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Wholesale Supplies Plus Article Library includes handmade business articles, inspirational soap making ideas, and specialty product trends.

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Wine In Cosmetic Formulation

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes. Grapes ferment when yeast consumes naturally occurring sugars in the fruit and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. Variations occur as a result of the complex interactions between the development of the grape, the fermentation reaction, the terroir (environment/geography) and the production process. Wine contains phenolic acids, flavonols, anthocyanins, catechins, glutathione, resveratrol and proanthocyanidins.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Should You Start A Subscription Business?

Subscription-based businesses like Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, StitchFix and HelloFresh, have all proven that there’s consumer demand for having products delivered directly to their doorsteps each week or month. 

Although a recurring stream of prepaid orders can reduce some of the uncertainty that comes with running a small business, there may be more complexity to running a subscription-based business than meets the eye. Here’s a look at the pros and cons that subscription models entail, to help you consider if it’s the right approach for your business.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

5 Success-Blocking Distractions & How to Manage Them

What a creative mind you have! Most see creativity as a blessing--and it is. What non-creatives don’t know is that your mind is always spinning: seeking new opportunities, hunting for novel ideas, problem-solving, and let’s not forget the concerns and worries that are present all too often.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Salts Are Not The Same

Salts are compounds that bring together positively charged metals, like calcium or magnesium, and negatively charged non-metals, like fluorine or bromine. While table salt (sodium chloride) is the one we encounter most often, there are so many other interesting ones, like potassium chloride, found in “half salt” products; sodium nitrate, used to preserve deli meats; and calcium chloride, a road de-icer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Alcoholic Synonymous

Can you make soap from (fill in the blank)? Soapmakers love the challenge of making soap from exotic fats and oils, but they can also change up the “water portion” used to make their lye, substituting milk, tea, coffee, floral water or any other aqueous concoction capable of dissolving sodium or potassium hydroxide. This month, we look at alcoholic beverages.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Understanding The Vanillin Villain

You know the feeling. You’ve created something beautiful - an amazing cupcake scented bath bomb topped off with foaming butter cream icing or a white chocolate raspberry scented body lotion with just a titch of mica for shimmer - that morphs from a lovely cream color to a shade of beige or brown in a few days. What happened? Vanilla happened! As much as we love them, fragrances containing vanilla can discolour our products. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vanilla Browning in Cold Process Soap

Brown happens. Leaves turn brown in the fall. Grass turns brown when it's dry. Bite into an apple; the white flesh turns brown over the course of half an hour. Brown is the natural color of vegetable matter if you just wait long enough, and vanilla is no exception. Vanilla beans are harvested while they are green and odorless. The scent of vanilla comes when they are dried in the sun, where they turn dark brown. The beans are steeped in alcohol, resulting in the familiar brown vanilla extract.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ramp Up To The Holidays

For crafters and small businesses alike, one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year is the holiday season, which stretches from October to the end of December. With a bit of advanced planning and preparation, both small and large volume sellers gain the ability to make the most of the holiday sales season. Numerous sources indicate that for many small, retail businesses, 20% of their annual sales will occur in the 4th quarter. With proper preparation, you can make your busy season run smoothly and save yourself a tremendous amount of stress.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

7 Important Factors to Consider Before Pricing Your Handmade Products

How are your sales going this year? Most small business owners are able to identify their basic sales numbers, but do you know what your net profit is so far this year?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

5 Ways To Align Your Handmade Business With Halloween

The timing and popularity among a breadth of customers makes Halloween a prime opportunity for handmade businesses. Not only does the average person in the United States spend about $75 on Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation; Practical eCommerce reports that nearly a quarter of shoppers start their holiday shopping during the spooky season. In fact, consumers in the United States spent more than $6 billion last year, just to get in the Halloween spirit!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Proper Labeling Practices: Comedogenic Ratings

When an oil clogs the pores and possibly causes acne it is deemed to be "comedogenic".  Since natural oils are commonly used to formulate face and body products we thought a list of comedogenic ratings would be helpful for you!

