Bella Lina Bath

Soap is on the mind

So many changes this past year, all for the better!

This past year has truly been an amazing one for me, my family, and my thriving small business. In January my husband lost his job of 13 years. This was a big hit financially and emotionally to husband and I, I was always the “free spirit” the person that jumped from project to project, worked part-time to have a little play money, but never really took anything seriously when it came to working. My husband was always the unmoving rock so to speak, I just fluttered around him 🙂  Luckily, we had a little savings for a rainy day (it was pouring) so we cashed it out and decided that Orlando, FL wasn’t where we wanted to raise our children. We wanted to be in an area that we could slow down and enjoy the scenery… and by scenery, I of course meant beach. So what better place than Jacksonville Beach, my mother had lived here for a few years and had nothing but good things to say about it.

So in March, I quit my full-time job, yes I said full-time. It was supposed to be a part-time job that I could just be Jessica, not mom, or maid, or doormat… just Jessica. I wanted a simple job that by the time I walked out of the door, I forgot I worked that day. After 4.5 years, I had moved into quasi management, took on full-time hours, and a super stressful workload. So when opportunity hit (and the frustration of getting a 7 cent raise) I “went to lunch” and never looked back! This past Black Friday was the first Black Friday I haven’t worked in a looong time! It felt fantabulous to sleep in.

After we moved, my husband and I had the discussion. This year was going to be the year that Bella Lina Bath was either going to sink or swim. I had gone to farmers markets and selling online for a little over year, but I never put everything I had into it. After my two kids, college, husband, and a full-time job there wasn’t much left. In May I started at the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). After looking far and wide RAM seemed to be the only market that people talked about.

This place was AMAZING! There’s so many vendors selling all kinds of things. My first thought after going a couple of weeks and then touring with the newbie group was “I don’t belong here”. I thought about how I’m only one person with two hands. But what really stuck was the sinking feeling that “I’m not good enough”. I was shaking out of my flip-flops terrified.

When I got home, I sat in my soap studio and said to myself “this is it”. I come from a long line of business women, I’m strong I can do this too. I was still scared the first show, but I was on fake it to make it status! Although it was raining the first day, I met wonderful customers that have stuck with me and really helped me build my business confidence.

After a couple of months of just really putting myself out there, I had a following! People who came back telling me about how their skin had changed and how I had miracle products!! I knew that my products had always worked for me and my family, but that leap of faith when it comes to sharing something so close to your heart with others really puts you in a vulnerable place. I can’t even begin to explain the joy and contentment I feel when people come back with a clear face when they had acne, or eczema before.

Not only has my business grown this past year in a new town that has embraced me in a way that I could never have imagined, but I have grown as a person because of it. By putting my dream out there, without holding anything back and getting all the positive feedback… really just makes me teary eyed every time I think about it.

As I sit here writing this balling my eyes out (with joy), I think about where I was last year. I was sad, frustrated, cluttered, claustrophobic, 20 lbs heavier, aggravated, unfulfilled, and so much more. This time last year I wanted to just walk away from life with whatever fit in my car.

Well I did! One year later, I’m happy, ecstatic, fulfilled, in love, organized (for the most part), living greener, actually making good friends, and just basically enjoying living. I’m no longer existing… and it really took writing this to see how far I’ve come in just one year.

If my husband never lost his job, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here as happy and content as I am now. I might still be at a dead-end job, making money but losing my humanity (I know it sounds dramatic, I’m dramatic), living in a small cluttered space, without real human interaction. One door closes, and the world opens up I guess. 🙂

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My Welcome Video on my website

My website is http://www.bellalinabath.com

I’ll be posting more videos very soon. I made a lot for youtube. If you’d like to subscribe, I’m listed under bellalinabath

 

Summer’s almost gone

I know, I know, it’s always summer in Florida. That’s really not the case. Granted, it does last longer than northern months but it does get cold here. With that in mind, its time I start my holiday soaps! It’s so hard to say goodbye to some of summer scents, but honestly I had to leave some scents at home last week because I just don’t have anymore room.

Right now, I have 5 beer soaps (because we sold out of one last week). I think I’m going to add 1 or 2 more (pumpkin spice beer for sure).

