Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I am thankful for . .

I have the very best customers in the whole world.  Really.  Some of you have been with me since the very beginning of my soap making journey.  You're like family.

I can't tell you how much your loyal support has meant to me.  The daily compliments and kind emails.  The friendly faces at shows and the genial phone calls.  It's what keeps me in this business.

So without getting mushier than a bowl of mashed potatoes, I just want to say thank you to all of you.  Old friends and new ones.  Thank you for sharing your personal lives with me.  Thank you for supporting me year after year, even as tastes change.  I'm so grateful to still be in business after 17 long years of ups, downs, twists and turns.  You've made it all possible.

Happy Thanksgiving.  May this next year be full of more peace, health, happiness and success to all of you.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What's the B. F. Deal?

The entire universe is full of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" hype.  It's overwhelming and obnoxious.  Full of cutesy word soups and clever jingles to get you shopping here, heeere, HERE!

I'm in the "bah humbug" category.  I fully admit it right up front.  I've never gotten up at the crack of dawn to stand in long lines at a mall or big box store in the freezing cold or pouring rain to save a few bucks on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Sleeping in, relaxing, and generally enjoying my time off has had more value to me.  I know there are a few really great deals out there, if you can find them, or spend your Thanksgiving day at Walmart instead of with your family at home eating a gorgeous meal.  But mostly it's just  hype - and sales prices that continue on after the appointed hour, and sometimes get even better as Christmas gets closer and there is still inventory on the shelves.

Now that I'm in the retailer spot, I'm still not that thrilled with coming up with marketing ploys to get people to buy my soap on one of those two days either.

I am announcing right now, just in case you all are wondering - I will NOT have any super duper sales for Black Friday.  Or Cyber Monday.   Prices will be the same as the mad Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I'll be shopping and cooking in my five spare minutes.  In fact, prices will be the same as the whole darn weekend and all next week.  I'm barely keeping up with what I already have on my plate.  Both work-wise and inventory-wise.  So no need to just sell the dwindling supplies even cheaper.  Or put myself through even more headache by increasing my workload by a gazillion.

I will again, like every year, try to sleep in a few more minutes on Black Friday morning.  And get back to working like my hair's on fire on Cyber Monday morning.

It's not all Ebeneezer Scrooge over here though.  I do have sales throughout the year.  If you're on my email list, you'll get first crack at them.  The next big one being half-off winter holiday close-out scents and stuff in January.  But before Christmas?  I don't think that's going to happen, sorry to say.  Love you guys, but I can only crank out so much soap and I didn't get far enough ahead this year to plan a big Thanksgiving week hoopla sales event.  Maybe next year.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shows. More of 'em.

Yes, it's November.  And yes, there are more shows this week.

Two ongoing shows that opened last week, and I forgot to post early.  But they both go on all month and all next month too.  So there's still plenty of time to get over there and shop.

Holiday Festival of the Arts

Allied Arts of Whatcom County's annual Holiday Festival of the Arts started on Friday.  We've got a new location this year, which is actually an old location - one we've used before, a few years back.  This show has some of the best and brightest artists and is chock full of beautiful, unique and original handmade holiday gifts.  Shop local and get something one of a kind!  Click the link to check out who's there this year.

Location: 1825 Cornwall at Ohio
Dates:  November 15 - Dec 24
Hours:  Wed thru Sunday 10am - 6pm
            Closed Thanksgiving, closing early at 3pm Christmas Eve
            Bonus days Mon and Tues Dec 23 and 24

East Shore Gallery Holiday Show

This is a small but beautiful gallery located at East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue.  It's open all week but not staffed during weekdays, so if you're heading over there mid-week, just check in at the office and they'll let you in to shop.  Open fully on weekends, especially Sundays around worship services.  Each year they organize this fine art event with unique handcrafted holiday gift items.

