Friday, March 25, 2011

The New Shopping Cart is Up & Running

It's been in the works for many months now and FINALLY the launch day has happened. Our new shopping cart went live late this afternoon and we've been tweaking and checking for glitches for several hours now. So far, so good. We only found one page that had not been updated with the new cart links, but that was an easy fix. Here are some upgrades that I think will benefit you over the old cart as well as some added changes on APO shipments.
  • The Paypal payment option will now happen in real-time. No more waiting for us to send you a Paypal payment request. Yippee (on my end)!!! The only reason we would need to send a payment request from here on out is if you owe additional in shipping due to dimensional weights or multiple cartons. The cart cannot factor these into the shipping calculation.

  • Real-time postal priority rates. Keep in mind, that an additional charge of $5.00 is reflected on all postal priority rates displayed through the cart. UPS is our preferred provider for domestic shipments. It takes additional time to batch postal shipments separate from UPS, prepare shipping labels, schedule pickups, and in the case of international shipments, complete international documents. For some domestic shipments, you may find that USPS returns the better rate particularly when shipping to AK, HI and PR.

  • All APO Military orders will ship postal priority mail. The post office does not offer online postage service to certain APO addresses. Postage must be purchased at the post office which means one of our staff members must hand deliver the carton to a postal station. A $7.50"hand-deliver charge" is added to the cost of shipping for this service.

  • International customers will now have postal priority shipping rates returned at checkout. You will no longer have to wait for us to email you the shipping total. There is a $5.00 international document fee added to every international order. The cart does not display this fee. It is manually added when the order is received. This is the same document fee we have been charging from the get-go.

  • We have implemented a new INSTANT REWARD program which instantly applies your qualifying discount as items are added to your cart. You start earning reward points as soon as you add $35 or more in product to your cart. The more you buy, the greater your reward discount. You can earn Instant Reward points every time you shop. Plus, Instant Reward points can be combined with other discount offers we showcase on our FaceBook page. Be sure to "Like" our FB page so that you earn even more savings when you shop.

  • We will be working on some Bundle Offers in the near future. Bundle Offers are a group of products purchased in a "bundle". For example, if we showcase a how-to project, we might put together a "bundle offer" that includes everything you need to make the project. With one click you can buy everything instead of having to shop and add, shop and add, etc.

We will continue to monitor the new shopping cart program over the course of the next few weeks to make sure all is well. Should you find an issue, kindly email to let us know. If you don't tell us, we can't fix it :) We would also appreciate your feedback on the new cart both good and bad.

OK, time to get shopping and give the new cart a try-out. To help you get started, we're offering a 10% off coupon on an order of $40 or more in product. There are a few exclusions, but for the most part it includes just about everything on our site. Excludes: Base Products, Digital Thermometer, 16 ounce Fragrance Oils and already discounted items). When checking out, use Discount Code:


Enjoy! (Discount code expires Monday, March 28, so don't delay.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Soap Making: The Browning Battle

If you are new to soap making you may not yet engaged in vanillin warfare, but rest assured you will. I call it the Browning Battle and one rarely wins. Here is a recent test we did using our Non-Darkening Vanilla fragrance oil in both cold process (right) and melt and pour soap (left). This particular fragrance is not intended for use in CP (cold process) soap, but I wanted you to see the results. Believe it or not, the soap on the right was white when we started out. As you can see, over the course of a few days it darkened to a deep chocolate brown.

The white melt and pour soap was less dramatic, but you can note how it has change to a rose color. The Non-Darkening Vanilla fragrance did help, but it did not keep the soap white. It didn't darken to a brown shade, but it also did not work as well as we had hoped. My next test will be to see how this fragrance performs when the soap is colored. Since we now know that the soap will lean toward a rose color, we can factor this into how our color choice will ultimately display.

Based on the color wheel, we know that the rose color is a red hue, so adding blue to the soap is likely to produce more of a lavender shade. Vanilla is such a wonderful scent and also found in many other fragrance types such as Peppermint. You don't want to avoid these great fragrances, you just need to learn to work around them by testing in small batches and make notes of your successes for future batches.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sickness: Makes One Reflect on Life

This week I have been home sick in bed with a BAD case of the flu. I can't remember the last time I was this ill and unable to work. I haven't been able to do much except lie in bed reflecting on life, work, and family (and anything else you want to throw into the mix). I am convinced that being sick forces us to slow down and consider what's truly important in life.

Since I wasn't in the office to take calls, my staff worked double duty to take of business. In case you didn't know, we don't have a pool of workers to call in when illness overtakes us. We all just tighten the belt strap, suck it in and get through the best we can.

I want to thank the many wonderful customers who so kindly understood that sometimes life happens and we have no control over it. Your well wishes weren't taken lightly. There were others, well, all I can say is shame on you. I watched my dad battle cancer for 4 long years. He never wasted a breath or moment on what didn't matter. Instead, he choose to focus on what was important, those things that he could control while living.

