Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Margaret Day!

Hello and happy Margaret Day!

In case you are wondering who Margaret is, do go read This Post where a lovely explaination lies. What a wonderful way to honor an exceptional person!

So, do yourself a favor, throw out all those holey panties and go get yourself new ones. There are few things more lovely than knowing that your unders look as nice as your outers, whatever kind you wear.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Procrastination and avoidance

It's so easy to procrastinate what I am supposed to be doing (kind of like now) and avoid making soap, printing labels, wrapping, etc.

But I never thought I would avoid my morning swim and choose to make soap instead.

It makes me laugh that I would do that, but it makes me proud that I would take that hour of time and be productive with it instead of staying in bed.

I love to make soap. I love all the wapping ( now that I mad it easier on myself!) and labelling and selling, but sometimes, a good book, the TV, or a hot date just get in the way!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Media and the business world

I know that I talk more about what it is like to be in business and less about how I make soap. Perhaps one day, I will start talking about making soap, but honestly, during the times when I am on the computer, it's the business end of things that I am focusing on. I can hardly stop stirring to go update my blog! (oh what a soapy mess that would make!)

Because my website is hosted though Artfire, I have a unique opportunity to work with other small, handmade businesses.We share stories and suggestions. We ask questions and get professional opinions. We see, share, and buy each others products. Most of us have never met face to face, but we meet in website forums and get to know each other.

Social media. It is an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds.

When I was a young lass, I had a boyfriend who was a stand up comic. He still is. It used to drive me NUTS how he would make sure that comedy would come up in every conversation. He would trade passes for dinners, movie tickets, anything he could. In hindsight, this was awesome because we got to go out a lot more than we would have if he hadn't because we were young and our income was low. He became a master at promoting himself. There was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo, or any of the other multitudes of social media that there are today. This was more than 10 years ago. Not everyone had email, and very few people had a website. (I think I had one before he did!). Younger me hated all that networking even though I understood why he did it.

That man is a professional comic now. I follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I used to help moderate the forums on his website. I see him promoting himself still, using these wonderful tools to maintain his fan base and to keep himself and his wonderful girlfriend traveling around doing what they love.

And I do the same. But differently. Because I get to sit in my little cottage and snuggle my dog in between posts.

I'm not as focused on Social Media as my friend, but I still use it.  I cross promote with the other Artfire Artisans and they are likely to return the favor. I'm lucky. I don't have to talk up my soap to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that I meet (although I will mention it casually if the opportunity arises) because I can talk about myself on my blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. I can take pictures of what I am up to and post them to Instagram, using hash tags to attract new followers. I can choose where I will share them on Facebook, to keep my family from getting tired of looking at bars of soap that are welcomed by my Facebook followers. I can post my products on Wanelo and reach a worldwide audience. I can get to know what is trending on Pinterest (and keep track of all the awesome I find on the internet!) I use these tools (as well as the interactions I have with other Artisans both on Artfire and the other sites where I have become a community member) to allow the public to get to know me. They see my website and if they like me, want to go see what is going on. They follow me on Facebook and Twitter. They read my blog (HELLO!!) to see what I have to say.

Social media, I think, is stronger than the TV, and it's generally free. It allows the public to get to know business owners on a personal level. I'm talking to you, not some corporate spokesperson who is out of reach. In a way, it allows me to reach out and touch customers and potential customers in a way that I couldn't before. Not with the frequency with which I can do it now. My catalog came out once a year. It was fun mailing it off, but I reach far more people on Facebook than I ever did slowly trying to gather addresses to send to. And oh my goodness, I can do it from my phone.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the social media outlest I listed above, Please check them out. I have linked my accounts below and given a couple of examples on how I use the service. Follow me if you'd like.