Here’s a short video of my booth

Here’s some pictures

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So I’m thinking of adding another shelf in front of the right table. I want to add gift baskets and specialty soaps on that shelf. I also want to add 3 tiers to the table on the right so that I can fit everything on.  This is my last run of: insect repellant, 1 oz argan oils, and a few soaps. I’ll be adding as soon as we can get them out: liquid soaps, shampoo, conditioners, hair smoothies, hair milk, and lotion bars.

I would like the table on the left to be full bath bombs. 🙂

Petroleum- free lip balms

I’ve made lip balms for a while now. I started selling them maybe about 6 months ago and I always get the question “Why would I get a lip balm that petroleum free, I love petroleum jelly

The flavors are: Margarita, Eucalyptus & Spearmint, Coconut Cream, Orange Chocolate Truffle, Peppermint & Spearmint, and Sweetened.

The flavors are: Margarita, Eucalyptus & Spearmint, Coconut Cream, Orange Chocolate Truffle, Peppermint & Spearmint, and Sweetened.

I explain that petroleum comes from oil-drilling, how it was discovered in 1859 on some of the first oil rigs in Pennsylvania. It’s a residue that’s left over from crude oil. I tell them that it seems redundant to come to a farmers market and buy organic vegetables when you’re turning around and putting petroleum jelly on your lips. I explain that no matter how hard you try, you are ingesting it. Some people get that “aha” moment, some people get offended that I pointed out the irony.

But thanks to Dr. Oz, I don’t really have to point out much anymore. He’s an awesome doctor especially for those of us that try to leave a green lifestyle. He does a great job explaining the obvious, and sometimes not so obvious. Anyway, here’s what I pulled off of his website http://www.doctoroz.com.

Don’t Gloss Over It

What could be more harmless than a little shine on your rosy lips? Well, as it turns out, lots of things, because the shine in lip gloss comes from petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil drilling, and when you spread it on your lips, you end up eating it, which is essentially the same as drinking gasoline. Add up the amount of lip gloss the average woman uses (and consumes) over a decade, and it equals 7 pounds. The European Union has banned many petroleum jelly products, and experts are concerned they could be linked to cancer. Women with breast cancer have twice the levels of hydrocarbons (substances found in petroleum jelly) in their breasts than women who haven’t had breast cancer.

What to Use Instead

Steer clear of any products that list petroleum jelly or mineral oil on the ingredient list. Choose glosses that look more like lipstick and avoid any that advertise lip “plumping” capabilities, they contain products that irritate your lips to make them swell and look larger. Instead, select products with sunscreen to protect your lips from the carcinogenic effects of the sun (look for zinc oxide on the ingredient list), and glosses made from beeswax, which is completely non-toxic. If you are deeply attached to a petroleum-based gloss, save it for special occasions and use a sunscreen under it to protect your lips.

Ingredients are: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Local Honey, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Cocoa and Shea butter, Organic Beeswax, Fragrance or Essential Oils (Spearmint, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint flavors are essential Oils)

I’ll have this up on my website soon http://www.bellalinabath.com. I’ll also have them every Saturday at the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville, FL.

References:http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/price-beauty?page=2#copy

 

Where you can catch us… so far.

Our new customers at the Riverside Arts Market have been so welcoming that we decided to make it our Saturday Event for the rest of the year! So here’s our current line up. I’m still looking for something on Sunday’s and one more day in the week. But haven’t found anything yet that’s not flooded with other soapers.

June
6/1/13-  Booth 402
6/8/13-  Booth 406
6/15/13-Booth 402
6/22/13-Booth 407
6/29/13-Booth 402

July
7/6/13-7/27/13 Booth 402

August
8/3/13-8/10/13  Booth 402
8/17/13-8/31/13 Booth 406

September
9/7/13-9/14/13 Booth 406
9/21/13 Booth 404
9/28/13 Booth 406

October
10/5/13-10/19/13 Booth 406
10/26/13- Booth 406

November
11/2/13-11/23/13 Booth 406
11/30/13 Booth 402

December
12/7/13-12/14/13 Booth 402
12/21/13- Booth 505

 

Competition

I just wanted to take a few minutes to express my opinions when it comes to other soapers and competition.

