Thursday, May 27, 2010

Truth or Scare

There is a new blog in town (think western themed music with that statement) and it doesn't like the looks of some of those alarmist blogs.

Ok, enough with the silliness. One of the challenges I have faced in my business is answering questions asked by people that have been scared out of using products. The most common questions is whether or not I use parabens in my products and that is a WHOLE different discussion. What really concerns me is that these consumers lack good scientific based information. They have gotten their information from consumer groups that are using scare tactics to "protect" consumers. These groups are trying to give people the whole truth (and nothing but the truth, hehe I couldn't resist), they are trying to meet their own agenda.

The problem is if we were to believe everything posted by these groups we wouldn't know what to do or how to avoid all of those deadly carcinogens. Instead, we'd be trying to live in a bubble, not realizing that while yes, we probably are exposed to over 500 chemicals a day; not all of those are harmful and it is really the dosage that matters. Don't think that the concentration matters, just ask your doctor. There is a reason they prescribe medications at certain doses and not higher or lower. Here is a shocker, at lower concentrations, your medications would be useless and would have no effect! Kinda like all those 500 deadly chemicals you come in contact with everyday.

So, that leads me to the point of today's post: Personal Care; Truth or Scare. I really like this blog, it is run by two people and they bring in outside people to share information that they know much more about than the average Joe; which means this is more than one person's opinion. What I also like is that there is no hidden agenda; they are very clear that their purpose is to educate the public on personal care safety based on SCIENTIFIC FACTS, not misinterpreted information (crazy thought really).

I've liked all of their articles so far, but I really liked today's because they really show how data can be skewed to suit ones purposes. I've never considered giving up my lipstick because I know that concentrations matter, but if you are concerned, PLEASE check it out.

Which do you appreciate more: the open truth with ALL information included so that you can make an informed decision or do you only like getting half the story and being scared into doing something.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Foster Puppies

We have more fosters! I wanted to do puppies this time instead of kittens. We got a mama lab with 5 little bitty puppies. They are probably between 1-2 weeks. They are sooooo cute!

We decided to name mama Maddie and she pays attention to it. She is a very good dog. She is already house broken and behaves well with our dog KiLi. Her only problem is that she hasn't learned boundaries before. She tries to jump on people, pulls stuff off the counter, and like the trash. So, we are working on it.

Here are some pictures of the puppies, cause mom won't hold still long enough of a picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Investing in Myself!

Since I lost my job, I've been trying to figure out what to do. I have my small company, but it pays for itself and just a little bit more that allows me to save some extra money each month. There really aren't many teaching positions open and really who would want to hire someone that is going to need to take time off of work a month after school starts. I looked into getting a part-time job over the summer to save some extra money and all those things.

Here is what I decided to do: Invest In Myself. I can grow my company, I'm just going to have to invest more time, more effort, and more money. I applied for a local farmer's market and I got an investor (thank you Cory) to cover the fee for the entire season June-Oct (scary commitment). I then wrote out a plan for the products I already have and what I would like to have at my first show (I made this a reasonable goal because I still can't please everyone). I did the naughty thing and placed several large (for me anyway) orders and put those on the credit card. BUT, I already have my plan. I have the ingredients, packaging, labeling and everything figured out, along with my cost, the selling price, and my profit. I've even got package deals ready and some cute ideas for packaging them in a renewable or eco friendly way.

Am I scared? You bet, but I need to do what I want to do. I have my goals written out, I have my plan in place, and I'm ready to commit myself to extra hard work to make this happen. I'm even going to be realistic and I'm going to be determined. After all, what's the worst that could happen (other than failing miserably, losing everything, and ending up living on the streets)? Yep, nothing to be scared of at all :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fortune Cookie

My latest fortune was not a fortune, but I liked it anyway.

"Maturity is doing what you are supposed to without being told to do it."

There are plenty of things that I like to procrastinate on, but at a certain point we realize that things just have to be done and we do it. There is no point in arguing, asking for additional time, or whining about it. This is especially true for me as a small business owner. If I don't do something that has to be done, it doesn't get done. Period. I can't blame anyone else. It doesn't hurt anyone else either. It hurts me and it hurts my business.

