Sunday, May 31, 2009

Juanita Friday Market recap

It was gorgeous on the shores of Lake Washington on Friday. Sunny, the perfect temperature...
People were happy to be out and about on such a lovely day.

We offered special pricing on some items to celebrate opening day of the market. And, everyone who purchased something got a free lip balm. We were really pushing the new flavor (chocolate orange truffle from Brambleberry) because it smells so great!

The Pepo Park booth:
Left side:
Right side:
Some of the other items for sale: flowers, herbs, baked goods, veggies, jewelry, batik, glass, honey, dips, soup (can't wait for the Thai Pumpkin in the fall), and seafood. And, ready to eat: kettle corn, gyros, crepes, and hot dogs. During the course of the afternoon & evening, I had 2 gyros, kettle corn and a lemonade.

Beautiful herbs from Mt. Vernon Herbs:
Poppies. I swear, they are real:
First of the season garlic. Delicious!
We'll be there next week! I'm looking forward to getting more people hooked on handcrafted soap and seeing what else the farmer's will be bringing in!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Juanita Friday Market opens today!!

We're introducing two new products today. And, we'll have special opening day offers including free lip balm for the first 50 purchasers.

The new products are Mozz Off and the chocolate orange truffle lip balm. The Mozz Off is looking pretty darn good in our new packaging.

My engineer Dad

Dad is labeling lip balm. He had a great idea - a line on the tubes to help you line up the labels so they go on straight.

Thanks, engineer Dad!

He's labeling my newest lip balm - chocolate orange truffle. Got it at Brambleberry. It's smells so good, it's sick!

Dad putting shrink bands onto the lip balm

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Market time!

Here at Pepo Park, we're (Mom, Dad, Shawn and I) cramming to get ready for the Juanita Friday Market.

I can't wait! There will be lots of vendors and of course, your favorite soapmaker & seller - Pepo Park! It's every Friday from 3-7 pm, through October.

Go here, click the link for Juanita Beach Park to get a map.

Shawn makes bath bombs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I love chocolate!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love chocolate. I love to eat it, bake with it, do tastings with fancy chocolate and I even collect antique chocolate molds. Since I love making soap too, it was inevitable that my two loves would meet in a bar of soap.

I wanted the soap to be scented naturally. I started with cocoa butter - not strong enough. I added cocoa then melted chocolate. Still not strong enough. Finally, I turned to Brambleberry's dark rich chocolate. Now, it had a great smell!

The soap looks like a brownie. I made it a year ago and have been "saving" it. Not sure what for, so this morning, I broke out a bar from my stash. The cocoa butter makes it a very luxurious bar. The cocoa and real chocolate cause it to have a "muddy" lather. So, it looks like you're really getting clean!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunny soapy day!

It's a sunny holiday weekend in Kirkland!
I'll be making 2 batches today. Haven't decided what to make yet.
Perhaps a batch of lemongrass to match the sunny skies. And, whatever inspires me when I check out my stock of essential oils.

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, enjoy your long weekend & be safe!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Free chocolate!

While my focus on this blog is soap, natural body care, local and handmade, I think we can all use information about free chocolate even if it isn't local or handmade!

M&M Mars is giving away free chocolate to the first 250,000 registrants every Friday through the summer as part of their "Real chocolate relief act".

Check out this site every Friday to register!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Craft show vending A-Z

Last night, my friend Susan and I met on Capital Hill for the Grassroots Business Association presentation on craft show vending. The presentation was done by Kristen Rask and Moxie, two seasoned craft show-ers.

Kristen and Moxie covered everything (literally, A-Z) starting with applying to shows, preparing for your show through to surviving the show.

In summary:
  • When applying, follow the instructions. Seems "duh", but apparently people are constantly not following instructions. I guess this is good for those of us who do follow directions.
  • Take good photos.
  • If you are not accepted, don't wallow.
  • Practice your display.
  • Don't forget the essentials. There is an exhaustive list here, 160 "must haves". When you see the list, you'll know what you really do need and what you don't need/should ask the venue about.
  • Enjoy yourself while at the show, even if the sales aren't happening.
  • Take time to recover after the show.
There are also tips here, from Etsy.

Kristen and Moxie were great presenters. A lot of fun, funny, and appropriately sarcastic. :)
I'd gladly listen to any advice/presentation they do in the future.
They'll be at Maker Faire in the Bay Area, May 30-31. Check 'em out if you're there. Fun, felty and cute stuff. Also, Lisa from Feto Soap will be there.

Buy handmade!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lil' Soap t-shirt

My soap t-shirt is known as "Lil' Soap" on the Threadless site. They only have one size left.

If you want one but they don't have your size, go to the site and vote. They'll reprint it if they get enough votes.

(image courtesy of

Soap boxes

Finding good boxes for soap was a big topic at the HMSG Conference.
I mentioned Grigsby Paper Box and the place I'm having mine made (Eagle IMS).
The Box Coop was also mentioned.

But, I just found these boxes on Susan Emery's site. She was at the conference, too.

It's hard to find boxes because regular box making companies don't make boxes that are the shape of soap. You'd think that a basic, smallish rectangle would be easy to find. But, it's not.

Good luck on your box search! :)

Coloring your soap

One of my favorite sessions at the HMSG Conference was Lori's session about color. Coloring soaps is hard because different coloring agents (dyes, pigments, herbs, clays, etc.) react differently depending on many things that seem random. Some fade over time.... It's definitely art as science. Lori tested 70+ colors and presented the results to us.

A slide of all the soaps/soap colors:

Six colors of clay:

Clay names/types:
I'd like to do another "shout out" because Lori never uses PowerPoint. She must have labored for hours to get her deck together, get all of the photos in so nicely, etc. Not to mention, laboring over the color experiments.

