Bella Lina Bath

Soap is on the mind

Tag: handmade

We don’t plan to stop using Palm Oil

I always knew a few things at the grocery store used Palm Oil in their ingredients. But I had no idea that up to 50% of the packaged everyday items include Palm Oil. From pizza dough, ice cream, lipstick, and detergent. After doing a bit of research it was pretty clear that Palm Oil used a lot of names that are impossible to pronounce. But if it starts with Palm, its palm oil.

Even with all that being said, we will continue to use Palm Oil. Because we use RSPO Red Palm Oil. By using Red Palm Oil we’re actually helping families provide for themselves. These families are no different from my own just trying to make a better life for their children. Because of this I don’t mind paying extra for this awesome oil. Yes, by using organic oils (I use organic coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil too) I make about .70 cents less per bar than other soapers because I haven’t raised my prices. But it’s worth it to me to help other families, and provide high quality products at a reasonable price.

sustainable red palm oil rspo

sustainable red palm oil rspo

I also add Bentonite Clay and Tussah Silk to all of my soaps too. Yes, not some..  all of them!

 

August Giveaway is Live!

August Giveaway, click on this link to enter.

Our Monthly Giveaway is live and ready for entries! 3 Winners are chosen each month. This month we are giving away any soap currently on our website. Good luck, hope to be emailing you at the end of the month!

Making of Loofah Beer

I love the world of editing. Everything just looks so quick and easy. I can just edit out my panic attacks, my kids who always want to play hide and seek the minute I press record, and of course my mother who bursts in to discuss topics that shouldn’t be repeated.

I have a panic attack EVERYTIME I make a beer soap. Because beer moves so quickly, so to pour the soap into a loofah can be a bad situation if you don’t move fast! That’s why I don’t add any color to the soap or even really stick blend it.

I scented it with a blend of Frankincense and Myrrh, Sandalwood, and Patchouli. It’s a fragrance from Crafters Choice called Three Wise Men. I like to add extra Sandalwood essential oil just to add depth. I use Intuition Jon Boat beer, which is a local brewery. I replace the water and use 100% beer. The beer is really good, and comes in a cute blue and silver can.

I package these soaps in two coffee filters and use a 2 inch kraft label for the name and ingredients of the soap. Keeping things simple and low-cost when it comes to packaging allows me to use more expensive ingredients like organic coconut oil, sustainable red palm oil, and craft beers, and still keeping the soap prices down.

These bars are available online http://www.bellalinabath.com and every Saturday at the Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller Warren Bridge from 10am to 1pm until the last week in Feb. and then 10am to 4pm for the rest of the year.

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. 🙂

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

 

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

 

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!!

jaxbeach2

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 🙂

What’s New

Okay, so I’ve made natural cold-process, hot process, and glycerin soaps for what feels like forever. This summer I wanted to expand my brand and actually create a line of products. I’m finding that a summer just isn’t long enough for me. Trial and error is a long process when it comes to sensitive skin.

But I have to say that the whipped shea body butter has finally been perfected!

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Whipped Shea Body Butter $7 or 3 for $18 on my website http://www.bellalinabath.weebly.com

I wanted to make it soft and light, but I didn’t want to add water because then that means preservative. I really want to keep things chemical free. On top of that I feel like anything watered down is just cheating me out of product. Maybe that seems weird, maybe not.

I knew it had the right consistency when my husband tried to sneak a taste, if it wasn’t for an involuntary reaction/scream/warning he would have tried an interesting “cake batter”.

After searching for what seemed like years, I finally found a bonafide contact in Ghana to provide me with good prices for bulk raw Shea Butter. Thankfully that means I can trickle these savings down to my customers. Yay!

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Oh yeah, super creamy and nutty smelling. This is the good stuff!

In the lab (AKA kitchen) working on more things and testing them out. I try them on normal to oily skin first (my hubby and his fam) after waiting a week or so to see any effects/reactions I try sensitive skin (my own) then ultra sensitive (my daughter w a horrible case of eczema which has been kept under control for a while now thanks to using all natural products.) Then try on baby skin (my 1 year old son.) My products are not tear free so I make sure to keep everything out of my sons eyes.

This process takes a while because I like to wait for any reactions and see the difference after a few weeks. I don’t sell anything that doesn’t make a difference on skin. I make sure that skin is more moisturized after application. It’s not enough to keep it chemical free, it’s needs to have a positive affect as well 🙂

I’m working on bath bombs right now (haven’t working out the perfect fizz yet) and about to launch my bath souffle’s!!! Excited stuff!

Thanks for reading!

Jessie

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