create EZ "Green" Upscale Labels for Soaps

I just love handmade paper. It lends such an organic, earthy feel to handmade soap. It's a perfect marriage: Handmade Paper... Handmade Soap. I've been preparing for a presentation at a local day spa. The company is looking to make and sell their own private label soaps. My job is to consult with them on the how-to, what-ifs and cost of making all this happen. This naked bar is made from Goat's milk soap base. Ground adzuki beans were added for texture and our house blend of Olive Asian Tapenade fragrance was used. If you haven't used this spa quality fragrance in your soap products... well, you don't know what you're missing. It's an awesome scent.


When consulting, your job is to throw out ideas. Your goal is to motivate and inspire so your client grows your "seed" ideas to fit their particular clientele or retail setting. One of my favorites, and a tried and true classic, is wrapping soap in handmade paper. The photos below are just mock-ups of what could be done in an upscale spa setting without spending big $$ on custom imprinted labels.


The above label was imprinted on handmade paper with a laser printer. If you have the extra cash to spend, include a 3/8 wide piece of grosgrain ribbon to secure the tucked ends of paper. Use an custom printed adhesive label to secure ribbon to soap bar. The pic below from Sweet Petula shows the simplistic beauty of this packaging.



For our soap, we used double-sided tape to secure the tucked ends of the Thai Birch paper. The back of the paper is imprinted with labeling information. GoPlanetEarth offers a nice selection of handmade papers that are perfect for soap bands or full wraps as shown here.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today, I Rejoice in My Messiah

On this Easter Sunday, I embrace my faith without shame. I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, my Messiah even though it's not the most popular trend these days.

This song expresses my belief and faith in a higher power and is dedicated to my Dad. He is sadly missed this Easter.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hang Onto Your Big Girl Soaping Panties: It's Spring in Michigan!

So what's the big excitement about Spring buds emerging from a Michigan Winter's thaw. Well, it's quite astounding when you consider the below photo was taken 4 days ago. I love you Mother Nature, you never cease to amaze me. 8 inches of snow followed by the glorious eruption of Spring crocus & tulip bulbs 3 days later.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Are we Celebrating Christmas or Easter?

It was predicted, but no one wanted to believe it. Snow in April, and not just a few flurries. How about 8-inches and still coming down. Craazzee! This is a sign just outside my front door. It reads, "To The Bunny Trail." We'll have to get the snow blower out of storage first so we can blaze the trail. Finding the eggs might be difficult under these conditions.


And to think I just took all my Spring/Summer clothes out of storage. What was I thinking? I should have been bringing down all the Christmas stuff from the attic.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

I've Got a Secret. I Know the Sex of the Easter Bunny!

Bendable Easter Duck in Melt and Pour Soap
This was a discussion I had last week with my 5, almost 6, year old grandson. He assured me that he knows (for a fact) the Easter Bunny is a girl. I'm not sure how he stumbled upon this unconfirmed truth, but in his mind it's the gospel according to "Carson" and there are no arguments to be had.

I'm wondering if this conversation had anything to do with the "pink-colored" polo shirt his mommy bought him to wear Easter Sunday. He has repeatedly voiced opposition about wearing a pink shirt (even though both his Daddy and Poppy have several pink shirts). In his mind, pink is for girls. Only his princess sister Olivia wears pink. Big boys, like himself, simply don't wear pink, purple or anything that sparkles and glitters. I'm absolutely certain that Carson's claim to a female Easter Bunny has EVERYTHING to do with the color pink.


Our entire conversation took place while making the Easter soap pictured. There were several color options for the Easter bunny, but as you can see, my little buddy picked a blue bunny for the project.

Kids are such a riot and so candid about their feelings and thoughts. If you want to hear the truth, ask a child.


In light of that conversation, here is the Easter Bunny Soap we made. It's easy to do with kids. Just follow the tutorial for our Rubber Duck Pond soaps. I substituted the bendable Easter character for the rubber duck.



Purchase all the supplies for this project at http://www.goplanetearth.com/.

Enjoy!

Melt & Pour Fudge Soaps...Soapylicious!!


Soapy-licious fudge. Looks and smells just like chunks of fudge, but they are soaps! Great for wedding and shower thank you gifts, and ideal for teacher gifts. Learn how to make these melt and pour soaps in the short tutorial below. Easy to make and all supplies can be purchased at GoPlanetEarth.com.


We used Fudge Brownie scent and our new Peanut Butter Delight fragrance (just arrived and happens to be one of our web specials!). Just remember to label the box.... DO NOT EAT! They look and smell so real it's hard not to indulge. But when you do... it's calorie free.

The How-To Tutorial:
video