Sunny Days Ahead


Let me introduce you to Sun on the Go sets.  We are trying small sets in a convenient vinyl spa bag so they are more travel sized.  They can be taken on a plane,  yet are able to take just a little bit of space.  We aren’t doing shampoo;  instead,  we’re doing detangling spray, so after a day in the sun,  you can brush your hair with ease.  The lotion helps after sunburns or tender areas, while, at the same time, you can use it for simply moisturizing your skin.  SOTG_Small2The soap will be good for cleaning sweat, germs and even shells off your skin.  You can use it on your face, though we can’t predict how your skin will react, since people are sensitive to different things.  The lip balm will not work as a sun screen lip balm, so don’t use it that way.  However it will work if your lips are dried out. You can pick these up at the Blueberry Festival this Saturday, 21 June 2014 or order them from our online store if you’re not going to be in the area this weekend.


It’s that great earthy scent that is a flashback to the 60s, the Summer of Love and the Peace Movement.  It conjures up images of painted VW vans with shag carpeting in the back and very mellow hippie people with long hair with flowers in it.  This is a love-it-or-hate-it scent; I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “I kinda like it.”  It’s Patchouli, and if you can’t tell, I’m completely in the “LOVE IT!!!” camp.

One of the most awesome swirls I've ever done in Patchouli.  Totally wow!
One of the most awesome swirls I’ve ever done in Patchouli. Totally wow!
A close-up of that wicked cool swirl
A close-up of that wicked cool swirl

This was such a fun soap to make!  The business rule is, no one under the age of 12 gets to help make cold process soap, which, of course, means that both my girls are salivating for the opportunity to help me make it.  My four-year-old mixed all my colorants for me (there are 12 total), and my ten-year-old mixed the raw soap into the colorants.  Mom was here when we mixed and poured it, which was her first experience watching me make soap.  When I swept the coat hanger into the soap and we saw the swirl emerge, we gasped at how cool it was.  Click either pic to purchase a bar of Patchouli soap, or wait about 3 1/2 weeks for these jewels to be ready for purchase.

 In which camp are you?  Do you love it or hate it?


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Luxurious Solutions for Winter Dry Skin

It is not at all unusual for me to get special orders for products or for people to tell me about their skin conditions and ask me to pair them up with products that will meet their needs.  Usually, for complaints of psoriasis, eczema or sensitivities to fragrances, I recommend Soap of Milk & Honey (and Oatmeal!).  I received a call, though, from a long-time customer who was looking for products similar to what she had been getting from another company.  That’s not something I usually like to do, but she gave me the name of the company and the products, so I started investigating.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered these products which were earth-inspired and “natural” were made of premade bases with a few things added!  They even made claims about the healing properties about an ingredient that was in a product’s name, and the only hint of that ingredient was the scent!

No, I could not duplicate these products for my friend; I could make them from scratch even better.  I relayed to her my findings and warned her that I couldn’t make these products cheaper than she was getting them.  In fact, they would be more expensive.  She said, “I don’t care.  Yours will be better, and I’d rather buy from you, anyway.”  Here are her skin treats…

Handmade Lotion & Soap with an all natural lavender and pink grapefruit fragrance
Handmade Lotion & Soap with an all natural lavender and pink grapefruit fragrance

For bathing, I’m hooking her up with gloriously luscious body wash.  This mild soap made of a blend of premium, skin-loving oils builds lots of fluffy lather and leaves skin scrumptiously silky and richly supple.  The fragrance is an intriguing blend of herbaceous lavender and juicy pink grapefruit.  To hit those troubled dry spots, the lotion is a creamy blend features coconut milk and contains avocado oil, a great addition for her slightly more mature skin.  This also has that same incredible scent as the soap, so she’ll get to enjoy the light scent without inflicting it on everyone around her.

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It’s All About Customer Service

Today is my birthday, and the sweet treats of the day started this morning when one of my Divinity School professors guest preached at church, and my parents came down to join us for worship and to take us out to lunch.  My parents love fried seafood, and since miserable winter weather had prevented their trip to the beach last month, they wanted to go to this great local seafood restaurant, which was fine with us.  The restaurant serves delicious food, and we’ve always had enjoyable dining experiences there.

We arrived at the restaurant, and wow!  Was it crowded!  We put our name on the list, and the hostess told us it’d be a 20-minute wait.  We could hold out that long.  That twenty minutes ended up being much longer than imagined.

We waited more than 20 minutes, and still no table. My husband checked THREE times to see how much longer, and he was told, “You’re the next big party on the list. It shouldn’t be much longer now.” FINALLY, OVER an HOUR later, we hear the hostess call our name (barely) from inside the restaurant (She had been poking her head out to call customers who were waiting outside). We go inside, and she’s seating a party of 6 who had just come in. I pointed out how long we’d been waiting, and she simply said, “Sorry.” I informed her that we had two very hungry children in our party, and she said lamely, “Oh, I didn’t know you had children with you.” What should that matter? She didn’t even offer to make arrangements for us to sit down until after I asked to speak to the manager.

She sat us at a very cramped table for five and said she’d get a chair for our youngest (age 4). Ten minutes later, and still no chair. Another five minutes pass before the manager comes over. I explained how the actions of the hostess were far from the standards of even halfway good customer care, and he apologized, told me he’d inform the owner (cynical me doubts that will happen), and assured me it’ll never happen again. I was unpleasantly surprised that he didn’t offer to comp us anything for the extraordinarily long wait or the hostess’s lackadaisical attitude. I would have expected him to offer to comp us drinks or an appetizer at the minimum.

Our server, Ashley, did redeem the bad service experience with her own warm, energetic, courteous, attentive service. The hostess and the manager both had opportunities to practice what I call Super-Amazing Customer Care, and here’s where I think their learning opportunities lie:

(1)  When you have made a mistake, admit it.  The hostess first gave a flippant “sorry,” followed by a bit of sarcasm, topped off with an I-don’t-care shrug.  In reality, however it happened, she skipped our names.  No one likes being wrong, and being caught messing up at work is pretty embarrassing.  Been there, done that.  This happened to me in December.  I had missed a whole product subcategory when I was updating my inventory numbers on my website; as a result, a customer ordered soaps I didn’t have in stock.  I contacted her about the problem and offered her a solution to make it right.

(2)  A little sacrifice now will prevent a bigger loss later.  To be honest, I would have liked for the hostess to unseat the group she pushed in front of us and explained her mistake.  That doesn’t seem just to me.  At the absolute very least, the manager should have offered to comp us something – drinks (tea, Coke, chocolate milk, water) or an appetizer.  The actions of the hostess and the manager make me rethink returning to that restaurant, and I posted a less-than-favorable review which could possibly cost this restaurant business.  In the mistake I referenced from a sale in December, I shipped her the one soap I did have in stock, two other nice ones, a small lotion, and I promised to ship at no cost the soaps she ordered that I didn’t have as soon as they became available.  Sure I will lose a little money off this, but at the same time, it’s worth it to me to make a customer happy.

(3)  One person can turn around a bad customer service experience.  In our case, our server redeemed our lunch time, providing warm, prompt, enthusiastic, energetic customer service. We did almost, however, leave the restaurant, not wanting to expose ourselves to more poor service and giving another restaurant the opportunity to give us the service we deserved as paying customers.  That reality is there, regardless of the business you’re in.  Whether you’re a mechanic, restaurant owner, doctor or soapmaker, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.

What are some customer service lessons you would add, either as a business owner or as a consumer?

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