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Friday, September 30, 2011

Two More Venues

There are so many on-line selling venues you just wouldn't believe it! It 's amazing to me the differences in the way they do things. One of them, looked good until you read the small print: they pay you after they get their money, make you wait some time for yours, yet you were expected to send the goods to the customer right away. That's not cool! Then there was another that looked good, was supposed to be free, however they wanted your credit card before you could open a store, why? Needless to say I didn't hang around to see why!
I did find a couple that I thought were pretty good, one is Addoway ( and I liked the way they were organized, and the other Storenvy I REALLY liked. ( I liked that they had all the bells and whistles that you normally have to pay for, and I really liked that they are Google Analytics enabled, so you can see your actual traffic.
I guess the take away from this post is knowing there are oodles of venues out there, just make sure to read all the small print first!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pocket Lotions

We recently brought these back to our customers. The cool thing is when you discontinue something, it gives toy a chance to really tweak it til you're happy with it, so now, this is made with Certified Organic Shea Butter (was just Shea before, still good but this is better), Sweet Almond Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil (Didn't have that either, it's high in Vitamin A and E)and Beeswax.

They're fabulous for travel and wont make a mess even with the lid off. They are loved by nurses, or folks who wash their hands a lot of work with paper. They're great on hands/elbows/knees and heels. They are available at the Farmers Market or on our website

Always look for ways to improve your product, that's what keeps your customers coming back!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another one

Here's another picture from the Chalk Festival for you. It's a little hard to see because of the plastic, but it's of parrots - I think!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chalk Festival

So I didn't get to see all the chalk matserpeices today, and the thing was, some of them didn't get finished because we had RAIN! I took this picture early and it was protected with plastic. I know that Starbucks put out some big umbrellas to help preserve them as much as possible, although people were then refering to them as "watercolor art" :- ( Anyhow, here's one of the pictures for you, enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Italian Chalk Festival

This is held in downtown Martinez every year, there's food, entertainment, artisans, and of course chalk drawings like this one from last year! I'm sure it will be a lot of fun! The Farmers Market will still be going as well, it will be on Castro Street rather than Main Street as it always is. We'll be there of course, look for the purple tent! I'll try to post more pix for you from this year!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


So there are online forums for whatever your interest is, as well as for many of the online selling venues. The good news is it's a place to socilaize, learn tip and tricks, technique, sources for things, just a wealth of information.
The Bad News is that you will pretty much always find someone complaining about something. I have decided that this is their bag and to not let any of that influence my thinking in any way. We all have our own experiences and sometimes it's a thing where people would rather complain about things than do something about it. There are so many good resources out there, it just bugs me, you know!
Enjoy your time on the forums, just know there will be those folks that don't get all they can out of it, but I know YOU will :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Internet Sales

As you know there are so many internet venues on line to sell your goods. In oder to be seen, it's a good idea to re-list of you're on Etsy as well as being an active participant in the forums of whichever venue you're working with. Artfire has this really cool guide if you have the time to read it I highly recommend it, I believe it's the "45 day guide to sales" and has some pretty beneficial information in there.
Speaking of Etsy I see that they are changing things up a bit and now in addition to re-listing, you can also pay for advertising, that will start soon, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Other things you can do are read blogs and make relavant comments, you never know who will see them!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hard workers

This truck belongs to one of my Market Buddies, Scott, it's a gorgeous truck, but the point is what a hard worker it is. When you consider that most of these vehicles attend 3-5 Farmers Markets a week, that's a lot of driving and a lot of work for these special Market Vehicles! I know my beloved van isn't the size of some of the huge trucks, but believe me, she works every bit as hard. Here's to you Market Vehicles!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On a personal note

I don't write about my personal life very often, but it's worth mentioning today, it's our 25th wedding anniversary, I think that's so special, especially in this disposable age we live in.
I'd have to say the number one thing is probably just communication and understanding, you have nothing with

out those things. Of course lots of love, that goes without saying.
Just wanted to share that with you. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stop and Smell the......

Soap! Bet you thought I was gonna say "roses"! Well, what ever you enjoy smelling, take a minute to enjoy it. As Ferris Beuhler would say "stop and look around". Take a minute to reflect and appreciate all the wonderful things in your life, it's too easy to miss the good stuff if you don't look!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taking Care of Business

As a business owner, or even just a person, there are times in our businesses and lives that we have to take the initiative and be proactive. It's usually around something we don't really want to deal with, but sometimes you just have to take care of things, sometimes if you ignore them they tangle into a big mess, that much I have learned!
So if there's something like that you need to do, get it before it gets you! You'll feel better for having done the right thing and taking care of it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Good News and the Bad news

So my gorgeous new labels were ready at the Printers today. The good news is that they were gorgeous, except for one small typo, that was the bad news. I decided to keep them anyhow because 1) I didn't want to waste the otherwise perfect labels and B) they offered me a nice discount on the order!
I didn't put a picture of the label so that those of you that see the "Not Just For Feet Bars" in person can try to spot the error!
By the way, we usually do a "proof" before anything is printed, but I have a long standing relationship with the Printer and it really wasn't a huge deal. Not like I never make typos! One of my friends makes so many typos, she calls herself the "Queen of Pythos" :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011


No picture for this post, I didn't want to embarass anyone!
I was looking at soap on Etsy the other night, and I know you've heard this before if you sell on-line, pictures are everything! The only thing your customers have to go by is the picture, they can't touch or smell what you're offering.
The level of professionalism you use, is critical! Some of the soap SOUNDED ok by the description, but I just couldn't get past the rustic look of some of the soap there. Not that there's anything wrong with rustic, I just feel better knowing that my soap didn't come from Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies! Not that I purchase a lot of soap to begin with, but I love to see what everyone else is doing.
Remember to do your products justice, that's all your customers have to go on.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bakery Racks

