Unfortunately, USPS prices have gone up again and my previous flat rate shipping charge is no longer enough to cover shipping. To cover both packaging and shipping costs, the new flat-rate shipping is now $7.15 for bar soap & bubble bath and $10 for liquids. Free shipping is still in effect for purchases over $150!
A couple of housekeeping notes:
- Most of you deduced (correctly) that the sales tax information wasn’t being displayed correctly in my invoices. It was an annoying bug, and I am very happy to announce that I have changed the plugin I was using to generate invoices, and the math works correctly now.
- Gift wrapping is now a checkbox option on each product page. As always, gift wrapping is free!
- Every product page now has a tab where you can ask questions directly about each product! Just click on the “product enquiry” tab and fill out the form.
At my last craft fair, a man came up to me and without even browsing, asked for my most moisturizing soap. The only soap I had that was different from all my other soap was the now-sold-out Campfire, which contains shea butter. He bought the last bar.
I’ve come to realize that even though olive oil soaps are extremely mild and gentle, they aren’t particularly known for being moisturizing. Now, soap will never remove the need for good ol’ lotion and moisturizer, especially if you live in semi-arid Colorado. That said, different soap ingredients bring different benefits to the table. So I’ve started making some four-oil (and three-oil, and two-oil) soaps. The big addition is cocoa butter, which I am now adding to about 20% of the new soaps I’m making.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am adding other oils to my soaps to branch out. My four-oil soaps currently have olive, cocoa butter, almond, and castor oil. I still make pure olive oil soap, and a lot of it! But I am also making a bit more of a variety for people who are looking for more in their soaps. Cocoa butter is an amazing moisturizer in its own right, and has a most endearing quality of melting at the temperature of the human body. I wish it weren’t so expensive, though–it costs 4-5x what olive oil does, and making a 100% cocoa butter soap would mean selling it at a much higher price.
The first four-oil soap that will be available early February is called Coffee Lovers. The cocoa butter lends a lovely whiff of chocolate aroma, and the soap is scented with a vanilla macadamia coffee fragrance. I love going into my curing room and picking up a bar to smell! It makes me crave hot chocolate, especially now that it is so cold as we head into the heart of winter.
I hope y’all like cocoa butter soaps. As always, please free free to contact me with any specific requests!
[This is also a follow-up to my post “Branching Out“.]
I did my first craft fair as Bath Geek LLC on Saturday (Dec 9), and it was great fun. The craft fair was at Vista Peak Preparatory, so I made sure to stock up on tons of bath bombs, which were a favorite with the teens. There were three soap-related booths in a fair of roughly 25-30 stalls, so considering how much competition there was, I did pretty well. ^_^
What really stuck with me, though, was that at the craft fair, I met a lady, Nic, who was just as excited to see my stuff as I was to meet her! She too was an allergy-conscious shopper, and after she told me her allergies I recommended certain soaps. We have been e-mailing back and forth; she’s a great correspondent. She’s given me a bunch of ideas, recommended some places to get more exposure, and told me about lots of allergy-safe substitutions for things, as well as oral immunotherapy to help with certain problems. It is always wonderful to meet someone else who understands just how life with allergies can be annoying and irritating (if not completely life-threatening). I also really love and appreciate the support! <3
Meeting Nic has strengthened my resolve in making sure my soaps are allergy-friendly and considerate of people’s sensitivities. I still want to add a couple of ingredients to my soaps in order to make them feel creamier, feel more moisturizing, and in general improve on the soap experience… but I will always be mindful of allergy-conscious customers. If you have specific allergies and you need me to make a formulation that helps you, please do not hesitate to contact me–there is always something I can do to help!
So, no pressure, but… there are only 16 days left until the USPS Priority Shipping deadline in order for gifts to get to your loved ones by Christmas Eve! In order to make things a little easier, I’ve added a couple of options to the site:
- The build-your-own-gift is exactly that–build your own gift! Pick a soap, at least one bath bomb, and at least one bubble bath/bath melt–all of that gets packed into a gift for your loved one, customized to their liking.
