14.12.10

Bye-Bye Dry Skin, Hello Shea Butter: Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Dry Skin


Suffering from dry skin this winter? Here are my tips for bringing saying bye-bye to dry skin! Make sure you see below for two-day sale on our bestselling shea butters.

Back Porch Soap Company's "Top 10 Ways To Remedy Dry Skin"
  1. Skip the drying soaps and shampoos. Don't use any products that have sulfates in them. It is an irritant and drying agent that literally strips your skin of its precious oils. While you're at it, throw out any products with parabens or dyes. Remember to choose handmade soaps with high-quality ingredients.

  2. Choose your moisturizer wisely. Our 100% shea butter (the pulp from Africa's karite trees) coats and protects the skin and is my first recommendation for those of you with a tendency toward super dry skin or even excema and psoriasis. Keep your ingredients simple. Toss any moisturizers that contain alcohol, sulfates or parabens.

  3. Nix the long, hot shower. I know, it feels good. Especially on a cold day. But you are robbing your skin of moisture and oils. So cut it short - 5 minutes is plenty - and use warm water instead.

  4. Take your Omega 3 EPA/DPA Fish Oils. In capsules, liquid, whatever it takes. Not only will it help your skin, your ligaments and joints are going to love it. Take two grams of fish oil daily. Also, flaxseed oil is a wonderful supplement for keeping skin healthy and glowing. Check with your M.D.

  5. Drink plenty of water. Yes, it's true and you've heard it all before. Drink eight to 10 8 oz. glasses throughout the day. Your skin is the largest organ and needs to flush the toxins out daily.

  6. Turn on the humidifier. Home heating takes the moisture out of the air during the winter months. A $30 humidifier will aid your skin and sinuses. Most come with an indicator. Try to keep it at 35%.

  7. Moisturize after your shower. This is the best time, since your pores are open and ready for protection.

  8. Take care of hands and feet. Remember to moisturize them as well. I recommend soaking your feet for a bit at night, then massaging them with shea butter and finishing off with a pair of cotton socks. You'll wake up with super soft feet.

  9. Exfoliate twice a week with an inexpensive loofa or bristle brush. It aids circulation (start from the outer limbs and work toward your heart) and removes the surface layer of dead cells.

  10. Cut down coffee consumption. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it removes water from the body. A good rule of thumb is for every cup of coffee you drink, tack on another 8 oz. of water in addition to the 8 glasses you should be drinking daily.
Check out our two-day sale on 100% shea butter and shea butter body creams. Supplies are limited. Sale runs until 12/16/2010.

6.12.10

Last Day of Holiday Baking Recipes: Yummy Greek Butter Cookies


This is the fifth and final post in a series I called Five Days of Holiday Baking. I'm sharing my favorite holiday baking recipes and hope you've enjoyed what I've posted so far. For my last recipe, I'm sharing delicious Greek Butter Cookies - also known as Kourabiethes. It comes from a dear Greek friend of mine who lives in New Hampshire. Her mom graciously shared it with me years ago when I spent one Christmas at their house during my college days. A Greek recipe is an appropriate celebration, as I just put the finishing touches on soapmaking classes and natural skincare classes in Greece for April 2011! Hope you'll check the classes out and think about joining me for a very special trip.

Greek Butter Cookies (Kourabiethes)
Yields approx. 4 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1/3 cup confectioner's sugar

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

whole cloves (optional)


Cream butter and confectioner's sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add flour and blend well. Chill 3-4 hours or overnight. Shape into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly to about 1/4". Insert whole clove (optional - but delish!) in center of each cookie.


Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Cookies are done when there is a bit of golden color around the edges.
Sift additional confectioner's sugar over warm cookies.

Hope you enjoyed my Five Days of Holiday Baking! Now I'm off to make all of these recipes for friends and family.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

~Marla

2.12.10

Day Four of Holiday Baking: Making Fudge is Kind of Like Making Soap

This is the fourth post of five in a series I'm calling Five Days of Holiday Baking. I'm taking a break from posting about soap making classes and instead sharing my favorite holiday dessert recipes. You'll love both of the fudge recipes I'm posting. They are both incredibly delicious: one is my personal favorite (super easy and versatile) and the other is my Mom's long-standing favorite that her mom (Grandma June) made for countless decades.

My fudge recipe (and my Mom's too) is a bit like make cold process soap. You can pick your additives (nuts, mini marshmallows, dried fruit, etc.) and change around the base recipe as much as you'd like. Unlike soapmaking, no need to run it through the lye calculator!
Here's a trick - try making two recipe of fudge, for example one butterscotch and one chocolate, then pour simultaneously into your pan (reminding you of soap yet?) and gently swirl (although it will be quite thick at this point.

Marla's Super Easy Fudge Recipe


3 cups baking chips (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, or even mix them)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup "additives" (nuts, mini marshmallows, dried cranberries, M&Ms, etc.)


Directions:
Line a 8 x8 pan with foil and butter it lightly. Melt chips, salt and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously. When chips are melted, remove from heat and add vanilla and any additives. Stir quickly to incorporate them well. The fudge will begin to thicken as starts to cool. Pour into foil-lined pan.

Let cool at room temperature for one to two hours. Cut immediately into squares and wrap in foil. Store in air-tight containers.


Mom's Favorite Fudge (Makes 3 lbs.)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips (or peanut butter/white choc./butterscotch!)
1 7 oz. jar marshmellow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (or other additives!)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, margarine, and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan, bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium hear or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Add marshmallow creme, nuts, and vanilla, beat until well blended. Pour into greased 13x9 pan.
Cool at room temperature. Cut and wrap in foil.
Hope you are enjoying the recipes! Feel free to leave a comment with your favorites!

1.12.10

Day Three of Holiday Baking: Bet-You-Can't-Have-Just-One Creamy Caramels


Today is day three of Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes. Yesterday I shared Rose Levy Beranbaum's Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee recipe. I'm sharing a wonderful and easy recipe for Creamy Caramels that I know you will love. These homemade caramels are highly addictive. Bet you can't have just one!

Creamy Caramels

1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand.

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil. Butter the foil and set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a saucepan. bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Boil slowly for four minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir constantly, and cook until candy thermometer reads 238 degrees F (soft ball stage).