This really hit home today when my daughter called with some very upsetting news. She needs me and I can't be there because I am so weak from the flu. It was affirmation that family and health is way more important than this job or business. Rest assured, no one is going to lose their life, health, or career because I was sick and couldn't take your calls or emails.

I appreciate every customer and every sale. But, being sick this week has given me insight into just how fast life can change. I will NOT let this business kill me... then where would you be?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Soap Centerpiece

Who needs scented candles when you can use scented soaps? This is the table centerpiece I used for my daughter's birthday dinner yesterday. It smelled yummy and everyone got to take home some soap. It was a big hit and unique way to showcase some of the wonderful soaps we made last week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Manicure from Miss O

What do you think? Can my 4 year old granddaughter, Miss O make a living doing nails? Just had to share her work. Poppy bought her 6 new nail polish colors and she used them all (on me!!).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Melt & Pour Soap Making: Fischer Soap Project #3

Why the name Fischer Soap? Because my 2 year old grandson's room is decorated in these colors. Our circle cut outs were used and embedded in clear soap base. Mold Market's rectangle shaped molds work great for this project (#001, #003, and #002). Colors used (in white soap base) were Bright Neon Blue and Neon Green. In clear soap base: Chocolate Brown

This is a more advanced layering project, but perfect for the person wanting to learn the basics of layering.

Here's a pic from this AM of my Little Guy. He was so envious of his sister's new "high heel" wedges and just had to try them on. My daughter and I decided that he's a cross between Mohammad Ali and Paris Hilton in this photo. Don't ya just love little people? They love to dress up and have no inhibitions. Please note, he's also wearing PJ's and toting a paci (we've got to get rid of that dog-gone paci!!!).

Melt & Pour Soap Making: Multi-Directional Loaf Project #2

What a fun, colorful Spring soap!! Multi-directional colors make this soap one of my favorites. Our Square Loaf mold was used for this soap project. Neon Bright Colors in White Soap Base: Pink, Yellow, Blue, Orange, Purple, Green. We sell a six-pack of all these colors.

The secret to making this soap is to pour and tilt your loaf mold. Let the color set up and then liberally spray with rubbing alcohol (helps the next layer to adhere), and then, pour your next color while tilting the mold. You will need to prop the mold while pouring. I am sure you can find something around the home or workplace to make it work.

The biggest obstacle with this project (which, BTW, is considered a more advanced soaping technique) is making sure that you pour each color at the RIGHT time. The prior soap layer must be set up enough to accept the next color pour, but not too hard that it will refuse to accept it. That's where the rubbing alcohol is a big helper. It helps grabs and adhere to the next color pour, however, you still need to time your pouring.

Would love to see photos of your work using this pouring technique!

Soap Making: The Final Melt & Pour Project #1

This week has been a whirlwind. It was one of those weeks you wish you could clone yourself, not just once, but multiple times. I was thankful to have one of our former workers, Sophie, home from college on Spring break. She's was able to fulfill a list of soaping projects that I've been wanting to get to for months now. I've already showcased a couple of the designs in a former blog post. While I was off for a mother-daughter day on Friday, Sophie finished up the last few designs.

So what did Sophie do with those curls? She used them in our large Mold Market Cubed Production tray mold (#112). Which, BTW, is currently on special for $15 (limited time!!). The curls were made using a chocolate shaver/planer available at most full service chain or kitchen stores. Hint...hint... we will likely be carrying this little device in the near future :))

This tray takes approximately 6 pounds of clear soap base (not including the soap curls). Soap curls were poured in white soap base using soap colors neon bright yellow and bright pink. Soph jazzed it up a bit by adding some Snippets of Silver glitter to the top layer of the final soap pour.

Each sliced cube weighed (on average) around 2.2 ounces. Some more, some less depending on how many curls were in the cube. Since the curls are randomly placed, you won't have the same weight for each cube. Our new Bamboo & Citrus fragrance was used and, I must say, smelled awesome in the finished soap. Now is the time to sample this hot fragrance since it is on Web Special. It's a great uni-sex fragrance, crisp and clean!

Drop one of these cubes into our soap bags, add some ribbon and you have a perfect gift to include in an Easter basket. Don't forget that you can also use soap for Easter place settings. See a former blog post. You can add your own twist on how to label the soap bags, but what fun to have a "take with me" place card.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's Soph going to do with those curls?

Can't wait to see what our girl, Sophie, is going to do with all these soap curls. I'm not tellin', but I will share with you later this weekend.

Here are a few bars that Sophie made earlier this week. She used our small cutters to create the tiny shapes in the far left bar. Soap curls were used in the middle soap and cutters were used to create the flower. Sophine hand cut the flower stem and leaf in green soap.

