Friday, February 14, 2014

Labeling my Soap my thoughts

So today as I am here at the computer and having my morning coffee I wanted to write this post as a way of outwardly thinking....I am always thinking.  Maybe a bit too much.

In my little world I have more going on in my head than I could ever produce.  I love all things related to soap making.  (well sewing too but that is another subject for another day).

I love going on Pintrest, eBay, Etsy, and Artfire to see all the creative soap makers products. It's like acceptable "porn" if you can imagine that?  I will say I do tend to check out many sites and see what other people are all about.  Creativity and sharing is a beautiful thing.  I tend to look more into the colors other soap makers use.  And I will say copying someone else's work is unacceptable.  But sometimes I get a color block and love to see what others use.  Sometimes I am very surprised to see the way colors actually work, or how they are used.  

I feel that there are certain categories that we all fall under, as a soap maker.  Some are simple and plain while others are bold and loud.  What does that mean?  Well I tend to be the simple and plain so with that said, I will speak about my philosophies and maybe you can best understand my simple approach.  

To be a soap maker means that one will posses a lot of equipment.  I'll leave that for you to research.  I have taken many roads over the past few years.  And I have decided I am not going to be one of those who has to keep up with the "Johnson's".  I did do this at one time trying to make my soap so unique, and using my own spin on labeling and such.  But I prefer not to do this anymore.

Many soap makers will break down the cost of everything they use to produce and package that bar of soap.  Even down to the ink they use.  Supplies do cost money and in the end what happens?  You buy the soap, tear open the package and throw it away.  Have you ever thought about how much goes into packaging?  You are paying for what you get.  

A few years ago I bought a simple label maker.  It's called a Dymo and it is a label writer.  It does not require ink, it is a thermal label maker much like you get at the grocery store, gas station receipts etc...  and these labels can be waterproof to a degree.  This investment was around $120.00.  It isn't real fancy and can do what I need it to do.  No color only black imaging if you will.  Best investment I ever made.  It is idiot proof, no wasting labels.  And the best part is I can go on eBay and buy 350 labels for as low as $1.94.  While all these other people are buying Avery labels and making fancy labels and using up a lot of ink, and hoping to get their labels like they want and centered.  I do have Avery labels too and do use them from time to time.  But I have an issue getting mine centered for the whole page.  Some times a few are correct while the rest gets off centered and that costs money.  I have wasted more labels than I can count.  Buying special printers to do labels which can be anywhere from a few hundred upwards to over a thousand dollars.  If your in big business and lets say you own your own shop, then yes I agree go professional.  

For the little small business I want to keep my whole approach simple.  I don't add in costs of supplies.  Because my packaging doesn't cost much.  My small business is a hobby and yes it's nice to turn a profit but I know your going to throw that package away and I personally want to keep everything simple, and to the point.  So when you get something from me just know I am not a lazy person and choose the quick easy route.  I feel that I've had my time with struggling with other types of labels and I am pretty much done with the "unknown" of how it will come out or even using so much ink, or wasting labels.  

Some people might judge if it is a fancy label it must be great.  Wrong!  I did order some soap from a soap maker and to be honest I do try to support other soap makers.  But this one soap maker, her soap was so awful I tried to like it but about half way through the bar I threw it away.  The worst part is the label was beautiful.  I think it's very hard to find someone you like, someone who makes great soap.  There are tons of soap makers out there and everyone is competing to sell their products.  New soap makers are coming on board each and every day.  My hope is one day we can all squeeze out the big manufacturer's and take over, but until we can change the minds of people this will never happen.  You get what you pay for.

So I want to express in this post that I am not following along with what everyone else does.
I struggle with a Logo, I always have.   Many people invest in having one made, everything they do to say this is me costs so much money.   My soap alone should be judged since this is the product your are buying.  You can do much with the label appeal, but appeal alone isn't going to tell you how good my soap is.   Also I want to say that I have many many loyal and repeat customers.  They don't judge my work.  I have been told to stop fretting, they love the fact that I tend to do my own thing, and that I show a handmade/homemade appeal.

For those who may scoff and say I want a certain look to what I am buying.  I say good for you and also know that your pockets might have to be a little deep.  Please remember too there are people out there who just simply cannot afford when starting out (to afford all the extra's) with labeling.  They will do the best they can and hope someone will not judge them.
It's a vicious cycle.  

My point is please take the time to be understanding, to not judge if the label isn't fancy.  I flip flop all the time with what I want to do, and I have no standard label. This does not mean I am a fly by night soap maker.   I most likely will in the future stop the madness and just find myself and be done.  Packaging will be simple but my label might have to one day be uniform.  I refuse to pay someone to logo me.  I give thanks each day for being here just one more day.  So I work in the moment and don't try to be like others.  The artisan in me says to do as I please and this makes me unique.  I venture to do what I feel or how the soap dictates me.  

I hope this might clear up my thoughts as to why I do what I do and how I do it.  I am a simple and plain person who does not require much in life.  Happiness to me sometimes comes in small packages.   

As always I welcome your comments good or bad.  
Thanks for another day to be here and spend it with you.
Until next time...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Morphing Colors in Soap

Hi Everyone and Anyone!!