They are having an open house this Saturday, 11/23 (link to the evite and all the details)

Location: just north of Factoria at 12700 SE 32nd St, Bellevue
Dates: mid-November thru early Jan
Hours: open weekdays by checking in at the office, open weekends

Group Health - Bellevue

This is a little one-day holiday craft show at Group Health's Bellevue location - just across the street from Whole Foods.  It's primarily for employees, patients and visitors to Group Health, but we're open to the public and happily selling our wares.  This coming Friday, 11/22, 9am to 5pm, located in the conference room, just behind/next to the coffee shop in the lobby at the front doors.  If you're in the neighborhood, or this is a convenient location to pick up some gifts - you're absolutely welcome to visit.

There is nothing new next week, just the two ongoing shows listed above.  It's Turkey Day, and parade day, and tree-trimming day all in a row.  Then we head off to set up Warm Beach for the month of December.  And Phinney Ridge is coming up too.  With a final appearance at Group Health Capitol Hill in early December. But believe it or not, we're actually getting close to the end of the line with shows, shows, shows.  Me?  Not complaining. :)

Friday, November 08, 2013


Today is Friday.  It's not even 7am.  And I'm already feeling fried.

This time of year is so hectic.  I have no idea why I thought that adding a kitchen renovation project to the cake batter would make a better cake.  The cabinets arrived yesterday, not without it's own set of glitches.

But we hadn't quite gotten paint on the walls yet.  So the piles of cabinets around the house is enormous.  Plus the sink and vent hood arrived yesterday too - sitting in a corner of my bedroom as a bonus.  And the flooring is piled up over there.  It's like I'm a hoarder in here.  Just the tiniest of pathways to get from my bedroom to the little electric kettle and toaster in the far corner of the dining room.  Did I mention I have claustrophobia?

Enough whining.  It's all working out, and now things will start to go pretty quickly.  I think.  Except the counter top, which will take maybe a month from now.  Which means I will have lost my sink and tiny little work surface on Monday - until way past Thanksgiving and half of December.  Not thinking about that.

What I AM thinking about is how I'm going to get everything done today in order to set up the Bellevue Club this evening.  I don't even have half of my inventory labelled and packed. Plus these two big wholesale orders need to go out today, since they are already a day or two late.  And I need to restock the Red Ribbons and Reindeer show this morning, with a few supply pick-ups on the way to or fro and be back before 10am when the painter gets here.

The Winter Holiday newsletter, which I posted here yesterday, also got sent by email yesterday.  But the snail mail version was still waiting for those darn gingerbread holiday postage stamps to arrive, which should have been here Tues or Wed  but arrived yesterday too - in all that hullaballoo.  So they are headed to the Post Office this morning too and will be on their way.  Of course that means a trickle of mail orders hit my email box too yesterday.  And I am intending to squeeze those in during the extra few seconds I have today to blink.

Also a lovely woman called me from a local Japanese language newspaper to get my permission to write me up in their upcoming gift guide and will I send photos in the right size.  Very nice and unexpected surprise.  And of course I'll do that too.  There must be some other seconds to squeeze out of this day.

Are you exhausted already just reading about my day today?  Me too.  But it's just a day.  And it will be all over in a blink of an eye.  Tomorrow I'll be selling soap at my little display at the Bellevue Club.  Come on over and see me - extra wrinkly, and a little loopy but happy to be out of the house for a few hours :)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Winter Holiday Newsletter 2013

The new Winter Holiday Newsletter is on its way to mailboxes everywhere.  I like to post these here on the blog too, for those of you that are not on my list, but checking in here every now and again.  

It's seems like a huge waste of time for me to try to add individual links to every item listed below, so I'll just give you this one:  it's all on the Seasonal Page on the web site.  

Dear Friends,

I always think of winter in two parts.  Act 1 is the crazy, busy, happy holiday season all squished together in one rushed month, and Act 2 is the long quiet solitude that comes after that.  It’s nice to have a little of both, a perfect balance between the chaos and the peace.

Holidays, by definition, are celebrations after all.  They compel us to join cherished friends and family in cheerful activities, enjoying people we don’t get to see often enough.  Parties, decorations, special once-a-year happenings – just the anticipation of it all makes the month of December joyous and extraordinary.

