Monday, March 31, 2014

Soybean Oil

I wanted to take a moment to address the ingredients in my soaps.  One in particular had been getting a bit of press and some questions.  Soybean Oil.

I use Soybean Oil in my soaps as one of the "carrier oils".  This is one of the main oils.   It is a very neutral oil, offering no fragrance alteration to the end product of the soap, helps create a great creamy lather and hard bar of soap, and it inexpensive - therefor keeping your cost for a bar of soap low and does offer some moisturizing properties.   It neither offers many benefits or detriments.    I am aware of that.  That is why I add in Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.  You are gaining benefits from those oils.   I can not offer you a pure Olive Oil soap at the cost you would like.  I can not offer you a pure Coconut Oil soap for the same reasons (in addition it would be drying to the skin).  I offer you a blend of ALL VEGETABLE oils.   All vegetable to meet many of your vegetarian needs.   In addition, my soap is only approximately 25% Soybean Oil.

One potential customers said, "nope. no way, no Soybean Oil for me".  "It is bad because of  reported increase in Estrogen levels which lead to disrupting hormones and Breast Cancer".   Now.  I really believe that this customer was uninformed.  She had formed her opinion and she was sticking to it.  She was pretty direct with me and I didn't bother to try and change her mind.   In addition and as an aside, her husband said, "don't listen to her, she just bought Soy candles and she smokes a pack of cigarettes a day".  Sooooo, in conclusion, it seems that she was picking and choosing and blindly making decisions on very small bits of information that she was gathering/hearing somewhere (and in the course of doing that also ignoring how bad smoking is for her body).  I did ask her if she was familiar with the controversy behind Palm Oil right now (more on that later) and she said yes.  That she would avoid that too.  I do know that just about every other soap maker selling in the same venue I was exhibiting in used Palm Oil in their soaps OR was making a "melt and pour" variety.   I can just say, I believe that almost everything comes with some sort of controversy.  You can educate yourself and choose for yourself.

I purchase my Soybean oil from a local suppliers.  It is food safe and the same oil that is used in baking and cooking.  It is from the USA, crushed and made in the USA.  GREAT! We are supporting American farmers!

Here is the controversy.   That soybeans can cause in increase in the hormone Estrogen.  However, in my research here is what "They" are also saying:

"Soybean protein naturally contains compounds called isoflavones, predominantly genistein and daidzein. These compounds are not estrogens and do not directly add to estrogen levels in the blood. They can, however, affect estrogen metabolism. Soy protein and isoflavones may have minimal effects on blood estrogen levels in postmenopausal women and in men. In premenopausal women who have much higher natural estrogen levels, eating soy protein likely has no effect.  It is the estrogen-mimicking plant compounds found in soy that are responsible for soy's health benefits. But these same estrogenic compounds, known as isoflavones, can have a negative effect on female hormones when consumed in large amounts".   - -  Epidemiological studies, in which large populations of healthy women have reported details about their usual diet and were followed for many years, have either shown no association between soy and breast cancer, or a protective association, meaning that people who ate more soy had less breast cancer

In general, studies in Asian women have found a lower risk of breast cancer with eating more soy, whereas studies in the U.S. have tended to not find any association between how much soy a woman consumes and her risk of breast cancer.  Indeed, a recent study combined data from 14 epidemiologic studies on this topic and found that in Asian countries, women who ate the most (compared to the least) soy isoflavones had a 24% lower risk of developing breast cancer, while there was no association in Western countries such as the U.S.. 

Bottom line: Even though animal studies have shown mixed effects on breast cancer with soy supplements, studies in humans have not shown harm from eating soy foods. Moderate consumption of soy foods appears safe for both breast cancer survivors and the general population, and may even lower breast cancer risk. Avoid soy supplements until more research is done. So, enjoy your occasional tofu stir-fry or tofu burger - they are unlikely to increase your risk of breast cancer and, on balance, are some of the healthier foods you can eat"!

