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A (very) Belated Happy New Year

Well hello 2018!  I’d like to say you snuck up on me there, but nope, I knew you were coming, and. while I planned to welcome you much sooner than this, it just wasn’t to be…

Happy New Year everyone!  Yes, I know it’s late, and most of you are so over it, but I wasn’t sure how else to start this post, it’s been so long! During the run up to Christmas I was seriously busy with soap selling, rather than soap making, and then Christmas came, and I more or less stopped all things soap related for a couple of weeks and had a proper break with the family.  I’m a little ashamed at how long it’s been since I last posted (almost two and a half months) – this blog is supposed to be all about building a business, and I failed to post anything at all about what I was doing during my busiest time of the year. Oops! Ah well, a learning curve, and I plan to be more organised next time.  In hindsight perhaps trying (and succeeding, to be fair) to complete Blogtober wasn’t the best idea in the run up to such a busy period 😀

So anyway, I’m back!  I’m into the swing of things, have lots of plans, and will be sharing more of the business side of things on the blog in future too (selling at craft fairs, gaining more wholesale accounts, demos & classes, and generally more facts and figures about what I make / sell and the time I spend doing various things)  If there’s anything you’d like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll share what I’ve learnt. Just remember that I’m no expert, I’m learning a lot as I go along, and winging it a lot of the time!!

There’ll be some more posts very soon covering how I got on with last year’s goals and those for this coming year (both business and personal) and also what I’ve been up to since the beginning of 2018.

I did get to make some soap during that quiet week between Christmas and New Year.  I realised that my stock levels were seriously depleted and I would need to crack on with making more sooner rather than later, so I made four double batches of (clockwise from top left) Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Welsh Rose, Scrubby Peppermint and Bewitched:

Soap in the Mould
Soap in the Mould

Thank you so much for staying with me even during my period of absence – I’ll be back again very soon


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A Planning Failure

If there’s one thing I’m learning, as the business slowly grows, it’s that planning is everything. Actually, I hope I’ve learnt a lot more, but planning IS crucial. I like to cure my soaps for a full six weeks before releasing for sale, and trying to work out potential demand a good month and a half ahead of time isn’t always easy.  Last year I made two Christmas soaps, and I had a good deal more left after the Christmas rush than I would have liked. How popular do you think a soap called ‘Christmas cake’ is in January? Yup…

This year, I was determined to avoid the same mistake again, and decided to make just one Christmas soap. I chose my fragrance carefully, and opted for ‘Jewelled Cranberry’, described as a ‘festive berry fragrance of juniper berries, elder berries and cranberries with supporting notes of pine nuts, orange peel and crisp apple’ and supplied by Gracefruit.

Jewelled Cranberry
Jewelled Cranberry

I gave it the usual six weeks cure time then posted it on my Facebook Page stating that it was a limited edition. The response was as amazing as it was unexpected – all 15 bars were sold within 24 hours. So that was it, my whole Christmas offering sold out before the end of October!  I was thrilled of course, but also a bit frustrated, at myself, for not foreseeing this possibility. Yes, I could have made more, but by the time I’d ordered the fragrance, made the soap, and waited the requisite six weeks, I would most likely be too late for the Christmas shopping period, and would end up with a surfeit of holiday soap in January again.  Very poor planning from a business point of view, but a valuable lesson learnt for the future!

Oh, and that Christmas Cake soap? I changed the name and it sold rather nicely, thank you very much 😉

Have you made Christmas soaps this year? Please share your links in the comments – I’d love to see them!