Why do we take this week off? One of our Core Values is to “Be Creative” and “Stay Scrappy”. In order to maintain both our creativity and scrappiness our team needs to rejuvenate. Each and every day our awesome production crew cranks out a lot of soap. We take off this week in early July to say thanks, help us enjoy our family, friends, the outdoors AND give everyone a well-deserved paid vacation. At Botanie, we start feeling the holiday season in late July. Yes, we’re talking Jingle Bells and Santa, not the 4th of July holiday. By August, our production begins its crescendo that lasts through early December. By resting and rejuvenating for this week, we come back with fresh ideas and refreshed, ready to serve you and dive full speed into the busy time of the fall season. Thanks for understanding how important this week is to our team. And thanks for being part of the Botanie family.
We hope you find our new website easy to use! We have put together the following tips to help you find what you’re looking for. All products – a list of all Botanie Soap’s products. If you are trying to find something you’ve ordered in the past, the ALL PRODUCTS page is where you can find it. Main and top navigation (header) Above you will see a screenshot of the top of the website with the main navigation (header). CUSTOM LABEL SOAP takes you to a page that explains the two options customers have when ordering their custom label wholesale soap. It explains options for wholesale online ordering as well as for custom soap. Whichever method is best for you, the soap is for you to use with your private label. BULK + COMMERCIAL takes you to a page where you can order bulk organic foaming soap, bulk organic Castile soap and cold process soap bases. The PACKAGING link will bring you to a page that has all Botanie Soap’s packaging options. You will find bar soap boxes, blank print-your-own labels, ingredient labels, custom label printing information and empty bottles you can fill yourself. SOAP MAKING SUPPLIES has information about all the soap making supplies Botanie Soap offers. You will find soap making tools & equipment, essential oils, herbs & dry, soap making lye, fixed/carrier oils, butters, preservatives, cold process soap bases and soap making kits. If you are having trouble finding what you need, you can always use our search feature. Click the magnifying glass and a search field will slide out. Type in your search word and results will start to display. The ALL PRODUCTS link will give you a listing of all our important products, pages and information. This is a great place to start. The SPECIALS page will list all of Botanie Soap’s current specials. You can view all your order history and update information by clicking the MY ACCOUNT link. You will need to login to your account to view this information. If you have added items to the cart, you can use the CHECKOUT link to finish ordering your products. Use the LOG IN link to log into your account to check on orders and update account information. The MY CART section will tell you what you have in your cart when you hover over it. Click the MY CART button and it will take you to the shopping cart where it will list out all the products you have added. Bottom navigation (footer) The footer consists of many links that will help answer questions you may have. Here is a brief description of each link: Company –Contact Us – this page will give you information on how to contact us and what our office hours are. –About Botanie Soap – find out all about Botanie Soap. –FAQ – you will find several frequently asked questions […]
Here’s the problem with America and palm oil. The disaster in Indonesia has been out of sight for so long, we’re years behind as a country and a culture. We’re still at the point where “Just Saying No” to palm oil is perceived as a principled position. It’s not. The Dangers of Being Righteous From Afar More than one of our customers has been criticized, recently, for using palm oil in their soaps. They use it, of course, because we do. But then, we’ve also heard from people who think using lye to make soap – which, incidentally, is how it’s made – “isn’t very organic.” Misguided palm-oil criticism – failing to understand or be aware of the differences between sustainable and unsustainable palm oil – might be funny in the way that misinformation about trivial matters can be funny and silly. Palm oil isn’t trivial, though, and misinformation has real, negative consequences. Some misinformation has come in the form of criticism affecting our customers’ businesses and reputations. Which is especially sad, since by using sustainable palm oil in the soaps we make, we’re including our customers in doing the right thing, being part of building a sustainable market and future, an alternative to the nightmare of Indonesia. The true victims of misinformation, though, are the people and future of that part of the world. “Just saying No” does nothing for them. What “Just Saying No” Leaves Untouched. Everything. “Just Saying No” doesn’t affect how many products contain palm oil. It doesn’t expose the producers referring to palm oil as vegetable oil or leaving it off ingredients labels altogether. It doesn’t alter rampant habitat or peat-forest destruction. It doesn’t save orangutans. It doesn’t restore palm plantations to indigenous family farms, and it doesn’t curb human trafficking or help the victims of human rights abuses. What it does is allow the appearance of concern and virtue thousands of miles away without the substance or the work. What’s Still Possible The truth is, it’s already too late for many things – for much of the peat forests, for many indigenous farms, significant portions of orangutan populations, and the victims of human trafficking. It’s not too late, though, to commit to building a different future, a sustainable one, to prevent the present from becoming the future. There needs to be awareness, then putting that awareness to work in the companies we choose to subsidize and who we align ourselves with. It has to be more than talk. The problem with “Just Saying No” is that’s what it’s become, just talk, and talk does nothing to solve the problem.
