Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Questions and Answers on Shampoo Bars


1. How do you use a shampoo bar?

To be fair, I rarely get this question from a guy. He often will use his bath bar to wash his body and hair and not think twice about it. But, for the ladies, I often answer this way:
First, I like to wash my hair with my head flipped down and most of the time in the kitchen sink. I wet my hair thoroughly to the point of sopping, then taking the bar and rub it a few times in my length and then over the scalp a few times. I set the bar down and work up a lather with the length and the scalp hair altogether. Some are afraid of hair breakage, but I work my lather as I would if using a bottled shampoo - no different. When cured, my shampoo bars lather as well if not better than bottled shampoo, so working up a lather is not a problem. The lather tends to stay in place and not run down the head into the eyes! When I've massaged my scalp a bit with my fingers, I rinse it out. My shampoo bars rinse cleanly out very quickly.

2. What is the deal with an acidic rinse? Is this to rinse the shampoo completely out?

There is a lot of controversy over this issue. I will tell you what I know:

Before I began making shampoo bars, I read in one of my herb books that our grandmothers often told us to use an apple cider vinegar dilution as the final rinse to our hair. The reason? the hardness of the water. Many would steep lovely hair herbs in this vinegar over a period of time, strain it and use it for their hair, using 1-2 teaspoons of herbal vinegar to rain water or other water. What our grandmothers knew was that vinegar softens hard water.

The 'cones found in commercial shampoos and conditioners mask the minerals in hard water. But, shampoo bars do not. They will clean your hair, but when rinsing out the shampoo, you may find your hair feels waxy or rough. This indicates you are using hard water. To restore the water to a neutral pH, add a bit of vinegar. The acid neutralizes the alkaline water and softens it, which in turn softens your hair upon using it. I use a cup of this dilution as my FINAL rinse.
If you are using soft water, there is no need to use this dilution. ACV (apple cider vinegar) dilutions just put us all on equal footing for softer hair with shampoo bars.

3. What are the advantages of shampoo bars over commercial shampoos?
The most obvious is eliminating a bottle for paper packaging. One sheet of paper wraps 5 regular bars of shampoo or 8 sample bars. And, recycled paper is widely available.
Another obvious reason is for travel. It is wonderful. No bottles, just a bar that travels well.

But, these are the social reasons. There are personal reasons, too. Synthetic detergents, chemicals we do not know, and a ton of other ingredients are eliminated from our head. We are now using only pure whole ingredients we do know, such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba, etc. made into shampoo soap by way of a solution of sodium hydroxide in pure distilled or rain water. Real soap versus detergents.
This is what it has done for me...hitting menopause, my hair was coming out in clumps. Now, it does not and even feels thicker than ever before. My hair is soft all the time and requires a washing twice a week versus every day or every other day, becoming oily rather quickly. My hair is easier to hold a do, too. :)

I'm using shampoo bars in my sixth year. I haven't regressed. I've not used a bottled shampoo in over 6 years, not once. And, I don't miss it. I've come to enjoy the shampoo bar experience every time. I make 19 varieties of shampoo bars, so variety isn't a problem, either. Because shampoo bars leave nothing in your scalp and hair, there is no need to change out shampoo bars, either. You may use the same one for years and find it works the last time you use it as well as the first time.

In this article, I give you my reasons. But, in the next article (part 2), I will give you comments from my customers. There are hundreds of them. Shampoo bars are my best sellers online and have been for more than 2 years. And, next time, I will share their experiences with you.

Thank you! ~kathleen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lotion Bars - New Product

Good morning.

I thought I would tell you about my Lotion Bars..a new creation for my Shop.
They are divine for moisturizing your hands, feet, knees, and elbows with ease. These are made with simple and pure ingredients of almond oil, prime pressed cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil, and unrefined beeswax.
The fragrance free bar contains nothing else.
The lavender bars contain oil of Bulgarian Lavender and a pinch purple jojoba beads.
The rosemary mint lotion bar contains oils of rosemary and peppermint and a pinch of apple green mica. I think it is a perfect bar for the feet.
Another bar I make is the Sweet Orange with oils of tangerine, sweet orange and Orange Valencia, as well as sages and a caress of basil. I added orange jojoba beads for color. The jojoba beads used in these bars are completely melted so they are smooth and use well.
The tropical lotion bar is tinted yellow green here, but the new batch has titanium dioxide in it to lighten the color to a yellow white. The scent is obtained by blending oils of grapefruit with sweet buttery vanilla fragrance - the combination reminds me of coconuts and pineapples.
They are at an introductory price of $5.50 each right now (along with Free Shipping). In January, they will be $6.50.
Thanks!! ~kathleen

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tribute to a Reviewer

Hi Online Small Business Owners (and anyone else who wants to read this):

I just had a wakeup call!

