Archive for the ‘Business Related Questions’ Category

I recently received a remarkable and valued question:  Why does the product received not smell unscented even though it is labeled unscented?

If a product is marked unscented it contains no fragrance or essences that scent. 

Every ounce of my business, except for accounting, is done in my soap shop.  Paper products (including soap boxes and shipping materials) may pick up an aroma from my shop.  

It is virtually impossible for an unscented finished product from my shop to become embedded with scent.  The products themselves are kept separate from the day they are made (beginning with the scrupulously clean equipment and utensils).  There is no cross contact between products. 

The only way I can guarantee a customer that they will receive a shipment that never hints of fragrance is to make unscented soap in my house, store it on a curing rack in my house, place it in storage bins in my house, and ship/package the product using materials that were also stored in my house.  And that is simply not feasible. 

FYI…the client and I did determine that it was the packaging that the recipient was smelling, not the product itself.  A nose not exposed to fragrance is significantly sensitive to fragrance.    

I welcome your comments and feedback!

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A common question that I receive is:  Why is there a difference in scent from one batch of soap to another, or between any product containing a natural essence? The word natural frames the answer.

Each batch of essential oil, concrete, or absolute can smell slightly different based upon several conditions, mainly, where the plants were harvested and when the plants were harvested. In addition, some essential oils continue to mature (better) with age, such as rosemary.  A rosemary essential oil distilled from plants harvested in France will smell different than those that were harvested in Morocco.  An aromatherapist, for example, that depends upon not only scent, but also the physical properties of an essence, will purchase oils when harvested from only the “recommended” regions.

When a product contains man-made fragrance, or even speaking of the fragrance itself, the lasting power and strength of the scent is chemically controlled and perfected, which is impossible with a natural essence.

Always store natural essences in a cool, dark area, in glass bottles that are also dark in color. Some professionals keep their essences in the refrigerator, and some store only their citrus based essences in the refrigerator. The bottom line is, better storage, longer lasting oils!

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White board...in the barn too!

A question that I am frequently asked is, how do you juggle everything that you do (business, personal and farm)?

I don’t. Yet, I do. Working from home, with two businesses operating from the same office, and with a farm to boot, means some tasks simply wait or are delegated.

Here are my basic rules of thumb:

Schedule, plan, and think ahead.

Allow yourself time to find a pattern that allows a frequent task to flow efficiently. In most cases, when beginning something new, hours of practice and patience are required until the procedure becomes smooth as glass.

Determine when your productive hours are. For example: soap making works best for me before noon. I make sure I have time between feeding and milking goats, before lunch, for soap making. I am less tired and feel more creative during those hours.

Focus on your business during the hours you schedule for business. During that time do not fret about dirty dishes or a pile of laundry. Remember that your thoughts and attitude determine your future. I frequently give myself a “you are grateful” speech, put my best foot forward, and continue to put 110% into whatever really is most important.

A home based business requires adjustments from friends and loved ones as well. I learned to call my business hours “work time.” When I go to work I announce, “I am going to work.”  And I announce my work schedule to others if needed.  A growing business comes with growing pains. Until you can afford help, you wear all of the hats, you steer the engine, and you pull up the caboose. If you take your business seriously, others will too.

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of failure. Personally, I have reached a point in my life where it is obvious that deep cleaning the house is extremely difficult, if not impossible. So, ask yourself, can I afford help? Perhaps you cannot delegate accounting work at this point, or soap making, but can you hire a person twice a month to help you with domestic work? Or, perhaps there is someone you can barter with (help in exchange for help)?

To wrap this up, owning and operating your own business comes with independence that truly can be embraced, yet, it comes with a lot of sacrifice. The key is exactly that, how driven are you to sacrifice?

Finally, never forget, you need down time. Seek and find balance between your personal and business life. You cannot be there for yourself and others without your own happy and healthy mind.

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I receive many business related questions. I take the time to answer each request with care.

I do not supply proprietary information, nor do I disclose vital tips that I have worked hard and diligently to acquire for my products or business.

I do, however, feel compelled to help others that aspire to start a business, or those that want to make soap or cosmetics. I want to see people meet their dreams and succeed.

When a person asks for help, it often is one of their first business transactions. My word of advice is, it is important to step into the business world with courtesy as a virtue.

Courtesy does not portray weakness, instead, it reflects an amount of dignity.

Set your standards high.

Build your business with smartness, have a backbone of steel, but never forget common courtesy.

Thank you are two of the most important words in the English language. It is just that simple.

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Today I added a new blog category, Business Related Questions.

I receive a lot of questions via email, Twitter, Facebook, and even during the various programs that I do.

I love questions.  I enjoy helping others.  I will, and do, share with others what I have learned and experienced.

Because I am running a small business, however, I do not disclose proprietary information like recipes. 

Many of us in the cosmetic/soap/aromatherapy business have worked hard to develop our own personal recipes.  For example, I gear my soap towards mature skin.  I do not look for big healthy soap bubbles, instead I look for a silky smooth feeling that does not leave the skin feeling stripped or squeaky clean.  I do not want my customers to pine for skin re-hydration after using my products.  Time and effort went into that concept. 

As general advice, many years of research and learning goes into developing products.  I tell potential small business owners to research, research, and then research again.  Read books, a lot of them.  Research the internet.  Find and follow mentors.  Keep an open mind.  Prepare to make mistakes.  Prepare to work hard.  Prepare to wear many hats until your company can support help.

My goal for this blog is to talk about business, the farm and goats, and to throw personal tidbits in when I feel the passion to do so.  I hope the Business Related Questions become a productive and helpful addition.

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