Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wholesale: It's Not for Everyone

I think it's important for crafters who sell their work to have a clear picture of what their goals are, especially how hard they want to work and how much time they have to devote to making products. I see a bias in many crafting forums that everyone should be dying to wholesale their products and try to get them into brick and mortar stores.

That option doesn't interest me. It's way more work and devotion than I'm willing to spend, given all the other things on my plate and this stage of my life. I'm not a hobbyist who dabbles in soap. I've been doing this for 10 years, and sell a lot of it. For full price per bar, with a couple notable exceptions over many years to friends who opened stores and needed a price break.

Of course there's nothing wrong with wholesaling. But it's hard enough to make an appreciable profit selling soap (or earrings, birdhouses, baby blankets, etc.) as it is. When you wholesale soap, for example, you better be committed in terms of laying out lots of money for materials and work time. You're going to have to do it on a very large scale, because you're only going to make about half of what you would selling it retail. I know and admire many women online who do so and support their families that way, but it's not for me.

Even though I have in my Etsy Policies page that I do not do wholesale or consignment, I still receive regular convos about wholesaling, offering me mere pennies over what I spend to make soap. When I decline politely, sometimes I am treated to protracted arguments about how wrong I am not to sell wholesale and (always a chuckle for this), they are just trying to "help" me make money.

Uh, thanks but no thanks. It's nice to have extra income from making soap, but I don't want to do it full time. I suspect there are lots of people out there who think like I do about this issue. It's not wrong or dumb. It is what it is. A choice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dreamcatcher Soap

I added Dreamcatcher Soap to my shop today. It's hard to describe, but it smells ethereal and wonderful. It's also available in my Etsy shop.

I thought it was kind of funny that Jon Stewart is America's most trusted news reporter, given that his is a comedy show.

A month from today both of our kids will be in college, Vicky back at USF and Geoff away from home for the first time at FGCU. I don't know how I'm going to stand it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Colorful Treasury

My Soap Bonanza is in this Very Colorful Treasury today -- if you get a chance, give the treasury some love!

Vicky and I went to see "Harry Potter" this weekend and it was wonderful! It's such a pleasure to see how the kids in the movies have grown up and become really good actors. It's going to be hard to wait for the last two, now.

I made a really lovely new soap recently, a beautiful duplicate of Bobbi Brown's "Beach." It smells exactly like the mingled scents of warm sea air, salty brine and suntan lotion (the old Coppertone kind, not the coconut kind we get these days) -- I can almost hear the seagulls squawking and feel the sand between my toes when I smells this stuff.

I made the "Lolita Lempicka" duplicate too. Unfortunately, the colorant I used to make a purple with white swirl was not successful and the color turned out a muddy brownish-purple. Thankfully, it still smells fantastic. It's possible that as the pH changes over the cure, the purple will show up more. I hope.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cheap and Green Packaging

I've discovered an awesome, cheap and green packaging material -- end rolls of blank newsprint. My local newspaper sells these for $5 a roll. Each roll is about 4' across and usually there's around 100 yards of so of paper on them. What a bargain! It makes me feel better than using bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts to cushion my packages.

An online friend of mine of 13 years lost her husband to cancer last night. It's a terrible disease, one we are struggling with in our own family. I was just so sorry to hear about her loss.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UPS Man Makes Me Sooo Happy

I love it when the UPS guy arrives -- that means new fragrances to soap! Yesterday I got two big boxes of stuff and spent a while happily opening and sniffing bottles. One that really has me jacked up is a duplicate of "Lolita Lemicka." It is an exact dupe and smells absolutely wonderful. I might soap it, but I might also keep it to make perfume for myself or a private stash. It's amazing.

I've been playing with the Poser program again lately, after taking a break from it for a while. I got some new morphs for the Victoria/Aiko 4 character. You can see all of my 3D characters at DAZ3D here. I made this little render today using my Niko texture. I'm a sucker for faeries and big ears. :D

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Portrait of a Sea Sprite

I did this portrait render of my little sea sprite this morning. When I'm not making soap, I'm making 3D characters for a program called "Poser." It's a great program that lets you move your characters in 3D and render or "take pictures" of them from any view. Loads of fun but a very expensive way to make pretty pictures. :D

Be sure to click to see it full size, it looks way better that way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Soap and FN Obsession

New today in my shop, Tibetan Tea -- Mysterious and warm and exotic, like a blend of incense and Chai tea! And back in stock, my Sanibel Sunset and Plumeria soaps! Sometimes it's really hard to wait a month for the soap to cure. I have got to start making bigger batches!

I can't believe how much time I've been spending watching FN lately. I was so happy to see the return of Daisy Martinez on Saturday morning. Now that I've got a food processor, I made my own sofrito to cook her Arroz con Pollo for dinner last night. The recipe has a mistake in it though, it should be 2 cups of rice, not 5. Unbelievably delicious!

And I'm really enjoying "The Next Food Network Star," which is kind of like "Survivor," only with food. It's down to 4 finalists now and to be honest, I like all of them. I have to admit to a soft spot for Melissa, the amazing SAHM who cooks like a chef. I like Jeffrey's laid back style too. Debbie makes great food, but is looking more and more like a self-centered diva. I keep rooting for Jamika to not shoot herself in the foot because I'd love to see a Caribbean-themed cooking show from her.