These days, when it comes to coconut oil, all this is quite a lot. It might not be Starbucks, but coconut oil is everywhere enough that it’s developed its own backlash. Missing the Point The problem with backlashes is – for the sake of a snappy headline and a hip take on cultural trends – they miss the point of trends. They miss seeing that the popularity of coconut oil coincides with a general cultural reassessment of traditional food and diet beliefs. As high as coconut oil is in saturated fat, nutritional thinking until recently would connect it only to raising bad HDL cholesterol and therefore bad for the heart. The popularity of coconut oil is evidence of questioning conventional beliefs, looking beyond the surface for more substantial science. Traditional Food Wisdom Wasn’t Enough The truth is, coconut oil is also especially potent at raising good HDL cholesterol. Nothing was as simple as it seemed on the surface. It wasn’t just bad anymore. It was also, well, good. Plus, as an oil, it wasn’t just fat. It was high in anti-oxidants. It might actually contain its own balance. Coconut Oil in Soapmaking As popular as coconut oil is in food, soapmaking discovered it long ago. And once it was discovered, coconut oil became a standard. As a soapmaking oil, coconut is many things at once. Some oils contribute only one characteristic to soap – fluffy lather, bar hardness, or nourishing capability. Coconut oil has a part in them all. And because it contains mainly medium-chain fatty acids, unlike most other oils, coconut oil enhances a soap’s interaction with water, adding to its cleansing properties. From the Beginning Coconut oil has been a part of Botanie soap from the beginning. With all it contributes, it’s been at the heart of our base oil blend for 18 years. Which, indirectly, speaks to its current popularity. Cultural cycles run so quickly in our era of social media and instant news that backlash is nearly always on the heels of popularity. Trends often seem no more than that, here then gone, when in fact many have much to contribute to the present and the future. Though it has for some, coconut oil will never replace beauty products in everyone’s bathroom. Even though it’s most often solid at room temperature, it won’t be replacing butter in everyone’s kitchen. But judging from its history in soapmaking, and its reconsidered status as a food, coconut oil seems much more likely to find its sweet spot as a future food tradition rather than disappear as a trend.
Olive oil. We use it to cook. We use it for its antioxidants and overall health benefits. It’s also used regularly for making soap. With so many of us using olive so often, it bears pointing out that we’re not always getting what we think we are. In the world of organic and natural, there are products that consistently make it hard to trust their quality. In the case of olive oil, it’s difficult to guarantee authenticity. The olive oil industry has a past worth investigating and annual revenue of over $1.5 billion that encourages deception. How Much Isn’t As Advertised? It’s been reported that nearly 70% of the extra virgin olive oil sold in the world isn’t what it says it is. It lacks authenticity. It is either cut with cheaper carrier oils or it is imported and relabeled. Often, Spanish extra-virgin olive oil gets passed off as Italian, simply by putting a new label on the bottle. Italian Police conducted a mass intervention into the fraudulent acts of the olive oil industry. They arrested 23 people and confiscated 85 farms during this raid, bringing to light the severity of the situation. Low quality oil was being passed off as “fine Italian oil,” making the fake olive oil industry a booming business for scammers. According to the University of California Davis, nearly two-thirds of the extra-virgin olive oil found in California grocery stores was not what it claimed to be. The Problem Is American, Too The U.S. isn’t immune to fraudulent activity. In 2007, storage units in New York were busted for counterfeit olive oil. The facility held 10,000 cases of what appeared to be extra-virgin olive oil, when in fact, the bottles contained mostly soybean oil. How do we know, then, what’s real and what’s fake? There are a few ways to test whether or not the olive oil you purchased stands up to its claims of authenticity. First off, despite popular belief, color isn’t actually an indicative property for determining quality. Tips for Smart Buying A factor you should take into consideration is the packaging. The best oils are contained in darker glass bottles, which prevents the oil going rancid from sun exposure. Additionally, pay attention to the labels on the bottle. Definitely ensure that there is an expiration date visible somewhere on the bottle and watch out for phrases like “packed in Italy” or “bottled in Italy.” An Olive Oil Workaround If taking precautionary measures seems frustrating and your heart isn’t set on olive oil for soap-making, sunflower and safflower oils are a great alternative! Olive oil produces good quality soap because it contains 80-82% oleic fatty acid, which contributes moisturizing ability to the lather. Both sunflower and safflower oils contain 81-85% oleic fatty acid. From a soap making perspective, there is no functional difference substituting sunflower and safflower for olive oil. The final, high-quality soap product is unchanged […]
For some, organic farming and organic products are new ideas. For others, organic products and production have been part of their lives for years. For these folks (us included) organic production has long been seen as responsible production – proven, scientific, and part of a sustainable future. But even we were a bit surprised by two aspects of the organic world we didn’t know enough about. The Unseen Organic Certification is an expensive proposition. This isn’t the most visible aspect of the process, but it’s a big part of the organic commitment. For some, it’s too big. Farmers, especially, can find the financial burden of certification too much to carry in a profession that is often wildly uncertain. Not pursuing certification, though, doesn’t mean farmers don’t incorporate organic principles into their agricultural and production practices. In fact, many of them do. What We’re Seeing Our interaction with ingredient vendors over the past year has revealed a number of farmers who’ve become producers, offering non-certified, yet organically produced essential oils. Buying straight from the grower/producer – eliminating the middle man – made more than one otherwise expensive oil significantly less expensive. That fact alone made soap costs easier to manage for our customers. This “unseen organic” might be the purest commitment any of us make, employing time-consuming and often expensive organic agricultural practices without getting any of the marketing benefits of certification. These are the commitments that deserve the most respect, commitments that acknowledge consequences of agriculture that extend beyond individual economic pursuits, consequences to overall soil and water health, to the larger community, and to the future of agriculture. Organic Plus Biodynamic agriculture can be traced back to the early 1900s, but it’s been in the news much more recently. We just got an email this week asking if we are interested in certified organic and certified biodynamic herbs. These days, you’ll see the biodynamic label on produce and packaged goods in stores that also sell organic products. In fact, biodynamic and organic are linked. Products meeting biodynamic standards must first meet organic standards as established by the USDA’s National Organic Program. But there’s more. Here’s a general description from the Biodynamics Association: “Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition … Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised.” Whole Foods even has a Frequently Asked Questions page on biodynamic products. Biodynamic Certification Another way to look at biodynamics has much in common with organic. When you look at what it takes to become certified, what it means to be organic takes on a very specific meaning, The same is true for biodynamics. This page […]
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