Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm baaaaack!

Hello! :)

I've been AWOL for most of this year and rearing to jump back on the social media train! Can't wait to catch up with some of my fave blogs and twitterers!

This is shocking - I haven't even checked my regular e-mail account since April !!
I am expecting a barrage of e-mails when I eventually log in. Must . Not . Put . Off .

Some good news:
My Trademark was approved in November! I am SO excited. This is a long process which I started in about December last year. My trademark is.. dun na na naaa... Jubuk®. I love writing that. This word means so much more to me than anyone can imagine!
My logos, website, everything is centred around Jubuk®. (pronounced "J'book") I felt that I couldn't really start doing business-y things officially until I KNEW this was approved.
I shouldn't have let it block me from going forward and perhaps that was not the best business decision I have made, but it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I received my Registration certificate in the mail. "This is it! I can finally get things going!"

Merry Christmas and have a FANTASTIC New Year!

And take care! I'll be back full steam ahead in January.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Been Busy - Will Write

Sorry about my lazy posting, here and on other online places I live :) ... I've just been really busy lately!

There are some big changes happening around here, one of which is I am going to work on my business full time in 3 months. Yes, three! There are going to be some major website overhauls (as much as my HTML and Photoshop knowledge will let me achieve) and a proper online shop for both my businesses. I have no idea where I am going to get time to make product in the next three months (but when I am unemployed/self-employed there will be puh-lenty of time)... I am sure I will manage somehow!

I have been reading a lot about quitting your day job to pursue self-employment. One thing I wish I had was a mentor in a similar industry. I am not sure how to go about getting that, or how much it would cost. I have been getting my head around cashflow, stocktake, tax reporting requirements, aaaaalll the red tape that goes with opening up a cosmetics business in Australia, and also importing regulations. It's one fun, interesting and frustrating ride! (the red tape stuff is especially frustrating, as I am sure many Aussie businesses will attest to!)

I have been selling product on the side for quite a while now, even my raw ingredients - I am surprised as I don't advertise it, which is nice to know that if I actually start to get my name out there I may actually start to get the business wheels turning properly! One hurdle is cashflow. I have now taken on a full time job to make sure my credit cards are in the black (as much as they can be!) and to free them up for the rainy days that I am sure will be ahead. One small step for man... one ginormous leap for the business! Leaving a comfy, stable job in pursuit of my goals is one big hurdle I've overcome. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my employed life. I believe in this business, my ethics and my products enough to be sure that I can survive on my business alone.

Some things to look forward to that are in the works:

  • Imported unrefined Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter from East Africa.
  • Mineral Make-Up supplies, one of the biggest choices for colour in Australia (my goal).
  • Imported oils that are hard to find for sale in Australia eg. Abysinnian oil
  • A wide variety of cold process soaps for sale.
  • My YUMMY emulsified sugar scrubs. My Warm Vanilla Sugar ones (Brambleberry) were a huge hit over Christmas. I love emulsified sugar scrubs and the process of making them!
  • Hair Conditioner (Shampoo will be coming, once I perfect my recipe!)
  • Shea & Jasmine Lip Balm - all natural. This one is a JubuK Specialty Recipe :D
  • Massage oils are TDF!
  • Doggy pampering products - because goggys deserve to be spoiled rotten too!
  • Eventually.... a line of mineral-makeup. (already have a name for it!)
It will be at least 3 months before I am into full time production on these things, so thanks for your patience!

Here are some websites I currently have open in my browser, in regards to the transition from being comfortably employed and worry-free (well in regards to the next paycheck anyway!) to being self-employed:

Maybe You Shouldn't Quit Your Day Job

How Many Bars Of Soap Per Month For A Living? - The Dish (makes for an interesting read - it's important not to forget to pay yourself when pricing your products)
Is It Your Goal To Quit The Day Job?
Are You Treating Your Home Business As A Hobby?
Handling Fear In Your New Business

Generally I have found the Flying Solo website is an awesome online resource. This was later reinforced when meeting with a Small Business Development facilitator who suggested I visit that website!

I know this post is a bit business-y and I do apologise - it's what's been on my mind lately! I'll update more often, as long as this new 9-5'er doesn't completely drain me (data entry computer-work - very very draining when done 8 hrs/day 5days/week)!

Take Care :)


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FaerieMade Is Faerie GOOD!!!!!

I received my lovely perfumes last Thursday, the day after Alkali soaps. Postage from the US was only a week for standard postage, how good is that! I was also lucky to receive 3 sample soaps, scented with essential oils only and using natural colours:- Ginger Lime, MoonLady's Ocean, Tea Tree & Eucalyptus.

Ginger Lime is a really nice blend, different, but I think the amounts of ginger and lime are right. I tried to make this essential oil combination a couple of years ago but was a bit heavy-handed with the ginger, resulting in very err.. the only word for it is "gingery"... soaps. A bit overbearing for the shower. FaerieMade's blend is a light ginger with the right amount of lime to balance it out.

Tea Tree Eucalyptus, a very self-explanatory blend! Herbal and refreshing. (very antibacterial as well if you wanted to know!)

