Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I've been having fun on Facebook lookkng at everyone's pictures from days past, here's one for you of my little shop! It was such a cute little place and I loved it so! It was built in the 1930's and had coved ceilings. I was there for two years, until I started busting at the seams, buying my oils and such in bulk. I wouldn't change the experience for anything! You can see the tail end of Milo too, the little lilac Bug. He actually came to a couple of Markets in the begining! The sign, was handpainted by my brother in law. The logo is the first one I used, I designed it myself. :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jack of All Trades Oakland Part 2

I had so much fun Saturday, I took a couple of pix for you. I was in a different spot this time, by the boats, really a gorgeous spot! In fact it's just a couple spaces down from where my son and I stood when we did the Jack London Farmers Market ages ago. Here's what was behind me
We also had Fashion Trucks, ever see those? They are like a store on wheels! I wasn't that close but I thought it was a cool idea!
And of course we also had a few food trucks! I loved the name of this one!
I was next to some really nice people that had these gorgeous hangings from Haiti and I horse-traded for a small piece! I had a lot of fun and hope they continue the event after next month. So for now December 14th is the last one, I can hardly wait to go again!

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Amazing Customers

So I have had some fall-out from the decision to discontinue the Mini's, but when I explain to my customers that it's a matter of balance abd time, the have been amazing. One customer said "I support that!" and it's so cool. It's never an easy decision to stop making any product, especially when its not doing badly, but for the overall good, I know it was the right thing!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Streamlining

I've decided to cut a couple of products that are time intensive. I always feel badly when I have to do that, especially when it's something that has been around a long time. The thing is that my focus for the coming year is streamlining so I can focus more on the core products, full sized soap and candles. So I'll be eliminating the Mini's and the glyerine soap, although I may do glycerine from time to time. I was thinking about the hours a week it takes to maintain an additional 18 mini soaps ( in addition to the 30+ I already do! ) as well as making each glycerine soap one at a time, it adds up to quite a lot! Anyhow, just wanted to let you guys know, so as soon as the current stock is gone, it's gone!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Handmade

To the right, under my banner, is a cool widget you can click to pledge buying Handmade this Holiday Season. I pledged, join me!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vintage Coolness

So the picture is of my new flag holder, it's easier to use than the one we built with PVC pipe, much less combersome. So here's the cool part, it's actually made to stick in your lawn with the flag hanging from that, a friend had one that was welded across the prongs as mine is, now. I didn't know anyone that did welding that could do that for me so my sweet husband called around and found this place in Brentwood that could do it for me. Kirk's Welding on Brentwood blvd. So while he was welding it for me, I was looking around and said that he was sort of a modern day Blacksmith, and he said that's what the building was originally! I just thought that was SO cool, that the building still got to do what it had been used for all these decades later! He did great work too and understood what I wanted with only a quick explanation, that's so rare too! I just thought it was so cool to see that!

Monday, September 23, 2013

This is the event I'll be doing in Oakland for the next 3 months on the second Saturday of the month. I'll miss my Pleasanton peeps but SO looking forward to the event!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Special Event

You guys know I never miss Market unless there's pretty severe weather, I really hate to miss Market and so I seldom do! There is however an event in Oakland that I will be doing the second Saturday of Oct - December that sounds like a lot of fun! It's called the Jack of All Trades Oakland and will be at Jack London Square. It's put on by the same folks that do the Treasure Island Flea and it looks like they know how to do an event! http://www.treasureislandflea.com/ We used to do that Market years ago, I remember the time fondly, my son was still pretty young and he used to come with me, we would share a burrito from Donna's Tamales and then get some Pierogies for the ride home. I have to say I am so enjoying the journey this company has led me through. Anyhoooo, that's the latest!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Noir

This was such a fun soap to do. It was inspired by some chats I have most Sunday's with a customer at my Martinez Market. He loves old movies too and we always chat about them. One day I was thinking how cool it would be to do a soap in homage to Film Noir! That's what this soap is about, so it's got black and grey in it. The scent came from an episode of Frasier! I was watching and he says "now to try my new soap, it's sandalwood with just a touch of clove"! I said "that's IT!" I wanted something smokey for the scent and that's it! It wont be ready for another week yet and its a small batch but I really loved the concept, start to finish, what do you think?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Creature Comforts

