Making and Marketing





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Letter from the Editor

Mabel Labs is now open!  This is an area we create custom bath and body preparations,  not requiring large minimums.  Mabel Labs can also customize your body butters, lotions, and body scrubs with your trademark scent or base ingredients.  For small business, and fundraisers, Labs will offer terms to help end users have time to sell their products.  

One newest product (we adore,) is our Coffee Body Polish.  Made with real coffee--not just sugar with coffee specs and our matching Coffee Body Butter.   Real Coffee polish/scrubs--(if they can be found,) are asking $20 a pound wholesale.  Retail is getting as much as $57 for 8 ounces of this decadent product.  Our genuine Coffee Body Polish is wholesale priced at $9.97 a pound, sent via US Priority Mail.    We suggest selling 8 ounces for $19.99.  That means you are grossing approximately $40 a pound.  You can also buy some for yourself at the greatly reduced cost and indulge.

Coffee on the skin being well revered because it does give a boost.  Nurses swear by it.   Even those who cannot drink coffee can indulge in a scrub.  Caffeine is being reported to help skin fight free radials.  We use vegetable glycerin in our base, so skin stays supple and moist--not greasy as with scrubs in general. 

Got Lotion in a Bag

I was in Whole Foods, in the bath and body section, (where else would you find me?) checking out the "latest" product packaging  when a man needed help finding a lotion that would not dry his skin.   No sweat, I thought and looked on the back of the oldies but goodies.  Surprised to find almost everyone of them dropped quality ingredients after they had the "brand."  I saw alcohol in some, mineral oil (of all things) in others, and you know where I am headed with this.  I went home to rethink the lotion and crème situation. 

Countless people ask me to make lotion and/or crème for them, but posed a few other needs.  Resellers need to be able to heat it back up enough to easily pour it into their own containers/jars and add their own color, and or scent.  They are tired of scraping buckets.  No one makes this "transfer" easy.  I just did.  I figured out the stand up pouches we sell melt and pour lip balm in, takes very high heat and is perfect.  No mess required.  The customer need only open the bag, heat it up a bit in the nuker (like one minute), whip out a stick blender and add in their scent/color.  Or they can use it as is, heating a tad for pour-ability.  Note: Whipping too much will give you whipped cream, although the appearance of twice as much product.  This worked out beautifully and fits in with my new work method.  Called, stay focused on what I love to do--then things work out so much better.  Click the thumbnail to see a large photo of lotion in a bag.  (The pink lotion was made with just two drops of red food color in a two pound bag of lotion.)  Anyway, I love to make high quality lotion and that will also help us rotate our high end carrier oils much faster.   

With a quality base like this, a person can add micas for glimmer type lotions, or certain essential oils for therapeutic type lotions.  I am adding some crushed aspirin in some of mine for "Aspra-Creme."  The base can be made with Emu oil, (yes I am OK with that now), because it truly is the best topical anti-inflammatory available.  I can work with different base oils--just ask.  Here are the ingredients in Lotion and Crème in a bagpurified water, sweet almond oil, vegetable glycerin, shea butter, vitamin e, soy lipids (emulsifier) and germaben II (preservative.)  You will be seeing Salts in a bag next, for easy amendments, and other bath and body products in a bag.  Click here to buy lotion in a Bag.

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Etsy...the Place to Sell Hand Made Goods

I cannot count the years I have been looking for a platform where crafters and home artisans can sell their wares in a supportive and user friendly environment.  A venue that would also attract quality buyers who desire to purchase hand made products.  Buying hand made truly supports non-commercial America, my main soap box of years.  Enter Etsy!  Not only is their site a total success, their sellers are successful also.  It is not a "trickle down" theory.  It is "open the flood gates."  I love their staff and the fact they will stay "real" no matter how big they get.  They are pretty big now, but I expect them to grow ten fold over the next few years.    My readers know I have never promised anything would change their life.  I am saying it now.  Etsy will change your life in a great way! (If you already have an Esty store, tell us and we will post that in our Galleria.)

Intrigued, I asked the Etsy staff to offer me a quick study on how easy it is to sign up and sell product.  Instead of a canned answer, they let their readers do it.  Postings were emphatic, loving and endless.  I mean within an hour they had fifty sellers, fill up 6 full pages of true stories on how Etsy touched or totally changed their lives.  Each story so unique, they deserve to all be read!  I cannot pick "one" or "two" experiences.  They are all moving and inspirational.  I can say the common thread is they were able to succeed in a supportive environment and actually get paid to do what they love.  Click here to read ALL of the Etsy sellers to us and change your life.  Grab a cup of java, or chai, you will be in there a while, and it is WORTH IT!  I think you can make anything from a mountain top, love doing it, post it on Esty, eat well and be social with "Etsians" in your down time.  And social they are.    As far as buyers, make Esty your one stop shop for hand made Christmas items, or hand crafted items if you own a gift shop. Many artists are "discovered" on Etsy.   Many sellers report they found Etsy because they were given a hand made gift purchased from the Etsy platform.  If I had to describe Etsy in one word, it would be empowerment.

