THE BUBBLY BLOG
You'll notice that there is a scrolling set of pictures to the right . . . these are all original coffee mugs created by various Twitter friends and myself. If you click on a mug you see and like, it will take you to the website where the mug can be purchased.
Father's Day and Christmas are the two major "coffee mug" holidays for me. First of all, my father has never, to my recollection, started the day without at least one and usually two cups of coffee . . . even after he had to switch to decaf. The wonderful thing about coffee mugs and Father's Day is that most Dad's drink coffee . . . lots of Moms do, too. But, unlike a tie or a grill or most other gifts you might think to get your father, a coffee mug is a gift he could use literally every single day. Every morning, when he reaches for that special mug, he'll be reminded of your love and thoughtfulness.
Don't get me wrong, I think men's neckties are a fabulous gift . . . especially for the office-bound Dad that's mandated to wear one to work everyday. But coffee mugs don't care what your father does for a living and it doesn't have to wait for special occasions to be seen and used.
Another plus to most of the mugs you'll see pictured above . . . it won't matter whether Dad is right- or left-handed. Most of them feature wrap-around graphics or the graphic is often displayed on both sides.
Finally, coffee mugs, in use, are warm, soothing, comforting. I can't think of many other gifts you can get that can be used year-round that provide those things. I know my perspective is a bit skewed . . . I'm a huge fan of coffee and I take mine with sugar and cream. I'm looking forward to expanding the selection of coffee mugs I have in the other store. I hope you'll take a look at it and think about the underappreciated coffee mug . . . www.zazzle.com/whimsicality .
Take a look at the other stores as well . . . there are a lot of mugs out there and you are sure to find just exactly the right one for your father or husband or brother . . . or for yourself. Now, I've got to go make another pot of coffee. Care to join me for a cup?
The book I wrote and copyrighted, RAISING THE BAR OF SOAP, is the basis for this website and what I had hoped to accomplish with the book. But it wasn't just elevating the bar of soap to genuine bathroom decor, I wanted to inspire the real artisans in the world to take the medium and make it sculptural; I hoped to challenge soap makers to experiment with new techniques.
I've looked through countless websites over the last few months and there are some truly extraordinarily beautiful soaps out there, right now, being made as you read this blog. But what I found is that the vast majority of these soaps were beautiful because the mold used was beautiful. I've priced those molds. At anywhere from $17 to $50 for one mold, I can't afford them. But there are less expensive alternatives that will allow you to take simple cookie cutters and make totally, truly unique, original soaps that few, if any, would be able to duplicate. When it comes to decorative soaps, this will give you an edge.
Many of my soap making friends use the cold process method of soap making. It would take a little tweaking, but I think this information might provide you with some exciting possibilities as well.
That said, the first 50 readers responding to this blog, via email, will receive the premier collection, ADVANCED MELT AND POUR SOAP MAKING TECHNIQUES, absolutely free. The reason you need to respond via email, frankly, is because my the company hosting my online store requires a credit card number be provided even when the transaction is $0.00. Obviously, I hope that this gift will merely be a launching pad for making other purchases, but this one collection will provide you with the information needed to make unlimited one-of-a-kind soaps on a limited budget.
To make sure I address your emails on a timely basis, please put APRIL GIVE AWAY in the subject line. I will return email you the PDF file for this collection only.
I look forward to receiving both your emails ( email@example.com ) and your feed back.
I know, as you do, some people simply weren't raised with manners. It's sad, but true. It's not limited to the "new" generation. There are folks my age, older and younger, that have no comprehension of courtesy let alone common sense.
As it pertains to Twitter and this website, I want to be perfectly clear on a few things:
1. There are people I "follow" on Twitter and some that "follow" me that I simply adore! They are kind, gracious, talented, funny "tweeps" that are utilizing the social network to try and promote their businesses and products. I admire and salute that and do it myself.
2. Many of the "tweeps" I have been fortunate to meet on Twitter have links to their various businesses or products on this website.
3. This is where I need to be perfectly clear: I make those choices. Just because someone chooses to follow me on twitter does not automatically "entitle" them to a link on this website. My taking the time to tweak and develop a graphic for the link and my including a link from this website does not mean it will stay here. I can remove the link even more easily than I created it.
I have been sent a few messages in the last few days from a couple of Tweeters demanding I place a link to their site from mine. Suffice to say, the fact that you would send this message pretty clearly explains why you weren't offered or provided a link in the first place.
I'm not the most popular website on the internet . . . yet (LOL), but I receive a minimum of 100 hits a week. Not blazing a virtual trail, but I can't afford a search engine ad campaign, so I'm quite proud of the growth. As the website reaches more and more people, I want it to be truly representative of who I am as a soap maker, as a crafter and as a person. Before I place a link on this site, I keep in mind that the link is, to a degree, a reflection on who I am because including it was, as previously state, my choice.