Here are a few things to think about to make your day at your Farmers Market or event a little easier: Water, always make sure to drink enough! What we do in the summer is fill a bottle half-way up and freeze it, then add water the day of the event and you'll have nice cold water as the ice melts! A rubber matt, these are great for your joints, you can get them just about anywhere and it does make standing on that hard cement a little easier. Layers - dress in layers so you can take off as you need to. I always have a jacket and a hair clip in my car too, doesn't hurt to be prepared! Snack/lunch - Bring something to munch on, preferably something that's easy to eat between customers. Do make sure you bring something rather than leaving your table to go get something. I have seen people leave their table for the 20 minutes it takes and they lose sales during that time. Sometimes you'll be lucky and get a neighbor who will make the sale for you, but I feel like they are there for THEIR customers, and rightly so. So if you leave your table you risk losing sales, and that is why you're there after all! Comfy Shoes - I'm a big believer in that, when I"m home I almost never have shoes on! So when I do have to wear shoes they are mostly Birkenstocks, I can wear them for hours on end and they never give me any problems. Hat and Scarf- These also live in the car, you never know when you'll need them! I'm sure there are a ton of other things you can do to make yourself a little more comfortable while you're at Market, but that will get you started. That's Murray BTW getting comfortable on me!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Market Apron

I've been looking for a nice half-apron (also known as "Vendor Apron" or "Utility apron" if you're doing a search) with nice big pockets and spent some time on Etsy yesterday looking for one. I came upon this shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/ApronAddict?ref=seller_info and knew I'd find something I liked. This one has nice roomy pochets and this cool little thing to hold my keys. I love that it ties in the front too, nice if you have to drive with it it, you don't get this uncomforatble lump in your back! Anyhow, she has some really cute ones, do check it out if you're looking for one. It's alot safer BTW to have your phone and money on you rather than behind your table, the bad guys know to look there! Here's my apron

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A word about tables

My Market tables are all tall. One is a Lifetime table that has variable heights and the other is my original table that I use PVC pipe to make the table taller. (see the pink "leg warmers" in the pocture?). The reason I have a taller table that usual is actually 3-fold. 1) Makes it a little harder for unattended children to grab things off the table (It happens!) 2) Easier on my back, leaning over a short table will take its toll and, the # 1 reason for having a taler table: the closer your table to the nose and eyes of your people the easier it will be for them to see how awesome your products are, and to spend obscene anmounts of money! If you're using a short table, think about that! :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Amelia - Eyesore

I  had never heard this artist before and know nothing about her but I liked it instantly! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Signage

Signage is one of those BIG ones. You're trying to build a brand, so you want to differentiate between you and the other folks that do something simillar (even though we KNOW yours is better!). So having great signage that gives them your name, a website is a good thing, or even one that just invites them to have a closer look is helpful. There's also the signage that informs folks about what they're looking at, tells them the features and benefits and of course the price. Sometimes when I'm busy with folks, other folks will come in and I acknowledge them (that's HUGE!!) and then let them look around and the signage really helps. In one of the pictures you can't really make out what's being shown, the one with all the soaps. I've made up a little sign that says "with Shea Butter" and there's bright yellow paper and it sorts of points the way for those that are really into Shea. It's much easier than saying "well, it's in that one, that one.." :-) I also have my sign that points out that some of the soaps have matching Soy Candles, they might now realize that if they didn't see the sign. I also have the Facebook Sign on there, it's an easy way of getting new fans, then they can follow your sales/special offers/see what you're up to! (have that info on your biz cards too, then they have something to take with them) Most of the banners, I have had done at small print shops, however you can have them made just about everywhere, Staples, Vista Print etc. Bear in mind that the standard tent is 10 feet wide, so you'll want to try and get close to that. The shops are pretty willing to help you design too, so don't let that stop you. (at least I have always worked with nice people that way) If you have a means of accepting credit cards, make sure they are aware of that, with a big 'ol honkin' sign! Once they know you take credit cards, there's no stopping them and it really will impact your sales! Let me know if you think of any questions on the topic, but do get those signs, they don't have to be expensive either, just something to help get your point across!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sweet Caroline performed by Big Dog and The Bite

We lost a dear friend Wednesday, we did a lot of Markets over the years. he always sang "Dream a little Dream of Me" for me. I'll miss his bear hugs.  I'll never forget you Jeffrey!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weights

