Archive for the ‘AGH Business News’ Category

Making the decision to stop selling soap and lotion was not easy, but it became easier as I realized it was part of a big picture, much bigger than myself.

Making the decision to sell the goats was not easy at all. I still cannot look at photographs of goats.  And I do not look at my barn, nor the empty fenced in pastures. I even feed the cats at the house now. My heart flip-flops when I walk inside the barn.

I was, and still am, excited about traveling, meeting new people, and writing, but recently something was not making sense. Something felt all wrong. Big chunks were missing.

Today, after many prayers, and after one comment my husband made to me (thank goodness we love each other and can work well together), all of the pieces began to fit.

I am not going to stop writing this blog.

Why would I?

My plan is to make Annie’s blog a DIY (Do It Yourself) type of product blog. I still will make soap occasionally, and I definitely make my own lotions and creams. And there are other products, including natural perfume blends, that I work on from time to time.

Not to mention the goats that I can write about (I have oodles of stories to tell), books to write, aromatherapy projects to do (I practice on myself and my husband only), and a huge interest (still) in country life. I have a lot to offer.  I have a lot to write about.

And, there will be goats again someday, just years down the road. And only two, just two! Someday, when I have kids again, it will not only be up to me, but it will be up to you too, to remind me, “Sell those kids!”

Just today, the last person that bought goats called.  He wanted to know how I was doing. I told him that I cannot walk, I have torn ligaments, a badly sprained ankle. He proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to the doctor, with what he thinks is pneumonia. He asked me, “Aren’t you glad I bought the last of your goats?” Yes, I am. When a person can only shuffle from room to room, they cannot walk down a hill and take care of goats. And then, he is a sweet young man, with a growing family. He needed the goats in his life. My time will come again.

For now, my time is here, and at the new site that I am still building, Pen And Ink Spot.

I told you, I am not going anywhere. Only the platform under my feet has changed.


Read Full Post »

thank you www.penandinkspot.com

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

– Flora Whittemore

As the last hour of Annie’s Goat Hill approaches, and soon will pass, I cannot say thank you enough.

I have enjoyed making the soap that you love. I have enjoyed our connections.

The outpouring of personal cards, email, and messages have meant the world to me. What is truly good about my new path is, I will continue to be here with and for you, just in a different capacity.

Stay connected with me through email, or through my new site, as it develops, www.PenAndInkSpot.com.

I look forward to seeing you there,



Read Full Post »

open fields www.penandinkspot.com


As you may know, I am shutting down Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps and venturing into (what I deem for myself as) uncharted waters.  If you missed my original announcement, and the newsletter announcement, my original blog post can be read here.

I am excited to announce that I’ve started a new site and business – Pen and Ink Spot.  One of my first blog posts at that site can be read here. Share, encourage, and grow is my motto. There is more substance to my mission, of course, but I am happily focused on my motto at this point!

So, I have recorded an audio message for you, which felt much more personal than writing a blog post. It is six minutes long (I do not script audio or video recordings), so you may want to listen to it when you have time to do so! It is located at this link:  Audio Memo.

If you do not have the technology resources to listen to the audio – in brief, my husband and I are embarking on an over the road business – with a newsletter, (five) books in the wings, and with plans to meet other small business people (including fellow Indie Beauty Network members!) and couples/people working over the road.  I am very excited at the prospect of seeing our country and writing about my experiences.

I am so enthused by the support that I have been receiving. I hope you continue to follow the journey with me! The possibilities are nearly endless.

See you there!



P.S. Yes, I plan to get my CDL (commercial driver’s license). Look for the big 18 wheeler with the 5′ tall woman at the helm. It should be interesting, don’t you think?

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, as small business owners, situations that involve unhappy customers are bound to happen.

So, how do small business entrepreneurs handle unhappy customers? Is the customer always right? What if a business owner has done everything to correct a situation and the customer is still not happy? #HandmadeChat this week involved a discussion of all of these questions.  Red-hot tips from contributors spoke loudly of strength in handling these situations.  Here is a sample from the chat:



  • Listen to your customers!
  • React ASAP and acknowledge the customer’s unhappiness.
  • Do not apologize for a problem until it has been researched.
  • Be honest, and definitely do not make excuses.  Customers can sniff out dishonesty.
  • Apologize where needed and offer to correct the situation.



