Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Refreshing Start

I just love the new year. It brings so much hope for change. It is just a new day and a turn of numbers but it always feels so much more than that. It is refreshing!

2014 was a great year for MO River Soap. The sales and numbers still make my head spin. (It is tax time you know.) The holidays were a rush which was mostly fun but also exhausting. I packed my last order about a week prior to Christmas day and I abandoned my soap room for almost two weeks. Many fellow soapers rushed back to work and I have enjoyed seeing their progress. For me, I felt like I was on vacation and truly SEEING my kids and husband for the first time in months. The rat race completely took over my life. I am blessed beyond words that the business was so successful and that my husband and kids were right there supporting me. There were a lot of late dinners made by my husband and several nights of just cereal for dinner. Once things calmed down, I got back in the kitchen and my kids seemed amazed that I still remembered how to cook. Seeing the excitement in their eyes, that they had their mom back, was pretty darned humbling. As best as I tried to balance the business and my home life, the business won out every time. Again, I am blessed to have such wonderful customers and blessed to have so much interest in my YouTube videos, Facebook page, etc.. However, it's time to shift the load into a different direction.

I am very excited to move forward in this year. Thanks to a wonderful holiday season, this hobby business of mine now supports itself. I will have to be very cautious in my spending to keep it that way. I have a whole wall of fragrance oils but it is never enough is it? My husband often suggests I just use up what I have. It just doesn't work that way does it? :-)

My goal this year is to take it all at a little slower pace. My home responsibilities will have to be first. I can pour my heart and soul into this when my kids have left home and I am suffering from empty nest syndrome. I am still very happy to create and offer my creations to you all. I am a soaper through and through and will experience some seriously ugly withdrawals if I don't make it. So you're in luck there! I will still be designing and creating wax melts for you as well.

This year's theme will be "ME...only simpler". We'll have less crazy color (some soap got a little wild last year) and more solid color. We'll have more basic designed soap that I adore and less swirly swirls. I will still be doing some fun designs and swirls as one can't totally leave that behind. I'm not going all natural here! I'm just simplifying a little bit.

You'll see some packaging changes. I get bored easily so I enjoy changing it up. I do think I'm totally over shrink wrap and glycerin soap embeds though.

You'll see better lighting in my videos, a drive for better quality videos, and fewer so-so videos. I have so many videos on my channel and it's just all the same stuff. I know many of you love it no matter what but I'd love to switch it up a bit if I can.

Big Cartel is so 2014 and I have closed down my storefront there. The issues I had with Big Cartel during the holiday season certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. I think they are user friendly and for the most part are an awesome platform for selling. I just don't think it can handle the fast and furious hits that I put it through when I opened for a new listing. Most of my selections sell out within the first 20 minutes. It is not because I didn't have the stock behind it, as I most certainly did. I will temporarily return to Etsy (link above) until we are ready to move forward with my actual website.

I thank all my wonderful customers and fellow soapers for a fabulous 2014 and LORD willing, 2015 will be even better. Quality over quantity! WOO!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Leaning Towards the Natural Side

Hi everyone! I had a wonderful customer request that I get some natural soaps made. I tend to want to make soaps with bright colors and fragrances that can't be achieved with natural colorants and essential oils. Every now and again though, it feels so good to go back to the basics. That is how I started after all!

This customer suggested some blends that she'd be interested in but also gave me the liberty to make whatever I wanted and she'd still purchase it. So that was fun! I did end up choosing two of her suggestions and they were pretty darned good!

The first I made was Anise Mint Soap. It is a blend of anise and peppermint essential oils. I've soaped anise several times but I've never mixed it with peppermint. Wow, what a wonderful combo. They compliment each other so well! I used Egyptian Licorice Mint Tea for the liquid portion of my soap and then opened a tea bag and use the tea to sprinkle down the middle of the top when I was finished.

The other blend was a citrus essential oil blend. This one wasn't really a new blend so I know that it will stick for me. I mixed Pink Grapefruit, 10 Fold Orange, Litsea Cubeba, and Lemongrass essential oils. With both soaps I used kaolin clay to help anchor the scents. I called it Beautiful Day because it reminds me of a sunny, bright, cheery, day full of sunshine and blue skies. I topped the soap with dried cornflower and sunflower petals.

I am quite certain that I will be remaking both of these soaps. They are just so creamy and GOOD.

