I was recently taken aback when I was asked to say something "wonderful" about our soap. For one thing, I have a hard time "blowing my own horn," and for another, we've been making and using our soap for so long that, I guess I just take its wonderfulness for granted! I mumbled something about it being natural, but while that is important, it is not the most wonderful thing about our soap.
After thinking about it for over a week, maybe here is what I should have said:
Our soap is just that - soap! It is a simple process of mixing fats and lye together to form a lovely, bubbly bar that no longer contains any of the lye, but only a luxurious, fragrant, moisturizing "salt" that we call soap. What we often find in the grocery store labeled as soap is really a detergent bar made up of a list chemicals. most of which are unpronounceable and certainly unfamiliar.
Often, the people who have learned to make their own soap have done so because they or members of their family have developed skin problems. They find that the problems are soothed and usually disappear with the use of plain and simple soap.
The thing that makes our soap special is that we have been making soap for over 20 years. Over this time, we have perfected our recipe - adding a bit more this for a better textured bar, or a little of that to improve the bubbles or the soothing qualities. We make our changes slowly to be sure that they are changes for the better. If we find a new scent that we MUST add, we will try it out and test it to be sure it is as attractive to others as it is to us. We make sure it will "stick" and not just last long enough to get it on the shelves.
Our current challenge is that we are working to remove palm oil from our formula because we feel it is the proper thing to do, ecologically. We are trying various replacements for the qualities that we feel palm oil imparts and when we feel we have found the correct replacement, we will make the switch.
We are very proud of our soap. It is still, truly made in small batches. We tried making larger batches and found that the texture of the soap suffered and that is not our style. We have improved our methods so that we can make our small batches faster, but we will never become a major supplier, masquerading as a small operation, who is willing to sacrifice quality for quantity.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Lancaster County Soapworks, Etc. began the year at the Philadelphia Gift Show at Oaks, PA. The weather was bitterly cold and unpredictable, but a number of hardy souls attended to search out products for their stores.
We saw many of our established customers, met some new ones and dreamed about how great a winter show would be if the "Arctic Vortex" weren't there too!
As you can see from our display, we were thinking - as were our customers - about spring!
Our great, all-natural, bug and rash products were very popular and generated a lot of interest. You may want to consider them as an addition to your own store.
As soon as the shop warms up (since I had turned the heat down before we left,) we'll be working to get all our orders out.
This is the second time we have "done" the show and felt that we learned a lot last summer to make this experience better. We were much more comfortable and confident and it was such fun seeing our customers, meeting new people and renewing friendships among the other vendors we had met last time.
Already looking forward to the summer show in July!