Facebook (I update here most frequently because it's easy. Here is where I post successes and current projects.)
Twitter (Facebook updates directly to twitter so I don't use it directly as often)
Wanelo (Wanelo {WAnt NEed LOve} is a social media shopping place. You can go there and find things that people are buying or want to buy. I post my products there directly and other products that I love. Especially the handmade ones. It's hard for the little guys to get the attention that big guys get. Because we're little. and on tight budgets)
Pinterest (This one is a bit more of a personal filing system for me. I pin pretty soap, yarn, recipes, outfits, anything that catches my fancy on the web. I love Pinterest because I am constantly inspired by other people here and can get ideas that sprout new ones for me)
Instagram. This is a phone app. Now that I have a smart(er) phone, I can take pictures and upload them to various places. I love it. This allows me to capture pictures of my products, events, and other random things I find along the way. search for gracenmotion, which is my derby name. all my other monikers were taken. :(

I still use snail mail! If you would like to receive things in the mail from me, please email me your address at I promise that I will not sell your information and that I am far more likely to send cookies than to fill your mailbox with junk. My mailing list is a fun place to be for those who like to get mail.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Customer Service Week!

One of the things that I love about being in business us the opportunity to interact with my customers. I mean, I love making soap. I do. But I also like talking to you.

Today though, I had a great customer service moment and in honor of Customer Service week, I wanted to share.

Over the last couple of days there has been a man trying to get in touch with me regarding my Yelp account.

Now, let me preface this by saying that I recently dealt with another company where the call for more information on the account I was setting up turned out to be a sales call. I explained that the costs they were requesting for the service were not in my budget, and the woman on the other line kept pushing more and more payment options. No matter how many times, I told her that the service she was offering was not in my budget, she kept on pushing until I was angry, frustrated, and no longer wanted to do business with the company.

I understand that she has goals to keep, but when someone tells you that they are not interested and give a reason, I firmly believe that you should listen. Heck, I didn't even have to give a reason, I was the customer. Telling her it wasn't in my budget, was a courtesy to her.

Meanwhile, lets talk about Logan over at Yelp. After a couple of days of phone tag, we finally spoke in person. He asked a few questions about my usage of Yelp and then asked me if I had considered advertising. I explained that advertising is not really in my budget right now.

His reply? That he would save us both time and end the call.

I appreciated it. Not only did he save me time by not pursuing a "dead" lead, but he didn't force me to keep telling him "no". I really appreciated that he respected my time, and my feelings by not forcing me to keep turning him down. If I really wanted advertising right now, it wouldn't have been difficult to get me to buy, just like my coworkers didn't have to try very hard yesterday to get me to eat a piece of birthday cake. Because despite my objections, I really wanted that cake.

In my experience, customer service is often more about listening to what your customer wants than actually providing it for them. Most people, even the angry ones, really just want someone to listen to their issues and fix them. And if you can't fix them, find someone who can.

In the cases above, the sales people contacted me. Lets pretend that they were both selling advertising. At some point, I'm going to have that in my budget. When I do, I'm calling Logan.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Get Organized Week!

Today marks the start of Get Organized Week.

If there's one thing I have learned about organization, it's that no one system works for everyone. I don't know about you, but my systems change constantly. When something stops working, I look into it and change it.

Yesterday I was flattered to hear someone ask if they could see my binder, and I had to ask, which one?

I have three. But I also run three different "businesses" not including my regular day job. the regular day job, since I only work on it when I am at my desk, is organized using a combination of an online program called "SalesForce" (which I love but it is more than Bubbly Creations needs. Right now.) and a "tickle file", one of those brown accordion files I use to keep track of what happens on what day.

My Reno Roller Girls Binder is my oldest folder purchased when I took over the Merchandise for RRG and more recently expanded to handle my duties as secretary. I didn't seem to need it when I was the executive director but now, I am almost never without it. I use it to track Fresh Meat and the different committees which answer to me within the organization. It's a full size binder with a pocket for index cards, pens, and anything else I don't think I can live without. I think this one is going to evolve again soon, but I am still settling onto my new position.

My "Control Journal" has evolved from The Flylady System. It's my personal binder and is the adorable half size one you can get at Staples. It holds my personal calendar, a tab for every room and area of my house with a list of what needs to be done in each room (from painting ceilings to cleaning the carpets) There are coupons in there and other things I might need. It's open on my desk at all times so that I can refer to it or jot things down as they surface from the depths of my brain. When I am at home, it tends to be open on my multipurpose table - a small folding table that is both a TV tray and crafting spot since I don't have a dining room table and I like to create and watch TV. I live in a weird household, I know.