They are all such talented cooks! I'd like to see more opportunities for them to cook their own stuff instead of being on teams. I remember teams, with no great fondness, from school. They reveal more about personality than ability, and if one strong personality takes over everyone suffers. One person ends up doing all the work and everyone else coasts.

I did nothing productive all weekend and don't feel particularly guilty about it either. But today I have to get cracking on catching up with soapmaking. I'm starting to run out of stuff.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lazy Sunday

I'm having a lazy day. Up for breakfast, coffee and reading the paper. Back to bed cuddling with Taffy, the Welsh Terrier, for a snooze. Up again and reading forums. I know I need to make some Caribbean Dreams soap, but I am having trouble marshalling my energy.

I went to a forum today where about the millionth (is that a word?) person started a thread asking how Etsy compares to ArtFire. And I'm thinking, "FFS, another thread about this topic?" Does anyone ever do a search before starting a new thread? It is really tedious to see the same post over and over, ad infinitum. Apparently my thoughts on this issue are not popular with other posters who want to re-invent this wheel daily.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Etsy Front Page 2X in One Day!

I was wondering what happened today when I got a bunch of sales, after a slow-ish kind of week. One of my favorite Etsy people (thanks Liz!) took a screen shot for me of my Macapuno Sorbet soap on the front page of Etsy. And someone else just told me that my Mango Tango was on the front page this morning. Wow, talk about feast or famine....Yay!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Backyard Bromeliads

These were just so vivid and colorful this morning, I had to take some photos of them. We have bromeliads planted all over the back yard. They grow in shady spots and the inflorescences last for weeks. They are a welcome spot of color in all the shadiness. I took one closeup of the pink so you can see the awesome dusty color; it's part of a cluster of 3. :)

I spent the morning in the pleasant, mindless task of beveling cured soap that's ready to go into storage boxes. It takes less than 30 seconds to do each bar, but it adds up when you're doing a lot of them at a time. Still, I like taking the sharp edges off the soap that it feels more comfortable in your hands and it doesn't lacerate you the first time you take a shower. I get into a rhythm that's almost mesmerizing and very relaxing. I've recently bought some larger storage boxes so that I can make bigger batches of soap and have a place to keep them pristine and organized.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Birthday...

to me! It's my big day. The kids baked me a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and sprinkles, and we're doing takeout from Carrabba's. I got a new food processor from Lowell, pretty kitchen stuff from Vicky and an gift card from Geoff. Another great birthday present: Today I reached 1,700 sales on Etsy! Yay!

We went to the onocologist today and it sounds like all my DH will need is careful monitoring of his CEA blood levels without aggressive chemo intervention. There is one more consult with a radiologist to get through to make sure he thinks this course is fine, and then, hopefully, we can all take a deep breath and relax.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beach Time Treasury

My Sea Glass soap was featured in this Beach Time Treasury today! :)

I've really got to stop watching so much Food Network. I'm hooked on the "Next FN Star" show and am rooting for Debbie and Melissa. And I keep haunting the recipes section and making amazing stuff. Last night I made chicken pounded out thin, then rolled up into pinwheels with prosciutto, spinach with garlic and goat cheese, browned and baked, accompanied by rice pilaf. The night before it was roasted vegetables with penne and fontina cheese. Stop me before I cook again!

I'm taking my DH to the oncologist tomorrow to see if he's going to need chemotherapy to follow up his surgery. I am so much hoping that he does not have to go through that.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Today is my shop's second Etsyversary! :D

All the flowers I planted a few days have already started taking off. It's been over 90 degrees with torrential downpours every afternoon, perfect for the flowers. Bad for the herbs, which tend to bolt when they grow so fast. I've given up on coriander, it tends to go to seed so fast around here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Late Flower Planting

Happy 4th of July!

We're not doing any big cookouts or anything today, for the first time. The kids are going to be out with friends today, boating and barbecuing. So we're having leftovers and a nice, sedate trip to the bookstore later to use our 30% off coupons. My DH is recovering from the surgery two weeks ago and short outings are the best we can manage for a while.

I'm late getting my summer flowers into their self-watering pots around the lily pond this year. But like they say, better late than never... I went to Lowe's and Home Depot yesterday looking for plants and was disappointed at how little variety there was. So I went in the broiling freaking heat to Driftwood Garden Center, which is more expensive but always has a better selection. I found enough pretty, colorful flowers and herbs to fill up almost all of my planters.

So here's some photos of the new, unfurling water lily (a little obscured) and my new flowers and herbs.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Two Years

I've just realized that on July 6th, I'll have been selling on Etsy for two years! It doesn't seem that long, honestly. I've been making soap for almost 10 years, and that doesn't seem like so long to me either. I guess it's true, if you love what you're doing, the time flies by.

I've got some recently made soap next to me on the curing rack and the fragrance is unbelievable. It's called Tibetan Teahouse, and it has the most awesome scent of smoky tea and spices, very incense-like. I think this is going to be a new favorite of mine when it's finally ready to use.

My DH is getting around a bit more, beginning to take short walks down to the corner, making his own tea in the morning, and generally eating and sleeping better. He's feeling so much better. Considering his surgery was only two weeks ago, his recovery has been remarkable.