Back Porch Soap Company

Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She is a modern alchemist, shamanic practitioner and soul destiny coach. She travels worldwide, teaching conscious beauty experiential workshops that combine making soap and herbal skincare with alchemy and energetics.

May 04, 2021

May 2021 Natural Skincare Formulation, Soap and Candle Classes in New York City

Natural Skincare Formula School Diploma Course

Our hands-on workshops are back in session this month in New York City. Join us for a week of evening workshops in our natural skincare diploma course, Make Your Own Beauty & Skincare Diploma Course, NYC - May 17-21. Or choose to attend just one or more classes that align with what you would like to learn.

Cold Process Soapmaking Class NYC

Classes begin May 17 and are held at 6-8:30 p.m. nightly in a private classroom inside Little Shop of Crafts, located at 711 Amsterdam Ave. in the Upper West Side of New York City. It is one block east of the 1, 2 and 3 trains at 96th and Broadway.

The following courses are running this session:

Classes are taught by Marla Bosworth. Marla has 23 years experience formulating plant-based, organic skincare products. In addition, Marla has more than 30 year experience in retail, market research and entrepreneurship.

Classes are held from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Upper West Side, one block from the 96th and Broadway station for the 1, 2 and 3 trains. There is also street and garage parking nearby.

These courses are perfect for entrepreneurs who own a business as well as for new entrepreneurs who are seeking training for their bath and beauty startup.

April 06, 2020

Planting Seeds of Support, Collaboration During Intense Times

Are you being proactive during this time and reaching out to business colleagues via phone, text or email to just check in? 
I'm working on planting seeds with current and potential business colleagues. I'm also reaching out to businesses that I made a connection within the past year or so to see if we might be a good fit for new concepts. I've scored some opportunities that are a win-win for both businesses.
I'm also sending out emails to my retailers, not to ask for an order, but to check in and say hello hope you and your family are healthy and okay. People appreciate it.
Either way, your customers and other businesses will remember how you chose to communicate and navigate this challenging time, even if it was just a phone call to check in.
If you are not, tune into the whys. It is understandable that not every entrepreneur is ready to "move forward." There is a lot of sadness and grief being released. There is also a huge energetic "pause" being experienced by many that could be a "freeze fear." This is not a judgement, instead a checking in of where you are energetically.
It would be helpful for others to hear what you are doing in your business. I look forward to reading your comments.

March 01, 2020

Soapmaking Lye Calculator Alternatives to Use When Soapcalc is Down

The buzz in social media soapmaking groups during past few days has been that a favorite online lye calculator, Soapcalc, has been down for unforeseen reasons. There are speculations that Soapcalc is being upgraded, but I haven't been able to confirm it. Quick research on WHOIS shows that the domain is still registered to a Portland, Oregon ISP address. Soapcalc had been online since October 13, 2008. The domain name expires on October 13, 2020 and was last updated on September 21, 2019. Soapcalc has been owned by Botanie Soap Inc. since July 2016.

Many soapmakers rely on Soapcalc to determine lye amounts for recipes.
There was a comment made on a Reddit thread that someone saw a highlight on Soapcalc that "the lye calculator will remain with the same functionality, and will have additional oils added." This was mentioned prior to the website disappearing altogether.

In my cold process soapmaking classes I teach students how to use a lye calculator, and in the past used Soapcalc as an example. I also emphasize that students learn to manually calculate their own lye. More on this in a later blogpost.

In the meantime I thought it might be helpful to post some dependable lye calculator alternatives.

A lye calculator is used to determine how much lye (either NaOH or KOH) to use based on the saponification (SAP) values of each plant oil or butter.

Here are alternative soap calculators that I have used and personally recommend. (especially helpful when using dual lye recipes such as cream soaps)

These are online soap calculators that I have not tried, but have been recommended by other soapmakers:

Soapmaker Software (PC only)

Here are phone apps that have been recommended by other soapmakers:


What soap calculator(s) do you use? Do you know how to calculate manually? If so, do you you ever use a lye calculator? I'll publish a blogpost soon on how to manually determine your lye. It's fairly simple and saves time especially when your favorite online calculator goes down.

August 11, 2019

Cosmetic Suppliers in India

Recently several of my natural beauty formulation students from India have asked where they can purchase supplies in their own country. I'm publishing information here on my blog to help out other indie beauty formulators from India who also may be looking for suppliers. Please note that I have not personally ordered from nor have had any contact with any of these companies, so I cannot speak from experience for quality of customer service, turnaround or shipping punctuality or ingredient quality.