How many times has a youtube (or other) "guru" emailed you with the intent to have you send them free products so that they may review them for you online? Me? I have had several times many. Too many. And, unfortunately, I have sent some free stuff out. Guess what? Never was I contacted again in those instances. No reviews, no response to my emails, etc. *shakes head* Have you had like experiences?

Today, I received an email from someone who does reviews on youtube. Not only that, she has placed her second order. She placed her first one without fanfare - I didn't know about her youtube presence. So, she was treated like all my customers. That is important for us to realize. How can a reviewer talk about our customer service without experiencing what all customers experience?

She might have not told me now except one her followers is asking about some of my other products, and she wanted to know which ones were top sellers.

My lesson in this? Other than what I've already said, "No, to all the freebie requests." How disrespectful anyway! We work hard and longer hours than we are paid for to produce products we are proud to sell around the world. And, some one writes and asks if they can have it for free.

Thank you, Janee. ♥ You are an awesome lady!!


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving, you all!

I'm not doing much celebrating, my friends. Something sad happened on this day last year. So, I'm burying my nose and mind into my business and having a whopping big sale today through Cyber Monday, November 29th.

Free Shipping to all domestic orders, no minimum required. Reduced shipping on all international orders, no minimum required. And for all orders $10 or more, I'm including a free lip balm. If you read this blog and order and want something other than a lip balm, request a sample of my MEmu Facial oil, and I'll send that instead.

Thank you. That's all. Just wanted to tell you about my sale over at Etsy. You all have a LOVELY weekend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Continuing Holiday Cheer

Good morning...

Getting up a new and unique promotion running today. I am giving away coupons with every order OR if you choose to follow my blog and my fan page at Facebook.
Here is how it works:

1. If you choose to follow my fan page and blog for your coupon, message me anywhere (convo, twitter, facebook, etc.), and I will send you your coupon magic words.
2. Place an order between November 9th through the 24th. I will send you your coupon magic words.
The coupon is for 25% off any order for any amount. It is only good, however, January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. You have 6 months to cash it in.

This does not include shipping. It cannot be honored any other time than what is given. (may be dire exceptions) It is for any amount - if you choose to buy one lip balm - you may use your coupon. You may also choose to place a $200 order and use it.
Thank you. ~kathleen
ps. Yes, you may order more than once, and you get a coupon for every order from Nov. 9-24. But, you may use only one coupon for one order Jan-Jun, 2011. So, if you have 3 coupons, you may use one coupon per order, but you are very welcomed to order 3 times using all 3 coupons. :) But because there is no minimum order to get one, I have to limit this to 3 coupons per run of this sale per customer. Thanks for understanding.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Who loves you, Baby?

Hi again.

I am pondering a subject the last few days. How to find and promote your product to the right market. It is funny how when something occupies my mind I keep running across the topic from other sources. Etsy's storque has been bantering this about, too. The common theme is that your market isn't you, but others, usually with money.

Okay, I have to put the brakes on here. I'm thinking some of us play to the market of us and we are correct in doing so. I know my market is me! And, of course, those like me. I'm glad to have all others - I think my products' quality rises to meet all of our needs and wants. But, affordable quality skin care is my motto, so affordable has to apply to all of us, even me. :)

What if your market is everyone?

Again, I have men products, unisex products, children products, pet products, and fun stuff for everyone. I make fragrant free products, green herbal all natural products, sweetly scented products, exotic from other lands products, etc.

And, this is not just because I'm a soapmaker. I am a soapmaker of one type - there are several types, I've noticed. My type is simple. I realize the simpler I make a product, the more appealing it is to my customers and the better it sells. Not hard for me - staying simple. When I get carried away and try to complicate things, my product suffers. So, I know my type.

The other types are wonderful. There is the fancy type. The complex type. The round type. The mold type. And, many more, I'm sure.

I go out into the other shops both on and off Etsy, and some of these soaps are just gorgeous. Who is their market? I wonder.

As the Holidays fast approach, I'm reminded again to promote to my market. And, I say again, my market is everyone. In a way that makes it simple, I just promote to everyone. In another way, I wonder if I'm right? hahahahahaha

Anyway, thanks for reading my ramble. Sometimes, it is just what I need to do.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Promotional Giveaway at Sweet Creek Herbs

Hello again...

I'm doing a promotional giveaway November 1 through 8. I'm giving away a sample of my newest whipped shea butter and a lip balm with every order regardless of how small is may be.