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool. Remove from pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper and twist ends.

Makes about 60-70 pieces.

30.11.10

Day Two of Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes: Mouth-watering Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee

Today is day two of Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes. Yesterday I shared my Top Secret Holiday Cookie recipe. Fasten your seatbelts, because today's favorite comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum. I "discovered" Rose back in the 1990s when this recipe was featured in The Boston Globe Magazine. At first I was a bit overwhelmed just glancing at the recipe - I was comfortable with baking, but had never made English toffee. If this recipe looks intimidating to you, just try it once. Compared to soap recipes, it really is a breeze!

Why is this recipe in my Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes? Well it isn't technically baking, but this toffee makes a fabulous addition to holiday treats. Your friends and family will be impressed - this toffee looks and tastes uber gourmet. The brown sugar gives a beautiful mahogany color to the toffee and the baking soda ensures that it is brittle and not sticky.

Pick a cold, dry day and make sure you have a candy thermometer on hand.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee

(Makes about 1 lb. or 10, 5 inch pieces)
2 cups blanched, sliced almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 oz. semisweet chocolate

Adjust the oven racks so they divide the oven into thirds. Set oven at 350 degrees F.

Have on hand a nonstick or buttered cookie sheet and a candy thermometer.

Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and bake them, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Let cool completely.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the machine in on-off motions until the almonds aer finely chopped but not powdery.
Sprinkle half the nuts over a 7 x 10 inch area on the cookie sheet. Set it near the burners; you'll need to grab it quickly. Have the vanilla and baking soda nearby as well.

In a heavy-based saucepan, preferably nonstick, combine the brown sugar, water and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constatly, until the mixture reaches 285 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This is the soft crack stage (a little of the mixture dropped into a bowl of ice water will separate into threads that are hard but not brittle.)

Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla and baking soda. Pour the toffee mixture carefully and evenly onto the nuts, keeping within the 7 x 10 rectangle.

Working quickly, scatter the chocolate onto the toffee. Press the chocolate lightly with your fingertips so it starts melting.

Let it sit for five minutes. The chocolate will be soft enough to spread with a metal spatula or butter knife. Make an even layer over the surface of the toffee. Dust the chocolate with the remaining almonds. Leave the toffee to cool completely, then break it into irregular pieces. You can store the toffee in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

29.11.10

Five Days of Holiday Baking Recipes: First Up, My Top Secret Cookies..."Hey, Martha, Check These Out!"


I've decided to take a few days off from writing about soap making classes and instead share with you some of my favorite holiday recipes. Family and close friends know that I'm an avid baker, but I rarely have time to indulge in whipping up culinary delights - now it's whipping up cosmetic formulations. But in the early 1990s I dreamed of continuing my education at Johnson & Wales culinary school in Rhode Island. My dream was to start a biscotti baking company. I was obsessed with biscotti back then. But thankfully a few years later I made a solitary batch of soap that would forever change my life....in a remarkable way. I digress.

My gift to you this holiday season are five days of recipes - not just any recipes but ones that have become an annual tradition for my daughter (now 16) and me. I first started making these in 1990, just four years before she was born.
Each year I take photos of us baking together. And I cherish these recipes I'm about to share.

Why this Top Secret Holiday Cookies Recipe? First, I've never received so many compliments and rave reviews on a cookie recipe in my life. Honestly. You'll see. Second, they store in an airtight container for up to a month (which is important if you are shipping them to friends and family overseas). They also freeze well. Lastly, a recipe doesn't get much easier than this.

My hope is that these recipes will be near and dear to your heart. Special thanks to Grandma June and Grandma Zinetta Smith, who both passed along their love for baking to me. Thank you for the childhood memories of watching in awe as you baked with joy and love. I will never forget those majical moments. And to you, dear readers, remember to add an extra pinch of joy and love to all your recipes.

Enjoy!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sweetest Holiday Wishes,
Marla Bosworth


Top Secret Holiday Cookies Recipe

by Marla Bosworth


Dough Ingredients


1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

3 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Dash of love
Dash of joy

Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup butter

1 lb. confectionery sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 Tbsp. milk

Sprinkling of peace and kindness

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.
In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Alternately add half the dry ingredients, then half the sour cream. Repeat until dry ingredients and sour cream are incorporated into the mix. Place dough in plastic wrap or plastic bag and refrigerate for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

Roll dough onto floured board until 1/4 inch thick. Roll it thinner than most cookies, as it will rise slightly during baking. Using your favorite cookie cutters, work your magic by using up all the dough!


Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (I like the way they turn out this way). Bake 4-6 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, as they get dark around the edges easily. Cool and frost.


Frosting Instructions: Place softened (not melted) butter in bowl. Add confectionery sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth. Store unused frosting in airtight container. Although it decorates smoothly, it will harden within a few hours.


Decorating Tips: My daughter likes to divide the frosting into at least five bowls and color each one with food coloring. We use a variety of sprinkles (jimmies for you New Englanders), colored sugar, and candies.

(Want to reprint? Please email marla@backporchsoap.com.)

25.11.10

The Chemistry of Soap Making Class at Wellesley College


I recently taught a soap making class at Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA) on "The Chemistry of Soap Making" for Professor Didem Vardar-Ulu, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Her class is made up mostly of juniors and seniors.


The Science Center (pictured above) at Wellesley is quite impressive. It stands out on campus as a massive structure. For a unique look at inside it, visit Wellesley's website.

We began Professor Vardar-Ulu's class with an overview of organic chemistry and how it pertains to soap making and how to choose plant oils for various skin types before students made their own batch of soap from start to finish. We also discussed how to choose fatty acids for soapmaking. See our previous blog post on the properties of fatty acids (lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, ricinoleic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic).


Above, students lower their lye water temperatures. Once in the desired temperature range, they combine the lye water with the melted oils.


Success! Students transfer their soap into molds for easy transport home. Once soaps cure, students will test their moisturizing effects on the skin.

Want to try the Totally Groovy Hemp and Almond Soap we made in class?