If you live in India and have ordered from any of these companies please feel free to comment as well as leave recommendations to assist fellow entrepreneurs. If you represent a company who supplies in minimums for small to large-size indie beauty brands, please leave a comment and include your website as well as information such as the niche it serves.

Here are three suppliers I have found in India:

Baba Enterprises is located in Shalimar Bath, Delhi. Founded in 2002, it offers a wide range of skin and body care ingredients. They are a trader, importer and supplier.

Ahmedabad Agency is located in Anhilwara, Gujarat. According to its website they offer formulation support in addition to research and development. It is not clear if they work with indie brands. They have been in business for 30 years.

Pioneer Chemicals is located in Shalimar Bath, Delhi. This company has been in business since 1924. Its website states that customers may order in minimums of 100 grams. They have a downloadable cosmetic list on their website at the provided link. In addition they have a Facebook business page, but it hasn't been updated in more than a year.

In addition to the aforementioned companies, more suppliers are listed on a website named Indiamart. I was able to find several companies selling cosmetics, and in particular one that sells all-natural herbal extracts. The company is Bioveda Naturals. If you take time and search Indiamart you may also find many more cosmetic suppliers. I do not have any personal experience with Indiamart nor any of its suppliers. So please conduct your own research as to their credibility. 

One final resource in India is a trade show called HPCI-India. Here is their supplier list. It may be helpful to contact the trade show coordinators and inquire about specific suppliers for which you are searching.
India inspires me with its beauty and connection to spirituality. It is on my list of places to visit.
Let me know if this blogpost was helpful for you. I have many students from India who attend my in-person plant-based skincare workshops in New York City and many who also take my online beauty formulation classes who are looking for reputable suppliers of natural skincare ingredients in their country. 

August 09, 2019

Intuitive Essential Oil Blending, A Fragrant Hands-on Workshop Experience

When I launched my skincare business in 1998 I didn't have the slightest idea of how to blend essential oils. I made and sold soaps and skincare products with single notes of lavender, lemongrass, tea tree, peppermint and so on. At the time I didn't have any competition, as there were maybe a handful of us making and selling bath and body products in Massachusetts. However, as the years progressed and more entrepreneurs began launching bath and body businesses around me, I realized I needed to implement multiple changes to stay relevant. One change I made was teaching myself the art of essential oil blending. This process has been on-going for 22 years!

Scent is an art form. It is an expression of one’s soul. There is no one way to blend essential oils. It is an intuitive or fluid process of following your inner guidance. An alchemist is literally “one who blends.” So when I create a blend I take a moment to think about what I am about to create. Is it an essence for inspiration itself? Is it a fragrance for a family member? Or perhaps it is a blend to evoke a memory.

When we blend with intention we encode lasting energetics through the alchemical process. Awakening and intuitive people will recognize this right away, either by seeing sacred geometry or feeling the energy, while others will notice it is "different" and may be drawn to the blend unknowingly. I observed this happening day after day in my retail store in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Some customers would feel the intentional energetics of what I created in my soaps and cosmetics by feeling a sense of connection and voluntarily chose to mention to me or my employees what memories the scent evoked (which would match entirely to the energetics for which it was created). 

What I've discovered about creating essential oil blends with my students is that when they blend intuitively they create Incredible blends that draw in energetics of places, memories and feelings.  While I'll write more about the intuitive flow of essential oil blending soon, I'm excited to share with you right now another in-person workshop I'm teaching in New York City this month. I've created a class that I so wish I had when I started my business 22 years ago. It is designed for essential oil enthusiasts, alchemists, soapmakers and indie beauty entrepreneurs.

Learn to intuitively blend without any rules, only following your inner guidance and your nose. You'll also explore creating intention blends, encoding memories of feelings, places or people. 

Students in Mastering the Art of Essential Oil Blending, July 2019

In last month's Mastering the Art of Essential Oil Blending workshop on the Upper West Side of New York City (pictured above), students chose to commemorate loved ones, replicate the feeling of favorite places in nature (forests, mountains and other sacred places), and other inspirational blends such as evoking joy, calmness and creativity in others. There were 26 custom blends in all, created with personal intentions and energies. Some students were drawn to inner wisdom and guidance blends. Two students created divine goddess blends. All are uniquely encoded with their own energetic frequencies. Why and what you blend in this class is completely up to you!

This is a hands-on class. Students will blend and experiment with essential oils to create two signature essential oil blends. In total you will take home two unique custom blends. This class is intended for any essential oil enthusiasts. No prior experience is needed.

