Ladies, if you're anything like me then the dry winter weather is doing a number on your skin. I'm having to lotion up daily to keep my poor skin from turning into a dry mess and I know that the products I use need to be heavy duty AND I want them to smell good!
Where did you come up with the name for your shop? I decided to call the shop "Happy Button Soap Company" as sort of a funny spin off of the nickname my husband calls me. He calls me "Button" (aww!). One day I said to him when I was making scrubs for myself in my kitchen, "You know, I like making soaps...Making soaps makes me a Happy Button!" and it just seemed like the perfect fit for a store name! From then on, I set up the shop, and it was suitable called "Happy Button Soap Co."
What or who are your inspirations? My inspirations starting out, were definitely two major things: Growing up in New England, and specifically, FALL in New England. It's such a magical time of year, and there is always traditions, smells in the air, and feelings that just go so naturally with it. I wanted to capture these feelings and scents, as best I could with my first scent collection, called "Fall in New England Collection". The scents in this collection consist of: Autumn Harvest, which is the scent of falling leaves mingled with fresh baked pumpkin pie, County Fair, which is a carnival all wrapped up in a scrub; Buttery funnel cakes, cotton candy, and gooey caramel apples. There is also Vermont Pecan Pie, which is decadent pecan pie drizzled with rich Maple syrup as only Vermont can do, and finally Apple Butter & Caramel, which apple butter is something consistently found in just about any Country store in New England; homemade apple butter churned with warm delicious caramel.
I was also inspired by one of my favorite movies growing up as a child, The Labyrinth. I honestly don't know a single person my age (in my 30's! D'oh!) that hasn't seen this movie, and watched it when they were a kid. I created a collection of scents that are inspired by this movie. There is no affiliation to the Henson Company, just a fan! This collection is called the "Goblin City Collection", and features scents such as: The Missus, which was inspired by the little blue worm in the beginning of the labyrinth. This is the scent of Black Tea and White almond cake. The Next scent takes us down into the the Oubliette, which is a much more herbal scent; Oakmoss, Sage, Vanilla, and Sandalwood. Further on, we find ourselves lost in the Firey Forest (Fae Woods) which is scented with: Redwood, Cedar, Sage, and Blackberries. As Sarah continues on her journey to save her baby brother Toby, she falls prey to a poisoned peach and end up in a hallucination of a giant fantasy Masquerade ball. This is the scent of Juicy fresh peaches and sparkling pink sugar. At last, Sarah finally triumphs over the Evil Goblin King by saying the words, and wins back her baby brother just at the stroke of Thirteen O' Clock; this is the scent of victory, Fresh cut long-stem red roses, and bubbly champagne. For fans of this movie, this is a fun way to give it another sense of life!
What are 3 of your favorite items from your shop? The Decadent Sugar Scrubs - These were a creation borne from my original blend sugar scrubs, and the idea of combining chocolate, as some high-end spas are now offering chocolate body treatments. One thing that always drives me up the wall, is when I buy a chocolate scented bath product, and it smells so artificial. I actually bought one from the Hershey Chocolate factory once, it was awful! Very few people can make chocolate scented items which smell very realistic. I had aspired to wanting the most realistic chocolate scent for my product, and I realized the sure fire only way to do that, was to actually melt down real semi-sweet dark chocolate. These scrubs far exceeded my expectations in what I had hoped to achieve, and lend the perfect balance between aromatherapy in the form of rich delicious chocolate scent, and also the exfoliation and cleaning power of the whipped soap/sugar it is blended with. Scents in this collection include: Chocolate covered strawberry (Date Night), Chocolate Mint (Grasshopper), Chocolate Lavender (Land of Nod), Chocolate coconut (Coconut Bliss) and pure un-adultered chocolate for those chocolate purists out there (Chocolate Heaven).
I also really love the Lip Butters - I am very picky when it comes to lip balm. I don't particularly enjoy the types that leave you feeling like you have a waxy coating on your lips. Instead, I created a lip balm that is made with moisturizing butters, and glides on smooth and well..."like Buttah!". I made these in four fun flavors: Peppermint Frosting, Red Velvet Cake, Gingersnap, and Butter Toffee Crunch.
Lastly, I really enjoy the Solid Perfumes - I created solid perfumes specifically in a twist up tube for easy application. No more sticking your fingers into a pot. Blended for unique scents that have a variety of different notes that I felt would appeal to the masses; or, if you want a fun example, the 4 female archetypes aka the 'Sex in the city' characters: The Samantha, the Charlotte, the Miranda, and the Carrie - I see Nazarene as a Samantha type scent - very sultry, resinous, sexy. Sacred is a Carrie type scent it's soft, sexy and feminine all at the same time. Arctic Maiden is a softer very clean scent, definitely a Charlotte. Lastly, Dragon Lady is a powerful sexy scent that exudes confidence and authority...Just like Miranda.
Nazarene: The scent of Frankincense, Myrrh, and Patchouli mingled with Orange blossoms and musk in the night air
Sacred: Nag Chama incense burning amongst freshly scattered Rose petals
Arctic Maiden: Frigid ocean air touched with electrically charged Ozone, Eucalyptus, musk, and Sandalwood
Dragon Lady: Dried wind blown leaves, smoky sandalwood, cedar, Nag Champa incense entwined with the resinous depth of Dragon's Blood
Where do you see yourself and your shop at this time next year? I would like to think I will still be happily making and fulfilling orders for customers who have come to love my products. I am very thankful that I was able to embark on the journey of starting up my own bath and body business, and it warms my heart to imagine it growing far beyond where we are now. I have so many ideas - possibly new products, always new scents, contests, sales, etc! I was a consumer long before a shop owner, so I know how important it is to have solid customer service, and I love receiving customer feedback.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring handmade shop owners? I would say that it is important, before you open your shop, to have a game plan as to how you are going to operate, create a budget, and create goals for yourself, and for your business. Plan ahead as much as you can, as far as how often you will rotate scents, what sorts of products you will offer, how long will you TAT (turn around time be) will you be offering sales/discounts, would you consider wholesale...these are all questions you need to be aware of, as even if they are not an immediate concern, you should be prepared when/if that topic comes up, and how you are planning to handle it. Also, There is a fine line with Pricing - you want to make a profit, but you want to also remain competitive, especially when starting out. research other companies in your area of business, and make sure you are presenting yourself appropriately. Lastly, find an edge for your business that makes your business unique. Most importantly, if you are dreaming it, DO IT! and have fun with it.
Feel free to use this tweet: "Enter to win some delicious smelling sugar scrub from @HappyButtonSoap! Check out @WeirdGirlBlog's giveaway http://tinyurl.com/6tbmchj"
A winner will be announced