Ever wake up wanting to conquer the world and end up only making coffee? It happens… in life and in business. I have decided a great day is doing good, honest work in pursuit of a goal. No matter how little seems to get done, that’s ok. It’s still a great day.
Scaling-up soapmaking to stock a store of exceptional good-for-your skin soaps is challenging. Milk soaps darken when they gel, so making them in individual cavities is best, but very time consuming. The rectangle cavity mold is very sticky for ungelled soap, requiring freezing soap to unmold, which freezes your hands in the unmolding process. The round individual cavities are a dream to unmold and make super cute soap that are hard to stack and store with their swirl tops. Shave and beer soap harden so fast they need a loaf mold and a wire cutter… it goes on and on.
I really wanted a store up and running by mid-November 2017. But I’m letting go and setting a more realistic date of April 2018 to be ready for Mother’s Day gift giving. I’m going to trial run the web store with my test soaps, learn how to do e-commerce well, and use what I learn in the test run to make a really great store in 2018. I’m still working out shapes and prices for soaps and testing out a new shave/shampoo bar recipe. I’d like to plan for some specialty soaps to complement signatures that are made for the holidays with fun ingredients like beer and tea with unique essential oil combinations. I’m also leaning toward offering some of my personal favorites like blueberries & buttermilk and lemon poppy seed year round.
While progress seems slow, much has been accomplished! It looks like the third shave soap recipe (courtesy of Kenna at Modern Soapmaking) is a winner. Previous recipes used Bentonite clay for slip, which dulls the razor and drys your skin. Her nourishing bar is fabulous and will likely double as a shampoo bar. The product line is shaping up and I’ve ruled out several essential oil combinations and found some great ones. Many are staples I have used for years, a couple are brand new.
I’m testing a few variations to the Soap Queen’s Baby Bastille that will likely become Baby Buttermilk, Baby Goat Milk & Honey, and Baby Oatmilk & Honey. They all start with “baby” as they are meant to baby your skin and gently cleanse with a base of mostly olive oil and a bit of coconut oil for bubbles. These beauties are made in the round mold and fit nicely in your hand.
Soapmakers report they often sell soap by smell, but even essential oils can be skin irritants. So I’m working on ingredients that have a pleasant aroma instead of using essential oils. I’m hoping the addition of cocoa butter and triple brewed coffee (in place of water) will make a coffee-ish smelling coffee scrub soap. Oatmeal and honey really do smell like that in unscented soap (especially in gelled soap), so it’s worth a try.
I keep coming back to my purpose of making nourishing soap. This means working with a limited amount of ingredients, but it isn’t limiting. Here’s my notebook list right now:
It is also fun to think about spring time combinations of Lemon Basil, Fennel & Carrot, Rosemary & Sea Salt, and Herb Garden. But first, I need to tackle the online web store. Then I can get back to designing your next favorite soap 🙂