And the Bubbly Creations folder. It's the same size but keeps track of ideas and processes for Bubbly Creations. It's the newest of my binders, having expanded beyond my control journal. It's definitely a work in progress.

All three binders are with me most of the time. They make for a pretty heavy bag, but without them, I would have to keep all that information in my brain and since I forgot where I put my purse 3 weeks ago, that just isn't acceptable.

How do you keep track of your life?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Creative Marketing Suggestions!

Are you a small business? Are you thinking about starting one? One of my fellow soapers just started a blog that talks about getting your product seen for very little cash.

I don't know about you, but I have very little cash.

You can find her suggestions here!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Soap!

I've been busy in the workshop these last couple of weeks! Firstly, I want to tell you that I love you. Just thought you should know.

Secondly, Bloody Rose Soap is now available for presale. I developed it as a swag bag prize for Galena Fest and decided to go ahead and offer it up as a bar. It smells devinely pinely wonderful. If you are on my mailing list the chances that you'll get a bit of it from the leftover swag bag supply (ok, the ones I screwed up) is high.

The initial BR soap is ROUND! Yes! I offer round soap now. Currently, it is available in 2" rounds measuring at least 1 oz each. They look like they will be great travel bars, stocking stuffers, gift bag fillers, guest soaps... I was considering the possibilities while I was on the treadmill last night and let me tell you, I got so excited that I ran faster. My plan is to make every Bubbly Creations Soap available in this size and retail them for $1. Good deal!!

Fourthly, I FINALLY got my butt in gear and made pumpkin soap! It's also available for presale right now. It smells like yummy and has pumpkin in it. I don't have rounds of that one but may consider making them. They would be great Thanksgiving favors or Halloween treats for grownups! (I'm not sure you should give them to the Trick or Treaters, you might get egged.)

That's all I have for now. Presold soap will ship on Sept 24- it needs to cure.

All my kisses,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Time is BUSY time!

Things are going well over here in the Elfin Cottage. Each Sunday I pack up everything and head on over the the South Reno Farmer's Market where I sit and spin all day. Ideally, I sell some soap too! (please please, oh sales gods, it sure would be nice to sell some more soap!)

I'm getting ready to make some pumpkin soap for the fall and I am waiting for my first ROUND soap to cure! Round has been an adventure and a learning experience. Those will go into goodie bags for an annual race in town called Galena Fest. Some new friends are on the board and have invited me to participate int eh craft fair portion! I am super excited to be there at the end of September and even more excited to have created a soap just for them.

Since there will be plenty, I have offered some to a woman putting together goodie bags for an equestrian event. I learned about it through If she doesn't take them, there MAY be soapy goodness in the mail for my loyal followers! I don't want to promise, sometimes it tough to get to the post office. Ok, sometimes it's hard to pay for that trip to the post office!

Ah, the joys of being a micro business.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's National Chocolate Chip day!

Hooray! Maybe I wiull bake cookies tonight. What will be more likely to happen is that I will go home, eat leftover mac and cheese, and watch Dexter. I'm really exciting. If YOU make cookies, please send some my way.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When I was young, we had to walk to school

I don't know if I have really talked about how when I started Bubbly Creations, running a small business was, well, different.

I put out a paper catalog and had a website, but it wasn't very well structured because my web building skills are, well, developing (still) and I have always felt like my place was in the kitchen making soap rather than behind a computer screen. This didn't seem to matter, folks were okay with the paper catalog. At that point, you needed a street address to be legitamate. If all you had was a website, people thought you were a crook.

Twitter was a newborn. You purchased mailing lists (you did, I didn't) and sent things through the mail. Most sales were done via craft shows or, I hosted an at-home open house to introduce people to my soap and followed up with the catalog. Facebook hadn't been invented. I don't think Etsy had either, or, if it had, it was a tiny infant too.

With the evolution of all these things, a whole new world of marketing was opened up. Suddenly, online craft sales skyrocketed and not only did you need to have a great website or use a service like etsy, you had to stand out. Suddenly, it wasn't enough for me to wrap my soap with a piece of waxed paper and some ribbon, it needed to be picture perfect. And I needed (need) to be a photographer. A professional one with light boxes and vinettes.

