Wednesday, January 27, 2010

World Wide

During the past few days I have been obsessively working on a website for my soap business. I started out on Etsy. I love Etsy and the community of artists and crafters it connects me with but I began to feel that I needed wings. It was time for me to leave the nest and break out on my own. I will keep my Etsy shop but I am hoping that my main business will come through my website.

Interestingly when I went to register my domain name with google it did not turn out how I expected. Maybe it was the excitment, the speed at which my fingers were typing or because I was talking on the phone with my husband when I actually officially registered the domain name. So instead of registering I registered I did not notice this until I kept typing in the proper web address only to continually find that it was not a valid website. Upon closer inspection I realized my error and bombarded Google with a borage of e-mails pleading with them to cancel my botched domain name. I'm sure the workers at Google Help got a great laugh as they deleted my pleas and moved on to the next request. They did not respond. Not even to say, "Hey, that's really funny. Jokes on you." Nothing...

So after waiting what I considered to be an eternity I went on with the process. Swallowed my pride and the $10 I just flushed and proceeded to register the right domain name.

So here it is:

Also, if you are reading this and decide to place an order you will receive 10% off your first online order. Just write BLOGPOST in the message to the buyer at checkout and I will deduct 10% off the entire cost (including shipping) and refund it to you through paypal. This is valid from now until February 5th.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Please Vote

Since I have gotten so many varied responses to my photos I thought I would take a poll. Please help me by voting!!----------------->

I need to know what I should do about my photos on my etsy shop Oil and Spice. I have made some changes already to the shop so there are only 1 or 2 more soaps left with kid pictures but here is a link to some of the shots I had: flikr Originally all my soap shots had at least 2-3 shots with kids and 1-2 shots of just the soap.

Please check them out and vote! If you are confused by this see the below post for more info.

P.S. The last one should read "Kids creep me out" not "keeps creep me out" I guess I was doing this too fast....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hard Words

When I opened up my soap shop on Etsy last June I was struggling between artist and crafter. I found myself desiring greatly to have an artistic venue and yet realizing that at this point I needed to focus on trying to sell my craft. So I took some shots of my soap using the tips that Etsy so freely gives to us newbies and started my venture. It did not take me long to realize that there were close to a billion more soapers on Etsy with pretty much the same photos and wonderful soap that I had.

So I started brainstorming. What could I do to make my soap stand out against the other barrage of soaps out there? Well, I have always wanted to be a photographer but had such meager amounts of money to put behind the desire that I have had to content myself with my regular Digital Point and Shoot camera. (I do find myself staring off into space dreaming of the day when I will be able to afford an SLR but alas that is not for now...sigh)

As I was musing on what I could possibly do to stand out I was struck with one thing that seems to be emphasized over and over on etsy and that is the wonderful use of models to help bring personality to your product. Well, mostly they are referring to things such as clothing, jewelry, etc. But in what I considered a brilliant move (at the time) I decided to use my lovely sons to hold and smell the soap for my photos. Thus my artistic outlet began. We would have photo shoots, I would spend countless hours editing, cropping, and adjusting and finally with a sigh of contentment post them on my etsy site thinking, "this is going to set me apart. I have found it!"

Well, lately internet sales have gone down a bit (yes, I know that most of us are still reeling from Christmas) and so I decided to open my shop up to some critique from other successful etsy sellers. I think even though it is easy to think that I can manage anything people sling at me (after all I want positive critiques and I want to be better right??) the critiques I received were something I was NOT expecting.

The resounding opinion seemed to be..."Kids are creepy." "What do kids and soap have to do with one another." and "They look like they are going to eat the soap." I am definitely not upset at the critiques by any means but it was all so shocking to me at the time. It is so hard to step out of myself and look at my photos, etc. from other eyes. These comments spurred me on to get even more opinions. People did help by telling me that some of the darker shading I used made the kids look like they were from the depression era, and some people did not like the idea of their soap being handled by other hands (rest assured that I do not sell the bar of soap I use in the pictures but still, point well taken..)

After all this and an intense session of introspection I had to consent that what I am trying to do is sell my soap and if people are grossed out or creeped out by my photos than I am shooting myself in the foot. The artist in me wanted the kids to be a bit morose, not smiling and posing but looking off, feeling abstract, etc. The artist wanted to be edgey and different but the crafter realized that is not going to sell soap and that is my objective after all isn't it??

So, I am still musing over all the comments and wondering where to go from here. How do I avoid taking photos of soap that look like EVERYONE else's photos and still not turn people off? It is a quandary that I am still sorting out. I have also had to die a bit more to the artist who wanted to use my soap site as a photographic venue as well and realize it is not meant to be.

