Tuesday, January 26, 2010

For Strange Women

This morning, I stumbled upon Etsy seller, For Strange Women, and I'm so glad I did. What fun it was to peruse her goods. I love the packaging... the containers, the colors and design of the labels. Each photograph in the shop is lit nicely with natural lighting that it was a pleasure to view every product. Tantalizing!

Winter Kitty perfume oil

Monday, January 25, 2010

Are You A Drug Dealer?

This article was written by Kelly Bloom of Southern Soapers. It has been reprinted here in its entirety with express permission. You can read the original on Kelly's blog.

Are you a Drug Dealer? Are you a small micro bath & body business? Do you sell lotions to prevent sunburn, or made to block the damage of the sun on skin? Do you sell products for diaper rash, acne blemished skin, eczema or psoriasis, hot flash sprays, anti bacterial products? All these items, and many more examples, are considered by the FDA as Over The Counter Drugs. Manufacturing and selling these products requires following many federal guidelines that far exceed what is required to manufacture soap or cosmetics.

The most common response is for the formulator to simply change the name of their product to try and obfuscate what it really is. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just changing the name of a product does not make it legal to sell.

Over the last few years we have become very complacent thinking that since we can make almost any product the larger manufacturers make, that we can sell them too. We started off making just soap, and then expanded to emulsions, balms, and gels as we learned formulating skills, learned more about cosmetic science, and ingredients became more readily available. Gradually, we have added an entire pharmacy of treatments to our product lines though… MSM for pain relief, Essential Oil blends for insect repellent, herbal infused balms to make bruising fade, ointments to make healing go faster, balms for treating diaper rash, products for eczema and psoriasis, SPF or Sunscreen/Sunblock lotions, anti-fungal products for toe nail infections, blemish sticks for acne complexions.. the list goes on and on and on.

None of these products should be sold to customers or distributed to treat or prevent conditions by homebased or indie beauty cosmetic or soap companies. You can make these products for yourself, but it violates FDA regulations to sell these untested, unregistered products to others. No matter what you call these products, if customers buy these products for the intended use to treat themselves with them, than they are OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS. This makes the seller technically a drug dealer, drug manufacturer, or distributor of drugs. So … JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS. We tell our kids to say no to drugs, now it is time for us to lead by example.

You may not feel the FDA & EPA regulations are fair, or that you should have to abide by them. If we all do what we think or feel we are entitled to though, we have anarchy. The regulations on OTC drugs are there for your safety as a consumer. The regulations are there to ensure your trust and confidence when you purchase an over the counter treatment for your sick child. The FDA is there to ensure that Over the Counter Drugs have been:

1. Manufactured in properly registered facilities
2. That the manufacturers have used cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Procedures) to manufacture these over the counter drugs
3. That OTC products are properly labeled with the ‘Active’ ingredient listed separately from the rest of the product formulation, and conforms to drug product ingredient listing format, which differs from cosmetic labeling.
4. that the manufacturer has done safety testing, to include studies to determine dosage, frequency of usage and any possible side effects. These studies often require several years to conduct so that the products are properly evaluated on scientific data, not just someone’s personal testimony.

While it may seem unfair that we can not sell these types of products, it is also important to remember that the very fact that these products are effective is all the proof the FDA needs to prove that your product is actually a drug and not a cosmetic. A catch 22. By proving your lavender Essential Oil blend for postmenopausal facial spray really does make anxiety and hot flashes go away, you also prove the product is a drug. Additionally, many are not aware that while your HSMG or IBN Business Liability Insurance is valid for soap, cosmetics, and candles, it does NOT provide coverage for manufacturing OTC or new drug products.

The FDA is here to protect the consumer being sold untested and possibly dangerous concoctions by snake oil salesmen. We only need search Google to see fine examples of entities hawking miracle cures for everything to increasing bust size (and other appendages) to diet success, to hair regrowth, or rolling back the years of time. Some might even work.. I don’t know about you though .. but I do not want to be lumped into that category of snake oil salesmanship.