Yields: 2 lbs.
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 27%
Water Discount: 38%
Saturated: Unsaturated Ratio: 49:51


2.875 oz. (81.497 grams) Lye
7.6 oz. Water
6 oz. Coconut oil
6 oz. Palm oil
3 oz. Sweet almond oil
2 oz. Hempseed oil
0.625-1.2 oz. fragrance (students used a rosemary/peppermint essential oil blend)

Please use necessary safety procedures when making cold process soap. Wear protective eyewear (goggles), mask and gloves. No children, pregnant women, nor animals around. Remember to add the lye to water. Then the lye water to oils.
Want to learn how to make soap? Check out our soap making DVDs or come join us for a cold process soapmaking class in Boston or New York City.

(Marla is contributing writer for The Saponifier Magazine, a moderator on Indie Beauty Network, and a speaker at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference in 2009, 2010 and is scheduled to speak again in 2011 in Miami. She teaches natural skincare and business classes throughout the U.S. and overseas. She is available to teach intensive workshops and can be reached at marla@backporchsoap.com.)
Ideal for those looking for Maine Soap Making Classes, New Hampshire Soap Making Classes, Vermont Soap Making Classes, Rhode Island Soap Making Classes, Connecticut Soap Making Classes, New York Soap Making Classes, New York City Soap Making Classes

15.11.10

Cold Process Soap Making Class Yields 24 Litsea and Rosemary Mint Loaves!

This weekend's cold process soap class marked the 29th class I've taught in less than three months. It's been a whirlwind last few months - from teaching a Beauty Business Bootcamp in San Francisco, to New York City Bath & Body University and then back in the Boston area for more classes.

Typical of our classes, students this weekend came from all over the U.S., as well as from different walks of life and professions. But over and over they all have at least one thing in common: the desire to learn to make natural skincare products.


Above are the 24 loaves, getting packed up and heading home with students to be given as gifts to family and friends around the world (or kept for themselves!). We scented the 20 lb. batch of Groovy Hemp Soap with Litsea (May Chang) and Patchouli essential oils. The Moisturizing Cocoa Butter Soap recipe was scented with Rosemary and Peppermint essential oils.

Check out our calendar for upcoming Boston Soap Making Classes and New York City Soap Making Classes, as well as Natural Skincare Business Consultations. If you would rather learn from home, you can always purchase our DVDs and class handouts.

19.10.10

October Cold Process Soap Making Graduates at Back Porch Soap Company!

This month 11 energetic students graduated from our cold process soap making class in our Boston area studio. They learned to whip up two, 20 lb. batches of soaps using organic oils and butters.


Here, one of the students is blending in the essential oils we chose for class: lavender, rosemary and patchouli.



Talk about teamwork! It's no easy feat transferring 40 lbs. of soap into 2 lb. loaf molds, but they made it look easy.

Want to learn to make cold process soap? Join us for our monthly soap making and natural skincare classes in the Boston area (Duxbury, MA) or quarterly classes in New York City. Want to host our natural skincare classes in your city? Email us for more information.

Our studio is located 30 minutes from Boston, and only 45 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island. With beautiful Duxbury Beach, Cape Cod and Plymouth (Plymouth Rock and Plimoth Plantation) only minutes away, this is a perfect family destination! Your family will have plenty to enjoy in the area while you take soap making class or two.

About Your Instructor
My name is Marla Bosworth, and I'm the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. I've been making soaps and teaching soapmaking for 12 years. My wholesale clients include Whole Foods and upscale boutiques around the world. I teach classes because I love sharing my passion for soap making, natural skincare products, and entrepreneurship.

My credentials include a B.A. in English/Journalism from the University of New Hampshire in 1987. I have an extensive background in marketing, market research and manufacturer consulting as a Market Research Analyst for the company now known as Forrester Research. Clients included Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Xerox and IBM to name a few.

My true calling is creating beautiful soap luxuries and inspiring other entrepreneurs how to do the same.

(Marla is a contributing author for The Saponifier Magazine, a moderator on Indie Beauty Network, and a speaker at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference in 2009, 2010 and is scheduled to speak at the 2011 conference in Miami, FL. She teaches natural skincare and business classes throughout the U.S. and Europe.)

Ideal for those looking for Maine Soap Making Classes, New Hampshire Soap Making Classes, Vermont Soap Making Classes, Rhode Island Soap Making Classes, Connecticut Soap Making Classes, New York Soap Making Classes, New York City Soap Making Classes

12.9.10

How to Choose Oils & Butters for Soap Making

"How do I choose oils and butters for soap making?" is one of the most frequent questions I hear from want-to-be soapmakers. Whether you are making natural skincare products, cosmetics, or cold process soap, you'll want to choose liquid oils as well as solid oils and butters based on their respective properties. What will the oils you choose bring to your recipe and to your customer's skin? What I emphasize in my soap making classes and private natural skincare consulting is that the more you know about the oils you are using, the more results your products will offer.

Most plant oils are available in organic and non-organic. In addition, there are refined, bleach and deodorized (RBD) solid oils and butters. I personally am not a fan of RBD oils and butters as the processes (high heat, bleaching, etc.) often strip the natural ingredients of their valuable properties. In addition, some of the oil processors use chemical solvents to extract all the oils for higher yield for their company.

Fatty acids play an important part in cold process soap making. Let's take a look at some of the fatty acids and the properties they lend:

Lauric Acid: Creates a hard bar, is cleansing, and has a light and fluffy lather
Linoleic Acid: Moisturizing/Conditioning
Myristic Acid: Creates a hard bar, is cleansing, and has a light and fluffy lather
Oleic Acid: Moisturizing/Conditioning
Palmitic Acid: Creates a hard bar and a stable lather
Ricinoleic Acid: Conditioning/Moisturizing, and has a fluffy, stable lather
Stearic Acid: Creates a hard bar and has a stable lather

One of the reasons I like the lye calculator over at Soap Calc is the valuable information it gives on the fatty acids in the oils/butters you choose for your recipes.

If you're looking for the quick low-down on which oils I recommend for soapmaking, then here is my list. It's hard to narrow down to these, but here are my top five tried-and-true choices for soapmaking oils and butters:

Coconut Oil: Creates a hard soap with a fluffy lather. It boasts vitamin E, K and minerals such as iron. Use up to 30% in recipes.