If you out there reading this have any critiques or opinions I would love to hear them. I want to make it a better shop and I also want it to stand out, be different and original.

So I muse and get over myself a little bit more...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Things that surround me:

Bars of freshly made lavender soap

boys playing with their daddy's lego cars

black beans simmering

stainless steal water bottle I got from christmas (thanks sis!)

mug of hot tea

My voice got lost somewhere in the van yesterday, at least that is what Warren said. I must have found it sometime last night because I'm back to my same decible level today. Warren exclaimed, "You found your voice Mommy!" Having lost my voice I actually realized two things...1) the boys can hear the tiniest whisper if they want to, 2)how often I tend to raise my voice to try to get their attention. Since, I couldn't raise my voice I didn't and things went much more smoothly than my loud voice could have imagined. So even though my voice has returned to it's rightful place I am striving to keep a quiet tone. We'll see how long it lasts....

Monday, January 11, 2010


I have created a new soap just in time for Valentine's day. A few months ago one of my friends requested a floral soap. Well, I set out on a quest to find essential oils that would combine in such a way to create a feminine floral scent that would still reflect my own personality but wouldn't be too earthy (yes, I know it is a bit shocking but I do tend to be a bit earthy in my scents).

Through my journey I settled on a blend of Jasmine, Rose and Sandalwood Essential oil. These oils combined create a soap that smells feminine and elegant. This is the type of soap you would find at a posh spa, not necessarily at your health food store.

Once my husband smelled it he set to work creating an interesting name. He being an english major is not necessarily happy when I name my soap something like "floral soap". After a bit of searching he discovered the term "Rosarium" which means "Rose Garden". It fit the soap perfectly and I loved the sound; however, if you google "Rosarium" you will discover that the term is also connected to the Catholic church (playing on the word "rosary"). Not quite our intention.

I made Roasaium just in time for my Valentine's Day deadline because it will make a perfect Valentine's Day gift. I am also going to combine it with a set of two white Crocheted washcloths as a Valentine's Day gift set.

This soap makes up for the batch I destroyed last week. I was trying to make a new Lime-Basil soap and ended up adding way too much Basil Essential Oil. The result was a very green soap (I also added parsley powder to make it green) that smelled distinctly peppery, almost like Black Licorice but now quite. Warren took one snif and said, "yuck!" Nice.... so that soap was scraped and given away to my gracious family who are willing to take all natural soap even if it doesn't smell the best.

So I needed my floral one to turn out and I do believe it turned out lovely.

I had to borrow my niece for the photo shoot because I really wanted a girl to pose with my soap since this is a distinctly feminine soap and there is a shortage of feminine presence in my household.

I'm trying not to eat, breath and sleep soap but sometimes it is hard. Still, it is nice to have a new one on the list.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I have never colored my hair. Okay, so there was that one time in college when my friend and I experimented with whatever we found at the drug store. I think I chose some sort of reddish tint although had I been bold enough I would have selected black or something very dark. I always envied my best friend in high school because she had black hair and could die her hair blue and no one would be able to tell unless she was standing in the sun. This was especially important since our school was pretty strict and I don't think the teachers would have looked kindly if I showed up with blue hair (not to mention what my parents would have done).

So the longer I went without coloring my hair the more it became a determination to be different. I went from wanting to color my hair to be different to NOT coloring my hair in order to be different. Then I entered a new phase and became even more concious of harsh chemicals and my standout became more based on environmental/health reasons.

But now I'm beginning to wonder...To question all that once seemed so obvious to me. At one time in my life I was blond. No doubt about it. There wasn't any question. I had blond hair. Unfortunatly time has not been so kind to my natural color and now I have no idea what I am. I visited a church with my parents over the holidays and a lady said to me, "Where did your kids get their blond hair?" I looked behind me. Was she talking to me? Don't get me wrong. I don't mind at all not being blond. In fact I"m tired of the jokes and stereotypes and would be happy not to be blond; however, I'm not happy being in limbo. What am I? Am I a brunette? or worse...sandy blond (probably a color invented for just this reason). Maybe I'll just have to create my own name, like brond or sunkissed oatmeal.

Who knows...for now I"ll just look clueless and shrug my shoulders when people muse about my sons' hair color...

Friday, January 1, 2010


This year resolve:

  • To take better care of your skin by using all natural bath products that are made with only all natural ingredients. Your skin is a thirsty organ. Let it drink deeply in things that are healthy and nourishing: Oil and Spice
  • To buy Handmade products from people like you instead of mass produced products that lack personality and character: Etsy, Buy Handmade
  • Try to buy produce and food locally if at all possible: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; Sustainable Food, Local Farmers Market, Food, Inc.

Happy New Year!