Saturday, April 5, 2014

New blog: Nourish Body & Soul

I just wanted to let you all know I've started a new blog you may be interested in called Nourish Body & Soul. I'll be posting recipes for delicious and healthy food, sweets, and DIY natural beauty tips. The focus is on food and beauty that is natural, good for you, and easy to make! All tried and tested by me of course.

First recipe for the blog is for vegan, gluten-free choc-mint brownies and they are delicious!

Nourish Body & Soul 

Erin xxx


Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Favourite Scents in Soap: Part 2, Fragrance Oils



Fragrance oils are different from essential oils when it comes to cold process soap, and they can be alot more problematic! FOs are more likely to discolour the soap or accelerate trace, plus the scent can often fade or morph into something different. So when I come across an FO I love the smell of, it behaves well in soap, and sticks, and my customers love the smell of it too … that’s an FO I will continue to buy again and again. Below are some of my favourite FOs.

Brambleberry

Almond Biscotti - A very strong almond fragrance with a hint of sugar & pastry in the background. If you love almond scents, this is for you! Does D slightly due to the vanilla content.

Champagne - A lovely "fizzy" scent that is fantastic either on its own or blended. Behaves well, no A or D, sticks well, and it's a great scent for the festive season! 

Love Spell - A dupe of the Victoria's Secret perfume, many FO suppliers make a version but this is my personal favourite. Smells great, no A or D, and the scent sticks really well too.

Mayan Gold - A strong, exotic scent with notes of chocolate and patchouli. Customers love this one! The scent stays amazingly strong in soap, and although it does A and D slightly, it's worth the trouble.

Sensuous Sandalwood - A dead-on dupe for sandalwood essential oil, at a fraction of the cost. Beautiful on its own, also amazing blended with other single-note FOs (vanilla or orange are my favourites!). Slight A and D but again, worth it.

Buy in the US: www.brambleberry.com

Daystar Supplies

Blackberry Jam Butter Cookies - A truly unique fragrance, you can really smell the buttery shortbread and the jam! No A, does D heavily to a dark brown but the scent is worth it.

Buttermilk & Honey - A sweet, milky comforting scent, I love this one. Great for milk soaps or baby soaps. It does D slightly to a tan colour, and has a tendency to overheat in the mould so keep soap temps cool and only minimal insulation.

Rose Jelly - A dupe of Lush's Rose Jam, this one smells like a turkish delight! I love it. 

Buy in the US: www.daystarsupplies.com
Buy in Australia: www.bigtreesupplies.com.au

Nature's Garden

Froot Loops - I'm actually not a fan of the cereal but I LOVE this scent. Fruity and sugary and delicious. No A or D, behaves perfectly and sticks well.

Lick Me All Over - An amazing and unique blend of melons, citrus and flowers that smells like you just stepped off the boat onto a tropical island. No A or D, and sticks very well.

Nectarine & Honey - The perfect combination of tart nectarines and sweet honey. Refreshing and great for summer. No D however it does A quite dramatically so be prepared with cooler soap temps and no water discount. Scent sticks really well and is worth the trouble!

Buy in Australia: www.bigtreesupplies.com.au 

Do you have a favourite FO you'd like to share? Leave a comment in the section below!

For more information on how to make soap, check out my eBook Soapmaking Made Easy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Favourite Scents in Soap: Part 1, Essential Oils


All essential oils are amazing, however when it comes to cold process soap, some perform better than others. My criteria for EOs in soap is that they hold their scent well, don't accelerate trace, and are reasonably inexpensive to buy. These are my "must have" essential oils for a soapmaker's arsenal!

Cedarwood 
Eucalyptus  
Frankincense
Lavender
Lemongrass
Lime
Mandarin
Orange 10fold
Patchouli
Peppermint
Petitgrain
Rose Geranium
Rosemary
Tea Tree
Ylang Ylang

These are some of my favourite blends:

Hippie Blend
2 parts patchouli
1 part lemongrass
1 part orange 10fold

Ocean Blend
2 parts lavender
2 parts rosemary
1 part lemongrass
1 part peppermint

Forest Blend
2 parts lavender
1 part cedar wood
1 part lime
1 part rosemary

Minty Blend 1
1 part peppermint
1 part eucalyptus

Minty Blend 2
2 parts lavender
1 part peppermint
1 part spearmint

Spiritual Blend
3 parts frankincense
3 parts mandarin
1 part lemongrass
1 part patchouli
1 part orange 10fold

Bliss Blend
3 parts rose geranium
3 parts cedarwood
2 parts patchouli
2 parts mandarin
1 part ylang ylang

Eau De Cologne Blend
2 parts petitgrain
2 parts lavender
1 part orange 10fold

Clear Complexion Blend
1 part lavender
1 part tea tree


Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend in soap? Pop it in the comments below!

Friday, October 18, 2013

10 Tips to Selling Soap on Etsy

I first opened my Etsy shop in 2008, expecting (as you do) that as soon as I opened my virtual doors, the sales would start coming in thick and fast. I mean, who wouldn't want to buy my soap? Right? Wrong!!

It took me two weeks to sell just one bar ... then another week to sell another bar .... and so on. It was a very slow process, one that (for me anyway) involved alot of patience and persistence. Five years later, and I have learned some things along the way that I thought would come in handy for first-time soap sellers.
Unwind Lavender & Mint Soap - the first soap I ever sold on Etsy
1). Photos, photos, photos. When you're shopping online, photos are everything. Customers can't pick up your product, they can't touch it or smell it, so good photos are crucial. Make them clear and use natural lighting if possible. Include one artistic shot as the main photo (this will increase your chances of getting on the front page as well as drawing in customers to click on your listing), and one realistic shot so that people can see exactly what they're getting. Gabbie from Simply Soap shares her amazing photo tips here.
Beautiful soap photo by Blushie

2). Spend time writing your description. Along with photos, your description will go a long way to selling your product. What does the soap smell like? What are the fragrance notes? Is the soap all natural? Are there any features such as extra moisturising, a rich lather, or mildness? What inspired you to make this soap? Sell the features of your soap. It's also a good idea to include a full ingredients list.