  • It is up to you as a #smallbiz owner to determine if complaints are a one-time occurance, or if preventable.
  • Some customers are simply difficult to please.


  • They are not always right. But they always think they are right, so Im always polite. Polite is important


  • I don’t live by “Cust is always right.” Live by, “Cust always deserves to be heard, treated fairly.”


  • Take a minute to breath before responding to a phone call or email

I believe in turning a negative into a positive, so I love this parting #HandmadeChat thought: Smile, knowing that you have experienced a new situation and have gained #CEO experience! (The best part of it!)

You may download the entire transcript of the discussion here.

The next #HandmadeChat will be held August 16, 8pm ET, lead  by La Shonda Tyree, “How To Prepare For The Holiday Season.”  It is right around the corner!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps is winding down.  I facilitated this week’s #HandmadeChat as @PenAndInkSpot, my new Twitter and business name (Pen and Ink Spot).  My new (not quite in full service yet) blog is located here.  Soon, I will discuss the focus of Pen and Ink Spot.  I am excited that book writing is a big part of it!


Read Full Post »

goat milk soap www.anniesgoathill.com

I am thrilled to announce that we have returned to our normal 2 day shipping turnaround!

If you do order soap from us, however, keep in mind that orders are coming in quickly (like Christmas in August), so we may fall back another day before the month is over.

I also wanted to let you know that there is still a nice stock of goat milk soap in our inventory.

We did run out of our stamped soap boxes, and now are packaging goat milk soap in biodegradable cellophane bags.

Let me know if I can help you with anything.




Read Full Post »

Hello to you!

Over the last year, many opportunities and changes in both my business, farm, and personal life, have been laid before me.

A lot of prayer, faith, and stamina led me to decisions that I know are right with God.  In fact, without a doubt, God is the one leading me down the new road. You do not dare say no to that! God says pivot, I am pivoting! Onwards!

I’ve made a video for you to watch (I apologize for cutting off the last line when I trimmed the video).  It was not easy to keep a straight face the first five times the camera and I went around! The last line said: my email address for Annie’s Goat Hill will remain active.  Please feel free to contact me.  I’ll miss your treasured words if you don’t!

Please watch my video here.  

My tentative close date is August 31, 2012.

I plan to extend the $6.00 flat rate shipping (per shipping box) until the last bar of soap is sold.

After the soap is sold, I will still remain open to book sales, with more books on the way (yes!!), and bundled  soap making consultation packages (that I am very excited about)!

I cannot say thank you enough for your support! I am so grateful to have been able to make the connections that I have (I am not finished talking about this yet), and to have supplied you with the wonderful soap that included the beautiful milk that my girls produced.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be announcing the adventures that I have up my sleeve.  A new business has already been formed! I’ll reach so many more people as I move out and about in the world.  I can hardly wait!

God Bless.



Read Full Post »

Years ago, as new goat farmer, and as an owner of a business, I nearly toppled over with the desire to soak up as much information as I could.  The more I read, the more I wanted to learn. There was (and is) passion and vitality behind all of that!

This week’s Handmade Chat hit a home run with me.  Based on the strong momentum on the chat floor, as we discussed books throughout the hour, I was not the only person in attendance that was ready to run out to the library, or to the book store, to pick up a major list of new books!

Thank you Alyssa Middleton of @highwireinheels, for leading the wonderful chat!

Need I say more?

Here is a small sample from the chat:

How do you have the time to read when running a business?

  • @highwireinheels Even reading for 30 minutes, can help start your day right & give new ideas to think about/implement.
  • @INDIEassist This is a huge challenge. It needs to go into your Google calendar with everything else. Respect your own time!

The entire chat flowed with book recommendations and tips, too many to list here, like this one:

The transcript from the chat can be downloaded here.  If you are looking for a list of excellent books for a small business entrepreneur, start with printing the transcript!

