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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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3 Simple Ways To Avoid Procrastination

After what I hope was a relaxing and fun summer, it’s time for you to get back into full gear and ready for the busy months ahead. In my experience as a business coach, I know that bouncing back from a vacation or a slowdown is rarely easy for business owners. For many, the laundry list of tasks becomes overwhelming and stressful, and the tendency to procrastinate kicks in. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

All That Glycerol

Glycerin has been a part of soapmaking from the beginning, but it was not recognized as a substance separate from soap until the early nineteenth century. Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered that soap is not simply a mixture of alkali and fat, but rather a collection of compounds that result from the reaction of alkali with fat. He found that when fats and oils are turned to soap, they produce a sweet tasting byproduct, which he named glycerin. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Balancing Worklife As A Momprenuer

Women own more than 9.4 million businesses, employ nearly 7.9 million people, and generate $1.5 trillion in sales as of 2015. I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2005. I left the traditional workforce in my late 20’s with the notion that I was going to “reclaim my time.” There was never any doubt that becoming a business owner would be a lot of work, but I had no idea that it would become all-consuming. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tips For Keeping Your Home-Based Business Legal

Keeping up with the many legalities that come with selling handmade products can be a full-time role in its own right —even when your operations are based out of your home. Here are some of the important regulations all handmade business owners should be aware of to ensure that product labels are compliant with the latest regulations, and to protect your business from potential legal action. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nurturing Hospitality Guests With Aromatherapy

If you handcraft products for boutique hotels, quaint B&Bs, or relaxing spas, adding well-chosen essential oils to your creations can have a deeply positive effect on the guest. The emotionally balancing, skin benefiting and other positive properties of essential oils can make their visit (and your products) nurturing and memorable.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Orange You Glad? (The Chemistry of DOS)

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t title this article “Out, Damned Spot”? I have to admit that I lived most of my life blissfully ignorant of the Dreaded Orange Spots. You never see them on grocery store soaps. And my earliest cold-process soaps, made from lard and Red Devil Lye, were pristine bars of bubbly delight. Yes, life was good then, but it was not to last. Once I started really trying to make nice, fancy, luxurious, complicated soaps, I began to notice blemishes. I swore they had not been there when the bars were cut. I swore that I had not seen them on my early soaps. I swore that they didn’t really matter, because the soap lathered well, and surely nobody would notice a few innocuous orange zits. I just plain swore.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Chemistry Of Hair Care

How do shampoo, conditioner and other styling products keep our hair bouncin’ and behavin’? 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Pantone Color Of The Year: It's More Than A Color

Today’s world brings with it many layers of stress--and the added pressure of running a business doesn’t make it any easier. Who couldn’t use a breath of fresh air? Imagine reconnecting to the soothing and welcoming embrace of Mother Nature—simply by adding a few new throws and pillows to your décor.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Simple Ways To Create Outstanding Customer Service

Customer service isn’t just about making sure customers can find items with ease, eliminating long checkout lines, or ensuring that customers are able to reach a live person when they contact your business for help. Though they all contribute to the customer experience, the most important elements of service are about that personal touch your business delivers that makes customers feel seen, understood and valued. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wholesaling to Hospitality

Do you have a successful retail product line? Do customers love your products and seek them out? If you answered yes but aren’t wholesaling to hotels, bed and breakfasts or vacation rentals, you might be leaving money on the table. There are a number of strategies to consider when it comes to wholesaling but the commonality is that wholesale prices are usually about half retail prices.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Successful Selling Via Online Malls

When you visit online malls like Etsy, Artfire or Handmade Stores, you probably have an idea of what you want to buy, but you expect that there will be some browsing involved. Just like brick-and-mortar shopping malls, online marketplaces offer the convenience of multiple vendors carrying similar products.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Great Health And Wellness Programs Aren’t Just For Fortune 500’s. Affordable Ways To Step It Up

Owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, endurance, commitment, passion and smarts. Most of the entrepreneurs I’ve met possess these qualities, yet many of them forget one important thing: these qualities alone won’t get them far in life and business without a healthy mind and body to carry them out. Exercise and proper nutrition are paramount to success.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chemistry 101: Without A Trace