As I mentioned on my FB page, I am off work today. Spending the entire day with my daughter for her birthday. We are heading off to a massage and pedi this AM, then lunch and shopping. So glad my daughter loves to spend time with her mommy. Hope you all have a wonderful Friday. Sadly, it snowed again last night so the roads are kind of slick.... please....please... Spring where are you?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Loaf Soap Fun: Melt & Pour Soap Making

OK... this is so fun, and so cool. Black and White (with some red). Soap frosting on top with some cut up soaps tossed into the mix. I love it.

A sprinkle of red glitter on top... it's good to go. We'll give you the low down on how to make this awesome loaf in the next couple of days.

Melt & Pour Soap Making: Tic Tac Toe Soap Molds

No matter how you look at it, you will win with
Mold Market's Tic Tac Toe Mold.

Happy Birthday to my Daughter

Today is my daughter's birthday. I baked the above cupcakes for my grandson to take to his Mommy's school. She is an asst. principal and since my Grandson had the day off for parent/teacher conferences, his Mommy invited him to spend the day with her at school.

Last night, the grand kids came to stay the night. I made these fun place mats for the kids to decorate and color for Mommy's birthday. They also got to cut out bologna and cheese pieces to decorate their burgers. I cut out flower bread shapes as burger buns (in hopes that Spring is on its way!!)

It was a fun night with the grand kids and just another way to use many of the same cutters that we use for soap :)). Our soaping girl, Sophie, is using some of these same small cutters in a soaping project we will be showing you within a few days.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mold Market's New Easter Egg Soap Mold

Mold Market Easter Egg Soap Mold
Mold Market's new Easter egg mold is perfect for pouring multiple colors. Sophie poured these eggs with the help of our "injector" tool. The raised areas were filled in using the injector tool. Think Spring colors.... we have so many that will work for this Easter soap project. One of the colors not used, but one of my favs, is Lavender. How about some "golden" eggs. Easy enough to do with our Sparkle or Radiant Gold colorants in clear base. OMG... I can think of dozens of color combinations that would make these eggs pop.

GoPlanetEarth Easter Egg Soap Mold

Soph picked the following colors:

BTW... Sophie is home from college on Spring break. She's been working on some soaping projects that you are going to enjoy. She's also testing some product that we will share at a later date :))

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Melt & Pour Soap Making: St. Patrick's Day Shout Out

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, it is only appropriate to showcase an Etsy store using a Mold Market mold. KoKolele Etsy store has used Mold Market's retro flowers mold in awesome St. Paddy traditional colors.

Mold Market Saint Patrick Day Flower Soap Mold Mold Market Saint Patrick Day Flower Soap Mold
Mold Market Saint Patrick Day Flower Soap Mold

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Business Scare... Linked to PORN site!!!

Yes, this is a must read for anyone using the Internet for casual use OR conducting business on the Internet. Most businesses would probably never post this info, but after today, I believe it is imperative to guard yourself and your company against the many malicious cyber-crimes and security spy ware programs out to sabotage your company's goodwill and identity.

GoPlanetEarth has a great number of security measures in place to protect our customer information. In fact, we spend a great deal of $$$ each year doing just that... protecting your information. As of today, I can report that we have done that with 100% success. After this incident, I realize that we need to implement other security measures concerning our web site FTP measures. Here's what happened and I'm sharing this because I believe other business owners could be in jeopardy as well.

This afternoon, I updated some of our web pages to reflect changes. I signed onto our FTP server as usual (which we have been using with NO issues for over 8 years). I uploaded our pages and asked that someone preview those pages to ensure all was well. All was not well. I had lost all CSS style menus which meant customers could not navigate our site. Bad News!!!! But, that was only the beginning.

Upon reloading our web site page in the browser, I immediately noted that there were other unknown web sites being scanned (in a VERY rapid succession) in the very right corner of the IE browser. This was a definite alert that something was amiss. I was able to write down just one of the web sites (which I will not name due to its content). A visit to this site was shocking!!!! Yes, absolutely shocking considering we are a family valued soap making company. It was a porn site. Our web site had been hacked via a FTP program and was being redirected to this site. HELP<> ME JESUS was all I could utter.

I apologize for the lengthy post, but believe it is warranted. Thankfully, I have an HTML progamming background and a history of web site development. I felt like Sherlock Holmes as I tried to determine the line of attack. I signed onto our FTP program since that is where the issue first began. Sure enough, I found a .htpaccess file that was recently accessed. I know most won't know what this is, but basically, someone....some hacker program had rewritten this file to redirect to their porn site.

I took the corrective actions (thank you, Jesus, for your wisdom and guidance on that one...and understanding of the .htpaccess files). I deleted the file and uploaded the correct file. WOW!!!! What a scare and what a lesson about FTP security. For those of you who think you are immune, think again. GoPlanet has taken extreme measures to secure every aspect of our web site's FTP services. I hope you do the same.