Saturday, March 24, 2012

Updates and More

I know that I haven't been posting as often as I would like to and I am working on doing better.  I thought that I would update you on what has been going on.  First, if you follow my blog, you would know that my mother had another stroke back in October.  I have been out on Family Leave since November to care for her.  She is doing better and with each day, she has more determination to become independent again.  Currently she is still staying with me but is anxiously waiting until she can go back to her own home.  That in itself has been a lot for me to handle.  Taking her to doctor's appointments, rehab and any other appointments she has as she is unable to drive.  She gets frustrated that she has to depend on someone to take her where she wants to go and I truly feel for her. They say that determination goes a long way and my Mom defintely has determination.  I admire her tenacity, she doesn't like to hear the word "no" and doesn't like the word "can't".  My prayer is for her to see her dreams once again become a reality.

Then my oldest son left for the Service back in October as well.  He came home for Christmas for two weeks and that was a wonderful surprise.  Although it had only been several weeks since he had left, it was great to have him home for Christmas.  He graduated from Basic in January and went on to AIT.  He graduated from there on March 15th and was able to be home for two weeks to do home recruiting.  He will soon be leaving for Savannah, Georgia.  I don't know how long he will be there or when the next time I will see him; so I cherish those moments that I do have with him.  I am so proud of where he has gone and where he is going. 

My youngest son is into sports, mainly basketball and he definitely keeps me busy running him to games or practice.  It's not enough that he played for the school, he had to play on the community team as well as some AAU Team that travels to Huntsville and Birmingham.  His dream is to one day play for the NBA and hope that he can fulfill his dream.  He eats, sleeps, drinks, dreams basketball.  You can't stop a child from dreaming.

So that's what's been going on in my personal life and as you can see it's been kinda busy, lol.  On the business side, I continue to put my business name out there and plug away.  I have officially been in "business" for three years.  The first year, was very slow and discouraging.  I refused to let it get me down.  Last year, I made it my business to work even harder in getting my name out there and last year was better than the year before although still slow.  I admit that there have been times that I wanted to just throw my hands up and say forget it, but I'm not a quitter and my family continued to support me and urge me on.  Christmas of last year, I did fairly well and was happy to see that my efforts were paying off.  It's still slow and not where I want my business to be but I will not give up. 

I became a member of Sampler Village where I join a few times each month and send in samples for Traci to box up with other handmade samples from fellow "Villagers".  I also joined Business Among Moms, where I am a member of other mothers who have their own business.  I am a member of several soap making forums where I  have a met a great bunch of fellow soapmakers and continue to learn from them.  I also found several soapmakers on You Tube and figured I would join them in making my own soapmaking videos.  My channel is earthernmagic, and there I enjoy seeing what other soapmakers are doing and getting to know them better.  I have a Facebook business page where I keep my customers and new customers informed of what I am up to and show off the newest batch of soap or product that I am working on at the time.  Then there is my website and my ArtFire Shop.  To be honest, there are times when I feel like I can't keep up but my dream is to one day have a brick and mortar shop as well as to have some shops carry my products.  Soapmaking is a work in progress and like my son, I eat, sleep, dream, think about making soap all the time.  I think that my family and friends may get tired of me talking about soap all the time, but they love when they get free samples to try.  I love what I do, and I won't lie, it is hard work but with each new year, I see more rewards from my hard work.  I recently bagged an order for 125 soaps for a wedding and just yesterday, I received an order for 25 soaps.  It's nice to know that people are beginning to recognize me when they see me as being the "Soap Lady". 

What are some of my best sellers?  Well, my emulsified sugar scrub is one.  I have customers who will purchase 2-3 at a time.  I have had customers come to me and tell me how much better their skin is since they started using my sugar scrubs.  Definitely puts a little pride in my heart to hear them say that.  Another best seller are my smelly jelly room fresheners, there isn't a craft show or event that I am at that I don't usually sell 1-2 cases of them.  These also bring in repeat customers for me.  Then of course there are my soaps that do well.  I am always looking  at how I can improve on the lather, making it more conditioning and moisturizing as well as pretty.  I love making my soaps look like food and have fooled many a person with my cake soaps and cupcake soaps.  They keep telling me to quit making my soap look like food because it makes them hungry, lol.  Oh and lets not forget my stain remover and laundry detergent.  I will swear by my stain stick.  I have had stains on some of my clothes that I have tried everything to get them out and nothing worked.  I formulated my stain stick and used it and with one use, I was able to get many of the stains out that had been on some of clothes for months.

I will continue to work hard to put my name out there and offer quality, skin loving products to my customers.  I love to hear their input and always open to suggestions on what I can change, improve or add to my line.  I want to thank everyone who has stood by and supported me, been a repeat customer as well as my fellow soapmaker friends that I have met on my journey.  They are all a wonderful group of people and glad to have them in my life.  Of course I must also thank the good Lord above for giving me motivation, the talent to do what I do and with Him, all things are possible and I will not give up!!