And more.  "Soy And Estrogen Myth - don't Believe The Hype:

In conclusion, I don't see any information that supports this woman's claim.  The important thing I would like to remember here is that soap also washes off your skin and you are simply not ingesting it.  There is a lot of back and forth and you can find some sort of article here on the web that will tell you what you want to hear.   I think that this Soybean controversy regarding use in soap is unfounded and nothing to be concerned with at this time.  I am sorry that I was not able to explain this to the potential customer at the time.  She was decidedly, mind-made-up and not hearing a thing from anyone about it.  I just wanted to put this out there for you, in case you have "heard" anything. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Big Show!

Hi guys!  I know it's been a while.  I have been swamped!  From working on the preparation for the New England Giftware and Specialty Food Show, to filling orders after AND making more soaps, some package redesign and new product development, I simply ran out of time.
I had a great time at the New England Giftware and Specialty Food Show! As a new exhibitor (and a perfectionist or "detail oriented" person - so I am told) I was very nervous and tried to think of everything possible.   I spoke with 2 business woman that had done the show before to ask them what to expect, I had plenty of documents prepared and printed, I even bought new sensible but cute shoes!   In the end, I was perfectly prepared.     I met soo many new people!  Both vendors and buyers alike.  I made new friends, captured many new accounts and got many leads for future possibilities!  
Here are some pictures from the show.
Here is my booth set up.  2 bookcases on the sides featured my product line.  I brought 5 different products to the event.  Soap bars, Sea Shells & Sea Urchins, Laundry Detergent, Dryer Sachets and the NEW Casco Bay Collection.  I also had space at the very bottom for extra storage, so added some cloth bins and kept extra "office" type stuff in there, my lint roller ( I was wearing all black after all) and other little things.  Mr. Casco Bay made me the back wall.  It is free standing so we didn't have to fuss with hanging or attaching anything to the pipe and drape set up (which came with the booth price, so it was all set up for us). We added some lights and some snazzy posters.   The table in front of it held each product so buyers could pick it up and touch/smell it and each product had a Line Sheet full of purchasing information on the table in front of it.  The booth was 8' deep by 10' wide.  It was perfect in size.  I could have several buyers in there at once.  Some looking at the book cases and others talking with me at the table.  It worked out great.  And as an aside, believe me,  I steamed that white tablecloth.  I considered bringing my steamer BACK to steam it again, but didn't.  It bothered me all weekend.  I guess I am a perfectionist after all.  Oh well!

I even brought a printer, see it in the back corner?

A closer look at my table.

Here is the NEW Casco Bay Collection displayed.

Yours truly, day 2!
This fuzzy guy stopped to see me one day.  A service dog, he was soo sweet and loved lounging right in my booth.  He stopped a lot of folks.  They all wanted to pet him.  His name was Bear.
Best New Product?  The show offers a table at the entrance to the event that is full of products entered into it Best New Product contest.  The Maine Made program has a similar table full of their members great products.  Lots of great new product!   This did lead several buyers to my booth to check out the Sea Urchin Soaps in person (and orders too)!  I didn't win, but my friends at Casco Bay Butter did!  They placed 2nd in the food category!  Great job!!

And our 3rd and last day fell on St. Patrick's Day.  Giraffe Events was soo great and helpful during the entire event, they really put on a great show for vendors and buyers alike.  Every day they came by with free water for vendors and had a Newspaper style newsletter featuring the days events and/or news AND soo much more!   On St. Patrick's' Day, when we got there, we had this cute little cupcake and a poem welcoming us. Great job Giraffe Events!

Special thanks goes out to:
Mr. Casco Bay - he did a great job building all that I wanted and dropping me off and picking me up each day.  He even came early at the end of each day dressed in nice pants and a shirt to watch the booth while I visited the ladies room.
Alison of Festive Fish and my friend Pat for all their advice as I prepared for the show.
My friend Angela who was wonderful moral support behind the scenes and every single day checked in with me and kept telling me how great I was! 
My friend Deede who came and watched my booth for a bit so I could eat lunch.
My fellow show vendors Christine of Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants and the gals at Casco Bay Butter who offered support during the show.

Onward and upwards for Casco Bay Soap Co.!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Casco Bay Soap Co. Video!

A Quick Peek Inside The Soap Studio - A Video!
Click The Link Below....

Working In The Studio

Some behind the scenes pictures while I mixed and poured soapy Sea Urchins in the studio the other day. 
A glimpse inside my workspace.