After the soap is made it has to cure, the moisture evaporates out and the bar gets harder. I have at least a batch of soap curing at any given time, ideally more than that since I fly through it. I have a few things I use to cure the soap on, and when you have 30+ varieties of soap it has to be organized in such a way that you can easily see what's there. You can see from the picture that I am in dire need of Tahitian Vanilla. I have plenty in my Market Stock, so don't worry if you have a craving for that blend of vanilla, coconut and a hint of rum! Anyhow, I have two wooden racks that we use and four bakery racks, it all works! I love the bakery racks because they are quite deep and use verticle space and they easily roll if you need to move them around. The important thing is to find a ststem that works for you! :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another reason to shop local

I went to get donuts this morning, I frequently do on Monday mornings, and am greeted by Sarah, the lady that owns the donut shop. We always chat for a minute about our businesses and it's always nice to see her. So as I was leaving, this young man came in, Sarah greeted him by name, and he excitedly told her "Sarah, this is the day that I go off to school" and I hear them chatting, I imagine that she has the same kind of experiences with her customers that I have with mine, it's not just buying donuts, or soap, it's about building relationships with the folks we see day to day. You get that with a small shop, as opposed to the big corporate type store where you never get the same employee helping you twice. I had to smile to myself, thinking how she has probably watched the young man grow up, and heard about baseball games, his first car and those kind of things.
I am so happy that I am in the kind of business where I get to share a little bit of myself, and get to know my customers, I think it's very special.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Proud to announce...

the Martinez Farmers Market on Sundays is going to be "year round"!! I am so excited, I know my Martinez peeps will embrace this new change. It's been needed for a while! I'm so happy for you guys!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Customer Stories

I love it when I get to hear what the soap will be used for, especially if it's a gift.
I had a customer today who was putting together a little gift package for a friend that's going through cancer. The particular soap that she chose for her says "Dare to believe". (It looked like the purple one pictured) I thought it was the most perfect thing and I was honored to have a tiny part in her thoughtful gift.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saving time

It amazes me how little things you do to save time really add up. I am always looking for ways to streamline and make things easier.
One of the things I do is when I'm separating my coconut oil, I use a garden shovel, one of those little ones you use in your hand? It's the most effective/quick way of getting the job done. The coconut oil comes in a 50# "cube".
Do you have any great time saving tips? Can be about anything, not just soap!

Friday, September 9, 2011

This little piggie . . . .

Is going to Market! He'll be good and clean by then! Too bad you can't see the detail on this little guy, it's amazing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sweet Hummingbird

This is the latest mold for glycerine soap, I have been lusting after it for a while, isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Long Time Customers

It's just really something when you make a soap that had a special meaning in the past and your customers remember it. Yesterday I was at my Concord Market and a customer picked up a bar of Dakota Spice and says "I remember this, you made it before, the name was in honor of your truck" and all of that was right. The name Dakota spice was for my former Market Vehicle, Luke, a Dodge Dakota! I figured he was due something in his honor, hauling me and the soap around! The point was, it thought it was so cool to have customers around that remembered things like that. I haven't had my truck since 2007! I am so grateful for my customers, and by the way, I do have a soft spot for old trucks (although Luke was gorgeous and not very old).

Monday, September 5, 2011


They've been putting up a couple of murals in the Plaza area of Main Street, near Starbucks. One of them is almost finsihed and it's been fun watching it go from a drawing to the colorful scene that it is now. Here it is in progress, enjoy!

Sisterhood of the earrings

So this lady comes up to my table at my beloved Martinez Farmers Market. She's one of the Artisans and does ceramics. I couldn't help but notice her earrings, I thought they were so cool, and she said that she'd had them over 20 years, and I said if she ever got sick of them she could send them my way! So, at the end of the day, she wanted to get some glycerine soap and wanted to trade me her earrings for them! I said "well you can't do that, you've had them for so long" and she smiled and said "they're MY earrings and I can trade if I want to!" and of course I was thrilled to have them! She said she knew that I'd love them as much as she did, and she's right, I'll enjoy them for the NEXT 20 years. It was just very special and I told her I would always remember her when I wore them, and we exchanged a hug. It was just so sweet. So we'll always have a connection, the sisterhood of the cool earrings!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


If you're an artisan selling on either Etsy or Artfire, there is a cool means of promotion available to you, A Treasury (Etsy) or a Collection (Artfire).
These are both curated by members of Etsy and Artfire, you can put togther a collection of your own and it's a great way of promoting other artisans. Note that Etsy (unless this has recently changed) doesn't allow you to include any of your own listings in the Treasury, whereas Artfire is fine with it. With either of these, you have a chance of your collection being selected for the Front Page, that means tons of views for everyone in your Collection/Treasury. Additionally, each person featured will Tweet/Facebook/Blog and otherwise promote the Collection, so there's a lot of chance for promotion. Lastly, the people featured may also remember you and feature YOU in one of THEIR Collections.
All in all it's a FREE easy way to promote yourself and others!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hurry up!

You're still out of Vanilla Lip Butters! Get them made! Hurry up!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Funky Cute

I love little vehicles that are funky or unusal. Cushman vehicles are always cute! I though this one looked like it was smiling!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A good problem?

I know, what's a "good problem"? My customers tell me it's a good problem to have, to go through my products at such a rate that it's hard to keep up, although I hate to not have something that someone wants, you know? This was the Lip Butter display at the end of Tuesday, it was almost embarassing! I'll be making more soon as the next shipment of empty tubes arrives!