The Soap Mine | Building a Business One Soap at a Time
I’m Vicki and I’m a Soapaholic. I first made soap in 2009, and it soon became a hobby, which quickly became an obsession. I love making it, reading about it, looking at pictures of it and watching videos about it. I hope you enjoy reading about my soaping adventures – do stop and say hi if you pop in – you’ll be very welcome!
Did you think I would make it back again so soon? It wasn’t a given, to be honest. I truly have got out of the habit of blogging, so it came as a bit of a shock to the system this evening when I realised it was Sunday and I really should be pressing ‘publish’ on a blog post at some point… Ah well, I made it, that’s all that matters.
So I guess today’s post really should be titled ‘The Last Three Months in Soap’, but like I said in my last post, I’m not going to give myself palpitations by trying to cover everything that’s gone on since I was last posting regularly, I’m sure it will all come out over time…
Back to this week then. This almost feels like a confession, but it’s been over a fortnight since I made any soap. That’s not strictly true as I did make a small, very special batch for friend a week or so ago (more about that one in a forthcoming post) but soap for the business? Over a fortnight. Fortunately I have over 800 bars cured and ready, and another 400 at various stages of curing, so I’m not too desperate, but I’ve sent out a lot of wholesale orders recently so I want to top up the shelves this coming week (yey!!)
No, the last few weeks have been about wrapping, labelling, and sending out order. Not just soap either. The bathbombs are starting to take off in a big way, and they’re being stocked by quite a few of my soap retailers now, and I’m getting a lot of repeat business. That’s all well and good (great even), but keeping up with demand is becoming an issue. Some of the time I would previously have spent making soap is now being spent making bathbombs, to the extent that I even spent quite a few hours making them today (On Fathers’ Day. Ooops. Well, it did mean that my better half got to spend a lot of the day with the kids – that’s what it’s all about right?? And we did go out for breakfast, en famille, to mark the occasion, so…) I digress, again… Right – bathbombs:
I have a few new wholesale customers since I last updated the blog, but I’m going to save them for future posts and give them the spotlight they deserve. I’ve also sent out my first large order for wedding favours – I’ll be writing a post about that separately too.
On a more personal note, my ankle still isn’t right from when I sprained it three months ago, just before my last update post actually. It didn’t stop me from going to my kickboxing grading last week though – I am now officially a purple belt kickboxer. Hard to believe that I’ll now be working towards a belt with some brown on it!!
Kickboxing Purple Belt
Oh, and having just quickly skimmed over that last post, I saw that there was a bit of a teaser at the end about an Instagram giveaway that I’d won? I suppose three months is long enough to keep you in suspense (lol!!) so here’s what I got – a handmade fused glass wave by Pam Peters Design – isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?
Fused Glass Wave
I’m going to leave it there for this post. It feels a little disjointed and not particularly informative, but it’s a post – woop! I’ll be back into the swing of things again very soon, I’m sure.
June? June?? JUNE?? Erm… How did that happen exactly? It’s almost two and a half months since I last posted, and if I’m honest, I do know how it happened. There’s been so much going on that I should have written about, but didn’t get round to, and those things just kept building up until I felt I could never get caught up. It’s been a bit of a Catch 22, loads to write about, no time to write, more to write about, even less time to write about it, et cetera, et cetera blah blah blah…
But on Saturday, I got a bit of a kick up the bum. I received notification that this blog had been placed in the top 5 (Ok, at No. 5 ;-D) Soapmaking Blogs in the UK. You can see the post here. The criteria were:
Google reputation and Google search ranking
Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
Quality and consistency of posts.
Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review
And it was that third bullet point that finally got me REALLY wanting to write again. Quality of posts? Well thank you, I’d better crack on. Consistency of posts? Oh, um, yeah, sorry, I seriously DO need to crack on.
So please accept my apologies. There has been a lot going on, and while I’m not promising to give a blow by blow account of the last few months, I am back. I am over my post paralysis, and I will be posting waaaay more regularly from now on.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Sugar Drops, mid-cure, because you know I can’t share a totally image free blog post
Happy Easter everyone, I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend. I didn’t post last week as I didn’t get round to making ANY soap at all (gasp!), but I’ll be back to the usual routine tonight / tomorrow with a weekly update…
In the meantime I just wanted to let you know about a giveaway I’m holding over on Twitter to celebrate the launch of this new three large bomb set. Just follow me and RT the competition post to be in with a chance of winning – easy peasy!
I posted in mid Jan with great intentions to get back on the writing horse, and then found myself paralysed with indecision about WHAT I should write. I felt that I should recap everything that I’ve been up to since the end of October, but that felt like too big a job. It would never be complete (and would probably not be 100% accurate either – I don’t have the best memory these days!) and I wouldn’t be satisfied with half hearted attempt. Anyway, THAT is only reason I haven’t written anything for the last month. Crazy really.
I’m jumping back onto it tonight, and from now on I’ll be doing my weekly roundups and any other stuff in between, just like before. I’m not going to try to backtrack, but if you have any specific questions about what’s been going on over the last few months, please just ask (my memory’s not that bad ;-D) but I may well naturally fill in the blanks as I go along anyway.
The run up to the Christmas period was amazing, business-wise. I was busier than I had anticipated, and for that reason I’m still playing catch-up as far as stock levels go. My current goal is to get to 1000 bars in stock over the whole range, and I every time I think I’m getting close, another big order comes in. Mind you, I’m DEFINITELY not complaining.
I’m making a minimum of 120 bars a week now, and if you follow me on Instagram (www.instagram.com/thesoapmine) you’ll know that Monday is my big ‘making’ day. I’ll make four double batches every Monday (that’s my 120 bar minimum) and occasionally try to fit in another session later on in the week.
I’ve retired a couple of fragrances that weren’t selling so well – Delicious (a dupe of DKNY Be Delicious) and Boho Baby (Patchouli & Orange essential oils) have both gone. I don’t have any plans to replace them with anything permanent just yet, but if I come across a fragrance that I just ‘have to have’, I have the capacity.
This was the result of last week’s Monday session:
Four Double Batches of Soap
From left to right are Serenity, Welsh Rose, Tutti Frutti and Blodau (Flowers), and here are a couple of them cut:
Serenity Handmade Soap
Welsh Rose Handmade Soap
I used slightly different colours for the Welsh Rose this time, and there’s a more subtle different between the pinks that I usually have (I’ve also just realised that this is such a fresh photo that I’ve not bevelled this one yet!) Anyway, I can’t decide whether I really like it, or I really don’t… Hmm… what do you think?
I’m going to leave things there for now, and not try to get too ahead of myself. I’ve already had some thoughts ping into my head for the next post, so I THINK I’m back on a roll. I’ll be doing my best anyway. I’ll be back next Sunday for a full weekly round up, if not before…
Thanks for reading!
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