I just made two new soap loafs yesterday and have decided to go for a new kind of idea of using a theme that inspires me.  I had this idea for a few months now and just kind of put it on the back burner.  I have been thoroughly trying to match my idea to the fragrances I now have.  When I found out about Shirley Temple passing away, I felt this was my wake up call to go ahead and proceed as I had planned.   

First and foremost I just want to say a comment here.  I was born in 1961 that makes me 52 years old currently (in May I will earn another year).  But I grew up with seeing all the great stars such as:
Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Vivien Leigh, Jane Russell, Ava Gardner, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Maureen O'Hara, Kim Novak, Esther Williams, Doris Day, June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Deborah Kerr, Jean Simmons, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Hayley Mills, Audrey HepburnSusan Hayward, Lucille Ball, Barbra Streisand, Patty Duke, Sally Field, and so on.   Please note there are many more to list, but you get the idea here.

In my opinion I will always say from the bottom of my heart one woman and one alone, I feel earns her place here and not as a Hollywood Star, but as a genuine kind heart'ed and loving person/spirit/soul is Princess Diana.  She will get the soap that best represents her unlike the two I will explain as we go along....

These ladies mentioned above were**S T A R S** when acting was really acting, and having a real talent.  If you have never watched some of the older movies, I encourage you to do so.  Many of these ladies paved the way for all the other stars to follow.  So I do appreciate growing up in the era I have.

So blast forward to today, I feel I can translate my soaping ideas as a way to honor these women.  By how I feel they have contributed to society.  And I am making  soaps to honor them (not all of them in general), but a good amount.  As I said I made two loafs yesterday and I had my ingredients all thought out, fragrance oils, etc....

I made Elizabeth Taylor she was supposed to be violet and white for the most part.   Once I saw that my colors changed I threw my best laid plans out the window and just went with it, instead of just rearranging my color pallet, I knew better.
I did see that my fragrance oil was a tinge lighter yellow in color.  Did I know better of course I did!  But these soap colors went through two transformations before it settled on this outcome.  So this was not the outcome I expected:

Here is the soap loaf, it has soap balls, and candy/confectioner sugar sprinkles on top. Nothing too impressive (in my own opinion).  It is what it is at this point.


Elizabeth is on the left.  I did not clean up the bars as of yet prior to posting photos.  I did put some extra soap balls that I wanted to use up so they went into the soap loaf.  The fragrance oil I used is called Lemon Sugar Candied Violets.  It's a very pretty lemony sweet violet type of scent.  Hard to explain.  But none the less I chose this one for Elizabeth.  Also I should mention that this fragrance is no longer sold on the fragrance oil market.  This is one of those that if you everwanted to try it, you must buy this to see for yourself how wonderful this one is.  I only make this a few times here and there, since I am stretching my fragrance out as best as I can.

I am not at all impressed with this bar of soap.  I don't think I could duplicate this one anytime soon.  It's one of those OOPS type of moments.  On the other side I am not upset this happened.  I think a lot of fun things happen when you least expect it.  I certainly did not expect this one to happen in this fashion.  A very Unique bar I would say.  Will it sell?  God who knows. 

Elizabeth Taylor she was a very unique person.  So I would say this bar is exactly the way it should be.   And this is the only time I will ever make this one, I will let it stand as a testament as to even when things go wrong it is made right.  Would Elizabeth like it? Probably not but sometimes unique things happen when you least expect it.  

Just another few photo's to view:

Here is the soap loaf in the mold below.  This one is named Marilyn Monroe.  I used a scent called Dazzling Diamonds.  It's a very soft feminine scent.  Not harsh, just soft.  This scent is no longer available on the fragrance oil market.  The fragrance oil does have a very dark yellow color to it.  Beating my head on the table as I knew better.

So I wanted to use this one since Marilyn did say "Diamonds are a girls best friend". Which by the way she was not the first to say this. Carol Channing was the first, but who is keeping track?

This color pallet morphed on me as well.  Yes you would think I could have changed my mind once I went through this with Elizabeth.  But I say this was how my soaping day went and I went with it.  There is no control over things like this and I am going to be cautious in the future since I do want to represent just the correct colors to convey how my soap should match more in the personalities of the said starlet.  I was more interested in the fragrance and using the scent to match the person.  Yes colors were factored in as well.  But morphing just gets in my crawl and nothing can be done.  Neither of the soaps convey what I want them to for the starlets I chose.   Still beating my head on the desk.

Photo of cut bars, and color pallet.  I did not ask for a orange color at all.  But I got one.  

 More Views... 

 Scratching my head??? !!

I will post more photos of my favorite stars.  Maybe I can have a better outcome.  Yes I was in the mood to soap this day, I was having a good day, I never make soap if I feel a little off inside.  Just doesn't work for me when I do this.  So as you can see this was a crazy experience and one I won't forget anytime soon.  The scents are absolutely great.  Funny thing is I did use both of the listed fragrances before and never had this outcome like this.  I didn't do anything different, just maybe the new colorants I used changed their minds mid stream.  Or maybe the starlets were with me to add their own sense of humor to the soap?
A bit scary and I say this gleefully don't drop by when I am soaping!!

Bowing my head in shame, as I leave you with my unexpected creations.  I hope you find humor in this as I don't particularly do.  Crawling under a rock now so I can rethink my next move.  Hope your day was a good one.  Maybe mine will be tomorrow as well :)

Happy trails to you until we meet again (Dale Evans).