I can't say enough about weights, carry them with you always! You never know when you're going to have wind and having them will give you some peace of mind, not to mention keep you, your fellow vendors and customers safe! We really needed them yesterday and I was happy to have them, even though my old tent is steel and heavy all by itself. The new tents are mostly aluminum and quite lightweight, even more reason to have weights! I was going to take some pictures for you yesterday but as not many people were using weights, I only have a picture of my own weights. It's not a great pucture but I hope you get the idea. It's made from PVC pipe (I should have stock in that stuff!) and filled with cement and has a bicycle hook permanantly mounted in the top. My husband made me a set of 4 of these and they are awesome, I just hook it to the top rod in the corner, secure with a bungee and I'm done. I have seen vendors use a bungee chord attached to their table, which is better than nothing, but bad for two reasons, if the wind is big enough, it CAN flip your table over I have seen that happen, potatoes on the ground, such carnage! :-) Also doing it this way still gives the tent quite a few options, it can go in a few diffent directions, as many as the bungee will allow. There are quite a few ways you can do weights, do a search, maybe Flickr will have some good ones, but the thing to keep in mind is you want something that doesn't take up a lot of room, make a big mess ( as in using sand ) or cause a tripping hazard for anyone. Believe me if there's a way to trip over something I'll find it! In addition to your weights, you can also bungee yourself to the tents that are next to you, it will give all of you more weight and make it harder for the wind to do its evil deed! I do remember one time at Jack London Square Market many years ago (before I had my awesome weights) a crazy windy day, and they get some spectacular wind there, there was a line of at least 5 tents bungeed together and you know that wind made all of the front legs rear up! I fear had we NOT done that some of the tents would have been in the water! Anyhow, be smart, be prepared, keep your weights with you! (I feel like David Horowitz "don't let anyone rip you off!")

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tents

The first year we did Farmers Markets, we used a Market Umbrella and a heavy stand. It was Ok for short term use, but I was constantly chasing the shade and it was truly inadequate for any REAL weather. When I finally decided to get a tent, I did a lot of research, there are a lot of ways to go. Tents go by a lot of names, they are referred to as tarps, EZ ups (regardless of brand), shades, shelters, and pop-ups. There are others I'm sure but that will get you started. There are a bunch of brands too, the most common ones are Caravan (my own personal choice), EZ UP, California Palms, California King, Quick Shade among many others. You can get them as cheap as around $60 up to a couple hundred, remember you get what you pay for! Beware of the tents that say 10 x 10 (that's the standard size for one space at the Farmers Market) but are 10 x 10 on the bottom and 8 X 8 on the top, this is accomplished by having slanted legs, like this I like that this one they actually tells you how big it is. The thing I have seen with tents of this type, is that they are generally not made well and will not last you long, there are exceptions, but they are generally really flimsy and I wouldn't waste much time with one. My son refers to them as "Janky Ups" because they are a waste of aluminum! Caravans and any of the other brands are made much better and should last you much longer with proper care. My own tent is 12 years old and my friends all call it the "Dinosaur". This particular tent has had 5 tops on it! You can by the way get replacement tops, in different colors, mine is purple, although remember that some events or Markets require white, so if you're buying one do check that out first. The replacement top I use us from www.california-Palms.com. I get 2-2.5 seasons out of a top. That's pretty good when you figure that for me that's 3 Markets a week year round. Here's your standard 10 x 10 tent If you can find one of the tents with the center support, I prefer this, in a good wind there's something to hang on to, and putting them up is much easier, you get underneath and push up from the center, way easy! A couple of things to do to help your tent last: One is when you're putting it up and someone is helping you, stay on the same side of the tent at the same time, in other words, you don't want to be doing "kitty corners" because this can weaken the truss, that's BAD. You'll also want to inspect the joints/screws now and then, make sure nothing is going to fall off! You can get replacement parts if you need to, this is good to know because when they get old, the rods will sometimes break and it's nice to know you can just replace the rods rather then having to buy a new tent altogether. You can also spray a little WD-40 inside the legs every now and then, it helps lubricate things so the legs arent fighting you when you're trying to put the tent up. Most modern tents are made of aluminum, which is good and bad. It's good when you have to carry it, bad when you're in a wind, which brings me to the next topic, tent weights! See you for that one next week! Feel free to ask any questions if you have them!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Working with a Farmers Market

I have been fortunate enough to work with a Farmers Market since the very begining of Delta Moon Soapworks. The "Distribution Channel" (how your customers will get your product) is about as important as the product itself! I have worked with several associations in the past 13 years, namely Pacific Coast Farmers Market Assn (www.pcfma.com), Contra Costa Farmers Market Assn ( www.cccfm.org ) , Urban Village ( www.urbanvillageonline.com ) and Marin Farmers Market (www.agriculturalinstiture.org ). You will find that each of them offer something unique, they will each have their own policies, some accept Artisans, others do not. A certfied Farmers Market means that the produce is grown here in California and there are guidelines that must be followed in order to maintain the certification. I enjoy being part of an organization that works so hard to educate the public about where it's food comes from, and also offers programs about how to use the food they buy, Cookin the Market is one such program, I can't cook (whatever I try to cook tastes like soap! )but I always come away having learned something. Farmers Markets are a very vital part of the community. Whichever Association you work with, do read the by-laws and rules, it's so much easier for everyone involved when we're all on the same page! As a small business, I find the athmostphere of the Market to be amazing, I have learned so much along the way and the other vendors/producers were an invaluable resource. I joke thet we're just a roving band of gypsies, we all participate in Markets sort of all over, but we've become a family of sorts too. Please let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll do my best to answer them for you. Next post will be about some things you should consider about your tent and other things that will make life easier for you as a Farmers Market Vendor!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Coming soon - Farmers Market posts