Which brings me to my last "grievance". I have been questioned about the wisdom of putting links to other soap maker's soaps on this website. It has been implied that I'm not terribly bright to be including links to the site of the "competition". I don't see these folks as "competition" . . . and, no, that's not a dismissal of their abilities . . . quite the contrary. Each of these talented soap makers is an artisan in their own right with something unique to offer soap making. I think those that visit this website should be afforded the opportunity of introduction to their skills and products.
Though I am giving serious consideration to running limited order offers for actual soap production, I am not currently selling soap on my website. Most of the soap makers represented on this website are. I want the visitors to this website to visit them as well.
Finally, placing a link to a site from this website is a gift I am happy and humbled to offer my Twitter friends. That said, should someone prove to be a "fair weather" friend that sticks around just long enough to get the link, I double check and cross reference the links a couple of times a month. If they cease following me on twitter, the link gets pulled and stored until such time the reconnect on twitter or until I delete the graphic.
I love my Twitter friends and do whatever I can, with my rather limited resources, to promote them because they have illustrated, to me, time and time again that they are more than deserving. That's why they are represented here. And that is the standard by which all links on this website will be determined.
Down, now, to a simmer. LOL
CHINESE PROVERB: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; give a man a fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
That has been my approach to this website. Of course, there is nothing in the Chinese Proverb about "selling a man a fish". I am frequently asked if I sell the soaps shown on the website. The short answer is, "No." A more complete answer might be, "Not at this time." But there are a couple of reasons WHY I don't sell the soaps illustrated on the website which I'd like to address:
1. Many of the Signature Original Designs wouldn't ship well.
Take a look at the soap picture below:
This is one of the soaps featured in the JULY 4TH SOAPS downloadable tutorial. I love this soap. This is an amazing, unexpected, showpiece of a soap. However, melt and pour soap, specifically, becomes more brittle as it continues to air dry. Those lovely tendrils of soap exploding from the star center would break like strands of blown glass in shipping.
However, for the melt and pour soap maker that wants to make and gift or sell this soap, it could be transported for short distances with some measure of confidence.
2. These Soaps Are Not Mass Produced
Not only are they not mass produced, they are not even batch produced. You could reasonably put together two of the July 4th Fireworks soaps at the same time, maybe even a few more, if you had sufficient star-shaped cookie cutters. But these soaps are constructed one at a time. For the more advanced, difficult designs, you might expect to spend three hours putting the various components of the soap together. Well, for a really eye-catching, totally unique soap like the one pictured above, I wouldn't hesitate to charge $10.00 at a craft bizarre for the one soap. The detail and craftsmanship warrants a double-digit price. However, even if the soap could be successfully shipped, shipping charges AND insurance charges (particularly when you know there is a substantial probability of damage) would take the price to an unrealistically high range. I don't see, IN TODAY'S ECONOMY, someone spending $20.00 for a single soap. If the soaps can be batch-produced, such as a loaf soap that can be cut into several individual bars, selling and shipping makes perfect sense and I encourage it. Unfortunately, the majority of the soap designs represented in this website could not be crafted that way.
Like any business, SOAPhisticated LADY will be growing and expanding. I have already been making notes for several new collections I hope to get listed in the online store by the end of the year. One of those collections will address these "road blocks" and will offer a few detours around them. It is still in the development stages.
Until next time . . .
There should be a surgeon general's warning on TWITTER. I have found it to be more addictive than FACEBOOK and it's "faster" somehow. That is probably due to the 140-character limit of the tweets.
There are some drawbacks . . . primarily, unless you make your TWITTER account "private" or "protected" (which I haven't), you can't control who follows you on twitter. Evidently, there are a number of "adult" sites out there that are actively soliciting on TWITTER. Once in a while, I get a "follow" from a female whose profile picture shows her scantily clad and the bio is, well, "adult". I have found that if I don't acknowledge the follows with a "thank you" tweet and don't follow them back, they usually remove the follow within a few days . . . for which I am, actually, thankful.
It's not limited to the scantily clad group . . . you also have the haters and the fanatics of something or other. Again, I find that ignoring their follow is enough to have them, eventually, withdraw.
I feel extraordinarily lucky that 95% (roughly) of the folks I've met on TWITTER have been exceptional . . . smart, talented, ambitious, good folks who, often, have a website or products they are simply trying to connect with customers.
Though I tend to NOT bring politics to my website, I don't really think this qualifies for a political stance, per se . . . I was also really impressed with the vigor with which "tweeters" pursued the Fluke/Limbaugh situation. I was impressed and I actively participated in boycotting the companies that WERE sponsoring his show. My position was simple: that could have been one of my sisters or one of my nieces that he crucified on air for three days. There is no apology that can erase that vitriol.
But watching the "tweets" that were, almost literally, flying to these companies and the ingenuity of the boycotts that were suggested made me proud. I was proud that all of these people who had never met Sandra Fluke were running to her aid out of a sense of decency. It was a beautiful, totally American, thing to behold and I am proud to have been a part of it.
Social media, TWITTER, in particular, is a powerful tool; an instrument that can be wielded to truly change the landscape and I hope it continues to be in positive ways.