Photos added

I've updated each post from the Handcrafted Soapmaker's Guild conference with photos.
I had a great time, met great people, learned a ton and am now very inspired and overwhelmed!

A few more photos:

Debbie and Erin enjoy their masks:

Bob and
Irv enjoy their masks and some laughs care of Wendy Liebman and Jon Reep:

Feathers & fun! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Six degrees...

Yesterday, I was in a session by Jamila White (the e-commerce diva) and she mentioned Picnik as a great photo editing tool. Picnik is the brain-child of Jonathan Sposato, a former co-worker of mine.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

HMSG - Day 2

The day started with the Annual Meeting of Members. Elections, votes, etc.

At the HSMG, we vote with our spatulas:


Then, great sessions. I only have time to post a few quotable quotations:

"It's asthma. I do not have that piglet thing." -
Linda is a great lady with a tonne (added the "ne" for extra tonage and metric-ness) of knowledge. Linda makes 900 bar batches. I don't think I've ever had that much soap around at one time, let alone in 1 batch! Also, a "PowerPoint shout out" to Linda. She lost her presentation and redid it overnight. I really liked how she presented only images, not slides and slides of words.

"Don't do it, Sweetie. It's going to go rancid." -
Linda (again)
Sage advice to all of us about superfatting given to
Jim, the youngest soaper in attendance.

Finished the day with a nice dinner, spa facials courtesy of
Dead Sea Bulk Materials (smoooooth!) and drinks with Vanessa and Erin.
Erin and Bob:

Good night!

HMSG Conference - Day 1, night

Wow. Wow. Wow. Three cheers, or maybe even four, to Essential Wholesale (listed previously as Kayla). Though, it was slightly surreal to go to a Mardi Gras themed party after attending Convergence in March.

We had a fun table:

Ruth and Lori:

Bill, Me, Barbara:

Anne and

Angie, Debbie, Erin:

1. Amazing party. Great food, great entertainment. Wendy Liebman and Jon Reep made us laugh and laugh. Both were totally funny.
2. Amazing gift bag. I am in looooove with their
creme. OMG! It is insanely fabulous and I can't wait to try their other products.
3. Super fun table of new friends (see above).
4. Also, fun "after party" with even more new friends. And, again, inspirational discussions.
(Sorry, the pictures didn't turn out well.)

It's so great to be an attendee over being a "booth worker" or other.

Pictures coming on Friday, once I get home.

Forgot to mention: Got kudos for the packaging. Yay, Mikeyvi!!! Can't wait to see how it does in the competition!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference - Day 1

What an awesome day! We started with an inspirational keynote by Erin Brockovich.

Erin Brockovich:

Then, plenty of great information about:
  • viral Internet marketing (like blogging and Facebook - become a fan)
  • good manufacturing practices
  • embedding stuff into your CP soap
  • making lotion
There are a few quotable quotations:
"There is nothing sexier than a hairnet and gloves." - Kayla Fioravanti
I went as far as to buy some safety goggles. Still holding out on hairnets & gloves.
"Soap is just science." - Kelly Bloom
And, this is why it's fun for me! I love the experimentation.

I'm really inspired to get home and try some new things. And, I've been inspired by the people I've met who are making cool products or making a living doing this. Some even do both! :)

Now I'm off to the big dinner. Apparently, even the hotel staff are excited about it, so it must be good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference - Day 0

Today, I arrived at the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, CA for the conference.

At the airport, we (Anne-Marie and I) were met by Sr. Cathleen. We waited for Susan, Linda, and Vanessa then we drove out to the resort and registered for the conference. We were given huge bags of swag. Really great samples, catalogs, notebooks & notepads, a big bag of lavender, coupons, a water bottle and more from suppliers and sponsors. I also entered the new box design into a packaging contest.

The Miramonte is very nice as you can see from their Web site and these photos.

Ballroom (many sessions were held here):

Spa (no, I didn't go):

I had a lovely dinner with Vanessa. I had a healthy salad and whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage. I would have thought I was at the ProClub, except it's super warm here and we ate outside.

It's time to pour over the swag and plan for tomorrow. I need to fit in the gym and the spa among a huge variety of awesome conference content. The keynote speaker is Erin Brockovich which should be interesting.

Photos from the EtsyRAIN Spring Craft Show

Posting a few photos from the weekend's craft show, then off to bed.

The table:

Basket o' soap:

The table from the other end:

Thanks to Shawn for helping me set up.

Tomorrow I leave for the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild annual conference. I'm not sure what to expect, though I'm quite sure it will be nothing like the last conference I went to.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Product feedback from a first time Pepo Parker

Today I got a nice post on my Facebook* page from a first time Pepo Park shopper/user.

From Liz:
[The] Lavender bath bomb was the little guy was rubbing his eyes (tired) by the end of the bath! And that lip balm...never had lip balm like that before. I think a good name for it would be "Lip Lust" or "Lip Sex" but apparently those names are taken :). thanks Kim

She bought the bath bombs as a treat for her young kids. I told her they'd help calm them and make them sleepy. She was skeptical, but bought them anyway. Looks like they did their job.

*You can become a fan of Pepo Park on Facebook.

First post! EtsyRAIN Spring Craft Show

Welcome to my first blog post. I'll be writing about the business of making and selling soap and other natural body care items. I have a small business called Pepo Park and have been making soap for 10 years.

Yesterday, I participated in the EtsyRAIN Spring Craft Show. It was a show hosted by the Seattle Etsy Street Team. 32 local crafters & artisans participated and lots of people showed up to buy our awesome handmade wares.

I sold a good quantity of stuff and had fun.

Shop homemade, shop local, shop often! :)