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Etsians say:

"The community here is fantastic. Its wonderful to have such a large group like-minded, crafty people right at your fingertips."  ~FtCloudy~

"Etsy is like having a best friend." ~KarmaRox~


I signed up for Etsy upon the suggestion of a friend. My first few sales were absolutely magical moments - "SOMEONE BOUGHT SOMETHING FROM MY SHOP!" sort of incredulous moments. Up until then, I'd sold to friends and family sporadically, but mostly sold my work wholesale, to boutiques. While this was rewarding, it wasn't quite what I had in mind when I decided to pursue 'the art of adornment' as a professional career. Here, on Etsy, every purchase is special. I love getting emails from sellers who've given my work as gifts, or who can't help but write because they love the earrings they ordered. I've sold over 2,000 items here in the past year and a half, and each one is a pleasant surprise and a 'magical moment', just like the first.

Etsy has also afforded me the opportunity to teach my craft to others, in the Etsy Labs, and selling here has enable me to have enough income to take classes with world-renowned teachers and spend weeks with people who love the art of metalwork as much as I do.

And, thanks in part to the success of my Etsy shop, I'm opening a brick and mortar store in August that will house my jewelry as well as some amazing work from other Etsiers.

mLee says: 
I am most certainly interested since Etsy has had a huge impact on my life in a very positive way.

Other than the odd sale here and there I was not selling my work until I found Etsy. I found it rather randomly through a friend's blog back in Nov 2005 and was so impressed by it that I signed up right away even though I didn't have much to put up at the time. I was really just starting to get into a groove with my art then and it took me a couple of months to get my Etsy shop growing.

My first sales came in January after I was featured on the Etsy homepage. I opened up a personal website complete with a blog in February. My sales increased monthly as my exposure grew. I made it to the Top Sellers list. A list that I had been watching and getting tips from by seeing how people were doing it right. By May I had reached 100 sales and Etsy decided to feature me as a seller. I started networking with area Etsy sellers that spring and summer and just kept making work and improving myself and my business by adding new products that fit with my shop. I have found a personal connection not only with fellow sellers but with buyers as well. Since joining Etsy I am a happier person and more confident in my art. Even when there are bumps I take them in stride.

Around Christmas time I found out that I was pregnant with my first child and the Etsy community has been so wonderful and supportive there too.

I could go on and on about my love story with Etsy!
bayousalvage says:

It's taken me *YEARS* to build up my clientele at art markets and fairs. Etsy has helped me build a similar clientele and community in *days*

littlegreycatdesigns says:

Without Etsy, I would never have thought I could share my knitting with the world. Thanks to the clear interface, easy to use format, and friendly community, I have reached customers in ways that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Etsy is also a fabulous place to look for and buy handmade goods. I can't remember the last thing I bought that wasn't from Etsy! Etsy is the first place I look for any of my gift or personal needs.

DistilledRose says:

As a seller, Etsy has been a wonderful welcoming site that has revolutionized how I run my business. I love having a professional and secure place to send my customers too when they are looking to purchase items online. I've found the community here to be wonderful and it's heartwarming to be amongst so many people that share a deep respect and adoration for hand crafted items.


allisonstrine says:

If I could marry Etsy, I would! Setting up is easy peasy, and shopping is fun fun fun! Only on Etsy can I find an alien UFO vest, a gas tank turned robot, and a fairy tale dreamcatcher. Yay for Etsy!

~Editors note:  I have been looking for the alien UFO vest for a long time!  All I have had until now is my monster spray, for under the bed, ya know.

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Lotion Making Notes: For Lotion Makers: EmulSoy

I wondered what happened to my "improved" notes on lotion making--when I invented a great, mostly water, far less oil mix.  Oil heavy recipes are perfect for facial cleansing milks.  Back to H2O,  I recalled that ephinany was lost in a site crash October 2006.    I had to re-invent them last week and actually poll customers who use and love EmulSoy.  They thought it funny--I forgot my best recipe.   I found the 80% water and 20% oil to work really great, and here is how I did it.

Libbey Glass Inc. Pitcher, Beer, Glass, 60 ozScraped the blender, because I blew the last three up, plus I was tired of hot solution spitting at me.  So, really, I did not have a blender to pummel if I wanted one.  I tried the Magic Bullet (don't ever do that...) and stopped to re-group.  Then I made life very simple.  I grabbed two nice 60 ounce Budwieser/Warsteiner plastic pitchers (we got hundreds free at 2:00AM after an Octoberfest) and did this much easier than ever before:

1.  Heated 80% water in one, to 200 degrees.  (Funky microbes must be terminated.)

2.  Heated 20% oil and 1/2 bar of EmulSoy--that was also about 200 degrees by then.  Stirred it a bit.

3.  Waited for both to drop to a reasonable 130 degrees.  They do drop temp at the same time--I tested both temps this time.  It is not as important how high the temp-as it is that they are both about the same temp when mixing.  But there was no reason for me to blend when moulton hot as I used to.

4. Put the stick blender in the water part and slowly added the oil.  Slowly, so the molecules do not get overwhelmed.  

That worked out great, I made it in ten whole minutes,  and I did not need to add borax, although I like borax to soften water and make it "take." 

Do not add preservative while it is very hot--the preservative can be compromised, and like, evaporate.    When it was fairly cool, like 120 degrees or less, I added 1% of the total weight in preservative--(NEVER add more than 1% preserve--it can be detrimental to the user.)  Mix well and do not get preservative on you.    This is also a good time to add scent.  Scent also evaporates if added when the formula is to hot,  as does preservative. If you want properties of good oils, like vitamin e, same theory, add them when not so hot.

So, oil and water can be blended between 110 and  130 degrees, but both should be close in temp when you do blend.  I was mixing way too high--like 170 degrees because I am impatient, stupid or both.  Now life is good and I have the best lotion and crème again.

And that is all she wrote.

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