3). Fill your shop. The more listings you have, the more you will sell. Aim to have at least one full page of listings, but two or three is even better. Customers want to feel like they have a good range of choice, and it makes your shop look more professional.

4). Customer care. Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated. Respond within 24 hours to emails or convos, get orders posted within a timely fashion, and always be courteous. Go out of your way to look after your customers - small things like refunding excess postage, or notifying them if there will be a delay in getting their order out, will go a long way to building a good reputation and will encourage repeat business.

5). Always have new products. In addition to your regular soaps, always have something new to try. This keeps your shop fresh and exciting. This is probably the easiest and most enjoyable advice to follow, as in my experience soapmakers love to experiment with new products!

6). Use social media. Promote your shop through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or a blog. Post photos of your soaps in progress, new products or listings, ideas, sales or giveaways ... anything! Your customers will love to see the person behind the business and what goes on "behind the scenes". Always remember to include a link back to your Etsy shop.
Photos of your soaps in progress give people a glimpse into your handmade process
7). Have a unique selling point. What is special about your soap? Are they all-natural? Scent free? Aesthetically beautiful? Having a unique selling point for your soap will make you stand out from the hundreds of other soap vendors on Etsy.

8). Spend time on your About page.  Talk about yourself, your business, and what inspires you. Include good quality photos of yourself, your workspace and your process. Etsy have some more detailed tips on the About page here.

I love this about page by Vice & Velvet
9). Use tags. These will help people to find your products when they search Etsy. Some good general soap ones are: soap, handmade, homemade, cold process, natural, bath, vegan, bar. It's also a good idea to tag the colour, fragrance, essential oils, or any other unique features of the soap.

10). Be patient, and be persistent. Becoming a successful seller on Etsy takes time. Don't be put off if no-one buys your products straight away. If you have great soaps, people will want to buy them, they just need to discover you first!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Soap Student Photos!

Well it's only been 2 weeks since the release of Soapmaking Made Easy and already I've seen some amazing soaps being made using the techniques from the book. I thought I would share some of them with you!

Faux Funnel Swirl by Roseann of Sweet Body Soaps

Hanger Swirl by Michele of Tierra Verde Soaps

Hanger Swirl by Roseann of Sweet Body Soaps

ITP Swirl with pumpkin puree by Alina of Swan Lake Cosmetics

Can I just mention that these are all first attempts too. How great do they look! I'm so proud :-)

For more info on the book or to buy your own copy click HERE.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Soapmaking Made Easy is Live!

My e-book went live on sale last night!! 


You can grab your very own copy here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How Did You First Start Making Soap?

I love hearing about how soapmakers first began making soap. I thought I would share some stories here from my Facebook fans. I would love to hear yours too!

Tanya from Titania's Dreamy Delights:

Handmade soap became my creative outlet in 2008 - the first one I ever had. Until I started soaping I believed I didn't have a creative bone in my body. Now I realise that everyone is creative and they just have to find the medium that 'speaks' to them in order to release it. I enjoy both creating luscious, mild soap recipes and playing with colour and shape to make something that satisfies my customers need for beauty.





Vicky from Maylilly's Garden Party:

One day back 2009 I was Internet browsing in my lunch break and accidentally looking at a page where you could buy a franchise and learn to make skincare. I thought "wow you can make your own?". Then upon further research I came across a supplies website and discovered you can make all kinds of skincare and bath treats! As someone who loved the body shop but never bought anything (too expensive), the idea of create your own was incredibly exciting lol. First thing I ever ordered was a melt and pour kit (along with some other stuff i can't remember). I actually thought that the soap would be the least exciting thing to make, but boy was I wrong! I seemed to have a knack at layering and found it to be rather rewarding. I had a little bit of a break (whilst planning a wedding, building a house and 2 pregnancies), but that didnt stop me watching my fave soapmakers on YouTube, or reading blog after blog, and I was finally able to get back into soaps and bath treats late last year. The love was still there hehe. I took the plunge at the start of 2013 and made my first cp. I don't get to make it as often as I want with two little girls running around, but that doesn't stop me romanticising about my next soap. I love the look of raw soap and of freshly swirled soap. I think about soap constantly. I dream of "winning the lotto" and I'd build a soap room, and I'd have a shop down in Shellarbour Village near the boat harbour. I am kind of getting there as I am planning to attend the markets there in a couple of months.

Annie from Sanctum Body Skin Soul:

The first soap I made was a castille style soap with an almost pure olive oil blend - I was stirring by hand and it took 3 HOURS to come to trace!!! Learnt very quickly about the joys of a stick blender!! I love essential oils and the fun of being creative - especially then being able to enjoy the end result like we can with soaps.







Christy from Sweet Treats Desserts:

Started in 2010 I wanted to be able to say I could make it but was scared to used lye. I just decided one day I was going for it, then got addicted. Took a couple of try's to get my formula right but after third batch started making a batch every other day. I think first batch was lavender.










Sue from Green Me Up Granny.

First soap was unscented and happened because I couldn't use supermarket soap. Now I am the grandma behind Green Me Up Granny and love making soap.














How did you first start making soap? Please feel free to share your story in the comments below!