These ratings are based on data from Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.  You can use them to develop your product's marketing materials.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fatty Acids and Rancidity

Our natural oils are composed of triglycerides, three fatty acids connected by a glycerin backbone. A fatty acid can be saturated, meaning it has no double bonds between carbon atoms in the chain; unsaturated, with one double bond; or polyunsaturated, with two or more double bonds. Rancidity occurs when these double bonds are broken and newer, smellier compounds are created.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Saffron In Skincare

Saffron is a culinary spice derived from the stigma of the flower of Crocus sativus ("saffron crocus"). The saffron crocus plant grows up to 8–12" and bears up to four flowers. Each flower displays three bright crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. These stigmas, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and coloring agent in culinary products.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

First Impressions Matter: Get Your Brand in Order Before the Holiday Rush

The pre-holiday season is your chance to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your brand, so you can make a positive and lasting first impression that will wow holiday customers. Here are three critical questions to evaluate your brand before the holiday rush begins. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Crystal Power

Last month we explored the phenomenon called “soda ash,” a layer of sodium carbonate that forms on the surface of raw soap whenever unreacted sodium hydroxide comes into contact with carbon dioxide in the air. The result is a layer of white powder that can be easily washed off with water, and easily prevented by covering raw soap with plastic film. But occasionally soapmakers come to me with a “soda ash” problem that does not wash off with water, and which forms despite covering the soap. While it appears similar to soda ash, this white layer is simply soap that is lighter in color than the soap surrounding it. Figure 1 shows white soap crystals that have formed in a bar of palm oil soap colored with maroon oxide. Figure 2 shows a cross section. Unlike soda ash, these crystals are not just a surface feature—they appear on the interior as well, and they do not wash off with water.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tips and Tricks to Stay Organized and Sane During the Busy Season

Do the busy fall/winter seasons sneak up on you year-after-year? It may be simply due to a little lack of preparation on your part. 

Ramp up now by getting organized, making decisions and doing a little research. From finding happy solutions for the demands of family, to hiring seasonal help, there are many things you can do now to make this season productive, organized and profitable. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Science of 'SPF'

What is sun protection factor (SPF)? It’s a measure of how well a sunscreen can block ultraviolet B or UVB rays from damaging your skin. The sun emits all kinds of radiation, but the ones that worry us the most are the ultraviolet A and B rays. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into our skin to cause all the physical signs of photo-aging, like wrinkling and sagging skin. UVA rays increase the damage UVB rays can cause, and may also be a cause of skin cancer. When choosing a sun protecting product, we definitely want to look for a broad spectrum, multi-spectrum or full coverage product that contains both chemical and physical sunscreens.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chemistry 101: Ashes To Ashes

Handcrafted soapmakers sometimes encounter a layer of white crystals that appears on the surface of soap, a phenomenon they call “soda ash.” One might imagine that the term “ash” describes the ashy appearance of this layer, but it actually goes back to the dawn of industrial chemistry. Long before there were giant multinational corporations or huge manufacturing complexes, alkaline materials (lyes) were produced in the service of three commodities: glass, paper, and soap.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Simple Secrets: Creating the 'In The Pot Swirl' Technique

The Goal: 

The 'In The Pot Swirl' is one of the easiest swirls to accomplish, and helps bring your soap making bragging rights from hobbyist to seasoned crafter. Before swirling, make sure you are using a tried and trusted cold process soap recipe with important consideration on your fragrance. You'll want a slow moving fragrance and colors that complement the scent. If you haven't swirled before, be warned that it easily becomes an addiction, and you'll soon realize why so many soap makers consider swirling soap one of their favorite pastimes!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How To Attract The Best Millennial Employees

Planning to hire additional help to support your business at summer festivals, farmer’s markets or during the holiday season? Consider hiring millennials (the portion of the population that’s currently between the ages of 18 to 34). Not only do they account for one out of every three workers in the United States, according to Pew Research Center, they’ve represented the largest segment of the working population since 2015.

Here are a few ways to attract the cream of the millennial crop to your business and keep them inspired, productive and engaged employees.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Good Manufacturing Practices: FDA Guidelines Part I

Rigorous adherence to good manufacturing practice minimizes the risk of adulteration or misbranding of cosmetics. The following cosmetic establishment instructions, excerpted from FDA's Inspection Operations Manual, may serve as guidelines for effective self-inspection. A good inspection score means that an establishment follows good manufacturing practice.  The FDA has a checklist of 10 guidelines they use for inspection.  This article addresses guidelines 1 and 2. Use this month to focus on these two guidelines.  Next month we will address Raw Materials and Lab Controls.