I’ve been getting emails, messages, and comments about competition. Whether it be that someone bought another persons soap, or how some other soapers have soaps or others items that resemble my own, or sometimes just people starting a conversation with the words “So your competition over there…”

I don’t consider anyone competition, period. My honest opinion is that we are a community. There are more than enough people in this world that use soap 🙂 I’m not worried that someone has decided to either make or start selling their own. Sometimes someone else may have something that I don’t, and I don’t hesitate to send them across the way to my fellow soaper.

I love having friends that make soap or are interested in making soap, it gives me someone to talk to because that’s pretty much always the first thing on my mind. I like bouncing ideas off of other soapers, we brainstorm together. We are artists, and there’s a lot of art out there… that doesn’t stop an artist from being what they’re meant to be.

If you have had a chance to talk to me about an interest in making soap, then you know that I’m an open book and willing to offer you any help you need plus all of my suppliers. I look up to other soapmakers that have employees and stores because that’s something I’m looking forward to in the future. I truly believe that when you’re passionate about something and you put yourself out there, your product speaks for itself.

I’m just not the kind of person to have a conversation about how my products are superior to anyone else. I can tell you how I make my products, I can tell you what I use, and I can tell you why I use certain ingredients, but honestly it’s up to you.

First Day at the Riverside Art Market in Jacksonville, FL

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know that our little family decided to move from Orlando, FL to Jacksonville, FL. It’s been a crazy ride and hoping to get a good response with Bella Lina Bath, LLC has been on my mind 24/7. Our first day at the Riverside Art Market was fantastic! Although it was dreary and wet, we were under the bridge and it didn’t seem to affect us. A lot of vendors cancelled so it seemed as though the market was at 25% in comparison to the week before.

5/4 RAM

We kept a positive attitude and knew that even it we made a few sales, it’s a few more sales than we made by staying home. All of the vendors were super nice and had a lot of nice things to sell. I just wanted to buy everything! Even though the market closed an hour early, there was a great crowd and we ended the day with a lot of products sold. Our bath bombs, soap cupcakes, and cake slices were a HUGE hit. Apparently, it was a new spin on soap in Jacksonville 🙂

I think the icing on the cake was when I went to Costco today and an employee said “hey you’re the soap lady, I love my soap!” I couldn’t believe that a town as big as Jacksonville could show me what a small world we live in; in such a short amount of time.

If you happen to be in the Jacksonville area, I will be at RAM every Saturday this month: 5/11 Booth 505, 5/18 Booth 402, and May 25 Booth 504. Hope to see you there!!

Making Big Moves!

So it’s been a little over a month, but I have officially moved from Orlando, FL to Jacksonville Beach, FL!!

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It’s exciting, horrible, and everything in between all rolled up into one, there’s a few reasons why…

1. My husband got laid off in January, scary stuff seeing he was the money-maker and I’m just the supplemental; work when I’m off kinda job.

2. I went to a full-time pseudo-management spot, with no raise other than a promise of a far off bonus. Just babysat a bunch of whiny asses that I wanted to bitch slap on regular basis. I turned into robo-bitch… so let’s just agree that Best Buy had succeeded in killing my creative free spirit. So I walked in one day, bought everything that I needed with my discount and walked out on the past 4.5 years of my crappy job life.

3. While working this crappy full-time job I was still making bath products full-time and having my husband sell for me for some supplemental income. He had the time, and I had the inventory. This was the start of the domino effect. After a good weekend at the market that I attended (because let’s face it my husband tries his best, but he’s introvert and adding two kids under 5 into the mix and a bunch of questions that he never paid any mind to the explanations I gave him… you see where I’m going). I realized… I made more selling soap in two days than I did in two weeks at my crappy job!

So here we are. We broke our lease, packed the kids and our belongings and signed a lease up here. It’s beautiful! But I’ll be damned if there are only a handful of farmers markets! After day 3, reality hit. We have a bit of money in the bank but we are two unemployed people in a new place with no one but my mother. Shit. What was I thinking.

