Wow, it’s almost been a year since my last post which is just tragic. I’m not sure what happened, except maybe social media overload. Going from someone who rarely even accessed her Facebook to having a business Facebook page, Instagram, 2x Work Emails and 2x Etsy shops, blogging just kind of got waylaid to the side. Which is a shame as I really enjoy writing posts – it’s like spewing out my internal turmoil onto the computer screen.
Well, I’ve come back (for now) and I will make an effort to post here, even if it is but once a month. I think this post will be just an overview of this year and what has occurred.
So first things first, I’ve come to realise that too much too soon is maybe not a good idea. On opening my shop I had released 16 different types of soaps – 8 from the Olive Oil & Honey range and 8 from the Sea Salt range. But this was maybe too much too soon as many of them didn’t sell well.
I found my top five best sellers (I will talk about this in a later post) which I’m happy about and slowly pulled the not-so-bestsellers from the shop. I reasoned that these were not worth the time it took to make and package them. Instead I began to make seasonal releases which have proven to be very popular, I think in part as it keeps things fresh and new for the customers. ‘Introducing’ new soaps every once in a while gets more notice than 16 different soaps that are always stocked in the Etsy shop.
The new seasonal releases introduced new packaging made to differentiate them – and I just love this packaging! It’s got a very rustic, natural look to it and it appeals to me that the natural drawstring burlap bag is reusable. It took along time to decide on this packaging and design the new labels but I’m very satisfied with the end result 🙂
What else? Oh yes, I attempted hot process for the very first time too! So exciting! I had previously just seen videos and read about this process but I came to a point suddenly where my stocks had seriously depleted and it completely flew past me as I was focused on other things (I know, bad management). I had tried hot process a few time on small test batches (400g oil weight) with varying success, but kind of getting the hang of it. When my stocks became low I attempted it for the first time with a large batch of soap (3kg oil weight approx) and it came out amazing. More than amazing the scent blend of essential oils is even stronger as the scent is added after the cook. I think I will do another blog post on this soon. I really like this method though. It’s great to make soap in a pinch and not wait 6 weeks for the bars to cure before you can sell.
Lastly, and probably the most significant to affect me and OLH was the opening of it’s sister shop Miraj. I call them sister shops because they are both handmade artisan soaps made in the traditional manner (cold process or hot process – not glycerine/melt and pour types). But whereas OLH is mainly organic and uses natural and nourishing additives (majority food grade) with scent blends made from essential oils, absolutes, tinctures etc only, Miraj utilises premium fragrance oils, aroma chemicals, colourful micas and nature identical oxides (I don’t use synthetic dyes in any products). Miraj is a means of letting me express my creativity with, well, more ingredients really. Scents such as almond, cherry, marine/ozone or chocolate fudge sundaes are just not achievable via natural essential oils. But are through fragrance oils, the majority of which I use are allergen free. If I wanted to create a soap scented with dark chocolate and red rose on a base of amber and vanilla, well I can do that now in Miraj :-). I think another blog post is in order (I need to write a list down at this rate!).