My new whipped butter is based on a few customer requests. 1) something vegan friendly, 2) sinks in super fast - no greasy feeling even without the emu oil, 3) less shea and more light oil or jojoba added, and 4) light and creamy

So, I've created a wonderful recipe, I think, of 50% shea (as opposed to 75%) with aloe butter added. Aloe butter is really aloe enfleuraged in coconut oil. (A very nice skin oil that is not drying unless used too much in a soap recipe.) To the butters, I add jojoba and an herbal oil I make for my MEmu Oil, which consists of marshmallow root, echinacea leaf, and elder flowers macerated in extra virgin olive oil. And, that is all.

Having less butter and no wax (so you may use it on your face!), this is a creamier lighter butter, not as stiff even upon setting. It melts right on the skin and is very easy to spread and/or massage in. And, it sinks in quick.

I have a story about the sinking in...last night I burned my foot using a concentration of essential oils too powerful for our skin - it was a mistake. It burned and burned (cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary) and I knew to cut it with oil (not water). So, I reached for my pot of this butter and coated my foot with it - it eased the pain pretty quickly and in an hour, it had soaked into my foot. Boy, was my foot soft all over! An hour is a long time - but I had that butter on thick - I wasn't using it as a moisturizer, I was trying to cut the eo's and ease the burning pain. And, it did do that. :D

Anyway - promotional giveaway. A little warm up before the Holiday madness. :) I hope you choose to enjoy it.

Thanks again - Kathleen

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Hi again.

It might seem an odd time to do this, just before the big Holiday season, however, I feel compelled to change my shop sections.

I have them simplified at this point: products grouped by product category. You know...shampoo bars, bath soaps, butters and oils, lip balms, etc.

At the farmer's market this year, my products were arranged and sold by scent category instead of product category. I have 5 I work with...Fragrance Free products, Lavender, Exotic (like amber, patchouli, vanilla, etc.), Green Herbals, and Fruits and Flowers. This seem to make it easier for customers to find that for which they were looking.

I'm not convinced I should sell this way in my shop. But, I want to change it up and bit and give it some pizzazz for the Holidays. What do you think?

It would look like this: Fragrance Free
From Exotic Lands
Fruits & Flowers
Gift Items
Herbally Green
Lavender Lands
Paks, Pets, & Samplers

as opposed to this: 6 pak, samplers, pet care
Body care, other
Butters and Herbal Oils
Gift Items
Herbal Salves
Lip Balms
Shampoo Soaps
Soaps for the Bath
Special Soaps

Now, I'm in a bit of a hurry to do it IF I am going to do it. I'd want to get it done by November 1. It would only take an hour to do it at most - but the big part is the decision to do it. I am so open to hearing what you think about it. Because, it is not necessary I do it if it would put off shoppers, you know what I mean?

If you want to look at my present shop sections, go to And, I look forward to hearing from you.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tips on Shipping Skin Care

Hi You All
The soap and skin care business is not always a "fun" time, but when it comes to packaging orders to ship around the world, it can be quite enjoyable. I think there is something special about receiving a skin care package that looks like a gift.
I'm not the world's best at anything, I wager, but it seems I can pack a nice box of skin care for shipping. I know this as my feedback continues to come in about it. And, I'd like to share some tips with you. I took some pictures, too.
The first thing I do is line the package. I use Kraft tissue paper, but I think many things can be used...white or print tissue paper, seasonal tissue paper, wrapping paper, etc. You'll see why I line it at the end of this post, but I think it gives it a finishing touch. I've started lining my First Class bubble mailer orders, too. I think it conveys my sense of caring about their products all the way to their door.

I like everything to look "pretty". I think of companies like Godiva, Swiss Colony, Figi's, etc., and how they package their orders so nice. I try to do the same but with regard to skin care.
So, I like to tissue wrap the soaps. I wrap large and small soaps in white tissue paper.