With all the hoopla over fake news this year, I thought I would devote this month's column to “fake” or “false trace.” But to get there, we need to review the how and why of authentic trace. While the cold process dates back to an English patent in 1622, I have found no mention of the trace phenomenon earlier than Adolph Ott's The Art of Manufacturing Soap and Candles (1867). In the chapter on the cold process, he says, “For stirring [the raw soap], a broad paddle of boxwood must be used, having sharp edges at its lower end, rounded at its upper end, so that it may be the more easily handled. The paddling should be continued until a ring drawn with the spatula may be recognized.” Soapmakers have been seeking that mysterious ring ever since. But why?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chemistry 101: Proteins In Our Products

Proteins and amino acids are amongst my favorite ingredients because you get so much for using so little! There’s a reason I have a shelf devoted to hydrolyzed proteins like oat, wheat, soy, rice or quinoa, and amino acids like silk or pisum sativum: When used as low as 2% in your products, they can film form, hydrate and condition your hair and skin, in addition to increasing mildness or reducing irritation in cleansers and shampoos.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In a Creative Slump? 7 Ways to Spark Your Next Great Idea

When inspiration hits, you happily busy yourself developing that new line of sugar scrubs or tea infused soaps--it feels as though nothing can stop you. Ideas seem to come from nowhere to peak your confidence and curiosity.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chemistry of Bath Fizzies and Bath Bombs

What makes the simple combination of citric acid and baking soda in a bath bomb fizz and bubble, releasing all kinds of wonderful fragrances and colors? It’s all about the chemistry, of course – in this case, an acid-base reaction. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Six Things To Know Before You Apply For Your First Business Loan

Want to grow your business? Expand your product offering? Perhaps you simply want to know you have access to financing to protect your cash flow in case of an emergency. A small business loan could be of value in any of these scenarios, but there are some important aspects of small business lending that are important to understand, whether you hope to borrow from a bank, credit union, the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an online lender. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Millennial Machine - 2017 Trends

If you’re like most small businesses, trends are something you likely follow to help keep your finger on the pulse of what is new, exciting and profitable. Millennials, defined as those ages 18-34, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). Like every generation before them, millennials come with their own set of characteristics that make them unique and companies can’t afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Due Processes: Comparing the Chemistry of Commercial Soaps and Handmade Soaps

The world of handcrafted soap is often divided into two subcategories: Melt and Pour (MP) and Cold Process/Hot Process (CP/HP). MP soap is actually already soap (and perhaps some detergent) when the soapmaker buys it. CP/HP soap is made by reacting fats and oils with sodium or potassium hydroxide. While we like to think of handcrafted soap as returning to the pre-industrial methods of an earlier age, the processes used by modern handcrafters are actually quite different from those used historically.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hot Stuff

The cold process is not exactly cold. The oils are generally warmed to something higher than room temperature, and once the lye is added, the raw soap can become quite warm indeed. Of course, the term arises because, unlike the hot process, no additional heat is provided once the oils and lye are mixed. Despite the name, temperature plays a large role in cold-process soap, and we will explore that relationship in this article.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Science of Scent

What in the world do the terms top, middle and base notes mean in relation to creating amazing fragrance blends? 

Friday, March 3, 2017

How To Choose Scents That Sell

Next to packaging, a product’s scent is one of the most important components a consumer considers when forming a positive or negative opinion. When choosing a fragrance for your brand it’s necessary to convey a distinct message, know what you want the consumer to feel and understand what fragrances have already worked for other, similar brands.

Friday, March 3, 2017

How To Hire Good Employees

You’ve heard the saying “Good help is hard to find.” (Unfortunately, you also may have experienced its truth first-hand). Hiring can be a challenge for companies of all sizes, but when you own a small business finding employees who have the right skill set, values and attitude can be a deciding factor in whether your business thrives or struggles. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Ready to Start Selling Your Products? How to Break into Small Retail

While whipping up product batches brings you joy, you need only so much sugar scrub and lip balm lining the shelves of your linen cabinet, so you give it away like any devoted crafter would do.

Friday, March 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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