Changes Coming Soon!

Its been a while since we posted.  We have been busy planning our next adventure.  Back in June we received notice that a spot in our local downtown area is coming open this fall.  We have toyed around with the idea of opening a “Retail Only” shop for sometime but now it looks like it will become a reality.  So this fall check back frequently for more posts like this one on our NEW ADVENTURE IN RETAIL!

Our new store will offer a lot more than Bath and Body products but our theme will stay NATURAL.  My husband has now deemed me “SHOP-ZILLA”.  The beauty about all of this is the time factor.  We have plenty of time to get everything just right.

Scouring the area for pallet wood was a real treat but when I discovered how much work I would be doing to get this “FREE” wood they way we wanted I was exhausted just thinking about it. But by sheer luck we had a close friend looking to sell tongue-in-groove knotty pine boards.  So we decided to purchase them and get to work making them look weathered.

10  I turned to the internet and YouTube for ways to create weathered wood easily.  Then I stumbled on a natural vinegar steel wool stain technique.

Today, I will share photos of how to create your own Natural Weathered Wood Panels.

STEP 1:  Three days prior to staining your wood panels, you will need create your NATURAL vinegar stain.

  • 1 gallon of regular white vinegar
  • 0 grade steel wood pads
  • 3.5 gallon plastic bucket

Start by opening and pulling apart your steel wool pads  (I used the entire packet), place it into the bucket and pour your vinegar directly on top.  Stir.

Wait for 3 days and then it will look like this.

4

Materials List

  • Purchase regular white latex water based paint
  • 3-4 Med Sized Paint Brushes
  • Wooden Paint Sticks to stir stain mixture
  • Sander or coarse sandpaper
  • Wood

1Step 2:

Paint your wood boards lightly with the white paint, being sure to not cover every inch of the wood.  Creating  un-even paint spots.  The key here is to be sloppy with the paint on the wood.  It helps to create a better design. Let dry for an hour.

2Step 3:

Sand your wood panels with a Sander or some coarse sandpaper.

93

Step 4:

Apply stain mixture to boards with paint brush.

75

Step 5:

Let dry and you are finished!

6

OPENING A SOAPMAKING RETAIL SHOP Part 3

Questions to ask your self  BEFORE you get into the RETAIL business

Dreaming Big in the Retail Soapmaking Business

Dreaming Big in the Retail Soapmaking Business

Welcome to part 3 of the Opening a Retail Soapmaking Shop-

So this brings to me to the HARD QUESTIONS that you  need to ask yourself before you get into the RETAIL business.

Are you using the “DREAM” of owning a retail shop to cloud your judgment?  We’ve all been here before— that’s why we got into business in the first place.  We were all dreaming of owning a cool bath and body business like “XZY” down the street and dreamed of how happy you would be once you had it.  But don’t get sold on the “IDEA” of having business, do you research and find out what the day-to-day operations will be like.  It is HARD work and involves a lot of time.

Can you afford it? Do you have enough income to cover overhead just in case?   I had a backup plan that included sales from difference resources just in case I didn’t have  sales for that month. You will need enough to include your rent/lease/utilities/maintenance expenses. Money is scarce and it’s tough getting business credit. Credit cards helped me getting started with the basic start-up costs involved with opening a retail shop. Most of my income coming in my business got rolled back into the business for a few years.  A portion of it continues to get rolled back into the business today.

A few tips: In the beginning a landline phone is not necessary, you don’t need an  internet connection in your new place either or  pay for regularly scheduled picks from UPS and FEDEX.  Save those for later on when your business is established and making money.  Use the “Square”  for all your credit card transactions and your business cell phone as your regular line.

Do you have unlimited time to invest in your retail shop?  Post your  hours and  be present/open during those times.

Competition-  This should be included in your feasibility studies and it will give you a good opportunity to scout out the competition.  I would inquire discreetly how well they are doing. You could learn from them and adjust your ideas before you get started. You could also ask your small business rep to see if they know them; maybe they could give you insight on what to expect.

Conduct your own market feasibility study to see if your idea will be supported in your community.  {A feasibility study evaluates your project’s potential for success as it examines the marketability of your product}

Your SBA office should be able to help you gather the data to support it. Find out if your “DREAM” idea will bring in the money or send you into financial ruin.

Links for you to check out!

What Is Product Marketability?