I've been asked to do some posts on selling at the Farmers Markets. I've been selling at the Market since 2000 so I have a decent handle on what's involved! So starting next week I'll be doing a series on, what's involved, required, tips, tricks and misc! If you have any questions be sure to let me know and I'll do my best to answer them for you. Here's an older picture of me in Pleasanton. I've changed a few things since then, but basically I use the same set up.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pottery by Daina

Every now and then I see something so cool, that I have to treat myself, this was the latest cool thing Since I'm the only one that drinks wine around here, I asked if I could just get one, and so she sent me a gorgeous blue one! It came very fast and was nicely packaged, so it got here in one piece. You know, I'll just HAVE to have a glass of wine tonight, just to make sure it works! (wink wink) Do check out her Etsy shop, nice one! https://www.etsy.com/listing/112440940/handcrafted-pottery-wine-glass-set-2?ref=shop_home_active

Monday, May 20, 2013

WWOOF

I recently met a man who was working with WWOOF, I thought it was pretty cool! It's an organization that matches volunteers with organic farms. The volunteers learn a great deal about Organic Farming and of course it benefits the farm as well. It's great that this organization exists, and I love that it's thriving so well! The volunteers get to do all different things, from working at the farms to bringing the organic veggies to the Farmers Market! It's in several countries and has been aroound since 2001. For more information go to http://www.wwoofinternational.org/

Friday, May 10, 2013

A different kind of Tweet

This is my newest Studio mascot, found on Etsy https://img1.etsystatic.com/013/0/7398566/il_fullxfull.451595881_20wu.jpg and it's just TOO cute! They come in different colors and she can even do them custom if you like. I love to promote other Etsy shops, particularly when they are so wonderful to work with. Check 'em out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The next Essential Oil Blend

So when I was at my beloved Martinez Farmers Market last week, I was given a wonderful, fragrant tea bag from some favorite customers. The aroma of this tea was nothing short of amazing! I wanted to make a soap using the tea, but after much research, I found that only a small amount of that rich aroma would come through. so, I used many of the essential oils that were listed on the ingredient listing and came up with my own version of Good Earth's original Sweet and Spicy tea. So it will have Lemongrass, Orange, Lime, Clove and Mint, with Shea Butter and some of that same tea for exfoliation. I think it smells wonderful! Here it is pictured, although it still needs some time to cure. I can hardly wait to share it with you! It will be replacing Haiku.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Urban Ore

I had to go to Berkeley today to get some supplies and so I stopped by Urban Ore. It's on 9th and Murray (great name!) and is REALLY a fun place to wander. The name of the game is recycling/reusing and you will find all kinds of wonderful things that have been discarded but still have lots of life left. If I were ever to build/refurbish a house, I would go there first! Their site is www.urbanore.org here is a line of doors we saw there, I loved that place and I'm sure I'll be back soon!

Friday, April 12, 2013

imagining

Do you ever see something, and wonder what it's life was like? I came across this listing on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/listing/126425097 for these vintage buttons and of course my imagination went into "I wonder" mode. I imagined that the buttons were on this gorgeous ball gown, and how excited the young lady was to wear the gown with the beautiful buttons. If the buttons were this pretty, you can only imagine what the dress looked like! I was thinking how cool it would be if you could actually KNOW what these buttons had seen. How cool that they are still around too, for the next big evening!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cool Blog

I really love the country look for decorating, my big thing is really "cozy" I love small houses and we actually lived in a cottage downtown Antioch for many years. Hard to see the house for all the cars! Anyhow, I came across this cool blog that I thought you might enjoy http://theoldpaintedcottage.blogspot.com/ Have fun!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the Newest one!