One-one-one sessions are also available in New York City and online to create your own essential oil blend. If you have a group who would like to experience intuitive blending or if you are planning a corporate event please learn more about our special events here. This aromatic, hands-on experience is perfect for team building activities for small companies, private and corporate groups.

team building events, corporate events, corporate team building activities, team building for small companies, unique team building events, company outing events, awesome arts and crafts retreats for BYOB girls nights out to private and corporate events, hands on workshops

May 29, 2018

The Unconscious Use of "Alchemy" and How to Shift into Alignment

✨Understanding Divine Alchemy✨

Part of my destiny (which is much deeper than “life purpose, by the way)  is working in and sharing the depth of wisdom of the alchemical process. I see a lot of people using the word “alchemy” but not embodying the energetics of it themselves or in their work.

There are initiations into sacred alchemy. Those who are in alignment with it and creating New Earth will recognize what I am explaining. Those who are not will either feel triggered or jolted by this thought. For the latter, it means going much deeper within your work.

We are seeing an overuse of the word “alchemy.” Since we’ve arrived in a dimension where we are telepathically connected there’s no faking it anymore. Words can’t be used like bandaids to cover up what you don’t know. It’s humbling, but it also requires us to understand that Light shines our own Truth.

Seek to understand. Ask to be shown. Readily admit what you do not know. This is when you begin to step into your divine power and your own personal destiny.

February 14, 2018

Part 2: Arriving Through the Experience of Blue Spruce Wisdom

Today I met a sweet, kind arborist. I was back at the Blue Spruce that I wrote about earlier last week. I needed to collect some of its branches for an exciting collaboration that I will announce within a day or two that Blue Spruce initiated.
"Gather my needles, my resin, my branches, my sawdust..."
I heard a truck engine. I really didn’t want to be bothered. A gentleman drove by and then pulled over to the side of the road, then slowly started backing up.
I looked his way and he jumped out of his truck. “Need a hand?” he said.
All I had was a pair of small shears and I was trying to gather a trunk full of spruce boughs. I must have looked like I needed help.
As an intuitive, I've always been able to connect to trees. Anyone can do this.
It begins with what is known as esthesis, a connection between you and any living organism.
“Oh thank you, that would be great,” I replied. A year ago I probably would have shrugged him off and said no. It was a bit foreign to me to allow someone to help me when I probably could have managed it, and I noticed that about myself as he smiled kindly. It can feel vulnerable to allow someone to help. So I let myself feel vulnerable. 
He walked up and I noticed he had a curved pruning saw and was ready to jump in the snowbank to retrieve these branches that are worth gold to me.
“How many do you need?” he asked. I paused because I really wanted to say the entire tree. “A couple of pounds would be plenty for now,” I answered. He carefully selected the best branches. I mean he treated this tree friend of mine like it were his friend too.
“Were you the one to cut it down?” I inquired.
“Who me? Nah,” he said, wielding the saw like a piano player mastering black and white keys. “I’m an arborist and do work around here. You know,” he said thoughtfully, “this is a Blue Spruce.”
“I know,” I said, astounded that not only did someone appear out of nowhere, but he seemed as equally excited to talk about trees.
“You can’t just go by the needles because you can mistake these for Engelmann Spruce. You really need to take a look at the cones.”
Are you open to allowing nature to lead you into deep spiritual connection and teachings?
This was the conversation I have literally been wanting to have with someone. This guy was speaking my language. If he only knew, I spent hours on the internet identifying the bark, comparing needles, cones and considering the riverbed forest location in which it grew. I had been wanting an expert to validate my research and here he was on this less-traveled road right in front of me. This was no coincidence. I wanted to burst out laughing because it was ridiculously perfect!
Behind the scenes, Blue Spruce was less impressed with me and asking if I actually didn’t think it was capable of creating scenarios like this one. No, no, I know you can, I told it, having an aloud conversation with the man and an energetic conversation with the tree.
We loaded the boughs into my car before he asked what I was going to do with it. Can you imagine? Like it was normal to him that I was out here spending time with a fallen tree.
When I told him that I’m an alchemist and that I am turning the tree into incense and essences his face lit up.
“Well after Blue Spruce you have to try Subalpine Fir. It’s my favorite. You’ll have to go up to a higher elevation to get to it. But its aroma...” he faded into an aromatic memory. “The sap comes out of the bark in the spring like bubbles and it’s just incredible.”
His pure joy about the sap made me laugh out loud. I nodded in agreement and told him I would seek out one of his firs.
I thanked him again and we shook hands, sharing names. He drove away and I looked back at my tree friend.
“You are quite magical, aren’t you?”, I asked aloud. The energy swirled in the air. Raven flew overhead and its call echoed in the forest. A nearby cottonwood leaned in the breeze and gave a loud, slow creak.

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