So I spent hours everyday looking online for markets. Finding that a lot of them weren’t running anymore, etc. But I kept hearing about Riverside Art Market. So I applied, let me tell you… these people asked so many damn questions! But I answered the questions the best I could, such as:

What makes you different from the other vendors that sell the same kind of products you do?

… um. I know!   Answer: My winning personality. 😀

Who woulda thunk.. I got accepted!! I’ll be in booth 505 this Saturday, 5/4/13. And then I’ll be celebrating with some margarita’s on the beach 5/5/13.

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Btw. My husband has applied to go to welding school. Everything works out 🙂

Bath Bomb Take 2 —-> Success!

 

 

So it was back to the drawing board after my first bath bomb fiasco. It was pretty hard to find a good recipe because it seemed like most people kept a good recipe close the vest. So after tons of research and YouTube video’s I came up with the basic recipe of: 1/4 citric acid and 3/4 of baking soda. A lot of recipe’s I came across were just plain wrong. I could tell just by looking at the recipe.

The best recipe I came across was from Brambleberry’s blog. This recipe is pretty close, but I also wanted to add bubbles to the recipe. Let’s call it a Bubble Bath Bomb 🙂

1 cup Citric Acid

2 cups Baking Soda

2 tbsp. of any clay you want (I used French Green Clay)

18 ml. Lavender essential oil or fragrance oil

I also used:

1/2 tsp. of purple oxide

1/2 cup of SLS

I also added some lavender buds to the top of each bomb just to look pretty.

The recipe is great. But I think everything I did afterward is what truly made the difference.

1. Use a sifter for baking soda, citric acid, clay, oxide, and SLS. WEAR A MASK WHEN MIXING SLS, IT IS TOXIC. It will get in your lungs and cause an unbearable cough. Using the sifter cuts your mixing time by 30 min. or more!

2. I like to use gloves to keep any bacteria out of the mixture. When adding in essential or fragrance oil add a little at a time and mix fast so that it doesn’t fizz prematurely.

3. Citric Acid can be expensive if you buy it from a Health Food store. I made that mistake and paid $1 an ounce. Crazy when you think this mixture cost me $8 in just citric acid. Now I’ve learned my lesson and use http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/ they also have free shipping and sales on Mondays. If anyone is curious, I suggest this website for your soap and candle needs.

4. Mistake numero dos! I went on Ebay and bought a bath bomb mold for a little more than $5  with shipping for one. You really need more than one mold when making these. I don’t exactly like the look of bath bombs in other shapes beside a circular one. So after getting one itty bitty mold in the mail that yielded about 3.5 oz. I got smart and went to Hobby Lobby and bought 5 clear plastic christmas tree ornaments that open half way so you can make your own. Cost me $1 a piece after getting them for 40% off.

5. After getting the right consistency (easier to look up the soapqueens video on bath bombs so you can actually see the right consistency). I added a pinch of lavender buds to the bottom then over packed both sides of my bombs and squished them together. I cleaned off any excess, and very carefully tapped the top of side without the lavender buds and gently squeezed that side off. ITS VERY IMPORTANT TO LEAVE THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE MOLD ON FOR AT LEAST 10 MIN. I left it on until I was done with all of my bombs which was about 30 minutes.

6. I put them on a tray to dry for three days and afterward weighed them. They were just about 8 ounces!

So here’s the finished product! Let me know if you have any questions. They make about 3 or 4 baths. I’ll be making more batches and seeing the results on mine and my daughters sensitive skin before I put up for sale.

 

Bath Bomb –>Take 1

I’ve been working with bath bombs. I wanted to make a triple bomb: fizzy, moisturizing, and bubble bath. Right now we’re at 2 of 3. It’s super moisturizing and makes a nice amount of big bubbles, but it failed on the fizz. But I’m okay with that, back to the drawing board. I won’t put this up for sale on my website www.bellalinabath.weebly.com until it’s the triple bomb I’m going for. The bomb wasn’t terrible easy to get used to either, but I now understand why great bombs aren’t super cheap. It’s worth the work, and worth the money. I scented these in Lavender and colored them a light purple. They were amazing, but I won’t put them up for sale until I can create the perfect recipe and of course make sure there aren’t any reactions.

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