And yet, when the hubbub dies down, as we sweep up the glitter and party hats, the silence of winter is its own special pleasure.  Cozying up indoors by the fire or chasing snowflakes in the tingling cold, it’s a time of quiet reflection.  We need this short break to regroup, make our resolution lists, and dream big plans for the year ahead.

Soapworks Studio has the perfect holiday gifts

As the holidays approach, the gift lists grow longer. The perfect gift is a unique, special, treasure - both useful, and use-able.  Soapworks Studio’s little gifts of soap and bath goodies totally fit the bill.  All locally handmade and reasonably priced, there is something for everyone on your holiday gift list.

The upcoming season has sparked new wintry wonderful soap scents for a little fun in the shower, or a treat for that special someone (or all your friends and family).  The autumn seasonal scents are still available a bit longer. Plus our full list of soaps and goodies are available online at all hours.  There’s something for everybody! ($4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00) 

Douglas Fir & Mint  – The perfect winter day is spent outside in a snowy Northwest forest – skiing, hiking, or searching for that magical Christmas tree. Fresh juniper, pine, fir needles and cedar blend with icy cool peppermint for a tingly, refreshing soap. (100% natural soap)

Winter Spice  - A delightful twist on the classic spice scents we love so much in winter. This one is a blend of cinnamon, clove, ginger, black pepper, wintergreen and sassafras.  (100% natural soap)

Our two must-have favorites both from previous years and earlier this autumn will continue through December.  As Scrooge shouted to the rooftops, “I haven’t missed it!” – no, you haven’t missed it! 

Clove Orange – Sweet oranges, spicy cloves and a pinch of cinnamon stick. (100% natural soap)

Cranberry Harvest – Tart, juicy cranberries and zesty orange peel, loaded with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepperberry.

Helping Hands Soap Sets – Winter Holiday Edition

Hugely popular since we introduced them a couple of years ago, these charming packages of mini soaps have been a gift-giving favorite!  We’ve put our standard version on hiatus to introduce a Winter Holiday edition of fragrances featuring:  Flannel Jammies, Sleigh Ride, Gingerbread, Winter Forest and Breakfast Soap.  One of each of the 5 fabulous scents are piled up in a little stack, and tied with bakery twine.  Such pretty colors.  Such a great idea for guest baths, travel soaps, or small gifts.  Such a reasonable price too - it’s only $10 for the whole package.  You’ll want loads of these for the upcoming holiday season.  And with 50% of the proceeds for these Helping Hands soaps dedicated to the charitable organization Kiva, it’s a gift that multiplies around the world too. (10 oz pkg, $10.00)

New – Soapscriptions!

Soapworks Studio's Soap-of-the-Month Club is now a Soapscription! No more panicky moments in the shower, wondering if you’ve got another bar for tomorrow.  With a “Soapscription” you’ll know that you’re always in the suds because you’ll be receiving regular shipments of soap bars so you never run out! Club Soapscribers will join me on a journey through the seasons, sampling some of my year-round favorites and my seasonally inspired new scents. 
Your Soapscription arrives in your mailbox at the start of each month with two full-size bars of handmade, artfully created Soapworks Studio soaps in a padded envelope, plus the latest seasonal newsletter detailing my inspirations and descriptions of the current crop of products.  You also receive a 10% off coupon to order other products or more of something you have fallen deeply in love with.
There are 3 options: starting at 3 months, 6 months and a full year of soap adventure. Your very first delivery will include a scrubby soap mitt and a natural wood soap dish as a gift to get you started on your sudsy adventure. All shipping and taxes are included in the subscription price.
This makes an awesome gift too! We would be delighted to send this each month directly to your gift recipient, and will include your personal message in a gift card with the goodies. 

Internet & Mail Ordering (Free Shipping on orders $100 or more!)