A quick reminder that I will have new items listing this Sunday, May 25th, sometime between 2-4pm, central time. I will updating the site later this week so you can browse before the store opens. Missouri River Soap Store

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's New in the Soap Zone

Hi all! I've decided that I'm just pathetic at this blogging thing. I spend a lot of my social media time on Facebook and in my new Facebook group. Facebook has made it difficult for businesses to continue to have the visibility that we are used to. They don't always share the posts in your feed. Even if you like and share the posts, you aren't always going to get a 'liked' page's post in your feed when it is posted. I know they say to check 'Get Notifications' and/or 'Add to Interest List' to help out but it still doesn't work that great. I have started my Facebook group for my business so the members have a better chance to see pictures, updates on listings, etc.. It has also been a fun place to chat and I've had much more interaction with the members. I do hope you'll come join us. It's fun!

I've been quite busy in the soap zone recently but not all of it is video worthy. The soap batches have been fewer and farther between as I begin prepping for my next listing, which will be May 25th, over at my Big Cartel store. In the coming days, I will be announcing the time frame that I will be listing. I try for a time on Sunday afternoon that is post-church and pre-dinner for most time zones in the US. I know it isn't always going to work for everyone but it seems to be one of the better time frames. I have quite a bit of stock with this listing. There will be some listed that don't have as much inventory because they were tests, limited editions, etc.. I expect those to go very fast but hopefully the rest of the soaps will hold on for a few hours at least. I won't have much for wax melts with this listing. What I do have will be the scent I designed for Gourding Around. If you've ordered from them and were fortunate to receive a wax melt in their scent, now you can come get some directly from my store...with Jodi's blessing of course!

Here is a peek at what is going on this morning...

Most recent soap gear all cleaned up and ready to be made dirty again!

A little over half of the Rainbow batch needing beveled before going on the curing shelf. There is a lot of this one but I still doubt it will be enough. More will have to be made soon!

Curing shelves are getting very full!

A custom/wholesale order for a friend ready to be packed up on the left. ButterCream Babies soap on the right still needing split, cut, and beveled. That one is made with three luxurious butters and a wonderful milk combo of goats milk, cows cream, whole cows milk, and goat milk yogurt. It is an unscented soap. I know unscented soaps aren't that popular but I love them so I will continue to make them. Every time I work downstairs, I melt down some of those old candles and pour out the wax so that I can wash up the containers.

(Left to right)
Top shelf: Summer Love Soap, Camocado Soap
Top middle shelf: Crema y Cacao Soap, Sweet Pink Camo Soap
Bottom middle shelf: Princess Kisses Soap, Crema y Cacao Soap off cuts, White Apricot Tea Soap
Bottom shelf: Odds and ends soaps to the left, more Crema y Cacao Soap off cuts, Apple Mint Goat Milk Soap, Watermelon Peach Goat Milk Soap, Blueberry Fig Goat Milk Soap

Top shelf: Figgy Cream Soap
Top middle shelf: Wild Island Breeze Soap
Bottom middle shelf: Half of the Rainbow soap batch
Bottom shelf: Sparkle Fruit Salad Soap

I'm hoping to make some more soap today. I'm not quite sure I'll have a spot to put it but I'm determined anyway!

On another note, we have a new, little kitten. Meet Lily!

Monday, April 7, 2014

His and Her Camo Soaps

Camo soaps are just so fun to make. This was my first time making them in a large batch but it went along quite nicely. It seems Springtime is when I tend to make them.

Up first was the girls camo soap with a mix of three pinks and white. I did forget that the heating pad was on under this batch so it did overheat. It is one of the first times that I have gotten the pronounced titanium dioxide crackling. I think it works in this case! I mixed another custom fragrance for this batch and is fabulous! This scent is a blend of sweet pea, apples, berries, and peaches. It may be my favorite scent ever! I adore it!

I've varied the colors of my guys camo soap through the years but I am super pleased with how the colors turned out this time. The inspiration for the camo color selection comes from the fatigues I remember my dad wearing when he was in the reserves. It wasn't digital camo, desert camo, or hunting camo but military, Vietnam-era type camo. I wanted to scent this batch in my custom blended Sierra scent which is a dupe for Sierra by Stetson. However, I went to mix my fragrances and found I only had half of two components of the blend that I needed. Since the entire batch was prepped otherwise, I chose to go through my collection and blend a new fragrance. I will admit, it is a bit odd, but I like it! The base of the blend is an earthy, cologne-type scent to which I added patchouli essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, fir needle essential oil, a touch of peppermint essential oil...and root beer fragrance! It's masculine, earthy, minty, and a touch sweet. It's really nice! This soap is again named Camocado. Normally, I use avocado puree in the batch but this time I decided I just didn't want to bother with it. Instead, I incorporated avocado oil into the batch. So Camocado will remain its name!