Palm Oil: Creates a hard bar with a creamy lather and contains antioxidants and vitamin E. Use up to 30% in recipes. If you are looking to create a sustainable product, you may wish to eliminate palm or find a sustainable palm resource. (There is valid concern about the palm oil farming in Malaysia and the affect it has on the environment and living beings.) I have been working on a palm-free soap recipe for several months.

Olive Oil (Grade A or Extra Virgin): Besides being moisturizing, olive oil contains vitamin E, A, betacarotene and vitamin K, cholorophyll, phenols, oleocanthal and squalane. Use as much as you'd like in soap recipes, just know that if you use more than 30 percent your soap will be softer and take longer to cure. Too much olive oil (40 percent or more) creates a bit of a slimy lather, in my opinion.

Soybean Oil: Mild, moisturizing and creates a low, creamy lather. Use at 20 percent or less. I suggest that you purchase only non-genetically modified (GMO) soybean oil. (It is a sustainable oil produced in the U.S. and by purchasing it you are supporting American farmers.)

Shea Butter: Creates a moisturizing, soothing, nourishing soap that softens skin. Wonderful for damaged skin and full of Vitamin E. Use at 15 percent or less.

There are many other wonderful oils and butters from which to choose. In a recent poll on our Back Porch Soap Co. Facebook Fan Page, many soapmakers chimed in their favorites ranging from sweet almond oil to mango butter.

If you're looking for a reliable supplier for soap making oils and butters, Jedwards (Quincy, MA) is a family-owned business located just outside of Boston. For a minimum $100 order, you can pick up your order and save on shipping. Just call a day or two ahead and prepay, as they do not have a showroom at this time. One of the reasons I purchase all my oils and butters from them (besides offering high-quality ingredients and being able to pick up my order), is that their products are extremely consistent from order to order.

Which butters and oils do you use for soap making?

10.9.10

Newbury Street Soap Tour in Boston



If you're a New England soapmaker and/or bath and body company owner, you're invited to join the New England Soapmaker's Meetup Group on Friday, September 17 starting at 4 p.m. for a Soap Tour of Boston's Newbury Street.

I'll take you to some of my favorite places on Newbury Street: Lush, Sabon, and Fresh, just to name a few. We'll take a look at bath and body products up and down one of the trendiest streets in Boston. While there, besides smelling soaps and trying creams and lotions galore, we'll check out packaging ideas, trends, displays, etc. We are planning to grab dinner and drinks afterward.


We'll start at 4 p.m. outside of Sabon, located at 129 Newbury Street (the east end of Newbury Street closest to Boston Common).


If you plan to join us, please RSVP on our New England Soap Makers Meetup page. There is no cost, except for parking and dinner/drinks.

Can't wait to see all of your new and familiar faces.


~Marla

6.9.10

New York City Soap Making classes Announced for October 27-30!

Join us in the Big Apple for Cold Process Soapmaking, Advanced Cold Process Soapmaking, Creams & Lotions, Body Butters and Body Scrubs, as well as our popular How to Run a Successful Bath & Body Business seminar. Our New York City Soap Making classes are only held four times per year.

New York City classes are running this fall from October 27-30, 2010. Classes are held in Manhattan at a convenient Upper West Side location (94th and Amsterdam). Sign up soon for the early-bird discount. Hurry, we expect all of our classes to sell out this session!

If you're looking to take all five of our classes in NYC this October, save when you sign up for NYC Bath & Body University.

This is an all-inclusive four-day bath and body intensive program that will get your current business or the one you've dreamed about owning off of the ground. You will receive four full days of training - and a course completion certificate - exclusively from Marla Bosworth, founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. With 12 years of bath and body industry experience, she also will share her 30 years of retail, market research, and entreprenurial and business experience. You'll learn how Marla landed more than 200 wholesale accounts, including Whole Foods, and how you can have the business of your dreams too.

Students have travelled all the way from Ghana, South Africa, Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Ireland, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Israel & and from around the United States to participate in our programs.

This specialized program is perfect for entrepreneurs who own a business as well as for budding entrepreneurs who are seeking training in the field of bath and beauty. (Remember to check with your tax accountant, as this class fee, your travel and accommodation expenses and more could be tax deductible.)

Hope to see you in NYC!
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23.8.10

Learn to Make Salon-Quality Haircare Class Returning in November!


Boston beauty expert Rick Spina will return to our studio on November 7, 2010 to teach the popular class on How to Make Natural Haircare Products. Students will make three products while Rick shares his wealth of knowledge of haircare products. He will share how to customize product based on various hair types.

This class is intended for individuals wanting to learn how to make their own haircare products and also for bath, beauty and salon professionals who would like to develop their own product line.

The class is hands-on in our studio located near Boston. Rick will instruct the group as we make three products as a team. Students will take home one of each of the following products:

1. Colorsafe Shampoo - Low pH cleaner that is gentle to colored hair. Says Rick, "About 90% of my clients have a lot of money invested in their haircolour and this is the basis for the individual shampoos I make for them."

2. Leave in Conditioning Gel - Attracts and holds natural moisture, neutralizes static electricity to eliminate frizzies, and increases natural shine.

3. Hair detangeler - Non-Greasy, spray-on detageler that allows the comb to slide through the hair, eliminating snapping and breakage. This product is also used as a pre-shampoo spray, for clients with color corrections, chemically drained hair conditions and unstable color clients (the color is unstable, not the client).

To register and for more information visit the registration page on our website.

8.8.10

Summer Soap Class Students Create Beautiful Calendula and Cocoa Butter Soaps


What a wonderful, energetic soap class this summer! Students made two, 20 lb. batches of cold process soap. Here is our batch made with calendula - one of my favorite herbs. It's known for its antibacterial and immunostimulant properties. We infused the calendula in organic, extra virgin olive oil.



To make pouring easier, students transfer the 20 lb. raw soap into an easier-to-manage container before distributing into loaves.


Here students are distributing the 20 lbs. of raw calendula soap into containers to take home. They wait 24-48 hours, unmold the soap, slice it and wait 4-6 weeks to cure.