I will lead next week’s #Handmade Chat, Thursday, 8/9/2012, at 8 p.m. ET, How To Manage Unhappy Customers.

We, the Handmade Chat team, look forward to seeing you there!

Mary Humphrey


Read Full Post »

I am very excited to announce the launch of our book today!

Essential Soap Making is a 94 page, detailed, comprehensive e-Book, co-written with Alyssa Middleton of Bath and Body Academy.

In this book you will learn about the different ways to make soap (focusing specifically on cold process soap), ingredients used to make soap, techniques and safety information as well as formulas you can use as a starting point to make gentle, natural soap.  Step-by-step instructions with dozens of photographs that make it easy to follow along. 
essential soap making book www.anniesgoathill.com
The eBook includes:
  • Ingredients and equipment needed to make soap
  • Beginner’s formulas, with detailed instructions and suggestions on creating unique formulas
  • Reference charts including: Oils used in soap making and their properties, Essential oils and their properties, Herbs used in soap making and their properties, Herbs to color soap naturally
  • Instructions on making herb-infused oils
  • Coloring soap with micas, ultramarines and oxides
  • Troubleshooting
  • Starting a Soap Business, including how to price your soaps and where to sell them
  • Resources for purchasing ingredients and packaging
  • Glossary
Praise for Essential Soap Making
This book is an excellent base.  It’s ideal for anyone thinking about starting a bath and body business to someone just wanting to explore the more technical aspects of basic soapmaking.  From covering trouble spots in cold process soapmaking to exploring insurance to delving into business basics, it is a comprehensive primer to all things soap, soapmaking and craft business 101.  Buy it, devour it and enjoy making your first few batches of soap.”
– Annie-Marie Faiola, aka “The Soap Queen” and owner of Brambleberry Soap Making Supplies
“Alyssa and Mary have done an extraordinary job of assembling all the critical information you need to start making soap at home.  The indexes and charts make handy “pull-out” references, and the photographs make it easy to follow the instructions and confirm that you are doing everything correctly.  This book has all the information you need, plus it’s written in Alyssa’s and Mary’s easy, breezy style, which also make it fun and enjoyable.”
– Donna Maria Johnson, Founder of Indie Beauty Network
Purchase the book here.  And enjoy!!!!
Mary Humphrey

Read Full Post »

goat milk soap savings www.anniesgoathill.com

Savings In A Box


I am excited to announce that I have extended my special shipping pricing through 8/5/2012.

Savings In A Box will follow the same rules as our prior week’s special:  $6.00 flat rate shipping for a USPS box (12x12x6 and smaller), as long as the merchandise fits into one box ($6.00 will be charged per each additional box).

Additional goat milk soaps have been moved to our discounted “scratch and dent” category to make room for our fall and winter arrivals.

Enjoy stretching your dollars!


From the Red Barn Studio – Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps


Read Full Post »

business to business www.anniesgoathill.com

If you want to obtain sponsorship for your website, but do not know where to start, last night’s #HandmadeChat brimmed over with information and questions on that very topic.

Melissa Rivera, of Naturally Good Soaps, lead the energetic and instructive discussion.



  • To expand a business model that connects site visitors with products or services they may wish to buy.
  •  To develop relationships with companies who can help your site visitors be successful
  • To offer a new service that increases your income while helping other people



  • Relevance: sponsor products and services should be relevant to your site audience
  •  Branding Fit: your brand should be a positive reflection of the sponsor, and vice versa
  • Audience: you need an audience at the site; sponsors are attracted to your numbers


  • Keep that branding consistent across all channels. Online, print,product labels, etc.

Question from : @highwireinheels WHAT ARE GOOD NUMBERS TO ATTRACT SPONSORS?


  •  No magic number. You sense it when you see your audience connecting with potential sponsors via your site
  • Really is no magic number.  But something starting with “1,000” begins to sound substantial enough to begin

You can download the rest of this discussion here.

#HandmadeChat is held every Thursday at 8PM ET on Twitter.  You may also want to follow @Handmade chat on Twitter.

The next #HandmadeChat – July 2, 8 pm ET, will be facilitated by Alyssa Middleton:  Favorite Small Business Success Books.


Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »