Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Soap and Craft Fairs

Spring means a busy craft fair season. If you want to promote your handcrafted soaps, one of the best ways to do that locally is through craft fairs and farmers markets. A few tips we've learned by attending several shows:

*Have an attractive display. With oodles of tables to look at, customers will be drawn to the tables that pique their interests. Decide on a theme for your product, then set up your table accordingly. Be careful how you lay things out so that they are not overwhelming to the customer as most people tend to browse quickly and move along.

*Display your prices clearly. It never fails, we can have three pages of prices plastered all over the table and somebody will ask, "How much is your soap?" Unfortunately, most people won't ask and won't buy because of it. Prominently and clearly display your prices, and don't be afraid to tell people how much your products are when they are browsing.

*Talk, or don't talk. In any case, make eye contact, smile, and be available. Some customers want to know everything about you and your goats and your mother, but others just want to enjoy their afternoon without a sales pitch. Some customers like their space, but most appreciate your sincere interest in them and their needs. Don't sit hidden behind your table all afternoon, but feel free to come out and mingle with your crowd. Remember, the customer is always right.

*Offer free samples. With every batch of soap we make we cut a couple of bars into little slices for samples. Once cured, we put them into a baggie, staple our business card and soap class advertisement on them, and offer them to everybody who gets close to our table.

*Don't oversell. Most people simply want to see what you're offering. If they ask, "How do you make that!" don't go into a detailed explanation of cold process versus hot process, gel or not gel (unless of course they are a soap maker, too, and really want to delve into the various options), rather offer up a brief explanation of how you raise the goats and have been making soap for several years and love, love, love what it does for your own skin. Ease right into the oil bar versus the lard bar you offer, exfoliates or not, and -oooh- smell this Cranberry Pomegranate.

*Make sure to have bags available to package your soap- nobody wants to carry around three bars of soap on a hot afternoon. Have business cards printed up and tuck one into each bag, and if they haven't taken a sample, add one of those, too.

*Remember - many craft fair customers become long time buyers and friends, so treat them as such.

Happy Craft Fair/Farmer's Market season!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Photographing Soap

Getting great photos of your beautiful handcrafted soap is easy when you know a few simple tricks. If you play around with your camera settings you will find a little button that allows you change the scenes. Once you've discovered where it is on your camera, find the close-up option and click on it. You will now enter into a whole different world of photography that you never knew existed. If you are really brave you can even play around with the lighting settings and enter a whole nother level of picture taking art.

 The first thing you need to do when photographing your soap is set up a back drop. This can be done by simply placing a white piece of poster board on a bench in a sunny or bright location which won't require you to use a flash.

Adding some props, or even a color coordinated piece of scrapbook paper, makes for an even funner photo shoot. Here I added a doily, a china cup and saucer set, an antique book and some potpourri.

Now, prepare to bend, squat, and just about turn upside down to get every angle possibly imagined.

Once you start you won't be able to quit.

Just look at all those amazing shots of your beautiful soap!

Be sure to lay out your soaps in lots of different arrangements.

If you designed some beautiful tops be sure to highlight those, too.


Black and white, or sepia, is always fun.

And the soap doesn't always have to be the main focus, either.

If you want to have some extra fun after the photo shoot is over, check out PicMonkey (most of it's free) to add borders, highlighting, tinting, brushing, borders, and almost every other tweaking option available. So much fun with one little camera!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Men Like Soap Too

Believe it or not, men really love handcrafted goat's milk soap. Although you will most likely not find too many of them stopping by your table at the local farmer's market asking to smell the Lilac bar, some of our best customers and soap supporters are men. The Drakkar scent from Brambleberry tends to be a best seller for us at craft fairs. Maybe the ladies figure that if they bring some soap home for the other half they can justify buying more for themselves?!