Moonlady's Ocean... now as I have said previously I'm not good with scents (it does help when the soap name gives the scent away!) ... it smells citrusy and flowery/herbal. I really like it.

I am absolutely inwith FaerieMade perfumes. I know how much time, work and effort it takes to make a synergistic blend let alone a blend limited to only essential oils, resins etc. I am very impressed!

The perfume blends are Chandon Rose, Sandalwood Amber and Wild Bergamot.
Chandon Rose surprisingly doesn't smell like a rose (to me). I would definitely class it as floral though but a fresh funky floral, not an older woman's floral. It smells slightly herbal and flowery. This is as much as I can explain the scent! It is a well-rounded blend, and really nice. Also, it is green! (I heart green).
Sandalwood Amber definitely has more base notes and stays longer on the skin than the other two. It is a sexy blend as you could imagine. It has a warm 'feeling' to the scent. Straight Out-Of-(the)-Bottle (OOB) it smells so freakin good, but once it's developed on MY skin (not necessarily anyone else's) I feel it doesn't suit me. But that is JUST ME. Perfumes are very personal things!
Wild Bergamot is very citrusy and once developed really becomes something! OOB it was my least favourite, but it really suits me. It is fresh, clean, citrusy. It is wonderful to put on straight after a warm shower.

(L-R: Wild Bergamot, Chandon Rose, Sandalwood Amber. Soaps T-B: Ginger Lime, Moonlady's Ocean, Tea Tree Eucalyptus)

My scent preferences OOB:- Sandalwood Amber followed by Chandon Rose then Wild Bergamot. The funny thing with perfumes is that on every person the scent changes!! Once I'd actually worn them on three different days, my preferences changed to Chandon Rose followed by closely by Wild Bergamot and Sandalwood Amber. Funny! The business owner, Tina, informs me that Sandalwood Amber is her biggest seller, and I can see (smell) why.

I think I'll definitely be purchasing a larger sized bottle of Chandon Rose. How many perfumes can you buy in a store that are all natural, smell this good and are green?! AWESOME! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alkali Soaps Have Arrived!

I received my Alkali soaps today!

They are just as gorgeous as they look in the picture. And they smell delish too!

I'm hopeless at describing scents but here it goes:

Georgia is on the left, it's the same one that was used in the picture on their website! It is just as vibrant in real life as it is in the picture. It smells sweet and fruity.

Drizzle on the right is a hard one to describe! It smells feminine bordering on unisex scent. It smells foody but isn't a foody scent, and smells floral but not quite floral. There might be a slight hint of musk in there. Whatever it is I like it :)

I received two samples as well :) Equinox (left) is a spicy scent, but not manly spicy, actually it reminds me of BB Country Sleigh. Omen on the right smells masculine, but I'd happily use it! Close up I can see some sparkly mica in the swirl. And if you don't already know, I LOVE micas. I shouldn't publicise this, but sparkly things are my Achilles heel!

The perfumes are on their way, they were shipped last week. I bought my mum some natural perfume samples a couple of Christmas's ago, and have been meaning to buy myself some since then. I can't wait for them to arrive!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Latest Purchases

Faerie Made natural perfume sampler from Etsy

Alkali Soaps Georgia and Drizzle vegan soaps from Etsy

I'm trying to save money, but I could not resist these! I can't wait for them to arrive!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fire & Ice

I am a member of a soap forum called The Dish, it is truly a wonderful resource! Not only in regards to B&B but for foodie recipes too!

Here is one I tried from a thread called Fire & Ice Pickles... after making it, I now understand why they named it so :)

From the ingredients list the combination of ingredients may sound a little strange, but it is REALLY REALLY good.

There are many variations but I'll give you the basic original recipe posted (BubbleMeThis):

  • 4lb sugar (1.8kg)
  • 1 gallon dill gherkins(cucumbers, whatever!) (3.8L)
  • 2oz Tabasco sauce (60mL)
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic

With things like this I am a bit blase about measuring properly because it doesn't have to be perfect, but here is my version as best as I can remember:
  • 680g jar of Dill Gherkins (unsliced and preferably unseasoned)
  • 500g white sugar
  • 15-20mL Tabasco
  • 2 cloves garlic (I cut mine in half, some ppl do slices, but I guess you could use minced garlic)
pinch of:
  • red pepper flakes (chilli flakes)
  • allspice
  • clove (ground)
  • chilli powder
  • cinnamon (powdered, but next time I am going to use the quills)
  • a few bay leaves
  • and a few kaffir lime leaves. I didnt mean to add the kaffir lime leaves, as I mistook them initially for bay leaves but it still all tastes very good!
  1. Drain all the juice off gherkins.
  2. Slice into 1.5cm slices (doesn't have to be perfect).
  3. In a separate bowl mix all the ingredients together. I added the sugar last as it melts quickly and you want to get it back in the jar before the liquid starts developing.
  4. Put back into the gherkin jar, lid on TIGHT (this stuff is sticky and a pain to clean up... ask me how I know), and shake well.
  5. Leave sitting out at room temperature for 5 days, shaking once a day (or whenever you remember) and turn it to stand on its lid (which we remembered to tighten didn't we?! ...see how my pic above doesn't have as much liquid...), then the next day shake and turn it to stand on the bottom again and so on. I think I only remembered to turn it for 2 or 3 days, and from then just shook it if I remembered lol
  6. Refrigerate.
These are hot, spicy, tart and sweet, and cold from the fridge ... hence the name.