Want to learn how to make soap from scratch? Curious about the cold process process? Join us in New York City or Boston for our cold process soap class. You will learn safety guidelines and reach a level of comfort so that you can finally make soap by hand. We discuss how to properly use and store lye, mixing lye and water, oils for soap making, fragrance oils, essential oils, superfatting, additives and exfoliants, coloring, molding, curing and much more. Students receive soap recipes and a list of my favorite places to buy soap making supplies and equipment.

If you prefer private classes, contact us for consulting information. We've taught students from Ghana, South Africa, Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Ireland, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Israel & and from around the United States how to start their own soap and natural skincare businesses.

Unable to travel? Let us come to you through our Learn At Home DVDs and online webinars.

For those of you experienced soapmakers looking for a new recipe, try our Moisturizing Cocoa Butter Soap with Calendula and let me know what you think!

16% Cocoa Butter
28% Coconut Oil
28% Olive Oil (infused with calendula)
28% Palm Oil

I like to superfat around 7% for this recipe.

Try this essential oil blend:
4% Vetiver essential oil (one of my favorite "anchor" essential oils)
96% Litsea essential oil

Do you have a favorite essential oil blend that you'd like to share?
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12.7.10

Just Added: More Cold Process Soap Making Classes for This Summer!

I've had so many requests for more cold process soap making classes this summer, so I've added two more for July and August! These are held in my studio in Duxbury, Massachusetts. We are a short 40-minute ride from Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.

The first one is coming up soon on Saturday, July 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

(FYI, there is a Glycerin/Melt & Pour class the same afternoon from 2-5 p.m. if you would like to stay and learn both techniques.)

The second class will be held Saturday, August 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Students come from near and far (Ghana, Ireland, Venezuela, Chile, U.S. and more) to take our hands-on classes. Besides having a great time and meeting other cool people, you'll learn all you need to know about making cold process soaps, formulating your recipes, safety precautions when working with lye, sourcing ingredients, packaging, labelling.

Check out my website for more information. Hope to see you there!

30.6.10

New 4-Day Bath and Body University Just Added for October 2010!


Have you been wanting to take your current bath and beauty business to the next level or the one you've dreamed about owning off the ground? Then this Four-Day Bath & Beauty University will be perfect for you.

Come meet other students from around the world and enjoy the beauty of fall in the Boston area, with all of its various shades of foliage. Slated for October 21-24, 2010. Our August Bath & Body University sold out quickly, so if you're interested, sign up soon! Payment plans are available - check out details on our website.

What you'll receive: learn to formulate your own products (from cold process soaps to creams and lotions just to name a few), how to run a successful bath and body company, finding your niche and differentiating yourself from the competition and take home 90 products valued at $654. Leave with a solid plan for your business and products. You'll be taught and guided by Marla Bosworth for all four days.

About Your Teacher: My name is Marla Bosworth. I'm the owner/founder of Back Porch Soap Company located in Duxbury, Massachusetts. My company was launched in 1998. Currently I sell to more than 250 upscale retail boutiques throughout the U.S. and overseas, as well as natural food stores such as Whole Foods. My professional background includes nearly 20 years in market research and consulting for small and large businesses. You'll learn from my vast retail industry experience, as well as my internet marketing insights. Come learn from someone who is "in the trenches" of a soapmaking business day in and day out! I am a contributing author for The Saponifier Magazine, a moderator on Indie Beauty Network, and a speaker at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference in 2009 and 2010.

Classes are held in my Duxbury, Massachusetts studio. We are located just 30 minutes south of Boston.

View our website for more information and to register for this class. Most students come from outside of New England, and many travel from overseas just to attend my classes. I've taught students from Ghana, Venezuela, Nigeria, Peru, Philipines, Chile and Ireland. I'm happy to help you with your travel arrangements. Please
email me.

Recommended nearby accommodations:
Hampton Inn, Plymouth, MA (15 minutes from my studio)Best Western Cold Spring, Plymouth, MA (15 minutes away) Closest Airport:Logan International

The closest accommodations in Duxbury a bed and breakfast called
Duxbury Tall Pines at a rate around $75-$100.

Other Transportation:
Commuter Train MBTA Commuter Rail to Kingston Station Amtrak Closest station is Providence, RI and Boston, MA. Connecting commuter train available from Boston.

I also teach private classes. Send me an
email and I'll reply with more information.

What a few of my students have said about working with me:

Marla,
We wanted to let you know that we loved all your classes. Every recipe, instruction, tip you gave us has a lot of value for our business. For us coming all the way from South America was absolutely worth it to sit at your table and learn from you. We really appreciate all your generosity and kindness throughout the classes. I am sure that we will have much success because of you! Thank you very much for having us in your class!

Our best wishes, Ale & Fifi

Venezuela


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Marla,
I am remiss in not thanking you for the wonderful cold process class I took with you in May.We are using the soap I made in class here at home and it is outstanding! My family has sworn off store bought.I also made my first batch on my own! Had to clear the house of family and pets, but I did it. I am now curing a peppermint/with caraway seeds type of garden soap. I am looking forward to taking a swirling class with you hopefully in the winter.


Thanks again,
Carolyn
Fitchburg, MA

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Hello Marla,

You are the best! Thank you so very much for being so informative in the advance soapmaking class last month. You are very accommodating, genuine and caring. I appreciate your effort to share your knowledge so that your students will be better equipped to create soaps more confidently. You thoroughly covered all bases.

Revonnie H.
North Carolina

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I came away from Marla's "Bath & Body University" with a clear vision on how to get my soap business off the ground. She taught me how to create beautiful high-end soaps that I'm in love with. Marla is a personable, natural mentor with a sincere desire to help others turn their aspirations into a reality. I couldn't be happier about my decision to complete her program.

Alyssa T.
Massachusetts

*************************************
Hi Marla,

I just wanted to say that your class was really informative. You presented the information in a clear and articulate manner. I'm planning to use your suggestions right away!

Elaine C.
New York City

*************************************

Hi Marla,

I can't thank you enough for all of the valuable information you supplied me with yesterday during my one-on-one consulting. You are a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate that you share it with others.


We covered so much, and it is all in areas that my business needs attention to, just what I was looking for, I can't wait to get started!

