Monday, August 23, 2010

Advertise Much? 'Free.99'

Starting a home based business in these tough economic times brings out the 'scavenger hunter' in all of us. Well at least it does in me, the queen barginista! I'm always looking for the ultimate bargain or freebie. Speaking of free, or like my cousin likes to eloquently put it: Free.99, There are so many ways to get your business out of charge.

Many of you have probably heard of Vistaprint, the company that prints free business cards and you just pay the shipping. Well business cards are not the only product they offer. They also offer free banners, yard signs, brochures, t-shirts, note pads, and many, many other personalized items. I've been a customer for more than 3 years and I'm very satisfied with their service! Now keep in mind some of these services are not free on a daily basis like some of their standard products, but they will send you emails on a weekly basis listing everything that is either free that week or on sale. Talk about saving big time on advertising!

Next we have none other than YouTube. If you have a video camera and a decent editing program, which most computers come with nowadays, then you are good to go! Don't have a video camera? No worries, you can still create a video composed of still shots. I created my first YouTube 'commercial' with photos of some of my work. Next I added sound effects and background music and viola! Oh did I mention, you can set up a YouTube account for free?! But of course you already knew that! There are many soapers who have taken this route to advertise their business as well as demonstrate to their customers how the products offered are made.

And last but not least, you need a place to showcase your items for sale right after all of that lovely advertising! Well there are many venues online where you could sell your products but I'm just going to touch on the free sites. Two sites that are pretty popular among the handmade community: and They both offer free as well as minimum cost plans to open an online store. Of course the free options are limited but it's a good start for new businesses that may not have the financial means to launch a big ol' fancy website!

I consider anything free as a stepping stone to a successful business!

P.S. USPS, FedEx, and UPS all ofer free shipping supplies!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cold Process Way

When I first started in the soap biz, I started out with Melt & Pour, like most beginners do. When I learned of the CP way of making soap, I was immediately turned off by the idea of putting lye into something that came in contact with my skin. I was actually telling my co-workers/customers that I made 'soap with no lye'. Foolish me, didn't quite understand the concept of saponification and that technically, I had been putting 'lye' on my skin for years! With no lye, there is NO SOAP! Lye is needed in order for the process of saponification to take place. What is saponification you ask? Saponification is the chemical process that produces soap from fatty acid derivatives. Combine the precise amounts of lye, water, and animal/vegetable fats and viola, you have soap!

I eventually got over my fear of lye once I had an understanding of how the whole process worked. Besides, I wanted to create more natural products, and starting from scratch is the best way to achieve natural in my opinion! Will I abandon my M&P process? No. After all, you can be more creative with the M&P process. I'll just switch over to an all natural 'base'.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010 4:07pm Chicago time!

I know you're wondering what the title is all about huh? Well I'm excited because that is the exact time that I hit the 'Publish" button to upload my very 1st YouTube video!
O M G!
O M G!

Ok, seriously it's just a little sneak preview for what's yet to come! I've been working on a few 'commercials' for YouTube, but I'm not quite ready to upload those just yet until my online shops are set up and ready to go!

So with that said....stay tuned!