I made this amazing candle which now has a matching soap. The scent is "Jamaica me crazy" and is a blend of coconut, tangerine, banana and rum of course! It's going to make it's debut today at the Concord Farmers Market. Here is is again if you'd like a closer look http://www.etsy.com/listing/127909109

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cool Card Holder

I came across a really easy tutorial for a business card holder at http://www.handmadeology.com/ it's made from wire and beads and very cool. Do check out the rest of the blog too, good information if you're into marketing your handmade goods!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

the Ink Blot test

So when I slice the Spike soap, it's always fun for me, sometimes I get cool shapes that almost look like something. What does this one look like to you? I thought it looked like boobs! My husband thought it looked like an owl!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

cute handmade critter

You guys know I meet the most cool folks at the Market and today was no exception! I met this really talented artisan that does the most unique stuffed critters! She has an Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/nessacraft if you want to check it out. I got to see one in person and it was VERY cute! I loved that it was handmade with love, and not just your generic type stuffed critter. Please pass her shop on to your friends too if you would! :-)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentines Day

I made up two limited Editions for Valentines Day this year! One is red Clover Tea, but without the oatmeal and it has a pretty pink swirl, the other is Beguiled, Mandarin Orange and Chocolate with cocoa butter, that's the one I do every Valentines Day! I had fun with that one too, I did a blind swirl, which is just starting to develop. I also had a soap stamp made, isn't it cool?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Zaarly

SO there's this VERY cool new website, that has offerings of services as well as products. It's very new and such a cool concept! The pictures are gorgeous! My own pictures were taken at my Concord Farmers Market this last Tuesday, they sent out a photographer and my soap has never looked so good! To celebrate, we're offering a special deal for new customers, here's the link, please feel free to share this with your friends! https://www.zaarly.com/deltamoonsoap/new-customer-special-your-choice-of-4-handmade-mini-soaps Do take a peek at the site, very cool!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The blind swirl

I love to do this particular soap every year, Beguiled, dark chocolate with Mandarin Orange and cocoa butter. This time I did it a little differently, I did a "Blind Swirl". When I'm making the soap, I put fragrance into a portion of the soap and the other remains unscented. Then I layer the different portions, and even though it all looks white when it's being made, after a while the portions with the fragrance will turn darker. Here it is after just being sliced, I'll post another picture after it's begun the change, it's really fun to see how the swirl actually turns out, and of course it smells like heaven!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Please support a good cause

A dear friend of mine is involved with the Morris Animal Foundation, she is trying to raise money for this worthwhile cause, in memory of her beloved Cody. I REALLY want to help her achieve her goal, please join me in helping Lisa! Any amount you can give is OK and I know it's fantastic Karma! Please share the link with your friends too http://support.morrisanimalfoundation.org/site/TR/Events/General?px=1071651&pg=personal&fr_id=1330 You rock!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tessa

So you guys know I did a soap called "Murray" that was inspired by my silly cat. I did a Limited Edition for the other cat, Spike, it was black with white swirls. My husband teased "too bad you couldn't make a brindle soap". Our sweet dog Tessa is brindle, so I replied "watch me!". So here it is, it's done in the "Dolce" scent if you remember that, and the color is a little black, some antique bronze and a little gold as well!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Passion

I am a firm believer in being unique, and being myself. I'd rather stand out a little than go along with everyone else because it's the current "fashion", know what I mean? It's one of the things I'm passionate about, you can't fake that! I came across this quote from Ivanka Trump that I thought was pretty right on, she considered it her best advice : "Love what you do. There's always going to be someone else who's smarter than you, but there's no substitute for passion. People who are passionate always work the hardest, and that sets them apart" I'm very passionate about what I do for a living too, I can't imagine doing anything that I'd love more!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hangin' in there

I used to have a Market buddy, and we were talking one day about how inconsistent the Markets can be, it can be scary when you do this for a living, you just never know what kind of day you're going to have. My friend said "some days it's chicken, other days it's just feathers" which I thought was very to the point! If I still ate meat, I'd rather have chicken than feathers! So today was a feather day, but the thing to take away from a day like this is, it's just now and then, thank goodness. You also look at the day to see if there's anything else you could have done, but on a day where the weather is a factor, plus it's January, there's just not much you can do, except hang in there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spike

So this is sorta funny, I did a soap inspired by our stripey cat, Murray, and got to thinking that Spike, our black cat should have a soap too, it's only fair! He's a very sweet cat, so I was thinking it should be a sweet scent, and the Creme Brulee candles sell out faster than I can make them, so I made the soap in that scent. It has a white mica swirl, I didn't want to leave it solid black, that would have been boring for a soap. So here's the picture. (I apologize for the picture, it was taken with my phone)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

new year

I love the New year, it's like the begining of a new day, full of promise and possibilities. I have so many things I am looking forward to and so many things I want to accomplish this year. May YOU have an awesome New year!