Friday, August 5, 2016

It’s Becoming the World’s Most Powerful Selling Tool. Are You Cashing In With Instagram?

You may think of it as sheer entertainment, but with 500 million dedicated users, Instagram is one of the world's largest mobile ads platforms. Social-savvy businesses, large and small, jumped into this community of visual storytellers because they saw the potential to grow their fan base and increase sales conversions.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Good Manufacturing Practices: Adverse Reporting Form

Implementing Good Manufacturing Practices in your business is an important part of growing a sustainable company.  As part of a quality program you will want to develop a system for recording adverse event reports.  If you have nothing to report it is recommended that you close the year with a single line item that states "No adverse event reports received in the year of xxx."  For received adverse events we recommend this tracking form: www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/calculators/adversereportingform.xlsx

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cucumber For Skincare

Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same botanical family as melons (including watermelon and cantaloupe) and squashes (including summer squash, winter squash, zucchini and pumpkin). Cucumber is very high in water content and very low in calories, making it a popular staple at health clubs and spas. It is a creeping vine that bears cylindrical fruits that are used as culinary vegetables. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as pepoes, a type of botanical berry. Much like tomatoes and squash they are often also perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. Even though the long, dark green, smooth-skinned garden cucumbers are familiar vegetables in the produce sections of most grocery markets, cucumbers actually come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. You can find white, yellow, and even orange-colored cucumbers, and they may be short, slightly oval, or round in shape. Their skins can be smooth and thin, or thick and rough. The human olfactory response to cucumbers seems to vary. Most people report a mild, almost watery flavor or a light melon taste, while others sense a bitter taste with perfume qualities, attributable to the chemical compound, cucurbitacin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Proper Labeling Guidelines

A product is considered “mis-branded” if the Name and Place of Business are not properly stated on the product label. When selling a "private label" product the "distributor" is listed. These rules apply to both full size and sample products.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pinterest Woes + Facemask Fails

You may have seen pictures on Pinterest or Facebook of a turmeric face mask fail that turned someone’s skin orange. Why’d that happen? We can thank the tetraterpenoids in turmeric called carotenoids, specifically xanthophyll and carotene, for the color. We see these compounds in bright and orange yellow oils like rosehip, carrot tissue, and sea buckthorn. They’re pre-cursors to Vitamin A, which can help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and behave as anti-oxidants, scavenging free radicals and preventing lipid peroxidation. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chemistry 101: Glycerin Rivers

In a previous column I discussed the amazing work of Clara Lindberg (AuntieClaras.com) using the partial gel effect for artistic purposes. This month features her pioneering work exploring the phenomenon of Glycerin Rivers, a crackling of soap texture seen by some as an annoying problem and by others as an exotic feature. Clara’s experiments have gone a long way toward finding the conditions under which rivers appear, but many interesting questions remain unanswered. This article reports my progress on these issues, working with my students, Myshak Abdi, Adam Christenson, and John Sheffield.

Monday, July 11, 2016

6 Ways to Use Summer as a Business Strategy

You don’t have to be in a seasonal business to leverage summer as a business strategy. Here are six simple ways to use summer to build morale, improve sales, and enjoy life as a small business owner.
Banish indoor meetings. Now that we live in a mobile world, there’s no reason to hold an indoor meeting in the summer. Aside from the fact that walking meetings can help you reach your recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day under the Department of Health & Human Services guidelines, researchers have foundthat brief exposure to sunlight can provide enough Vitamin D to ease depression, and reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Book Club: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

This book is a self-wisdom book that helps guide the reader to a life of personal freedom and happiness through individual growth and stress management.
Debbie May’s Favorite Quote from this Book:
“You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.”

Thursday, July 7, 2016

7 Sizzling Summer Activities to Heat up Your Business

Many micro business owners choose to slow their business activity down during the summer months. For crafters who busy themselves with summer fairs and farmer’s markets, the weekends stay hopping, but those lazy-day summer temptations can still set in during the week. If you're building a lifestyle business, or simply striving to bring extra income into the household, a lengthy seasonal break probably fits right into your plan. For business owners who wish to expand, it's just not realistic.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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