Friday, March 4, 2011

Soapmaking Hiatus

Well, a lot of stuff has happened. First, I damaged my right thumb beyond belief on mandoline. Not the musical instrument, the kind you use to slice vegetables. Or your thumb. It was pretty awful. After a month, I can finally remove the bandage. My thumb has a different shape now. It still skeeves me out to think about it. The idea of handling lye any time soon is a sphincter-tightening notion. As a result, I am out of every kind of soap except for a select few.

In addition, supplies for soapmaking have skyrocketed. The same 50 lb pails of coconut and palm oils that cost $50 (plus $25 shipping for each one) have essentially doubled in the last few months. Since they are major ingredients in soap, the price of making it has literally doubled. Then there's higher gas costs for shipping. Oh yeah, and fragrance oil prices have gone up too. I think the days of the $5-6 bar of handmade soap won't last much longer.

For all these reasons, I'm going to sell what I've got left at Sea Sprite Soaps and go on hiatus until I can figure out if it's worth doing anymore. If I come back to commercial soapmaking it will probably be on limited basis with a lot fewer kinds of soap. I may just do my ocean and sea-themed soaps. That would keep supplies and shipping costs down. I've also thought about sticking to just roll-on and solid perfumes and forgetting about the soap. I'll have to see how I feel after a while.

For now, I'm going to sell off my remaining stock and take a break. I still have a good amount of Sea Glass, Oatmeal Stout and Pumpkin Lager left, plus a few bars each of Fata Morgana, Ocean Rain and Cedar and Saffron. If you like my soaps and want to get some, please check out my shop.

In the meantime, my digital products have been doing very well. My Mingzhu for Mavka has recently been released on Renderosity. I'm working on a skin texture and morph for Daz's Victoria 4 now and hope to have it finished soon.

A couple of things to love about digital products:
  • No overhead
  • No physical storage required
  • Unlimited inventory (make it once and sell it forever)
Stacked up against soapmaking, digital products seem the way to go, to me. I know I'm going to miss my soapmaking business though.


Michelle said...

Ouch! I hope your thumb is fully healed soon, that sounds extremely painful.

Sorry to hear about the rising supply prices and the hiatus, but you gotta do what's best for yourself and your business.

I haven't ordered in ages because I've been trying to use up my stash, at one point I had about 25-30 bars of soap. I'm down to about 9 bars. I'm on Tahitian Petals now, which I think has been my favorite of your scents, it's so pretty.

Your Mavka characters are so cute! They have me so tempted to buy that figure just so I can play with your characters for her.

I look forward to seeing what you are doing for V4.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Steph! So, so sorry about your accident. It sounds incredibly painful. Wishing you speedy recovery!

Stephanie said...

Thank you both! After a little over 2 months, the thumb is starting to work OK again but has no sensation in certain areas. Hopefully the nerves will grow back and right themselves. It was a doozy.