Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

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.

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