Looking forward to catching up in Denver.

Jane F.
New Hampshire

************************************

Hi Marla,
Thank you so very much again for conducting such a wonderful class! I can absolutely see why you have a lot of repeat students! Organized, informative and fun!

Merilyn K.
New York City

**************************************

Hi Marla,


I wanted to thank you for the outstanding class that you taught this past Saturday! I am very excited to dive right into soap making and feel the confidence to do so because of your class! You were very thorough, patient, and pleasant to be around. In general, I believe that you made everyone feel at ease. Thank you so much.

Very Sincerely,
K. Rokos
Vermont

***********************************

I HIGHLY recommend Marla's business coaching and classes to ANY and EVERYONE! In my quest to launch a business of my own, I found it to be of paramount importance to have actual product making classes under my belt, so I packed my bags and headed from DC to Duxbury, Mass.

Upon completion of the Soapmaking Bootcamp, Organic Product Development and Business Coaching classes, I walked away empowered with the knowledge that I could successfully embark on what was once a fleeting thought... MY VERY OWN BUSINESS!!! (and tons of take home goodies that had to be shipped!)


Lydia, Washington DC
Certified Holistic Health Counselor
(IIN/ Columbia University)


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Ideal for those looking for soap making courses, soap making classes, soap workshops, cold process, melt and pour, market and business plan for soap business, Soap making class, soap making classes, how to start a soap making business in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Wyoming, Montanta, Idaho, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York City, Boston.


6.6.10

New! How to Make Natural Shampoo and Hair Care Products Class


So many of you have been asking for a class on shampoo, so here we go! I'm thrilled that Boston beauty expert Rick Spina is teaching three exciting projects and sharing his wealth of knowledge. He will share how to customize product based on various hair types.

This class is intended for individuals wanting to learn how to make their own haircare products and also for bath, beauty and salon professionals who would like to develop their own product line.

The class is hands-on in our studio located near Boston. Rick will instruct the group as we make three products as a team. Students will take home one of each of the following products:

1. Colorsafe Shampoo - Low pH cleaner that is gentle to colored hair. Says Rick, "About 90% of my clients have a lot of money invested in their haircolour and this is the basis for the individual shampoos I make for them."

2. Leave in Conditioning Gel - Attracts and holds natural moisture, neutralizes static electricity to eliminate frizzies, and increases natural shine.

3. Hair detangeler - Non-Greasy, spray-on detageler that allows the comb to slide through the hair, eliminating snapping and breakage. This product is also used as a pre-shampoo spray, for clients with color corrections, chemically drained hair conditions and unstable color clients (the color is unstable, not the client).

To register and for more information visit our
website.

23.5.10

Soap Making Classes, Soap Business Workshops and More


This is such a great time to learn to make soap: whether you're open to a new hobby, side business or launching a full-scale bath and body company. It all takes planning and proper execution, of course. Whether you live near or far, I hope you'll come join me for a class or two!

All of the Boston classes are listed by month here. Check out our New York City soap making classes and natural skincare classes. I also teach one-on-one classes and consulting to help you formulate your own skincare line or grow your current bath and body business.

My workshops take place at Back Porch Soap Company in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Our New York City classes are taught on the Upper West Side.

My studio is located 30 minutes from Boston, and only 45 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island. With beautiful Duxbury Beach, Cape Cod and Plymouth (Plymouth Rock and Plimoth Plantation) only minutes away, this is a perfect family destination! Your family will have plenty to enjoy in the area while you take soap making class or two.

About Your Instructor
My name is Marla Bosworth, and I'm the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. I've been making soaps and teaching soapmaking for 13 years. My wholesale clients include Whole Foods and upscale boutiques around the world. I teach classes because I love sharing my passion for soap making, bath and body products, and entrepreneurship.

My credentials include a B.A. in English/Journalism from the University of New Hampshire in 1987. I have an extensive background in marketing, market research and manufacturer consulting as a Market Research Analyst for the company now known as Forrester Research. Clients included Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Xerox and IBM to name a few. Currently I am an independent bath and body business consultant.

My true calling is creating beautiful soap luxuries and inspiring other entrepreneurs how to do the same.

(Marla is a contributing author for The Saponifier Magazine, a moderator on Indie Beauty Network, and a speaker at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference in 2009 and 2010. She teaches natural skincare and business classes throughout the U.S.)

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Ideal for those looking for Maine Soap Making Classes, New Hampshire Soap Making Classes, Vermont Soap Making Classes, Rhode Island Soap Making Classes, Connecticut Soap Making Classes, New York Soap Making Classes, New York City Soap Making Classes


18.5.10

New Learn at Home DVDs: How to Make Soap and How to Make Cream and Lotion


Are you ready to learn how to make handmade soap but can't find a class nearby? Or are you ready to start a soap business but not sure where to begin? I'm excited to share with you brand new workshops on DVDs that I introduced at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference this year in Denver. They were a bestseller and I know you will love them too.

Two DVD workshops are available: "Cold Process Soap Making - Level 1" and "Bestselling Creams & Lotions". I'm sharing tips and secrets to formulating that I teach in NYC where classes run $155. But you can learn from home for only $48.

I've been teaching soapmaking classes since 2004 - six years after I started my soap company. Students have come as far as Ghana, West Africa and Venezuela to learn how to make bath and body products to launch a business. These DVDs are perfect for individuals who want to make natural skincare products for themselves and their families as well as entrepreneurs who want to formulate their own products and start a bath and body company.

Each DVD comes with a printed handout for easy reference to instructions, tips and tricks, troubleshooting, recipes, and a valuable supplier list. You can learn from home at your convenience without having to travel! I've taught hundreds of students over the past six years and I'm told my classes are extremely thorough and easy to follow. I'm sure you'll find the same is true with my DVDs.

Many more DVDs are the works and some of them are listed on my website with anticipated availablility dates. Be sure join my Facebook fan page to stay up-to-date!

Interested in wholesaling these DVDs? Please inquire at marla@backporchsoap.com.