- The bathtime gift set is for bath lovers who like bath bombs and also like bubble baths. Choose two bath bombs and two bubble bath bars to be gift-wrapped into a pretty present!
- The bath bomb gift set is for bath bomb lovers (and those who love them). Choose any four bath bombs to be gift-wrapped into a pretty present! (Bonus: the set only costs $10, including gift-wrapping!)
- When all else fails, or when it’s just too late to toss one more present onto Santa’s sleigh, try Bath Geek gift cards, which can be e-mailed to your recipient instantly.
Also… we now have pre-orders! If you want to make absolutely sure that stock doesn’t run out before you get a chance to get something, you can now pre-order it and reserve yours, weeks before it’s actually available. Check it out!
To thank my repeat customers, I’ve installed a points and rewards system on this blog. Just like credit cards, every dollar spent earns you points, and these points can be redeemed towards future purchases! It’s my way of thanking you for your support.
- To track your points, you need to have an account on bathgeek.com (you can sign up at checkout, or just sign up at any time via the “My Account” link in the top menu.)
- You can click on “Points” in “My Account” (or just follow this link) at any time to see how many points you have.
- I have adjusted the point totals to credit folks for orders prior to December 2017. If you placed an order before December 2017 and you haven’t received your points, please let me know.
If you have any other questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them. Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!
Specializing in hypoallergenic soap is one thing, but there is such a thing as too niche a specialization. There are Castile soapmakers who do nothing but olive oil soap. While I thought I would join their ranks, I find pure olive oil soap to be a little frustrating. The reason for this has to do with cure time.
All cold process and hot process soap needs time to cure. (Yes, even HP–the link explains that very nicely.) The reason why making pure olive oil soap is frustrating is because until the soap is 6-8 months old, the lather from olive oil soap just doesn’t feel as nice as other soaps. Unfortunately, this means that if I run out of stock in a certain kind of soap, I’m out of business for 6-8 months. The alternative is to release soap at 4-6 weeks. The soap is safe to use, but you really don’t get the absolute best experience with young olive oil soap that you do with well-aged (over 6 months) olive oil soap.
So what’s a responsible soapmaker to do? For allergy-related reasons, I refuse to use coconut, palm, corn, or soybean oils, and I am still committed to keeping my soap vegan, so lard and tallow are out. Other oils tend to have shorter shelf lives, so soap made with these oils have a higher tendency to spoil sooner. However, there are still so many other vegetable oils out there!
I currently use shea butter and cocoa butter in my soap on occasion. I will be adding other oils like safflower oil, canola oil, sweet almond oil etc to that list. Don’t worry–I will always label the soap clearly and make sure that it is tagged correctly, so that you can still find soap you can use without fear of triggering allergies. (Some of these are not ingredients I was using before, so there aren’t any tags for them at the moment… but there will be as soon as I am done writing this post!)
I will still be using my dual lye and sugar method–I find that it really helps the feel of the lather.
As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns… just ask!
Over on the Allergic to Coconut? blog, Becky has written an awesome introduction to Bath Geek soaps. (Thank you so much!) I sent Becky a couple of samples when I found her blog, and she had some fantastic feedback for me that I will be incorporating into my product line. If you’re allergic to coconut, check out Allergic to Coconut? for an incredibly informative chronicle of life with coconut allergies. I learned a lot about coconut allergies reading her blog, and I am sure you will too.
[Img courtesy of Martin Abegglen @ Flickr.]
Thank you to all of you for being here and reading this! This Black Friday 2017, as a special thank-you to all of you, I’ve put together a bunch of discounts:
- Buy 10 bars of soap or more: 17% off all soap
- Buy 5 packages of bath melts or more: 17% off all bath melts
- Buy 10 bars of bubble bath or more: 117% off all bubble bath
- Buy 10 bath bombs or more: 17% off all bath bombs
- Last but not least, purchases of $170 or more (excludes gift cards) will receive free shipping!
These discounts are good from Thursday, November 23, 2017, to Sunday, November 26, 2017.
