This Summer I was lucky enough to host an international soap swap between myself and eleven amazingly talented soaping friends from Europe, America & Canada. There was only rule: Each participant was to send me eleven full sized bar of their soap by 31st July, together with their postal address for the return package.
Once I had received all eleven packages (and boy was that like Christmas!!) I created twelve piles of soap – one for each participant including myself – consisting of one soap from each package (omitting each participants OWN soap of course) and one of mine. I then boxed up all the piles of soapy goodness and sent them back out to their rightful owners.
Given all the things that could have gone wrong, it all went remarkably smoothly. We had a bit of a delay as one box was a few weeks late arriving (despite being posted in PLENTY of time by the participant – it took almost 8 weeks to get from North America to the UK!) but the return packages all (bar one) arrived at their various destinations in good time, and even the last one arrived within 10 days.
The only down side really was the postage costs. The parcels weighed approximately 1.7kg each, so international postage both ways was never going to be cheap. Once I’d packaged up the individual boxes I weighed them at home, and used the Royal Mail website to try to ascertain what the cost was going to be to send out each parcel. Each participant then paid me via Paypal what I had estimated the cost to be. As it turned out, each and every parcel turned out to be marginally cheaper to post than the website quoted, but it was a simple task to refund each participant the difference.
And now to the fun bit. There were 6 participants from Europe (including myself) and 6 from the USA and Canada. Rather than have one crazy long post, I’m going to post a few pictures here of MY Christmas in July – when the soapy packages arrived. In Post 2 I’ll share my European haul in much more detail, and in Post 3 I’ll do the same with the loveliness from our friends over the pond.
In case you missed my earlier teaser, here’s the full line up in all its glory:
If you are remotely a fan of handmade soap, or even just like surprises, you’ll have some idea of the excitement I felt each time the postman handed me one of these parcels. Do bear in mind these are just teasers for the main events coming in the next two posts!
First to arrive was this package from Pam of By The Sea Soaps in the US:
and she was so kind to put together a special goody bag for me as a thank you for hosting the swap:
After that I’ve kind of lost track of what arrived when, so these next nine packages are in no particular order:
From Vinvela Ebony of dandelion SeiFee in Austria:
From Wendy of Soapy Jones, UK:
From Barbara of Moon Goddess Garden, US:
From Melinda of Melinda’s Naturals, US:
From Celine of i am handmade, Ireland:
From Wendy of Heavenly Bubbles, UK:
From Zacil of Soap & Soap in Germany:
From Emily of Shieh Design Studio, US:
From Zahida of Handmade in Florida, US:
And finally, an admission and apology – there was one parcel that, in my HUGE excitement, I forgot to photograph whilst still in its outer box. So, even more of a tease here from Louise, of Soga Artisan Soaperie, in Canada: (There will, of course, be pictures when I cover them individually in Post 3, and you can find them here if you can’t wait that long)
Don’t, whatever you do, miss the next two posts. There will be naked bars 😀
Thanks for reading, back soon!