Are there other classes that you would find helpful to have on DVD? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

9.5.10

New Opportunities & Networking at 2010 HSMG Conference

There's one place you can always find me in May - at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HSMG) Conference. A soap conference, you ask? Yes, a soap conference. For those of us in the industry, it's an annual event that is inspiring and uplifting. It's educational and fun. Oh, and the goodie bags and vendor events top the highlights.

This year's HSMG Conference was held at the Inverness Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Although I live in Boston, I am a Wyoming girl at heart. Gazing out at the snow-capped Rocky Mountains from my hotel room made my Western heart very happy - despite the daily 6 a.m. alarm clock.

I met many new colleagues and reconnected with other soapmaking and industry movers and shakers. In the next few weeks I'll be making a some exciting new announcements that came from networking at the conference.


Above is Kayla Fioravanti from Essential Wholesale and me. She and her husband threw a fabulous party Western party Saturday night that featured can can dancers and an improv comedy show. Kayla also gave a wonderful presentation entitled "You are the Secret Ingredient: Formulating Your Dream Business."

My presentation on New Opportunities in the Melt and Pour Market was sponsored by Debbie May of Wholesale Supplies Plus. Debbie hosted a wonderful dessert event on Friday evening. There were several thousands of dollars in giveways, and I won a $175 gift certificate! Debbie gave a very educational presentation on Taking Your Business to the Next Level.

One of my favorite presentations (there were many) I attended was one on Trace Analysis by Kevin Dunn (see photo above). Kevin's book, Scientific Soapmaking, is a must read for any cold process soapmaker.

Another favorite presentation was "The Safe and Effective Use of Essential Oils in Soap" by Robert Tisserand. He elaborated on aromatherapeutic oils and blends for soaps - antibacterial, skin soothing, skin protecting, etc. He gave examples of historical and current blends, and how to make blends that last and have fragrance impact.

Although I had already interviewed Joshua Onysko of Pangea Organics back in February, I enjoyed hearing him tell "The Story of Pangea Organics." Joshua shared how he took Pangea from the initial bright idea to an award-winning company setting new environmental and sustainability standards in the industry. (Pangea is the first company to introduce and be awarded for biodegradable, compostable, plantable packaging.)

There were many other wonderful presentations by Anne Marie Faiola, Donna Maria Johnson, Kelly Bloom, Amy Kalinchuk and Marie Gale. Check out HSMG's website for more info and check out their Facebook fan page.


Next year's conference will be held in Miami, Florida. Hope you will pack your swimsuit and join us!


Did you make it to this year's conference? What did you find valuable?

6.4.10

NYC in May! Soap Making Classes and How To Start Your Own Soap Business Classes



Join me in New York City in May 2010 for one or all five hands-on, educational bath and body classes:

May 19, 6-9:30 p.m.
Organic Scrubs, Bath Bombs, Balms & Body Butters

May 20, 6-9:30 p.m.
Organic Cold Process Soap Making

May 21, 6-9:30 p.m.
Organic Creams and Lotion Class

May 22, 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
How To Run A Successful Bath & Body Business

May 22, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Organic Glycerin Soap Making

May 20-22, Limited Availability
Private Consulting Appointments

I'm excited to be returning to teach a third round of classes held on the Upper West Side at a great studio inside Little Shop of Crafts (711 Amsterdam Ave. at 94th Street).

Classes are already filling up for May classes. Sign up today at my website. In March, students travelled from more than five states as well as NYC to attend.

These classes are intended for both individuals and entrepreneurs with current bath and body companies and for individuals wanting to start their own business. Come join these intimate classes to learn how to run a successful bath and body company.

You'll learn from me, Marla Bosworth, a 12-year bath and beauty expert and market research analyst, who launched Back Porch Soap Company with only a few hundred dollars. Now I supply more than 200 upscale boutiques, Whole Foods, resorts, gift stores and spas with my products. In this class you'll learn how you can do the same.

Coming from out-of-town and looking for accommodations? Email me for recommendations.

Note: All classes must be prepaid in full on www.backporchsoap.com prior to attending. You will receive a confirmation email. Register before May 1, 2010 for special, early-bird discount.

Can't make this class but want to stay in the loop with us? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll email you to let you know the latest happenings for new classes and more!

In addition to group classes, Marla is available for one-on-one consulting for individuals interested in learning how to make bath and body products or for existing companies looking for market research and/or consulting.
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Soap class, handmade soap market research, handmade soap trends, how to make soaps and start a business, Soap making class, soap making classes, how to start a soap making business in New York city, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Wyoming, Montanta, Idaho, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York City, Boston.

11.3.10

Top Five Essential Oils for Soap Making



One of the most frequent questions I am asked during soap class is "Which essential oils should I buy to have on hand for soapmaking at home?" It's a very good question for several reasons.

First, essential oils are one of the most expensive ingredients in soapmaking. It's wise to be selective as you won't want to buy 12 or 15 essential oils as you ease into your new craft. Remember, you are adding 0.5 oz of essential oil per pound of oils in your recipe. So if you are creating a batch of soap that requires four pounds of oil, you will be adding 2 oz. of essential oil. It can be one essential oil or a blend of oils, but right around 2 oz. Some soapers use a bit more, and others use a bit less. As you become experienced, you get a feel for your particular oils and their staying power.

Second, if you narrow down your oils to the top five, you can purchase in larger quanitities (I recommend 16 oz. of each) for best pricing. Most suppliers charge more per ounce on 2 oz. or 4 oz. than they do on a 16 oz. or pound of essential oil. So you're spending your money wisely up front.

Lastly, if you choose your top five wisely, you'll end up with blending options. This means besides making a one-scent batch, you can also make a two or three-scent batch.


In the natural skincare and soap classes I teach, students use only essential oils. These are derived from nature - from herbs, flowers, fruits and more. They provide physiological and psychological benefits. For example, two of lavender essential oil's many physiological benefits is that it aids in relief of psoriasis and skin wounds. One of its psychological benefits is that it is calming. You'll want to choose essential oils based on their essence as well as for the healing properties they provide.

Note for new soapmakers: Fragrance oils are synthetic and man made. They do not have physical, emotional or other healing properties. If you are using fragrance oils just confirm that they are intended for use in soap making and ask your supplier if they perform well or if there are any known problems.

