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

280 Results

How You Can Use Contests To Build Your Customer Base

Social media and online marketing can both be inexpensive opportunities to connect with existing customers and new audiences, but it’s become increasingly difficult to cut through the barrage of messages consumers are now exposed to in a day. That’s part of the reason contests have become such a powerful (and popular) tactic among small business marketers. 
 
Here are a few simple tips to help guide and inspire the development of your first contest. 


Friday, January 27, 2017





Simple Secrets: Testing Soap's pH Level

You've researched the safety of lye, tackled the task of using a soap calculator and made what appears to be a successful batch of CP soap...but is it successful? Testing the soap's pH is a critical part of soap making to ensure your soap is safe and within an acceptable pH range. Soap can range from a pH of 7 to 10 with most soap being 9 to 10. Soaps greater than 10 are considered lye-heavy and can irritate or burn the skin. Saponification, the chemical process in which lye and oils turn into soap, usually takes between 24-48 hours. After this time, the pH can be tested and it should be within the soap range of 7 to 10. Note that the pH can lower further during the 4-6 weeks of curing. Here are three ways to test a soap's pH.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017





5 Critical Steps To Launching A Successful Brand In 2017

Some call it superstition, some say it provides powerful motivation. Whatever your thoughts, ringing in a New Year has its way of lighting a fire under those of us with a dream. This is an especially meaningful time for entrepreneurs, or aspiring entrepreneurs, to strategize a strong foundation upon which to build those dreams. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017





Simple Secrets: Gelling CP Soap

What Is Gelled Soap?
Most of us learn about gelling the first time we experience a partial gel. A partial gel happens when the inside of your soap heats up enough to become gelatinous and translucent while the outside retains a cooler temperature. The resulting soap has a circle throughout it where the inside circle is brighter and the outside edges are muted. The problem is purely aesthetic. Generally, soap makers try to avoid partial gel by either gelling their soap completely or preventing the soap from gelling at all. In this column, we will discuss three ways you can force gel phase.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017





Simple Secrets: Shrink Wrapping Products

Why Shrink-wrap?
Many of us spend countless hours designing and tweaking our recipes for the highest quality product, but are you putting time into packaging as well? Many customers are ignorant to the amount of time put into soap and cosmetic making, but what customers do notice is your product packaging. Customers have a natural knack for gravitating towards pretty things, which include pretty packaging as well as your pretty soaps! Shrink-wrapping adds an element of professionalism to handmade products, and customers are more likely to trust your brand. In this column, we will discuss tips and tricks for shrink-wrapping commonly made products to elevate your homemade product to a handmade commercial commodity.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017





The Chemistry of Color Morphing

It’s unbelievably frustrating to create a brightly colored handmade soap only to see the color morphing over time into something completely different, something dull or muted and boring. What causes these changes? 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017





Carpe Saponem II

Last month we explored seizing, a phenomenon in which an oil/lye mixture solidifies so quickly after mixing that it is too thick to transfer easily from the mixing pot to the molds. The root cause of seizing is the presence of a surfactant (like soap), which hastens the conversion of an unstable emulsion (pre-trace) to a stable colloid (post-trace). Normally, lye reacts slowly with oil, soap forms gradually, and the mixture becomes thicker as the emulsion becomes a colloid. Rancid oil, however, may contain “free” fatty acid (i.e. not bound to glycerol), which reacts almost instantly with lye to form soap, cutting the time short available for crafting and pouring. Last month's article gave directions for detecting free fatty acid in oil.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017





Simple Secrets: Using Plastic Molds for CP Soap

Many soap makers love plastic molds for their beautifully detailed designs and their economical price, but they can be tricky to use with cold process soap. Plastic molds come in a variety of designs that include molds for practically every holiday or event and molds that complement a wide variety of colors, fragrances and other soap making ingredients. Some of our favorite Milky Way® molds for this issue of Handmade include the Aloe Vera Soap Mold, Bee and Honeycomb Soap Mold, Lavender Guest Soap Mold and the Oatmeal Rounded Soap Mold. We have found three tricks that make for consistently molded soap bars in plastic molds. 

Pictured: Cold process soap with Crafter's Choice® Energy Fragrance Oil and Safflower Powder. Molded with Milky Way™ Henna Teardrop Soap Mold (MW 258)


Friday, January 6, 2017





Starting 2017 With A Positive Attitude

A new year marks an opportunity to take note of which aspects of your business worked in your favor and which you may need to adjust—including your own perspective and attitude. Here are a few tips to help you make the lens through which you view the world a little more positive—both for the good of your business, and your enjoyment as an entrepreneur.


Friday, January 6, 2017





How to Set the Pace for Higher Profits in 2017

Many people view the month of January as an opportunity for a fresh start. I see it as a fork in the road: we can choose to stay on our existing path, or we may choose to pave a path to change. Either way, there’s something psychologically powerful about the first month of a new year—it sets the pace for the next eleven months of our lives.


Friday, January 6, 2017





Carpe Saponem

This month we explore seizing, a phenomenon in which an oil/lye mixture solidifies so quickly after mixing that it is too thick to transfer easily from the mixing pot to the molds. While there is nothing functionally wrong with the resulting soap, seizing leaves little time for artistic techniques like layering and swirling, and in a large batch there may be insufficient time to fill the last molds before the soap hardens completely. Fortunately, the cause of seizing is easily understood, and simple tests can identify the culprits.


Friday, January 6, 2017





All About Natural

There’s no definition for the word “natural” – it can be applied to any cosmetics – but there are some ingredients homecrafters avoid when it comes to making plant based products. 


Friday, January 6, 2017





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



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