I seal jars that I think may leak (including butters in the summer) with electric tape around the lid and jar. I place them in zipper bags to ensure, if they do leak, they are confined to themselves. If it is a plastic jar, I package it as is. If it is glass, I then wrap it in bubble wrap I've received in my orders. It is perfect to use - still looks good, functional, and recyclable. But, unsightly in relation to all the other packaging, so I wrap all bubble wrapped items in tissue paper, too, and then I top it off with a raffia bow.
I place 4 oz. jars in large zipper bags that I think are not attractive (sandwich bags), so I then wrap them also in tissue paper and raffia bow. I do this with the lotions, too. I place them each in zipper bags then wrap in tissue and bow. The lip balms, tube salves, and small jars look pretty good in just the sealed bags and I think complement the tissue wrapped items - giving the look some variety. Going with this idea, I often will enclose a sample soap unwrapped, like the occasional chocolate that is wrapped - just to offset everything else.
I think it is a good idea to enclose your business card with each and every order. It is not just a business card, but a personal thank you note, too. I write on the back of the cards a note to all my customers. Selling online, you have to make an extra effort for the personal touch. So, I have all the orders ready and the cards enclosed. When I begin processing printing labels, I write each card at that time, pulling on all the experiences I share with each particular customer. This goes into my little note.

After the label is printed and trimmed to fit, I close the package by tucking the top half of the liner over the order. I'm still after that gift package idea, so when receiving an order, the customer opens the liner first and sees the "gift" or you know, their order. It seems to be, overall, a nice experience, they say.
The motivation to do this comes from how I would like to receive a package. It seems to provoke a feeling of joy, and if I can spread some of that around? ~it seems to come back around. :)

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the post and pics. ~kathleen

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Supporting Small Businesses that make Safe Cosmetics

Hello folks:

Thank you for stopping by. I learned something today I feel I must share with you. Apparently there is a bill out before our House of Congress. If passed, this bill, by its very requirements, will stamp out small manufacturers/businesses of handmade personal and natural cosmetics, like myself and thousands of others.

It seems, once again, Big Brother is trying to stamp out the little guy. I'm 54...I've seen this a quadrillion times. Corporations are feeling the loss of sales due to hundreds to thousands of small business owners/manufacturers who are doing better by the day. Why are they doing better and better? Because they are making safe and better cosmetics than the corporations - and more and more customers are realizing that.

Because I have seen this so many times is not saying we shouldn't act. In fact, we have to act. One day, the little guy is not going to take it anymore, and there will be no more Big Brother. But, for now, we have to fight this their way.

Among other things, this bill will call for 1. labeling to match the big corps that will include all trace elements so that a product that includes Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Lavender essential oil would take up the space of an 8 1/2 x 11 paper...thus

Ingredients: Olive Oil (Tri-Glycerides of Palmitic, Di-Glycerides of Palmitic, Palmitoleic, Stearic, Oleic, Linoleic, Arachidic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Squalene, Beta Carotene, Campesterol, Methylenecholesterol, Stigmasterol, Sitosterol, Fucosterol, 28-Isofucosterol, Stigmadienol, Brassicasterol, 7-Cholestenol,Ergostadienol, Avenasterol, Triterpene Alcohols, Tirucallol, Taraxerol, Dammaradienol Beta-Amyrin Germanicol, Butyrospermol, Parkeol, Cycloartenol, Tirucalladienol, 24-Methlene 24-Dihydroparkeol, 24-Methlenecycloartanol, Cyclobranol, 4-Methyl Sterols, Esters of Tyrosol, Esters of Hydroxytyrosol, Vitamin E (Tocopherols), Carotenoids, Oleuropein) Cocoa Butter (Tri and Diglycerides of Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Lead, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Isoleic Acid, Beta Carotene, p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid, Vanillic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Syringic Acid, Phenylehtylamine, Theophylline, Aliphatic Esters, Aromatic Carbonyls, Caffeine, Theobromine, Diketopiperazines and Alkylpryazines), Lavender Essential Oil ( Cineole Octanol, Octanone, Alpha Bisabolol, Alpha Cadinol, Alpha Humelene, Alpha Phellandrene, Apha Pinene, Alpha Terpinene, Alpha Terpineol, Alpha Terpinyl Acetate, Alpha Thujene, Alpha Thujone, Beta Bisabolol, Beta Pinene, Beta Thujone, Borneol, Bornyl Acetate, Camphene Camphor, Cineolealpha Terpineol, Carvone, Caryophyllene, Carophyllene Oxide, CIS Alpha Terpineol, CIS Alpha Bisabolene, CIS Carveol, CIA Linalol Epoxide, CIS Ocimene, Citronellal, Citronellol, Coumarine, Cuminaldehyde, Eugenol, Furfural, Geraniol, Geranyl Acetate, Geranyl Butyrate, Hexanol, Hexyl Tiglate, Isoborneol, Lavandulol, Lavandulyl Acetate, Limonene, Linanlol, Linalyl Acetate, Methyl Heptenone, Myrcene, Nerol, Neryl Acetate, Oleanolic Acid, P Cymene, Rosemarinic Acid, Sabinen, Terpinenol, Terpinolene, Trans Carveol, Trans Epoxy Linalyl Acetate, Trans Linanol Epoxide, Trans Ocimene, Ursolic Acid)

Now, I don't know about you, but my customers appreciate the fact that they can read my labels. This would take that right out the window. The Corps know this.