Holiday shopping online or by mail saves you time, expense, and the headache of traffic jams and crowded malls.  We’re offering free shipping on orders of $100 or more, sending them off within two business days. We’ll happily send your items directly to family and friends with gift cards too, so you don’t need to spend any time boxing or waiting in lines at the post office.  Send in the enclosed order form, call during business hours, or for any-time brainstorms, order from the website at  Spend more time celebrating and less time fretting.  Let Soapworks Studio be your answer for holiday gifts! 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

It's November - there must be shows . .

It's November now.  And that means shows every week.  Lots 'o lots 'o shows (I sing this to the tune of Macho, Macho Man).

This week is Red Ribbons and Reindeer at the Hollywood Schoolhouse and the Bellevue Club's Holiday Bazaar.  I wanted to get all the details in one spot so you can head over to one or the other.

Red Ribbons and Reindeer:  It's the 26th year for this show.  A blended boutique-style show with a central cashier, full of holiday gift and decor items.  Free admission.  The Collector's Cafe is open on Thurs and Fri from 12-3pm for lunch there too.

Dates: 11/6 - 9
Hours: Wed 3pm-8pm, Thurs and Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9:30am-6pm

Location:  Hollywood Schoolhouse, 14810 NE 145th, Woodinville

Bellevue Club Holiday Bazaar:  The Bellevue Club is open to the public this one day of the year to host a holiday gift bazaar.  The ballroom, gym and hallways are full to the brim with all kinds of handcrafted gifts and goodies.  Free admission.  Their Luna Cafe is open for lunch also.  They are hosting a Toys for Tots drive too, so bring along your toy donations.

Saturday only, 11/9 
9am - 5pm

Bellevue Club, 11200 SE 6th St, Bellevue

Be there or be square - hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Blowing Winds!

What a wind storm we had yesterday!  I was at Eastlake High School for the holiday bazaar and within the first hour or so the power blew out.  We had only emergency lights and peeping fire alarms to navigate the long hallways.  And it was pitch dark in the restrooms - just feeling along the walls for the stalls and the toilet paper :)

We stayed open the entire day, and still got customers, but not quite the happy, festive show it usually is.  No loudspeakers for the music groups who were playing, no microphone for the raffle, no internet for many vendors to take credit cards.  Luckily I was under a light fixture and a skylight area, so my space was still bright and workable.  But it certainly started to get cold as the day went on.

At least the rain stopped, so we didn't have to load out in some pouring rain.  Wind is easier to haul in.  But it felt like a long day.  So glad to get an extra hour of sleep today.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Eastlake High School Holiday Bazaar

Kind of a late note about my upcoming show this weekend.  I just plain forgot, in the haze of everything else going on.

Saturday - tomorrow (11/2) - I'll be at Eastlake High School in Sammamish for their annual Holiday Craft Bazaar.  I've participated in this show for years and years, but missed last year for the very first time.  So when I got the vendor map last week, it seems to be moved to another part of the school.  Not the cafeteria, not even the gym where we moved a few years back, but over on the other side of the building, in the hallways?  I'm not clear how it works.  But everyone still enters through the front door, and is greeted, and there will be lots of signs.  I'm confident that it will be easy as pie once I arrive, and when you arrive too.

Hours are a little earlier ending too.  New hours are 9am to 3pm - ending an hour earlier.

This is always a wonderful show of handmade craft and gift items.  If you are starting to think about your holiday gift lists, start here with all kinds of unique items by local artists.

Eastlake High School
400 - 228th Ave NE, Sammamish
Saturday only, Nov 2, 9am-3pm

Today is Dia de los Muertos - which describes exactly how I'm feeling this morning. Amazingly, I remembered to post this show before it was over.  Now where do I stack my bins for tomorrow with all these boxes of flooring piled in the only clear square foot section of my living room?

Couple of housekeeping notes:  next week is the winter holiday newsletter arrival, as soon as the new gingerbread house holiday postage stamps arrive, which are late this year but expecting it to be probably Wednesday.  I'll be at two shows next weekend too - Red Ribbons and Reindeer at the Hollywood Schoolhouse and Saturday only at the Bellevue Club, which is open to the public for that day.  I'll post details early next week on those, hopefully in a more timely manner.