Give it a go! I promise you'll love it, even if you're not a pickle-lover... I'm not really, until I tried these. Just adjust recipe to your liking, take out or lessen (or increase? What I have made is quite hot) the amount of the chilli powder and Tabasco, add more or less garlic, whatever suits your fancy.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Benchmarking, Art Fire and Soap Porn

The main point of this post is:

Support your fellow artisan. Search out businesses/artists which support a good cause. (Sellers on Art Fire are supporting the environment by joining up).

Competitive Benchmarking is a must for keeping up with trends, and creating your niche in the world of B&B if you want to have some sort of success in this business

Lately I've been reading up on competitive benchmarking, and to be honest I've been doing that without knowing it since I first started soapmaking in 2005. I love seeing what other talented people are coming up with, if not just for inspiration and admiration! This is partially why I end up browsing several handcrafters' websites, and if the funds permit I buy! I believe you should support a fellow artisan in their business. And I hope people do the same for me one day!

Even though there are some people who solely use my products (except shampoo and moisturiser for now), I have noticed that in most people's showers they use my soap in conjunction with a body gel, or a facial cleanser etc. So my aim is to come up with an entire line of products for the complete bathing experience. I've noticed that this is something a lot of handcrafters don't focus on. I totally understand why because in my opinion any reputable handcrafter that is selling will focus on creating good quality products and this takes a lot of time, dedication and research. If you are good at something, pour your heart and sole into it and make it awesome. Unfortunately with my attention span I'll never be able to do that when there are so many GOOD things to make (this could be my downfall though). Like my initial idea of going 100% natural (in my take on it, not making ANYTHING with preservatives or emulsifiers etc), and scenting with EOs only flew out the window once I started getting FO requests for special orders and really really enjoying the FOs. It adds to the creativity and diversity of the products I am able to make. So much so I cannot imagine going FO-free again! (Note: I do make a lot of EO-only things too!) I will stick with my motto of using as many natural products as possible... (except FO, emulsifiers and preservatives etc) ... as I am all for going green, and looking out for yourself and your environment, but I don't want to dampen the creativity by going 100% natural. I do want to focus on sourcing and using non-paraben non-formaldehyde preservatives, which is better for your health. I am currently in the search of non orang-utan-affected palm oil sources and looking into selling it to other conscious environmentalist B&B crafters in Australia. I've come up with a lot of these ideas through research and analysing (to myself) customer responses to businesses that follow these business mottos. But I digress...

This competitive benchmarking search has led me to Art Fire - A brand new(ish) place to buy your unique homemade goodies! And you can also feel good about buying from an artisan on this website.
"Art Fire works closely with Trees for the Future, an International nonprofit organization that is known for low administrative overhead costs and highly regarded for the impact made throughout the world in reducing the overall global carbon impact through planting trees and education. For every new member who joins artfire.com we plant a tree in a part of the world that is in ecologically crisis and turmoil."

So the more you buy, the more artisans will want to join and sell! Salesperson I am not, but I hope that it will encourage you to at least take a look at some goodies. I will be joining very soon! Link
Don't get me wrong, I love Etsy, there are heaps of cool things I have found on there, even my beloved bubble ring that I bought as a devotion to my art (soapmaking) and because it was handmade by a fellow handcrafter. Not to mention it looks pretty funky and no one else has one! but I do love Art Fire's environmental take on their business.

Plugging some Art Fire shops (ie good soap porn hehe):
Sagegold Soaps - Awesome soap design. I wish I'd thought of that. It leaves a lot of room for creativity with scents and colours!
Magic Hands Workshop - Magic Hands' website is definitely worth visiting. Love love love it. Very creative and inspiring work!
Simply Tempted - Their body scrubs look like they are to die for! Mmm .. chocolate
Patti Flynn - Because all her soaps are TDF!! :)
Dr SweetTooth - Some really interesting and creative products!! mmm marshmallow fluff cupcake soap.. lol
Sherri's Scents And Soys - Loving the colouring work.
GrumpyGirl - Another great shop! Death by Rasperry Cheesecake !!! lol ... love it :)

Please note I don't know anyone personally, nor am I associated with these businesses in any way, nor have I tried these products (yet). These are just some of the great Art Fire shops that came up when I did a search under the Bath & Beauty section.

Search and Enjoy! You never know what you may find, or what inspiration you could find to come up with your next Big Thing.

Oh, I forgot to mention H A P P Y N E W Y E A R and Merry Christmas - a couple of weeks too late :) I've been busy over the hols! The new addition to the family (Noah, a gorgeous kitten) has been keeping me busy along with family and friend commitments of course!

Best wishes to everyone, their families, and their businesses in 2009!