Big Plans. Overwhelmed at where to start.

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Jubilee8269

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Not planning on starting a business per se. I'm on SSI and can't chance losing my insurance so that's not even really an option. What I wanted to do was start volunteering at a domestic violence shelter that helped me when I came to where I currently live, or maybe the local LGBT community center. I have a job coach working with me on getting into one of those places. Because I can only work a limited amount. When I start with them i wanted to help with showing movies for the people there, helping with maybe some computer aspect things, and donating some soaps, lotions body butters when I get the equipment to do the latter two things. I have everything just about to do melt and pour soaps. Just waiting on my temperature gun to get here this week and my glycerin for mixing colors.

I accidentally bought a non body safe scent along with a body safe one so my friend suggested making small candles or wax tarts for the people at those places. Like a small comfort thing for them maybe once they get into their own places. Which doesn't seem like a bad idea. Everyone needs those little touches.

The part I'm lost on is what scents are good when you don't know what people are going to want right away? My friend wants chocolate chip cookie soap, and my home health aid wanted sugared strawberry. But that's the two of them. Not a general one. We're more food and fruity kind of people. And how much should I start out with? Like ten soaps? twenty? Five of each scent so they can hand them out? I don't want to over do it. But I don't want to under do it either.
 

TheGecko

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Easy way to determine 'popular' scents is to see what a suppliers "best sellers" is. You can't go wrong with citrus...like Lemon and Orange. Rose, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Peppermint are good choices.

I'm a CP soap maker and I donate a lot of my soaps to the local homeless shelter and food bank. I don't do special orders for these places mainly because it would be cost prohibitive to do so. The soaps that go into my 'donate' box are soaps that I'm not happy with for one reason or another. The colors or design didn't turn out well, the scent faded too quickly, wasn't want I wanted or I forget to add it. Bars for the shelter are cut in half. Half of them going into a ziplock bag with a washcloth, the others just go into gallon bags. Nothing is labeled, the shelter has a list of ingredients and my contact information. Soap for the food bank are left whole, wrapped in plain wax or parchment paper with an ingredient label on them, and the church that runs it has my contact information.

And I have donated soap for charitable auctions. For those, I just pick a couple of dozen soaps out of inventory...properly packaged and labeled.
 

Jubilee8269

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Thank you! I've been making a spreadsheet with all the ingredients and stuff for the labels. Since I'm using detergent free melt and pour I've read it doesn't really need one other than the scent, but I know in my case I'm allergic to things like colorants. So for the sake of people like me I want to make up a list for the shelter so they know what's in what so they can let people know with allergies. Having the idea that that is typical along with my confirmation number is a huge relief. I know the shelter I want to work with already supplies things like washcloths and towels. I don't know if they stopped doing that or not, but I'll def look at some wholesale suppliers for them to see if I can get a few packs to throw in with them if they have.
 

TheGecko

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All you need is a simple Clear or White Base...a good base usually contains Olive Oil (Grade A extra virgin), Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerine (kosher, or vegetable origin), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol ( moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifer), Oat protein (conditioner). If the Base contains other ingredients...do the research. Make sure you purchase from a reputable supplier.

For colorants and scents...again, reputable suppliers.

A DV Shelter is going to have linens. I only include washcloths because the local shelter is a Stage-1 emergency shelter that provides basic services. The majority of the folks who use their services live on the streets or in camps. I get the zip lock bags in bulk from the local Dollar Store and the washcloths from WalMart.
 

Jubilee8269

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Well the other place I want to work with is for LGBT kids that get kicked out of their houses. So depending on which I work with they might need the washcloths. I don't know why my brain spaced on that. I spent some time in that condition and going to friends houses when my mother didn't want me in her house or when she wanted me in there to 'show what a supportive person' she was. It ran hot and cold on a daily basis. Having my own washcloth and toothbrush holder to keep in a pack for the days I had to go would have been a huge help.
 

TheGecko

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Well the other place I want to work with is for LGBT kids that get kicked out of their houses. So depending on which I work with they might need the washcloths. I don't know why my brain spaced on that. I spent some time in that condition and going to friends houses when my mother didn't want me in her house or when she wanted me in there to 'show what a supportive person' she was. It ran hot and cold on a daily basis. Having my own washcloth and toothbrush holder to keep in a pack for the days I had to go would have been a huge help.
I recently donated a bunch my suitcases, backpacks and rolling backpack to a group that freshens them up and gives them to foster kids since they don't often have more that garbage bags to keep their stuff in. Old cell phones to to DV Shelters since you can still dial 911.

With yard sale season coming up I'm on the lookout for shaving lit/makeup bag bags that I can fill with travel size toiletries and then I drop them off at select homeless "camps" along with additional toiletry items.
 

Jubilee8269

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Unfortunately, I'm needing mine since I'm planning on moving soon. Everything is packed full, but I have a backpack that I can donate after I get the electronics within it recycled. I would give those to them but it's old phones that aren't even supported anymore and no company will use them or activate them (and I used pay by minute phones up until this past year. So I thought of that as being an option until I checked if they would still work) and my old laptop that wouldn't even restart. I had to take the hard drive out to save everything when it refused to start one day and no one could get it going for me. I wish i could just hand the stuff out but I use things until they don't work anymore electronics wise.

The place I'm moving into is assisted living. So my rent will be way down once I get in there and I can help more. I was thinking of working with the place to get them a gift basket of basics that you need to do a quick clean up somewhere using the stuff I make and things you have to buy like the toothbrush cover or holder, soap holder and a washcloth. Tiny bottles of shampoos. Find out what all the local places offer as far as giving stuff away and make a cheat list of when what is open for them to go get stuff. So they have a list. I did something like that for the resident council here when they wanted to do activities. I don't mind doing the calling and the searching and updating if it needs done. I know some places only put the address and that's it. Which can be very frustrating. Maybe some cheap phone chargers from the dollar store for the kids that them. Not until after I move though. That's when I'll be able to afford the better basket and all out of pocket medical stuff.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Make sure you purchase from a reputable supplier.
@TheGecko - Good advice! :thumbs:

@Jubilee8269 - Check out Elements Bath & Body here in Colorado for M&P soap bases and fragrances:

I was quite happy with their Low Sweat Clear Base and Low Sweat White Base,

Go to the Learning Center to get Instructions for a Tutorial for Basic M&P soap

(Try not to get distracted by other tutorials for all the wonderful things you can make! :D)

They have 170+ Fragrance Oils -- it will be hard to choose. Start a thread for suggestions, favorites.

I wish you much success and the best of luck on implementing your plan!
 

bookreader451

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I love what you're doing, as a mom to a LGBT kid, I am heartbroken by the thought that a parent would ever turn their back on their child.

During my kid's teen years I made our tiny Brooklyn apt a safe haven and often had extra kids sleeping wherever they could. That was over 20 years ago and it saddens me that things haven't changed enough.
 

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