Best advice for new and old soapmakers and formulators alike… if a customer asks what you have for insect repellent, pain relief, sun screen, diaper rash, insomnia, nerves, antibacterial products, ointments for broken skin or bruises, etc.. Tell them that YOU ARE NOT a DOCTOR, can not diagnose, can not prescribe, and sell only soap and cosmetics. If your goal with your business is to treat peoples problems, than you need to revisit your business plan and possibly enroll in a program that will allow you to legally diagnose and prescribe treatments. If your goal is to have a successful bath & body business than you would want to focus on that - bath and body products. It will not only serve your business better, but you will be legally compliant.

Be sure to see the FDA Links in our blog roll. Here is the most relevant one: FDA: Drug, Cosmetic, or Soap?

Get familiar with the FDA website where you can validate what you can and can not manufacture for resale. Don’t simply rely on what you see others getting away with, or seeking someone that will tell you what you really want to hear. Only you will bear responsibility if you are not following the FDA regulations. It will not matter if someone outside the FDA gave you erroneous advice.

This is an important topic and I thank Kelly for bringing it up and putting it out there for everyone to see, learn and research so we can all stay safe.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where My Heart Has Been Lately

For those of you who know me or follow this blog regularly, you probably know the story of my life, good or bad that that may be for you :P

I have written a few words about closing my store and if you are interested in reading my emotional story and thank yous and stuff, go over to my Product Body blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

As Long As You Don't Inhale

Yesterday afternoon, I was on my way to the Post Office in my truck to drop off packages. I was listening to Bad Lieutenant really loudly and I was happily chewing on a bologna sandwich my husband so lovingly made for me. I had taken a big bite, so to wash it down, I grabbed my bottled water and took a big swig and the end of my final swallow. Well, apparently I forgot how to swallow, so instead, I believe, I inhaled an entire mouthful of AGUA and my lungs seized.

Instant panic.

I was driving 40 mph, but luckily I was yards from the Post Office. I was heaving and choking, but no air was getting into my lungs. I recklessly pulled into the parking lot, almost hit three parked cars and pulled into a space. I don't even remember pulling in and putting it into park.

I remember feeling like I was underwater because I wasn't choking on food, I was drowning in water! I tried to inhale ever so slightly just to get enough air into my lungs so I wouldn't pass out. I felt another seize. I felt my lungs shut off. Then, a cough forced out a spatter of water out of my lungs. Again I tried to eep in some air...again, I gacked out a tiny spray of water. I was feeling light headed and like someone had my lungs tacked down like they have frogs tacked down before they dissect them in science class. I knew I needed to get more air in quickly or I was going to pass out. I was looking around to see what I would do if I wasn't making my own progress. But I was seeping air into my lungs, s l o w l y . . . .

For the next ten minutes I continued to gasp, gack, cough and spew water in that parking lot in my truck feeling really stupid and lucky at the same time. When did I forget to swallow water? It's one thing when someone chokes on food, but inhaling an entire mouthful of water? It sucks enough to inhale a few drops!! We've all done THAT before.

I guess yesterday was my unlucky and lucky day. Not that this is a monumental story or anything, but it scared me. The idea of not breathing and not seeing an end to it was scary to me. Air is good and I was alone so counting on myself when I'm freaked isn't comforting one bit!

Pay attention when you are drinking. How stupid would that have been to be in the headlines??

"Joanna Schmidt drowns in Post Office parking lot"

I would have been mortified.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love Is In The Air - Well, At Least Hearts Are

Valentine's Day is not my favorite holiday because it feels to me, that it was made up by the Hallmark Company, to sell cards and gifts and all that. Love is important and should be celebrated, of course....it's just strange that a holiday would make us think to celebrate it. Instead of thinking of it as an "in love" holiday, I consider it a love for friends and family holiday so this way people everywhere shouldn't feel alone if they don't have a significant other.