Suddenly, I needed to be blogging and tweeting and facebooking EVERY DAY in order to keep my audience. But the old fashioned me still wants to send things in the mail.

Which is why I do. Sure, I twitter, sometimes, but mostly, I want to interract with you, my customers on a personal level so I try not to tweet constantly about what is new in the Soaping world. I would rather let you know that your favorite scent is soon to be replenished or tell you something happy than clog your feed with random facts about stuff you've never heard of. I like to use facebook not just as a vehical for coupons and giveaways, I want you to get to know me and give me the chance to get to know you on a personal level.

My pictures aren't perfect, but I have a good product. My website isn't fancy (although yesterday I added a new banner and I am REALLY proud of it!) but I hope that I am spending the time to get to know you and to develop a product that makes you smile when you use it.  I want you to get as excited about new scents and products as I do. After all, soap is a personal care product and I want my customers to know that I care for them personally.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Sales Person Day!

Today is Sales Person day. It is of note because well, as a small business owner, I am not only the boss but the Sales Team as well. Also, in my job that pays the bills until BC can, I work in the sales department. I'm not a sales person. but without them, I wouldn't have very much to do.

So happy Sales Person Day to all you all in Sales. It's a tough job, it really is.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's MARCH!!

How did that happen? Do you know what else it is? It's National Crafting Month. I think that in addition to developing that new product line I have up my sleeve, that I will finish plying that yarn and knitting those fingerless gloves this month. BEFORE I start anything else.

What will you be doing?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A lazy little elf

Wow. Here I started out the new year intending to post here at least every week and I fell off within a month. That's ok, I forgive me.

Life gets in the way of our best intentions sometimes. And honestly? I've hit a bit of a creative wall. All I want to do is vacuum and mop the floor. Or at least I did last week. Sunday, I printed 200 pencils. I love playing with the imprinter. And this morning, I woke up with a brilliant idea. I love waking up with brilliant ideas.

It feels good to be excited.

Last week I had a pretty good blow to my momentum (which could explain the whole mopping thing) when my computer crashed. Tonight, I hope to either get it fixed or find out how much it will cost to fix it. My data is saveable. WHEW! I don't want to have to recreate everything!! Again!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

National Hot Tea Month? Why didn't you say so?

In addition to being oatmeal month, January is also National Hot Tea month. I waited until now to mention it so that I didn't steal oatmeal's thunder.

There's few things that I like more than a nice cup of hot tea. I usually drink caffeine free herbal, but I also like green (strait) and black with milk and honey.

During the summer, I can often be found drinking sweet tea, or iced peppermint, or, my favorite herbal over ice.

Are you a tea drinker? How do you like it?

Watch your mailboxes, there are prizes to be had! If you aren't, all you have to do is send me an email at with your information to join in the mailbox fun!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today is bubble bath day

If I made bubble bath, today would be an excellent day to send everyone some so that you too can take a bubble bath. But alas, liquid soap still scares me. Its an entirely different set of chemicals than what I normally stock. All that PH testing... So much easier to stick with bar soap.

I don't actually take bubble baths. Haven't had one in YEARS. I like bubble baths. They're fun. But I am a bath salt girl.

Why, you ask, don't I offer bath salts? well... um... last time I made them it was a disaster. I don't know if the oil went rancid or what but lemme tell you, it solidified and stuck to EVERYTHING. I had sticky spots all over for DAYS. I took several very hot soapy showers and I STILL came out sticky.

So until I figure it out, I'll get my bath salts elsewhere.

Enjoy your bath tonight!

Monday, January 2, 2012

January is What?

National Oatmeal month. Oatmeal is good for you. Unless you eat it like I do which is full of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Or sometimes, just cinnamon and craisins. Maybe a walnut or two.

Many people ask me if I offer an oatmeal soap and, why not.

It's important to me to NOT clog your pipes and I figure that all the herbs already in Bubbly Creations soap are sufficient. This doesn't mean I never will, but I have to admit that it isn't very high on my priority list.

Watch your mail if you are on my mailing list! If you aren't, shoot me an email at to get on it. I have all sorts of fun in store!