Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Soaps Now Available At Jaqueline's Tea Room

Jaqueline has been shopping the Freeport Community Market for quite a while now and chats with me every week.  This past week, she inquired about carrying some of my soaps in her adorable gift shop which is part of her Tea Room.  Sure thing I said, and I brought her a delivery of soaps on Wednesday.

Jaqueline offers a 2 hour tea complete with scones and jam, finger sandwiches and delicious desert.    Reservations are required for tea.  Shop for your favorite teas in her gift shop along with tea accessories, cookbooks and now Soap!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Green Smoothies

What is a Green Smoothie?   A smoothie made with greens!  I was first introduced to these last year at the farmers market.  My friends Jeanette and Heidi brought their bike to market and whipped up green smoothies using the bike blender.  We quickly called them the "Fender Blender Girls".   Mixing fresh Kale with Mango and Banana, add some water and you have a deliciously sweet and fresh, good for you Green Smoothie!  Excellent on a hot day, give them a try, you will be surprised.

Here is a link to a page about Green Smoothies:  Search for yourself and you will find lots of information out there, including videos on You Tube.

My personal favorite recipe:

3 large stalks of fresh Kale
1 Banana
1/2 C. frozen Mango chunks
12/ - 1 C. of water, depending on how "loose" you like your smoothies

Put water in blender
Add Kale, I use the leaves only, picking the leaves off of the stem
Add the Banana and the Mango
Blend until all blended smooth.

You can add all sorts of fruits:  Apples, Berries....maybe some Cinnamon or Ginger.  Add a bit of natural sweetener if you like it a bit sweeter.  Mix it up and enjoy! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Sea Mist Soap

I introduced this wonderful soap about 3 weeks ago at the Farmers Market, before The Clam Festival, and customers snapped it right up.  Delightfully fresh and clean with salty undertones, I call it Sea Mist.   Once I brought it to The Clam Festival, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a festival favorite.  And now, permanent addition to our coastal collection of soaps!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Window Boxes

Where, oh where can I find a few of these for my own windows?  I recently saw these in person at Sebasco Harbor Resorts on the 4th of July weekend.  Too cute, right? 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Clam Festival !

Here are a few pictures to start with "behind the scenes".  My dad was in the area on Thursday (my folks live about an hour away) and while I was planning on some pre-set up on my own, he was able to lend me a hand.  This helped ALOT.  While you can imagine and plan, design and figure before an event, you have to make last minute changes when you get to the actual site.  Dad and I set up the tent, secured weights (I totally overkilled it in that department, I have been through my share of wind and rain storms at the Farmers Market that have left me scared to death), set up the tables and tucked the display baskets safely away.  Thanks dad!

This is all I really set up on Thursday.  I forgot the banners at home, so that will be a job for Captain and I on Friday morning.  I tucked the baskets under the table overnight as I was worried about fog settling on the baskets (this venue is only like 1 mile from the shore).

Here are a few of my neighbors setting up....

Across the aisle from me:  Beautiful pottery, cool and contemporary aprons, colorful baby items, hip belts and t-shirts, leather goods, artwork, soaps & lotions, jewlery, hand knit and felted mittens and much more!

Once Friday morning came around, craft set up was in full swing!  I was extremely nervous and my Captain was great!  He just smiles and does whatever I tell him.  It was very very hot and super humid.  We were sweating in minutes.  I had a great spot for unloading and loading, so that worked in our favor, but still, soap is heavy and there is alot of it to unload.  

This was it for 3 days.  Friday & Saturday 10-9, Sunday 10-5.  My great friend Chris came by on Friday and stayed with me for about 3 hours. She and I were both making sales and that was very exciting!   My other super friend Deede came by and escorted me to a clean and fresh bathroom in a friends office.  Much better than the porta pottys! She also brought me a table from her home that we set out in the aisle with some soap on it.  As a way to lure in those shy shoppers.  This worked great!  Thanks Deede!  Saturday my mom came by and stayed about 4 hours.   Thanks Mom!!! This gave me a chance to run across the street and check out the other crafters (scope out the other soap makers too).  There were about 130 crafters at this event.  I bought a lovely 2011 calendar (which I quickly turned into art for my walls) from Alan Claude and a beautiful pearl necklace tied off with funky green saddle stitch ribbon, the artist I do not know!  Sadly, she didn't give me a card. 

Here I go!


The banners are up (behind me) the table is FULL of soap centered in the tent.  I choose these colorful basket and filled them up with soap as sort of a self service soap.  Can you see in the top right of the photo the paper lanterns?  I had 5 of them up there in brown, blue, white & yellow to match my colors and add some fun.  People loved them.  My tent didn't back up to another crafter so I set it up so customers can come in from both sides.  This worked waaaay to my advantage in a couple of ways.  1.  The weather.  It was stifling hot and super humid, I'm talking mid 90's.  Any breeze that came our way made it through my tent.  Those crafters closed in on 3 sides were baking in the mid-day sun.  2. Customers!  I definitely was awarded with more customer "action" with this open tent.