I know... a little sad and serious...... sooooooooo

On to the beautiful soaps I have found! I went tromping through the internet to find some Valentine's giftie items for you to gaze your lovely eyes on this year. I think I am not doing the Valentine's gift soaps and treats this year because of the major changes going on for me, so it's nice to see others and what their creativity has sparked for them.

So Stinking Sweet has some really cute heart soaps for sale on Etsy:

Be Mine & I'm Yours Valentine heart soap with glitter

Whimsical heart soap in a sweet pink grapefruit scent!


Felted heart soap by the rainbow room:

Handmade Goats Milk & Shea Butter Soap
Hand felted in a luxurious blend of Merino wool and Silk.

Heyland & Little, a company in the UK has a cute little soap set

Queen of the Nile made with Goat's Milk


More felted soap.... skull and crossbones. Totally cute and up my alley ;)

- made to order - honey and oatmeal scented felted soap by Persnickety Pelican


Inner Earth makes beautiful cold process soaps for Valentine's Day:

Treat your sweetheart with this cute heart soap.
Scented with a mouth-watering blend of strawberry, blackberry and
raspberry with a hint of vanilla.
ps: Lovely lady, Erin, of Inner Earth Soaps, sent me two of her soaps that I will be reviewing shortly. Another Australian soap master... I am loving the Australian soap makers over here! Or maybe their soap is loving me. ;)

So even though Valentine's Day may not be for you or me, creativity busts at the seams and it's so nice to see what people are doing out there with their soaps. Way to go people!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oooo, Australia is Full of Talented Soap Makers!

I luckily found this independent soap company this morning as I cruised the internet strip in my pajamas while I drank coffee... hungrily looking for a soap fix. I was feeling soap-bored, if you know what I mean. Every soap was kind of looking like every other soap and the descriptions were all blending into each other and blah, blah, blech. I got bored, but then I found, Beguile. In Sydney, Australia.

...and lately I have really been lovely the white creamy peaky topped soaps. So pure, so wintry and fresh looking. They look so moisturizing and luxurious to me.

Kathy is Beguile's soap maker and owner. You can check out Kathy's blog , too, where she writes about her soap making journey and shares photos of what she's up to in the studio. Check it out.

Why so many talented soap makers in Australia, I wonder? ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stella Marie In The Movies

Kim Gonzaga of Stella Marie Soap Company is a wonderful soap maker and great business woman. I love her moxie and sense of style. She's has a unique approach because of who she is and I think it makes her stand out, which, of course, is what will put her in the spotlight.

She made a stylized video of her hot process soap making and it should be shared. It shows a little Kim and it shows her soap process. Take a look.

Thank you, Kim, for allowing me to share your video with the rest of my readers and for letting me try your luscious soapies. Yum, they are good. Keep it up, girl. You are going places!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Sheep, Too!

I absolutely love this packaging. I love the stylized wrapping, the simple fancy ribboned bar of soap, but then when a soap is wrapped with an unusual flair, I just love it even more. Unique is KING and I love it and that's the way I roll.

So I found these great looking soaps on Etsy... made with sheep's milk. I hadn't heard of that yet, but of course, why the hell not? Milk from any animal that produces milk makes sense, really if you think about it. It is full of fat and creates a conditioning bar of soap. Bring on the milk!

Kit De Kat lives in Australia. The handcrafted sheep milk soaps are made on site at her brother’s sheep farm in country Victoria, Australia, where he milks the sheep himself and he spends his time sourcing all of the natural ingredients and perfecting the quality of the soaps he makes. Oh! They are lovely looking soaps wrapped up so nicely...so candy-like:

According to Kit De Kat, among the soap's description she also includes some education which I always eat up at every chance I get. I really AM an information whore.
Milk-based soap is best for your skin. The higher the fat content in the milk, the more moisturising it will be. Sheep milk has a higher fat content and milk proteins than cow or goat milk; it contains up to double the vitamins and minerals than cow and goat’s milk; and the milk and the cream do not separate. Also, the natural alpha-hydroxy acids found in milk have a rejuvenating and softening effect on the skin.