Drakker with Oatmeal Goat's Milk Soap is available on the sales page.
Drakkar Goat's Milk Soap is on the curing rack and will be available soon.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spearmint Eucalyptus Goat's Milk Soap

Spearmint Eucalyptus Goat's Milk Soap~ Yum!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Soap Classes

Alexis and I have been hosting soap making classes both at our farm and our local high school for several years. The classes begin with an ice breaker game, time to browse the sales table which includes cured soap, goat's milk soap laundry detergent, books, frozen goat's milk for those who want to make their own soap at home, plus a fun slide show of our Nubian goats.

Once everybody is settled in there is a lecture time including an in-depth explanation of soap terms and how to make cold process soap, followed by a soap making and cutting demonstration. At about this point most people feel even more intimidated than when first they arrived, but soon after they have been handed a wand mixer and a pair of goggles they quickly figure out that making soap isn't so scary.

Next, we pair everybody up into groups of two where they get to make their own batch of soap and then help their fellow student mix up a batch - some are even courageous enough to try swirls and color combinations. It is so fun to see the transformation in our students who enter both scared and excited, then leave two hours later laughing and confident with a box of their own hand made goat's milk soap under their arms.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Overheated Soap

Not every batch of soap turns out pretty enough for pictures, or even for resale or gifts. Especially soaps made with goat's milk can tend to be tricky to make because goat's milk easily overheats. Previously I have always wrapped my soap in old bathroom towels to insulate them after pouring the finished mixture into their molds, but recently several batches have overheated. At first I thought it was just the new scent I used, which could have attributed some to the heat level. But after the second, then the third batch had those eery looking teeth, I did some investigating and discovered that yes, my soaps were overheating.

After a few not so perfect batches I have since gone to the other side of the gel or not to gel debate and have started to pop my soap into the freezer, unwrapped, after pouring the fresh soap in the mold. Results: beautiful soap, no overheating, no eery teeth.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

One of the best parts about making goat's milk soap is raising the very goats who provide all that good milk. Kidding season is nearing its end on our little farm with five out of six does having already kidded. There are some doelings who will stay on our farm to be future mommas, and the bucklings have begun to find new homes~ one even as far away as North Dakota. Love those long Nubian ears!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On the Curing Rack

Some new soaps are curing on the rack and will be ready to go in another week or so. The first bar is the ever favorite Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Goat's Milk Soap. Made as a special request order for a local customer this bar appeals to many who don't want any extra scents, just an all around great bar of soap with some extra exfoliates.

Baby Powder Blue Goat's Milk Soap is another trial bar using our new oil recipe, and it seems to be passing the test with flying colors! I love the bubbly goodness from the castor oil, and of course, farm fresh goat's milk is great in any bar of Nubian's Delight soap. The blue turned out very soft and pretty, and it smells so exactly like baby powder that your nose even tickles when you smell it!

Both bars will be ready for shipping in just a couple more weeks.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Goat's Milk Soap

Oooh~la~la!! This may be my new favorite bar!
It is certainly a new favorite design.
I am imagining numerous color variations and scents ...
the possibilities are endless.
Lemon Poppyseed Goat's Milk Soap, fresh out of the mold. Made with our new oil recipe (castor, olive, and coconut) which has proven to be a perfect blend for lots of sudsy bubbles, plus our farm fresh goat's milk and some poppy seeds mixed in for extra scrubbing power. What a fun, sunny looking bar!

How do you do that you're asking? Well, let me show you the trick.
At a light trace I separated my plain soap batch by pouring roughly 1/4 of the mixture into a pan and added some Poppyseeds.

Next, I added Fizzy Lemonade mica powder from Brambleberry into a couple tablespoons of oil and added it to my pail (with 3/4 of the soap) along with Lemongrass Essential oil. I mixed this concoction up to a heavier trace and poured it into my lined soap mold. Once it was starting to set up, I used my spatula to make some dips and curves.
Now comes the fun part. Before I started the soap I dug out an old pair of nylons, cut the toe off and used it to cover the opened end of my little plastic bottle of Black Oxide (yes, again from Brambleberry). I gently tapped the end of the bottle to lightly dust the yellow soap in the mold. It really doesn't take much at all.