Some close up photos of my display:

All in all, it was a great event.  Exhausting, yes.  The weather was gorgeous and I am very happy it didn't rain. There were a few sprinkles and a threat of a thunderstorm on Friday and Captain showed up to calm my nerves and offer a huge piece of plastic to throw over the soap and baskets if it got to that.   It was super hot (mid 90's) and wicked humid.  I realized last minute that I would be there after dark!  Captain quickly bought me some clip on shop style lights and hooked up an extension cord.  He also brought me a fan to circulate some air in the tent.  I just didnt' think of these things.  I have lots of ideas for how to make it much easier next time.  I really believe I sell alot of soap because I greet every single one of the customers that come in the tent.  I was standing almost the entire show.  I like to have lots of enthusiasm and let the customers know my story, that I hand make all this soap just for them.  I get alot of soap questions, and I am happy to tell folks how soap is made.  Alot of energy was spent on packing and unpacking the soaps.  Next time I will find a way to keep my soap in the booth overnight.  I would say that 1/4 of my sales were credit card sales and I am glad that I can now take credit cards at shows. 

I saw many of my loyal local customers.  I met lots of people and got the word out that I sell locally at the Farmers Markets, and also online to those that came from out of state.  I  met a woman on Friday that was working on a book about fairs in New England and she took close up pictures of my soap in the big baskets (that was exciting!).  I made some great contacts for many other shows in the area.  I had customers make a bee-line for my tent, they were looking for me!  That is all so very exciting!!! 

Now, up next....2 phone calls today...more soaps for Sea Side Creations and The Apple Shed! 

Wow! Back From Clam Fest...

I'm back!  And, honestly, I'm exhausted.  That was an intense 3 full days of selling soap.  What a festival!  I made alot of new contacts, customers and friends.    Thanks to all my local fans that came out to support me at the festival!  It was great seeing you all! 

Here is a quick video to show you how the day started out on Friday.  This is Main St. before the parade, like 6 hours before.  This is the first day of the festival.  Busy and plenty of shoppers, note the chairs lining the street.  People "save" their spot for the much anticipated Friday night parade.   Some of these chair went out on the street on Monday, 5 full days before the parade!

Okay, and here is Main St. minutes before the parade.   My tent is only 20' or so away from this.  Once the parade ended, I was swamped with customers.

Stayed tuned, more posts to come! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Setting Up For The Clam Festival

  I had the opportunity to set up the tent, tables, banners etc. today (Thursday) and I figured it's going to be alot easier to do it now rather than at 7:00 in the morning along with the 119 other vendors.  My dad just happened to be in the area today so I asked him to give me a hand setting up my tent. Oh, I'm sure there will be other vendors today too and I will snap a couple of pre-festival pictures to share with you.  I won't put out my soap until Friday.  My husband (Captain) will help me with that.  Then a long day of selling lots of soap. 

Craft Show Hours:

Friday 10:00-9:00

Saturday 10:00-9:00

Sunday 10:00-5:00

In the meanwhile, here is a quick picture "behind the scenes"  at Casco Bay Soap Co. of the soap labeling.  I am almost done, only about 100 left to label! 

Each soap is labeled, one by one.  I still print the labels on my home compturer/printer.   I did have the forsight to pre-run a ton of lables so I wouldn't be running of hundreds and hundreds of labels in just a few short days.  I also normally have a generic label and hand write the fragrace of the soap on the label.  This time I added the fragrances and some description to the front of the label and printed it off.  This saved ALOT of time, no handwriting needed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Quick Picture Of Bailey Island

I was out delivering soaps to Sea Side Creations on Bailey Island (again!).  They are selling a good deal of my soaps, laundry detergent and dryer sachets. 

I snapped a quick shot of this little harbor tucked into the side of the island.  I just love looking out over the harbor and seeing all the boats.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photo Shoot

In the middle of the busiest last few day before the Yarmouth Clam Festival, I managed to schedule myself for a photo shoot.  I don't know what I was thinking, as I have loads of soaps to label, list of items to make/fix/find/buy/pack for the festival.  But I squeezed it in.  And, it was totally worth it.

I met photographer Kevin Morris during the Winter Farmers Market in Brunswick.  A few emails back and forth, an initial meeting, and all of that has led us to this:

Casco Bay Soaps spending a couple hours at the Photo Studio!

Here is Kevin in his studio setting up the background, lights and tripod for a shot of my soaps.

Shooting a close up of the soap in a cool stack in a wooden bowl.  This is looking great!  Really rustic and natural.  I love it!

Tweaking a few things...focus, lighting, shadows....

We also tried a different bowl, a moss green ceramic one.  In this shot,  Kevin uses dramatic, darker lighting.  It was very moody, I loved that too!

This last shot/situation, he used a gnarly piece of driftwood that I brought along, placed the soap among the curves and crevices and added soap bubbles.  Very "green" and natural. 

I can't wait to see the final product!

Kevin Morris Photography, Brunswick ~

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Soap, soap and more soap!

I have been making soap like crazy.  Next week at this time, I will be setting up for the Yarmouth Clam Festival.  Each year 100,000 people come to Clam Fest. and I will be there selling my soaps.  I have been working for months to build up my soap supply.  Now that I have made all that soap, it's time to label them.  Fortunately I am pretty organized and I have been printing labels all along, so now I don't have to print out like 2,000 labels in one day on my little home printer.  I began today with the labeling.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

1 Batch Of Soap At A Time

I often get questions about just how do I make my soap.  One of the parts of my "story" is that I make 8 pounds of soap at once.  So, this is what 8 pounds of soap looks like after I take it out of the mold and before I cut it up into sliced soap for you!

This is Wild Sea Rose, with rose petals sprinkled on top.  Now I will cut it into about 28  bars and they will sit on the shelf and cure for 4-6 weeks!