So, I've made my list and now I'm going through it and getting everything done.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rose Neroli Toner

I had a request for a toner with rose and neroli hydrosols. This worked out well for me because I've been looking for an excuse to buy some! I adjusted the original request a little to suit my needs more, but I love it and I thought I'd share it.

  • 1/2 cup Rose hydrosol
  • 3 tbsp Neroli hydrosol
  • 1 tbsp Witch hazel (not the stuff off the store shelves)
  • 4 tbsp Aloe
  • 4 drops Lavender EO
  • 4 drops Immortelle EO
  • 2 drops Grapefruit EO
  • 4 oz amber glass bottle
  • Preservative (optional, but must be kept in fridge without it)
  1. Pour all your ingredients into the amber bottle and shake well. If you did not include a preservative, this should be stored in the fridge.
  2. I didn't add an emulsifier, so you must shake well before use.
  3. Moisten cotton ball and gently wipe over freshly cleaned skin.
  4. Follow with your favorite moisturizer.
  5. Love you fresh, beautiful skin!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can't Control the Weather!

Well, the weather channel did say yesterday was supposed to be rainy, but we really hoped it wouldn't be too bad. As I was packing the car, the sun came out and it looked like it would be a beautiful day. A little after noon, it started to rain lightly. It didn't bother us because I bought a tent (which excites me more than it should really). The rain went away and the sun came back out, but we were hearing thunder and watching some pretty serious clouds move across the sky.

Not only did those ominous clouds bring more rain, but they brought hail too! We quickly packed up soaps and stayed huddled under the tent. When the hail stopped, the sky cleared and the day became beautiful, but we decided to pack up anyway. The ground beneath us had become a lake and my table cloths were wet :( Plus, we didn't want to leave all of our boxes and such on the ground.

So, it wasn't a great show, but we learned some very important lessons. Always take the tent, put the sides on the tent (which we didn't) and roll them up for quick protection, and a tarp for ground cover would be very helpful. See, now we know and can be more prepared for the next time the Colorado weather goes crazy.

Does anyone else have any tips they would like to share to help us prepare for our next outdoor show? They are always appreciated!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Craft Fair, May 15th

When: Saturday, May 15th; 10-4pm

Where: Widefield Community Center; 405 Aspen Dr

I will be there with my handcrafted soaps, lotions, and my very special Pedi-Cure Foot Set! There will also be jewelry, candles, and lots of other goodies. Some come out and get some great gifts or something fun for yourself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Out Again

This is not what I originally wanted to post, but I'm going to anyway. This is a pretty personal post and if you aren't interested, feel free to not read it. However, I've found that sharing can make you feel better about a bad situation.

I don't know if I've mentioned that the teaching job I have is an INR (intent not to rehire) position. This is because I was hired after the school year started (I lost my job for 08-09 due to budget cuts). I've known all year that I would have to reapply for my position and reinterview. I am not the only one in this position, the school is growing fast and needed several new teachers right around the beginning of school.

So, we reapplied for our jobs back in March and have been waiting (im)patiently for the interviews. There were two science positions posted and 75 applicants for those 2 positions. (Does anyone remember when a few years ago there were never enough math and science teachers?) We have asked the person in charge of interviews repeatedly when he was planning on them and there have been many responses, most of which did not happen and interviews were put off. I think the most upsetting response was "I haven't even thought about it." Well, that's nice that my job and livelihood mean so little to this person.

We (finally) had the interviews last Friday. I was told yesterday that the position I now hold was offered to someone else. I didn't ask for a reason because the last time I got a reason from this Person-In-Charge my ego was severely bruised and I ended up feeling pretty worthless. I think one of the hardest parts is that I've been asking since March if I should be concerned or start looking for another job. I had been told repeatedly (not by said Person-In-Charge) that I would be preferred over anyone unknown, they always rehire INRs (I really do break records), and it really just a formality. Well, so much for reassurances.

It is now May and most schools have already posted their positions for next year and filled those positions, but I have started looking. I have heard from many supporting friends and family members that I am awesome and will find another job. The school is stupid for not realizing what an asset I am. My least favorite was "that isn't fair." We're adults here, life isn't fair and we know that.