Then I gently scooped the white poppyseed, unscented soap on top. I sprinkled a few more poppyseeds on top for looks and covered it lightly with saranwrap.
Since I have been having some trouble with overheated soap lately, I popped it in the freezer for an hour, then waited patiently until the next morning when I could finally cut it.
Love it!

I'll put it up on the sales page soon, but it won't be shipped and ready for use until mid May.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Soapy Give Away

Come on over to OurCrazyFarm for a soapy give away!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Soap Labels

A fun, simple way to dress up your soap for resale: scrapbook paper labels.
With my paper cutter I cut strips of scrapbook paper about 2 1/2 inches wide.

Then I simply printed our name, Nubian's Delight Goat's Milk Soap, in a fun font on cream paper and cut it out using a fancy paper punch.

After wrapping the soap I glued the description onto the front, and printed out the ingredient list and our website to paste onto the back.

The colors and variations are endless!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Snow Soap

Winter just doesn't seem to want to go away this year, so we decided to take advantage of the record amounts of snow that keep falling and make some soap with it.

Our latest creation: Cranberry Pomegranate Snow Soap with cranberry seeds
sprinkled in the white "snowy" tops.


We tried a new recipe for this batch, which will hopefully become another favorite.
There are thirteen bars sitting on the drying rack that will soon be available for sale ~
can't wait to use some!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oatmeal Almond Scrub Goat's Milk Soap

Alexis and I have been having so much fun making soap! Between exciting goat deliveries (more on that soon, Lord willing), home schooling and the never ending laundry pile we have been able to whip up eleven batches of goat's milk soap in preparation for some upcoming Spring Craft Fairs. My soap racks are overflowing!

Almond is always a popular seller, so we made sure to make extra. Lots of folks like the Oatmeal Almond Scrub bar as well. We used our tried and true lard recipe which holds up well with the added oatmeal, along with 2 ounces of Brambleberry's Cybilla Almond scent.

At a light trace I poured about 1/4 of the soap mixture back into my oil pan, then added my scents and superfatted the original batch with the Castor Oil for extra luxurious bubbles and conditioning. Next I added the oatmeal, and mixed it back up to a thicker trace before pouring it into the mold.

The bottom layer turns that pretty brown from the Almond scent, with the plain white soap poured on top for some contrast, and a dash of cinnamon for an added dramatic effect. Beautiful!
These should be ready for sale by the middle of March.
Let me know if you want to pre-order some before they're all sold out!

Monday, January 14, 2013


Kidding season is fast approaching. In about two weeks we will officially be on "goat watch." My favorite time of the farming year: baby season.
The delivery of goat kids ushers in milking time, which also means we get to look forward to raising bottle calves from all that rich milk. Jacob (on the left) is our main herd sire this year. He comes from Brenda's farm in Missouri.

Dreaming about lots more colorful kids like last February, except hoping for a girl year this time around. The little guy on the left is our second herd sire this year. Any locals looking for purebred Nubian goats let me know!
Having all that good goats milk also means more soap making. This crazy soap dream has exploded into an obsession and a small income to help keep the farm running. There are a couple of soap making classes scheduled in the next two months, plus craft fairs and expo's to prepare for, but no milk in my freezer. I've been adding to my wish list of scents, colors and designs plus am excited to try out some new soap recipes~ now I just need some milk. And talking about soap, this was a sweet encouragement: Backyard Farming Guide.

In other farms news: we are anxiously waiting for chicks to hatch, both from the incubator and from Cole's Silkie hens who have decided that the middle of January would be a great time to set on some eggs. There are also 150 little pullet peepers on their way from the hatchery for resale this spring. Baby season is almost upon us~ I can't wait!