Both soaps will be available with my late May listings.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blueberry Fig Goat Milk Soap

The scent and design of this soap just popped into my head one day. Most of my inspiration comes this way and it's just a quick flash in which I see the soap and can imagine the scent. Usually it happens as I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Sometimes it is when I'm washing my hands with some other soap of mine. I am thankful to have these images! With this one, I even saw the font I was supposed to use. Odd or awesome? :-) I will go with both!

This scent is so classy and lovely. It immediately made me think of something like you would find at Crabtree & Evelyn. It is a delightful blend of fresh picked blueberries, Mediterranean fig, sandalwood, amber, and fresh lemon. Classy I tell you!

I knew I wanted to use full goat milk with this one so I began the search to find goat milk locally. The proved to be harder than I anticipated. Back in the olden days (somewhere around 2008), I could find lovely, creamy, goat milk from locally raised goats at our hometown grocery store. It was packaged in the most glorious glass bottle that has made a fine substitution for a vase over the years. However, I had no such luck in these futuristic, goat-milk-less times. In the end, I had to buy a carton of goat milk at Whole Foods, about 25 minutes away. unromantic. This would be the main reason why I don't use goat milk more often. Anywhoszits, that was quite the story of sourcing goat milk. Snoozeville.

Next step was to freeze the milks. I prefer large, chunky shapes (mine happened to be fun bug shapes) so that it takes longer for the milks to melt. I found that if I work with slushy milks that it melts too quickly and causes more burning. I did not have any troubles with that again this time and the milks were a nice pale yellow. Quite lovely indeed.

I will admit I became overly eager when just 7 hrs later my soap was pulling away from the dividers, and I unmolded the soap without doing a video. DOH! I realized this about the time that I had all the bars lined up just right for a picture. Geez. I was testing a new butter blend and it was just a minor change, but it made the soap a bit harder than usual. The soap was still soft enough that I wouldn't have wanted to cut it, but releasing from the mold was perfect. Anyway, I did make a video showing the unmolded soaps and how I plane and bevel them.

This soap turned out so creamy and lovely. It will be a limited edition and available with my late May listings.

Click on the pic to enlarge it. :-)

Thank you to all of those that commented on my last blog post. There are many that read blogs and I know now that it is worth the effort. So thanks!

Next up...Camo Soap!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tap, Tap, Tap...Is This Thing On?

Hello! Hello! It has been so long! I did not intend to abandon the blog again. Most of my social media activities take place on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Do people still read blogs even? If you're reading this, please leave a comment because I'm not sure if I should drop the blog or spend more time focusing on regular posts. I am not much of a blog reader nowadays, but that doesn't mean I'm the norm. Quite the opposite in most cases! HA!

I have been busily making soaps, wrapping soaps, listing soaps, and packing orders over the last few months. It's a steady and enjoyable job! I listed my most recent soaps over at my Big Cartel store on Sunday afternoon and sold out of all but one within several hours. I have been making bigger batches and yet, they still sell just as quickly! So now I am pondering (daydreaming?) about how to make even bigger batches and/or increase production in general. I am due to make Rainbow soap again, but I know that my 25 lb batch won't last more than a few hours once listed, so I need to figure out the most efficient way to produce it in even bigger quantities. I have several ideas and it is a problem that I am happy and blessed to have. I am very appreciative of my wonderful customers that allow me to do what I love on a regular basis!

This month, the super lovely Katie from Royalty Soaps did a royal review of Missouri River Soap. She is just so fun and I'm honored to be a part of her year of reviews. She is so cheerful and her videos are always at the top of my viewing list. Click HERE to see her review video and HERE for the review blog post.

Now for a sprinkling of photos from the last few months!

There are always soap dishes to get cleaned up!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Back To It!

Hi everyone! I know my blog has taken a back seat recently and I hope to update it more. November was just a crazy month for me. Fun, but crazy! I decided to take a break from selling in December but I will be back in January. It will most likely be mid-January as several of my soaps won't be ready until then. I am enjoying this time away from selling to get back into making product. In the last week I have made 2 huge batches, Rainbow and Crema y Cacao. Moving into the new year, I would like to make bigger batches so I don't have to remake soaps quite so often.

First up was my Rainbow soap. It is scented in a positively delightful pear scent. I just love the color and it makes my eyes happy.

The other large batch I made was Crema y Cacao. This is another favorite! It is an unscented soap with double the cocoa butter and extra cream. It is a very hard bar of soap and super luxurious. It is my preferred soap for the winter and anytime I just need a no-nonsense bar of soap. The cocoa butter scent does come through to the finished soap. It is fabulous! I will admit I had a different plan for the top, but I love it in all it's rustic beauty. It is such a classic bar of soap.

I have so many remakes to do and I'm excited about it! :-)