31 Days to Build a Creative Business

 

OPENING A SOAPMAKING RETAIL SHOP Part 2

  Choosing a location for success

Choose the right location for your business.

Choose the right location for your business.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION– The location for your business is very important to your success.  If you are looking for walk-in traffic then you need a retail location on a busy street. But these locations are  expensive. It’s hard starting out and if you do not have a steady business income before you open your doors you could be struggling in your first 6 months. Remember as your business grows so will you, you may not stay in this location forever. In fact most businesses move from their original location to larger one or better location in their first two years. Remember the first car or house you bought? If you are like most folks that didn’t last too longer either.

Before entering into your first lease ask for any move-in specials.  I received one month free if I signed a 6 month lease.

You may need to find a happy medium between steady foot traffic and one that is not too expensive.  After my first year in business it was a necessity to get my operation out of my home so I reserached opening a location in a small shopping center. Which was close to a  residential area, included a month to month lease and paid utlities. That way if I could not afford to pay for I would have a way out without losing everything. In the begining I did not get many walk-ins but it provided me with a place to do business that offered me credibility.

Links to help you FIND the perfect location:

Loop Net.com

Articles:

Choosing The Right Location For Your Business

NOLO On FINDING the RIGHT LOCATION

The Effect on business location for business success

 

Take Our NEXT Class on opening your own SOAPMAKING BUSINESS.

 

 

 

A bar of soap is only as good as it smells

Today, My Husband Dan, sent me a very inspiring video that basically defines why businesses succeed and why others don’t. The questions presented are why do I do what I do? Or better yet why make soap at all? Or why teach it to other people? So I thought for a moment, thinking it’s going pretty good maybe I am doing the right things? Otherwise I would have been out of business already—right? Well we know where that came from… Let’s just say I have a healthy dose of EGO. Maybe my German Puerto Rican roots are showing now? Hmmmm..

Anyway, back to those hard to answer questions, I had to think back to when this all started.  It was the early 90’s in my 20’s when I flew for Delta Airlines and had numerous layovers in Brighton England. There I discovered a little shop called “The Body Shop” everybody knows them now because they raced across the pond to open up a shop in every mall in America.  The main reason I loved their shop was the aroma streaming through the English glass doors that grabbed by my nose and dragged me in.  Then once you are in—you are completely inundated with the why.  Let me explain, the Body Shop International is designed around their need to educate the public on why you should be purchasing FREE TRADE products that come directly from the source harvested in such a way to protect and encourage the communities they came from.  Inspiring right?  I bought from them because I enjoyed the natural smelling products with ingredients that were good for my skin. Needless to say, I probably built a few stores here in America.  Good times!

Which brings me back to what motivated me in the first place to start making soap?  Since early on in my childhood I knew I was different, I found out that scent would either:  give me a headache, make me dizzy or make me feel good.  So I set out for the “Feel Good” part.  Since then I have developed that part of my senses to be very keen on what exactly everything smells like. Heck, I still smell my glass every time before I pour something in it. Weird huh?  It’s a proven fact that our sense of smell is tied directly to the memory part of our brains, which is why scent is so inherently personal to each of us.  Check out The Sense of Smell Institute for some smell good facts:  http://www.senseofsmell.org/.

Ok so then why soap?  We’ll for me it’s the easiest way to facilitate the scent!  Not really, it has to be a good skin loving bar as well. But it was the main reason I picked a bar in the first place. I spent a lot of money in the beginning buying all my fragrances and essential oils because unfortunately there are a lot of stinky fragrances. So I had to wade through the fragrances that didn’t last or with stand the process of soapmaking, ones that didn’t morph into a scent that I didn’t recognize and ones that were just plain “stinky”.  Ultimately what came out of it was a new found knowledge of scent and where to find them. A bar of soap is only as good as it smells, if you don’t pick it up you will never know what you’re missing. I believe a scent memory is important to your wellbeing and genuinely want you to feel better. The scent for my soap is carefully chosen for their harmony with nature, clarity of mind, wellbeing of the body and quality to help keep you grounded.



Soap is pretty easy to make with a few ingredients that do not have to cost a lot of money, you don’t have purchase huge vats of anything to get started and you can use your own cooking equipment to mix it in. When you are ready to learn how—sign up for one of my classes.  The 2 day weekend workshop in January is filling up! Deadline to SAVE $$$ will end DEC 31.