Thursday, August 21, 2014

A beautiful field near our home.

Fermenting cucumbers and cabbage from our garden!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A couple more things for this week.  "Herbal Garden" and "Naked" are $2 off through Sunday (8/24/2014).  Other soaps will be going on sale in the near future as well.  If there are any bars you are curious about, this will be a great way to be introduced to a possible long lasting relationship.  Who wants to spend $8 on a date with someone you might not like?  But at $6, ah man, it's worth it to check out the iffy ones.  Tack it on with your regular lovers, no one minds... It's just amazing soap after all.

We made a mistake in our olive oil order.  We accidentally purchased non-certified organic.  We had to decide if we wanted to lower our quality and use that oil up or spend money to rectify our mistakes by shipping it back.  We decided it was not worth it to lower our standards so we paid for the shipping.  Soon we will be purchasing a 3rd party credit card function for the site.  Possibly within 3 weeks we will have the power to process credit cards (a much needed feature).

We are going to try out a new shipping & handling policy.  The new shipping is a $6.95 flat rate to any size order.  This is still the same awesome 1-3 day speed you are used to.  We are just trying to simplify things for us and the customers.  When we add body butters or any other new items, if we continued our shipping policy that we had, it would get ridiculous and confusing.

At this time we are also offering free shipping for orders $99 and over.  Keep in mind, if you are going to buy in bulk, it is ideal to store the soap you are not using in a dark, cool and dry area.  This will ensure a longer shelf life.  The oils that make these bars so amazing can go rancid in time.  If we start using oils that go bad very quickly,  we will add a powerful natural anti-oxidant to extend their life.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Today we created a new shampoo bar.  What we did was create a hybrid between our first shampoo bar and the one before this.  The first shampoo bar had a great lather, but cleaned too well and did not condition.  The last shampoo bar would not lather; but if you spent the time to spread it around some it was great at conditioning.  We also included some raw apple cider vinegar to try and lower the pH some.  The last shampoo bar tested at 6.5-7 pH from a few different strips.  The goal is to get it down to 5-6 pH.

"Valley of the Gods" is now cured and ready to package.  We will be packaging some up and updating the website to show that it is back in stock today.  We have received a lot of praise for that bar and are extremely happy for those that are enjoying it.  Later this week we will be packaging:  "Herbal Garden", "Earthen Dream", and "Naked."

We have updated the website with a 3rd party program for review management by "Yotpo".  We are having one technical issue that is being worked on.  When you are on the homepage or the main product page with all soaps listed, if you click on the review button next to the star rating on a specific product, it does not pull up the reviews.  Hopefully that is resolved soon, but everything else seems to be working great.  If you are on a specific bar page and click on the review button it works perfectly, and also if you click on the reviews button on the very far left side of any page.

We would very much appreciate more reviews on the site.  If you have used a bar and have anything to share please do so.  If you like or dislike the bar please be clear in your reasons.  If someone reads a negative review and you are clear about what you didn't like, that could help them decide.  Also if we receive enough negative reviews we will tinker with the recipe or drop it completely to make room for new creations!  No feedback at all is worse than some constructive criticism.

Here is a BIG THANKS for all of you who have taken the time to review!  We really appreciate it.  Have a wonderful day and week.  We will put up another update when more excitement happens.

Friday, August 8, 2014

We finally have our first soap review!  If you have some thoughts of your own on any of the bars we would love more reviews.

A lot has been going on since the last post.  We finished the last 4 bars that were low in stock -- all 12 bars were made over the last 20 days.  "Sin Ye Mon", "Neither is the Man without the Woman", "Morning Tea", "Chocolate Covered Roses" were the last 4 and the last one is in its insulating stage as of 1 hour ago.  "Valley of the Gods" will be the first to cure up on August 18th.  A few changes were made that I will note below for those interested.

If we start moving inventory much quicker some adjustments may be made to help increase production.  The biggest thing is that packaging may become "cigar band" style to speed the packaging process up.  Right now it takes a very long time to package a freshly cured batch.  Some of the bars looks might be altered if we get more equipment; we will let you know if that happens.

The last shampoo bar attempt turned out pretty funny.  The bar holds up better than expected for being a softer bar than any others we make.  But it would not lather!  From the configuration of oils it seemed like it would lather quite well, but not so.  The bar is a complete side step, it is amazing at conditioning but hard to spread around.  Also the pH was better than expected.  After a short break from soap making and a little breather we will attempt another shampoo bar.  The next one will be a hybrid of the first bar and the last with some added apple cider vinegar.  Hopefully this next one is very close to what we want in a shampoo bar.  If the next shampoo fails we may need some different oils to play with -- we'll see.

Some body butters were sent out by mail and sampled around locally.  The overall feedback has been a lot of love.  The first negative initial review has been that it is too oily and smells too chocolaty.  We will make it clear in its description, on the product page, to help alleviate any purchase if they would not like that.  Most people have really enjoyed its absorption rate, scent, looks, how long it lasts and so forth.  We are still waiting for more feedback and money from soaps to move forward.  Body butters should be the next addition to the Earthen Step product line.  We have made 8+ micro batches to fine tune the recipe and think we have figured out a winner -- stay tuned for more information on that!

Changes made to the soap bars curing:

  • Morning Tea:  On the top of the bar the oatmeal was ground to a finer grain, the moringa was increased, and green clay was added.  On the bottom the oatmeal was left out so it would have an exfoliating top and a gentle bottom.  (Kind of like people!)
  • Chocolate Covered Roses:  The Moroccan red clay was doubled so it is now red through the entire bar.  The top has a light coating of chocolate soap to make the name more fitting.
  • Poppy Fields:  The oatmeal was ground a little finer.  Half of the poppy seeds were ground up as well, and the other half were left full.  This is based on feedback -- hopefully groups from "it's too scratchy" and "I love how scratchy it is" are both pleased with this new change.
  • Minty Fresh:  Green clay was added to the bar and both mint essential oils were increased slightly.
  • Earthen Dream:  The indigo color was doubled in strength so the blue swirling can stand out more.
All of the bars are subject to change or discontinuation based on feedback, ingredients available and so on.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Based on some feedback and a new thought for the "Minty Fresh" soap bar it is being reinvented.  We increased both mint essential oils and added French Green Clay.  When the inventory of our current "Minty Fresh" is sold out the new bar will be renamed "Earthen Mint."  The "Poppy Fields" bar has been changed slightly as well.  Based on feedback we are going to grind 1/2 of the poppy seeds to a fine-to-medium texture and 1/2 will stay as the full seed.  Hopefully this will still give the scratch people have been enjoying but it will be calmed down some for those who think it's too intense.  Both of those bars were made this week along with some new body butters.