Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Dream

Once upon a time, I had a dream.I was smitten with the art of soapmaking, and I was going to create a life as a full-time soapmaker, offering people a moment of pleasure in their day with my handcrafted soaps. These were going to be one-of-a-kind soaps, special in every way: Natural, from the essential oils to the clays and botanicals I used as pigments. Incredible attention to craftsmanship and artistic detail… gorgeous bars, perfectly trimmed and shaped, perfect and special, a precious gift. I longed to bring you an amazing and creative variety to choose from, and yes, and all completely formulated by me!

 I did exhaustive research into what natural materials should–and shouldn't be used in skin care products (natural does not equal safe, you know). I painstakingly made from hand all my packaging (not so easy). I was also determined to bring high ethical standards to the creation of the product, and making sure I myself earned a fair wage. (The latter proved to be the hardest part.) I realized my product was risky in that it would carry a high price point.

But I felt it was worth it, especially given the feedback I received:

 “These are the best soaps I’ve ever used.”

 “They are beautiful, I don’t find anything like them anywhere else.”

 It came time to promote the dream Funds were tight, but being chick-of-all-trades I was able to create the website myself, including product photography… and, with input from friends, created the labeling myself too. I had some great successes and developed a small but loyal following (thank you). I worked long and hard hours, having faith that the business would grow.

 Then… things started to happen. Was it the economy or was I just tired? tired of loading and unloading the truck traveling from show to show, doing the farmers market and sitting in the hot or cold for hours on end. Then there were the financial resources to keep it going, the cost of insurance and supplies were rising off the chart. So for now I have put things on hold I am still making small batches for the family and perhaps in the future I will open back up.

 Again I thank all of you that supported me and the dream!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where has the time gone?

I don't even know where to start, time sure does fly and keeping up a blog is kinda tough for me. I really don't like putting myself out there on the big world wide web and since I don't travel as much as I would like, there really is not much going on.

I have been working on new packaging and I am liking the new look, the feedback has been great so far .

I really thought it through and I am torn as to whether or not I want to add any new products in the new year, I have done the lotions, scrubs and body butters and the feed back is great but they just don't move very fast. So I am still holding out at this time.

anywho signing off for now and I will try to get myself in gear for the new year and write more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just an Update

December was a busy month, it also gave me time to re-evaluate just how things are going at Hartley Soap, I was gearing up for the new year and shopping/restocking supplies I will need for the year.

I was amazed at how much the price of oils have gone up, close to 30% in the last 4 weeks and wonder just how high they will continue rise?

Retail soap pricing for years stayed around $1.00 per oz, but that has changed with the increased cost to make it, so I got to thinking, do I need to re-evaluate my retail pricing? After all I have checked out others in the same business and the prices are all over the board any where from $4.00 to $16.00 for a 5oz bar of soap. Yet my soap bars remain at $6.00 bar.

Now let me say we all use basically the same ingredients, but we may not have the overhead that others do or we are not able to purchase our oils in larger volume (Barrels), to cut cost.

I have the passion, desire and experience to create a top quality product, one that is better for your skin, and not a mass produced by some big factory and then sold by the "Big Box Stores” my soap is not  full of chemicals none of us can pronounce.  

Making and selling quality handmade soap used to be a small cottage industry, but that has change with the growing internet resources and market places to sell. While I don't think soap making is rocket science, I do think many people rush to market without a good understanding of what a good finished product is or should be.  

So when soap makers wonder why customers complain at the "high" price of handmade soap. some of what is out there isn't worth the price, especially this days when anyone can do it and not have a good understanding of the science behind it.

So when you find that Artisan Soap Maker that has years of experience and uses top quality ingredients and they just happen to knows her/his stuff let me just say it is worth every penny!  

Just ask my customers!