The Japanese have a long history of using rice bran oil in the soaps and skin care. The oil is said to reverse the effect of aging by slowing the formation of facial wrinkles thanks to rice bran oil's rich concentration of Vitamin E and gamma-oryzanol, it offers wonderful moisturising when included in facial formulations as well as being brilliant when used in soap. It is one of the most gentlest of oils and is particularly suited to sensitive, mature and dry skins ... it is even safe for babies because of its excellent softening and moisturising properties. Rice bran oil also has components that are believed to hinder ultraviolet rays as they meet the skin's surface.

eucalyptus sheep milk soap

All of the soaps look like this, wrapped up like these, but come in different scents : Lavender, Lavender with lavender bits, Eucalyptus, Honey & Oatmeal, Tea tree, Calendula, Peppermint, Rose Geranium and an unscented bar.

Soon, Kit De Kat will be selling her hand knitted rugs in her Etsy shop. It is a family run biz and I bet those soaps are fantastic! Especially that rose geranium. They use essential oils, so that must smell divine... mmmm.

Have you tried sheep's milk soap? If so, what was your experience?


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Goat's Milk Soap Finds & Porn

While scouring the internet for new soap makers, I found the Jonas family, a couple with 8 young children in rural Indiana. Everyone in their family participate in their goat milk soap business, Goat Milk Stuff. The 11 year old son milks the goats for the soap during the wee hours in the morning. I am loving the team work! Here are some of their soaps they have on their website:

cool citrus basil soap

hazelnut soap

ocean soap

They also have some soaps listed on Esty if you want to see it over there.

I also stumbled on some other, totally different goat's milk soap. Kristy's Lovely Lathers shows off some super bright and unique looking beauts! I am loving the contrast between the homegrown family run soaps and the artisan wilder side of Kristy. Check'em out:

To me this looks like a pile of edibles..... mmmm

Ocean Waves

Hey Suga Suga

That's it for today. I am always looking for interesting finds. If you are an artist or know a friend that has some cool soap you think I should see, let me know!

Reviewing Your Soaps

I love handcrafted soap and I love to be a part of the soaping community. I thank you in advance for trusting your soaps to me and being a part of my blog. If you would like me to review your soaps, you can mail them to me here:

Joanna Schmidt
3 River Drive
Jupiter, Florida 33469

I will try to get to them/use them as soon as I am able to. Please understand that if I dislike the scent, I will still try to give an honest review about the soap but it is difficult to enjoy a soap if the smell is difficult to enjoy.

Also please try to understand that I work full time and run a household and have two children. Writing this blog and reviewing soaps is something I do for no money and I have a full plate, to say the least. Please understand that if I am behind in getting a review completed that you should not take it personally. I am probably just very busy.

Thank you, again, for being part of this blog. Every person involved here has made it what it is today.


Wish List 2010 - All photos link directly

I made this wish list for family members because no one knows what I like and everyone is asking me what I want for Christmas or my birthday or just in general. ;)

Please understand that I am putting the little and the big things out there because I don't want to filter, but just put down all that I love.

I have no expectations. I am just throwing it all out there.

Love to you all! xoxoxo


"Sweetie" coconut milk soap by cocobong in Germany

No. 8 sheep's milk soap with honey, jojoba & lanolin.
It just sounds like it could lift me up and wrap me in its softness. Mmmm.

This is made in Israel and I love most of what they make (duende74).
I like the off white one or black (large).

Long Sleeved Wrap Top by duende74 (same artist as above)
maybe size 5/6 - dark brown (TAT 3-4 weeks)