2. will also require a reporting to the FDA for things like...any hiring of personnel, when we change suppliers, who are distributors are, and all our recipes with no guarantee of confidentiality. What?!? Isn't this business rape? I won't be able to make product anymore, I will be inundated in paperwork. The Corps know this, also.

3. This bill is based on the concept that cosmetics are killing us. Are cosmetics killing us? And, if they are, wouldn't it be the big Corps who are responsible. The natural soap makers of today are relatively new to the cosmetic scene. But, we are getting the rap. And, what about diet, lack of exercise, stress, poor doctors, etc., to blame for bad health?

The link to the title of this blog takes you to a site developed just to fight this bill. You can just click on it, or copy and paste to the address bar. At this site, you can sign a petition against the bill, you can read the bill verbatim, and you can see those who have signed - some with their names and some anonymously.

Any and every signature is appreciated. I think the next step is to contact my own representative. Thank you for reading - kathleen

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whatcha' Doin'?

Hi again.

This is not a post as much as it is a "newsletter" this time around. I've been gone so long, I must catch you up on the goings on of the last 2 months.

Since I wrote last, I've had another birth day celebration. This year I worked the Kingsport Farmer's market, since it was a Saturday. It was a really nice day. Friend of mine from the market took me out for a celebratory lunch. I had a pomegranate margarita. The old-fashioned margaritas are still my favorite.!!

I took a trip to south Georgia by way of Waycross with my son to spend a weekend with my never-have-met-before niece, Pam and her family. I met my half sister and half brother that night. Then, the next day, we all went to the family reunion I had never before been to on my mother's side of the family. I remet cousins I had met when I was 7 years of age. We connected first on Facebook in January and set the reunion up from that moment. It was an awesome culmination of combined energies on behalf of the cousins. There are pics of this reunion all over the internet - it was an emotional repast for everyone.
And, most recently, I was invited to participate in a local TV show likened to a Regis & Kelly show, called Daytime Tricities on CBS (local Channel 11 out of Johnson City, TN) at 10 am. It was a live show and a lot of fun. Morgan King, the host, invited me, but he was on vacation when I did the show. Amy, his cohostess, was very charming. She flew through her paces with the show with grace and humor. It was fun interacting with her and her guest co-host, Bob. I have a video tape of the show, but I need to find out how to turn it into a DVD and upload it to youtube, so that I may share that 4 minute spot with you.

In the meantime, I take walks (even in this oven-like heat), I've put reading off for awhile as I feel I'm working two jobs - peddling and online venues, and I'm formulating ideas for more product. I hope to be back to posting a bit more regularly - and I apologize for my lack therein. I do have a week long fair coming up in late August where I demonstrate my product. This has become a traditional show - my 4th year. And, even though I do not re-enact soap making of yesteryear, I do show them how I make old fashioned soap the modern way. :)

As always, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your interest. -kathleen

Friday, May 14, 2010


Hi you all.

Just a short note to let you know I'm having a sale this weekend.

I'm offering Free Shipping for domestic orders totalling $10.00 0r more. I'm offering Reduced Shipping for same minimum on International orders.

I hope you come and check my shop out. And, I hope you find something you feel you simply must have.

Thanks again,


ps. just click on the title of this post, and it will take you to my Etsy shop. Thanks!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Exchange Place Spring Garden Fair

Hi again. This last weekend found me doing a "historically themed" craft show. Many of these types of shows desire vendors that demonstrate and/or sell heritage or traditional crafts.

Several of the old buildings have been restored and kept in great shape due to these few annual shows they hold a year. Their pamphlet says the site hosts "the hub of an early 19th century plantation...with saddlebag style log house and its dependencies-kitchen, smokehouse, schoolroom, springhouse, blacksmith shop, slave cabin, granary cowbarn and gaines store which stocked supplies for valley farm families."

This is across the street from where I am set up. There are several crafters on boths sides of the old brick street. :) Most crafters have been doing this "show" for years. We are set up at the Roseland visitor center that once was, I think, the Kitchen in the 1850's. It has a long open front porch and a long back closed in porch. This is Charles Williams of Primitive Rug Hooking. He sits outdoors on the porch enjoying the view of the hubbub, while his wife,

Nancy sits inside with Jeri Jones of and also where you would have found me the last two days. :)
Again, I thank you for your time. :)kathleen

Thursday, April 22, 2010