Here are my Top Five Essential Oils for Soapmaking:

Lavender
Properties: Calming, soothing and relaxing, which helps those with stress and nervous tension, headaches and migraines. It is a natural choice for healing many skin conditions such as acne, bruises, burns, dermititis, eczema, inflammation, psoriasis, sunburn and wounds to name a few.
Blending: It blends well with many oils, from citrus to florals.


Rosemary
Properties: Rosemary immediately alters my mood. If I'm feeling a bit down, just a little sniff will help restore and balance my mental state. In addition, it is wonderful to use to aid in dermatitis, acne, eczema, and your boosting immune system.
Blending: Try blending with lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, basil, and lemongrass.Note: Rosemary should not be used by individuals who are pregnant or who suffer from epilepsy.

Peppermint
Properties: Refreshing, restorative and a wonderful stimulant. It aids in circulation, muscular pain, can relieve asthma, and boosts the immune system.
Blending: Works well with rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus and of course lavender just to name a few.

Patchouli
Properties: Calming in small amounts, and uplifting in larger amounts. A known anti-inflammatory and useful in relieving dry skin.
Blending: Patchouli is one of several essential oils known to "anchor" scents. Use in small amounts, even when blending, as it can easily become overpowering. Blends well with lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, bergamot, clary sage and many more.

Lemongrass:
Properties: Uplifting and refreshing (one of my favorites for a kitchen soap). Aids in healing of acne and improves muscle tone.
Blending: Works well with citrus oils, lavender, geranium and bergamot. I love it with peppermint or eucalyptus. It is exceptional with a bit of patchouli.


Suggested Blends based on 4 oz. oil:

Lavender (2.5 oz.), Rosemary (1 oz.) and Patchouli (o.5 oz.)
Lemongrass (3 oz.) and Peppermint (1 oz.)
Lemongrass (3.5 oz.) and Patchouli (0.5 oz.)
Lavender (3.5 oz.) and Patchouli (0.5 oz.)

Rosemary (2 oz.) and Lemongrass (2 oz.)
Lavender (3 oz.) and Peppermint (1 oz.)
Peppermint (3 oz.) Patchouli (1 oz.)

It was challenging to pick just five, as Eucalyptus and Spearmint would have both been next on my list along with Vetiver, Geranium, Bergamot and Tea Tree.


Feel free to post your comments and let me know which oils you love or if you have any questions. You can check out my soap classes and natural skincare classes on my website.

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26.2.10

Inside the Heart & Soul of Pangea Organics: Part Two

A week back from Boulder, Colorado and I'm still inspired by listening to the thoughts and ideas of Joshua Onysko, founder of Pangea Organics. Founded 10 years ago at the age of 23, Joshua now owns the largest handmade cold process soap company in the U.S. Pangea is not your average soap company. It's the leading manufacturer of organic, sustainable, handcrafted and cruelty-free skincare.

You can listen to
Part One of my audio interview, posted earlier this week.

In this 23-minute interview (this is part two)
Joshua talks about:
  • Living inside Pangea's first three facilities;
  • The importance of balancing your career and your personal life;
  • Why being palm-free is important; how 95% of all ingredients used in cosmetics and skincare are imported and how one of Pangea's missions is to source 50% from the U.S.;
  • Raising capital;
  • Being ahead of the organic wave in the U.S.;
  • How it took five years for Pangea to post profits;
  • Why he expects it to take until 2015 for the U.S. natural industry to weed out inconsistent brands and be filled with authentic, organic products
  • How and why Pangea's ingredients are food grade
  • This year marks Pangea's 10-year anniversary in April and how Joshua views the celebration
  • One of the biggest challenges that he faces today (hint: he had to cut 72% of his stockists.)
  • What going mainstream by selling to Sephora in 2009 has done to his business.
One of his messages to soapmakers in the U.S. is to create a high quality product to raise the bar (my pun) on the quality and sustainability of ingredients used in handmade bath and body products. "If you're out there making skin and bodycare products, know that if you put a poor product together, you're not doing the industry any good. Because people are going out there and having a bad experience with this gooey, separated mess and associating that with organic. So if you're going out there and make an organic product, make it work better than everything else on the shelf. Don't sacrifice quality for one ingredient you don't want to use."

Be inspired and take a look at Pangea's research and development mission. There are three key factors that have to come together before their product will hit the market: everything has to be natural, it has to be food grade, and as many organic ingredients as possible. Once these three factors come together it then must be an efficacious product that outperforms everything else on the shelf. For example, the reason Pangea hasn't introduced a haircare line is that there is not yet a surfactant on the market that meets their environmental and quality standards.

All business aside, perhaps one of the best suggestions Joshua gives to bath and body company owners is a philosophy on how to view life. "Focus on the small victories and view every day as a gift. There's challenges and there's weaknesses, but there's also these moments, these small victories that happen every moment, every day that you have to focus on."

Enjoy!

~Marla

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23.2.10

Inside the Heart & Soul of Pangea Organics: Part One

Joshua Onysko and me at Pangea Organics, Boulder, CO

I just returned from Boulder, Colorado where I had the pleasure of interviewing and being inspired by Joshua Onysko, founder of Pangea Organics - the largest handmade cold process soapmaking manufacturer in the U.S. In case you don't already know, Pangea is not your average soapmaking company. It's the leading manufacturer of organic, sustainable, handcrafted and cruelty-free skincare.

What I found most impressive about Joshua (besides being incredibly gracious and having lived in my hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming), is what's inside his heart and soul and how he transfers this gift to his company. For example, Pangea Organics gives 5% of its profits to Women for Women International, a program founded to micro-finance women-owned cooperatives in developing countries who are producing ingredients that he uses in his company's products.


By the way, Joshua founded Pangea in 2000 when he was 23. Although it took the first five years to reach profitability, from 2005 to 2010, Pangea will have grown from almost $0 in sales to over $10 million. He is candid in this interview about the low margins on his soaps, especially with sustainable and organic ingredients, marketing and the company's overhead.

In this 20-minute interview (this is part one of two) I ask Joshua questions on how to be a successful bath and body entrepreneur. He also shares insights into Pangea. I hope you find him as engaging and facinating as I do. Check back on Friday, February 26 for Part Two of the interview!



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