The Christmas boxes I ordered have arrived! Orders of Christmas gift sets will ship with these while stock lasts. Please let me know if your order is a Christmas gift and what goes in it!
I’ve been busy making soap, and I have a lot of lovely soap curing. Included in this gallery is a sneak peek at what is coming to the store in December (next month!) hopefully just in time for Christmas.
[Image courtesy of TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr.]
This is an update to Working with Glycerin and Allergies. After doing more research, I’ve learned a few things:
- Absent special equipment, making glycerin that is dissolved in a salt solution is easier than making pure glycerin.
- No matter what it is derived from, glycerin is always C3H8O3. This means that soy glycerin, coconut glycerin, palm glycerin, and any other kind of glycerin will be chemically identical, so there is no reason to make my own as long as the purity is chemically guaranteed.
- Unless I want to greatly increase the cost of my products, I should leave well enough alone.
What this means is that I will not be setting up a glycerin manufacturing line any time soon! However, I promise that my glycerin will always be kosher glycerin derived from soy, and my purchased glycerin should be composed of only glycerin (C3H8O3) and water (H2O).
Soap naturally contains glycerin, so most of my handmade soap will not work for someone who is allergic to glycerin. That being said, I am working on a glycerin-free soap, and hopefully a laundry soap as well. Stay tuned, I hope to have good news for you in the future!
[Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to any of these sellers or products, and receive no commission from any sales of them. These are links and images I found on the Internet, and I have no connection to the shops or sites selling them.]
The other day, one of my customers asked, “Will you be selling soap dishes? I need some for this handmade soap, to take care of it.”
I hadn’t planned on selling soap dishes, because everyone has such divergent tastes in decor! However, I understood that what she really wanted was recommendations on which soap dishes would be best for her uses. I can definitely recommend my favorite soap dishes!
[Image courtesy of miheco @ Flickr.]
Let’s say you have a coconut allergy. If you are searching the Internet for something that you could use, would you type “hypoallergenic soap” or “coconut-free soap” into the search box? Which one would give you better results tailored to your specific concerns?
When I first set up the tagging system on this site, I tagged things with an eye to noting which products contained what allergens. However, this isn’t how people search for hypoallergenic products, and when I thought about this system a little more, I had to admit that my system was greatly flawed. Instead of tagging my products with “allergy: nut”, I will be re-doing the tagging system and using “nut-free” instead.
[Image courtesy of TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr.]
Glycerin is one of the ingredients I use when making bubble bath. Being an allergy-conscious maker of bath products, I know that glycerin can come from both animal and vegetable sources. Even when it is “vegetable glycerin”, it can be made from coconut, palm, soy, or any number of vegetable oils. I won’t use palm-derived or coconut-derived glycerin; if you are allergic to coconut or palm, products derived from them can also cause an allergic reaction. All the kosher glycerin I can find on the Internet is soy-derived.
I have made more batches of Madelyn’s Rose, they are now back in stock. I’ve also uploaded what remains of my inventory of bubble bath and bath bombs. If you like bubble baths or bath bombs, be sure to check them out!
Okay, wow. I knew Madelyn’s Rose was my favorite of all the bath bombs I’ve made so far, but you guys sold me out of everything I had in ONE. DAY. <3 I’m going to make some more ASAP. This will be back in stock soon. Until then, I’ve added the rest of my bath bomb and bubble bath stock. Now, to make more! Expect these back in stock by this weekend.
Phew. This has been a week of e-commerce learning. In one week I went through Zen Cart, OpenCart, and multiple installations of WordPress & WooCommerce, trying to make this work. With the help of the good support folks at WooCommerce and Automattic, this has finally worked the way it should, phew!
Long story short: this site works now, so I’ve closed my Square storefront. Square is a great payment system, but not that great an e-commerce solution. I had zero control over marketing, shipping options, etc. What’s worse, I had an order get deleted on me in the Square storefront because I forgot to click “fulfilled”, oops. ^_^; Thankfully my customer was understanding and paid me again!
Please kick the tires and try it out. If something’s broken, let me know and I will fix it right away. Thanks again for sticking with me and coming back!