Monday, March 28, 2011

My Printastic Picks

Ok, so I have decided that in addition to the business and craft topics that I already post, it would be interesting to feature some of the great artisans and crafters that I have been lucky enough to run across so far during my time on Etsy.

My Printastic Picks will showcase some great little shops that have wonderful products and give you the scoop on what makes those products stand out from their mass produced retail competitors. At the very least, it will broaden my informative topics and hopefully give those of you who stop by a great read.



My first pick is a fellow Treasury Island team member from Etsy...
Indulgent Creations Handmade Soap & Bath
April's shop is full of beautiful soaps and unique bath products. A few of my favorites (pictured in this post) are the soap sacks, the laundry stain sticks, and the the soapcicles for kids. You can find all of these items on her website, as well as a good variety in her etsy shop.

I chose Indulgent Creations for several reasons, first because I have recently discovered the awesomeness of handmade soap. Yes, it's more expensive that your store brand, but the benefits for your skin, as well as for the environment are worth it. Just for example, April uses rain water to make her soap. This keeps the chemical additives found in tap water out of her products, and all of the natural beneficial properties of pure water in.



Below is the written interview I conducted with April recently about her growing business.

What made you decide to start making handmade soaps and bath products?
I began making handmade soap for myself 5 years ago due to a constant battle with eczema. I loved pretty smelling bath products and lotions but was no longer able to use them as they made me itch and my skin broke out and burned terribly. I started doing research both online and in books. I spent a year or so trying different recipes and tweaking them to find something that made my skin happy. Once I found one that worked well, everyone wanted to try it. I gave a LOT of soap away in that 1st year and then due to the cost of supplies, Indulgent Creations Handmade Soap & Bath was born.

Can you explain the basics of the cold process method you use?
Cold Process soaping is basically a process of making soap without cooking it in a crock pot or on the stove top. The process I use is known as CPOP (Cold Process Oven Process). I melt my oils in a pot, once cooled, add my lye mixture and any other goodies I want to put into that batch. I mix with a stick blender, pour into my molds, do any swirling, pretty things I want and from there I put the mold in the oven on a low heat. The oven process of making soap is not needed but the chemical process that takes place is a slow heat up where the soap basically cooks itself in the mold. I can speed up this chemical process by using the oven. This allows me make more soap at a quicker pace. (This is a very basic explanation of soap making...there's a lot of time and money involved but wanted to keep it simple)


Do you prefer using common, well known scents, or your own new creations?
Most of the scents I use are pretty common, well known scents. Besides making soap I also make lotions, auto air fresheners, soy candles & tarts, bath salts, bath bombs, laundry stain sticks, crocheted washcloths and soap sacks and scented wax dipped critters. Keeping up with my current line up doesn't allow much time for blending of my own scents...maybe some day down the road.

Besides your etsy shop, how do you market your small business?
Beside my Etsy site and keeping up with my own website I do my local Farmers Market every Saturday morning from April thru October. I also do several craft shows in my area. I have a Facebook page and you'll catch me Twittering every now and again...


How do you make your products stand out from the other shops selling similar products on Etsy?
I try to make my soaps look as nice and unique as possible. As with any craft, I think we all get a "writers block" for lack of a better expression. I have certain soaps like the Oatmeal, Goats Milk & Honey and Cool Citrus Basil that will always be part of my line up as they're too popular to discontinue but also try to come up with new soap scents and designs each season. Last year was the Black Raspberry Vanilla which sold out the first day at the market and Honey Almond which I spent the rest of the season selling it faster than I could make it. I also revamped my labels last season as I feel that's a very important part of this business.


In your opinion, why are handmade soaps and bath products better than those readily available at retail stores?
There are several reasons that to me, handmade soaps are better for your than store bought. If you've tried a good handmade soap then you already know. Once you use handmade soap, it'll be very hard to go back to store bought soap. Your skin feels so good, not dry and tight. I don't put any chemicals in my soaps, there's no foaming agents. Many of the foaming agents you'll find in store bought soaps are just the thing that causes skin irritation. I do everything possible to stay away from FD&C colorants which also can irritate skin. Basically the only thing I put in my soap that is not natural, is a fragrance oil. I do offer several essential oil soaps that are completely natural. Many of your store bought soaps are not really soap, they are detergent bars. The chemical process of making soap creates glycerin, this is what attracts and holds moisture to your skin. Most of your commercial bars have had the glycerin extracted from the bars because the company sells it and profits from the glycerin. Lastly, keep in mind when you buy handmade soap you are supporting agriculture. I use several oils that support farming...tallow (beef), lard (pig), soybean and corn oil.


All of the soaps by Indulgent Creations are made from all natural ingredients with the only exception being the fragrance, but there are also some available without it, if you prefer. The best part is they are all handmade by April and she is just a hop, skip and jump away in our little cyberspace world. Support handmade and the next time your in the market for a new bar of soap, or two, or three, just hop on over to Indulgent Creations for some awesome selections.
Oh, and by the way, if your planning to use your new handmade soap while taking a long luxurious bath, you could also swing by my shop and grab a vinyl wall design for your bathroom wall to enjoy as well!


Until next time-
Jill♥

2 comments:

  1. Great article! Your newest follower from EBT, welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article!! I am now a follower!

    ReplyDelete