Here are a few things that concern me most:
  • What school will want to hire a new teacher that will have to go on maternity leave a month after school starts?
  • I won't have maternity leave at a new school, so I'll lose pay.
  • If I don't find another teaching job, my insurance coverage will end 2 weeks before I deliver and most other businesses require you to work 6 months before you get benefits.
I know we will get by and a solution will come up because I will make a solution. However, this was not the best time to dump more stress on me. Right now my plan is to look for a job and in the mean time do all of those things I was planning on to grow Honu Naturals. I got lots of ideas at the Soapmakers Conference in Denver and I was starting to put them to use. Who knows if I adjust my time scale, I may not need another teaching job anyway.

My favorite quote from this past week: "Life isn't fair. You don't get a free pass just because you try hard." -Donna Maria Coles Johnson

So true and what an inspiration she is to keep on trying!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Product Scents

Yesterday I took a trip to a big name body store that shall remain nameless. Why, you ask? Research of course. One of the lessons I learned at the Soapmakers Conference in Denver was that to stay in touch with what is selling and how other products are packaged, you have to shop!

I found their "aromatherapy" collection. The bottles all stated that the products were make with real essential oil blends. My first reaction was "Oooh, a large company actually using essential oils for aromatherapy and not just an imitation fragrance." However, I was disappointed by the ingredient labels. The 4th ingredient listed was "fragrance," which means an imitation fragrance oil. Essential oils were also listed, so the packaging did not lie, it just didn't tell the whole truth.

The person with me tried some and it smelled wonderful, at first. However, after some time, the essential oils had evaporated leaving only the fragrance oil behind. It did not smell near as good anymore. Very disappointing. Plus, since it was a fragrance oil, it would not wash off and just lingered for quite a while.

Now, don't get me wrong, some fragrance oils smell wonderful, so the long lasting is a plus. However, what I don't like is that the scent you put on was NOT the scent you had a short time later. Scent blends are always complicated and are always morphing as some notes are expressed or they react with your body chemistry. But, you should be careful when purchasing a fragrance oil/essential oil blend that you will like what is left after the essential oils evaporate.

Lesson learned: Give yourself about an hour of wearing a scent and smelling it before purchasing. That way you are less likely to be disappointed by the what the scent becomes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meet The Robinsons

My students watched Meet the Robinsons in class (yes, I do teach high school). Most of them got the point and appreciated it, but I had a few that looked at me and asked "what was the point of that movie?" I really didn't show it as a time filler or because it was loosely related to science. I think it is an amazing movie with a great point.

Keep moving forward is the major theme of the movie. We've heard it before "if at first you don't succeed, try again," "failure teaches success." The list goes on, but I like that the movie shows that you really do have to believe in yourself. If you can just believe in yourself, you can make amazing things happen. Maybe you won't be as successful and reinvent the whole world, but only you have the power to make things happen for yourself. If you make a mistake, or fail at something, learn from it, fix the problem, and keep moving forward.

On the other hand, you could blame everyone else, make a million excuses and end up like "Goob" who had no future and no ability to make things work for yourself. He made that choice, he could have moved on and made a better life for himself, but he chose to dwell on the negative.

This could apply to just about any situation; school, work, business ownership, LIFE IN GENERAL. The choice is yours; wallow in self-pity and go nowhere OR learn from your mistakes and move ahead in life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Soapmaking Conference

Wow, what a weekend! I honestly have so much to say that I really don't think I can get it all in one post. I'll probably end up doing a series of posts about, just because there was so much and it was so exciting.

On Friday, I attended a lecture on liquid soapmaking presented by Anne-Marie Faiola, The Soap Queen herself! *I did get to meet her and I think I managed not to grin like an idiot, she really is an awesome person!* I really think it was more of a class because she actually demonstrated the entire process. She also passed around samples that she had made so that we could see what happens from different mistakes. I am so excited, I can't wait to order some KOH and get started on making some.

As always, I have too many ideas, so I will have to control myself (as always), but it is still exciting to get started on something new. So, for everyone who has been asking for a liquid shampoo, I'm now one step closer!

Does anyone have any specific scent and product requests, just to give me ideas of where to start?