A Word About Pricing

It has recently come up to me:  “How come this soap is so much more expensive than soaps like The Perfect Man?”  The soap is question was smaller and lighter, and certainly would lead someone to wonder how come it carries a higher price per ounce than soaps made with the cold process method.

Let’s take flip flop soaps as an example.  Flip flop soaps weigh in at a hefty 5.75 ounces and sell for $10.00 each.  In contrast, The Perfect Man weighs in at a smooth 5 ounces but costs two dollars less per bar.  It all comes down to ingredients and labor.

Steampunk Flip Flop Soap
Steampunk Flip Flop Soap

This soap base costs more per ounce than an even larger quantity of oil or lye.  Because of the limitations of moulds and the amount of soap I can make per batch, I could make three soaps, start to wrapped, in 12 hours; there is a lot of wait time in there in which my mould is tied up, unusable.  On top of that, it takes about ten minutes to make, wrap, and label each bar of soap with those fabulous layers, not including the wait time, which I spend doing other things.  By contrast, I can make 33 bars of soap in 40 minutes (with another 15-20 for wrapping/labeling).  The soaps do have to sit for weeks to saponify and cure, but there it is:  33 bars in one hour versus 6 bars in one hour.

Here’s another of my melt & pour creations…

Pelican soap
Pelican soap

This little gem took a full 20 minutes to make.  Yes.  TWENTY minutes.  A full third of an hour.  And that doesn’t include wrapping and labeling.

While making these soaps can be enjoyable every now and then – it’s fun to watch a bar develop, layer by layer – they simply aren’t cost-effective to make for sale.  That pelican was a diminutive 3-3.5 ounces but retailed at $12.00.  Sure, he’s cute, but as fabulous as my soaps are, I don’t expect my customers to pony up $12.00 to look at a bar of soap.

Instead, I would much rather play with cold processed soap, experimenting with swirls and colors, playing with scents and sometimes, being completely WOWed at what’s revealed when we slice up the slab or the log of soap.  Even though I might use the same colors and techniques between batches, because of the very nature of the creation, no two will ever be the same, and that’s exciting to us.

As our business has evolved and continues to evolve, expect to see much fewer novelty soaps and a greater number of artfully designed soaps using the cold process method.  We enjoy having so much control over both the ingredients and the design, and, frankly, we don’t have 10 minutes or 20 minutes to spend making one bar of soap.  We do, after all, want to clock out at some point during the day!

The Facebook Break

Two weeks ago I was prowling in impatience and irritation, growling at the delay in my schedule that was the result of an internet outage.  (This was soon followed by my phone dying.  You can read all about my tech annoyances here.)

About the same time I was going through this, I was toying with taking a bit of a break from Facebook.  The hate rhetoric was just getting to be more than felt psychologically healthy to me.  So, on that Monday after getting my internet back, I checked Facebook, logged out, and closed that tab.  When I received my new phone on Tuesday, I was intentional about not installing the Facebook app, settling with just installing Messenger and Pages (both I can use without seeing my newsfeed).

Last Sunday, I went on Facebook briefly to clear out notifications and to respond to comments.  There were almost 40 notifications, and very few of those were really germane to my life.  Then, I logged off, once more closing down the tab.  In the tech post, a colleague commented, asking how it was being off of Facebook.  Frankly, it’s pretty great.  I’m less distracted and able to tackle those things that truly need my attention.

Facebook logo
Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought i’d only be off Facebook for a week, but I discovered instead that I can keep going with this as long as I need to.  Through 3rd party apps, such as Hootsuite, Instagram, my blog, and my newsletter, I can post just enough that people know I’m still alive.  This week, though, I hit a flaw in my plan.  Without Facebook, I was without my groups, and one of those is really important to me in my business.  Furthermore, I needed the wisdom of this group, and there was only one way to get it.  Yep, back to Facebook – and right in the middle of the week, too.  However, I don’t have to stay logged into Facebook; I can post my question, log out, close the tab, and check for responses at the end of the day as I’m drafting my agenda for the next day.  This allows me to avoid the things that upset me and keeps me from being distracted from my tasks.

It takes hard-won business maturity and discipline to get off the social networks for anything but their necessary use, and it’s difficult to break the habit of checking social media feeds when you’re of the habit of checking them multiple times a day.  Yet, I’m trying hard to do it, and things are definitely getting done around here.

What can you subtract from your life that would enable you to increase your productivity and take your goals and dreams to their next level?

Better Living Through Technology?

I love my tech, as I’m sure you do, too.  And I use it all the time, every day, for something or other.  I rely on my computers for work, and we’re currently using YouTube for our study of World War II.  I print worksheets for my younger off homeschooling sites online, and all that is just my computers.  My phone enables me to keep up with social media, including posting pictures to Instagram and instantly shooting pictures to customers.

Last Wednesday morning, I followed my usual morning ritual – drinking two cups of water while checking email and my social media feeds.  It wasn’t long at all before I realized my text messages on my phone weren’t going through.  Then I noticed that none of my sites were coming up on my computer.  Brief analysis – no internet.  I went outside to find a second bar of reception and to call my provider.  Joy.  An area-wide outage had taken out our internet and crews were “working hard to restore service.”

Thursday morning rolls around, and at 9 a.m., my phone rings.  It’s our internet provider informing me that the outage had been cleared up.  Woohoo!  I zip downstairs and had internet coverage for… two minutes.  Another call to our provider informed me that half our neighborhood was still affected and our internet should be restored later that afternoon or by noon the next day at the latest.  Yea!  Hope!

Thursday night… No internet.  Friday morning… No internet.  Friday noon… No internet.  The great service techs helped me go through all the possible steps to reboot our modem, but in the end, there was no recourse left but to wait for the cable guys on Saturday.  Saturday our service was winking in and out, but the fellas came, got me back online, then discovered that there was an issue with the box by the road.

Things flowed smoothly from there.  In fact, things were better, because our internet was faster.  I had my website access, my social media outlets, my email, YouTube for school, math worksheets for the Wee One, everything I’d been missing.

English: New Mobile Cell Phone Technology
English: New Mobile Cell Phone Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Let me take a break from the narrative here to say, I decided last week that I needed to take some time away from Facebook, because the hatemongering; injustice-in-the-name-of-Jesus; and horrid, fearmongered comments about a segment of the population were having a very negative effect on my psyche.  Truly, the comments were hurting my heart.  However, with my internet down, I couldn’t log off completely as I wanted.  Alright.  Back to the story.

Monday morning, I followed my usual routine, but this time with a twist.  I dropped a post on Facebook to let people know I was taking a break, why, and how to reach me.  Then I logged off and closed down the tab.  To prevent further temptation, I uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone.  Yet, my phone was still saying I had low memory, even after uninstalling that and deleting a bunch of pictures.  Sometimes, my phone requires a hard boot to register that I’ve freed up memory.  So, I disassembled my phone, let it meditate, put it back together, then pushed the power button.  No.  Power.  I tried again.  And again.  Then I called T-Mobile.  Shout out to them for getting me a phone to me the next day!

In the last seven days, technology has hardly been my friend.  Well, it’s been perfectly friendly when it’s been working, but when it isn’t, my life nearly comes to a halt.  These days have certainly tried my patience!  Joy of joy, though, I have a newer model S5 that has cool, new features that weren’t on my two-year-old one, and I don’t have to go phone shopping any time soon, thank goodness!