Experienced Soapers... Your thoughts please.

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HeatherEdgens

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To give you a bit of background information... I lost my 13 year old son in February. It's a long story, but he went in for surgery and never woke up. Needless to say, I've been in a horrendous funk. I also have a 12 year old daughter. My daughter frequently goes to visit her aunt from her fathers side (my ex-husband).

Her aunt Crystal lost her 22 year old son about 2 years ago. Like me, she went through this phase where she secluded herself into her home. But, while in there, she did research, and designed an all natural product line that uses herbs. She now sells herbal cleanses that are (and I'm not supposed to say this, but) healing people. Like, people who have been bed ridden and doctors can't find out what's going on.. They use Crystal's cleanse and are better, up and enjoying life.

Crystal enlisted my daughter to help her gather some roots that she needed, and off handedly, I told her if she needed help with anything, to let me know. She took that statement and ran with it, enlisting me to make her soap that smells like her cleanses (which smell really good btw).

So, this is where you guys come in. I tried my hand at melt and pour. I have read through this entire forum, the teach soap forum, and thousand of articles online. I get melt and pour is the "cheat" way of making soap. I get a lot of cp and hp makers look down on mp. I get that it's not 100% all natural. But, I started with melt and pour because... well for starters potentially blowing up my kitchen doesn't sound like fun. Second, melt and pour lets my daughter work with me. She's struggled over the loss of her brother, as they were so incredibly close. But, when we made our "trial" soaps, she laughed, she smiled, and she had fun. That's seriously important to me now days as a situation like this is a life changing event that will either make her or break her so to speak. How I (and we) handle this will mold her future. So, as much as it sucks to pretend to be happy without my little red head guy running around, she deserves a functioning mom... And third, time is kind of important. Crystal needs her soaps as quickly as possible, and if I can manage to work from home and be with my daughter while earning some money.. that sounds like a good idea to me.

So, having said all of that, would starting a melt and pour soap business be... wrong? Obviously, because of the nature of Crystals business, I'd have to go as close to "all-natural/organic" as I can get with the bases. But.. given some of the things I've read from you hot and cold processors... I feel... almost grimy just doing melt and pour. I have made some batches, and handed them out to women so that they can give me an honest opinion. All my reviews are good. They are happy with the lather, the length of time it lasts, and have made it clear they will purchase once I'm up and going. Crystal has people from her group on Facebook who will test the soaps I make for them, and will order once I get the recipe down. I also have a local coffee shop that has already promised me a table (free of charge) at an event they are doing next month, and has expressed a desire to sell them at the coffee shop. So, the potential is there.

I guess I just feel like..... I don't know... that I am a cheat??

Crystal told me to design a logo.. something for my kids (her logo reflects a connection between her and her son). So, I've been the last few weeks thinking about that. I plan to expand to do more then just soap.. I'd like to make hard lotion bars, shampoos, and bath bags too. So this is what I came up with.... I've called my son Boog since birth. Short for Boogie, because he always had a snotty nose. My daughters name is Rebecca, everyone calls her Becca, and I call her Bec. I thought I'd name my business "Boog & Bec" with a slogan of "A Homemade Company". And on my website and facebook page, put: In Loving Memory of My Son and For A Brighter Future for My Daughter.

I know "homemade" is a sensitive word here in the soap world. LOL.. So, what do you guys think? Is melt and pour okay, given the circumstances? The name alright? Am I wrong??

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for your responses!
 

lsg

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Welcome to the forum. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad to hear that you are determined to carry on with your life despite the sorrow and loss you are feeling. I don't feel that using M&P base is cheating as long as you don't use terms such as "All Natural, Organic, etc." So much can be done with M&P base. Soap Queen is a good blog with lots of ideas for M&P soapers.
 

Seawolfe

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I'm so sorry for your loss!
I don't think M&P is cheating. There are some very high quality bases out there, and the soaps themselves can be absolutely beautiful. I've even made my own M&P, and I don't think its any "less natural" than CP or HP soap, because hey - lye and the resulting alkali salts of fatty acids (ie soap) isn't really natural either...
The fun with CP or HP soaps is your absolute control over the ingredients. But M&P is fun and can be really nice. The way I look at it is like baking - some people are professional bakers and concentrate on making the baked goods from scratch. Others concentrate on decorating basic sponge cakes or cookies with wildly beautiful icings and toppings.
 

shunt2011

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Hello and Welcome! I'm so sorry for your loss. Glad you've been able to find something to bring you and your daughter together.

I agree with lsg comments regarding MP is great. You can do a lot of things with MP that can't be done with CP or HP.

As far as making money, that's a different story. Soap businesses are very hard. There are so many soapmakers out there today.

If you do so, remember to make sure you label everything correctly and make sure you have your business license and insurance in place.

Good Luck to you!
 

BrewerGeorge

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So sorry for your loss. We almost lost our oldest at 17, and I can't imagine.

As for the M&P, I don't know what, exactly, you mean by "uses herbs" but if you're using vegetal herbs themselves, M&P might be your only option, as the lye would likely ruin any herbs you put in CP/HP soap anyway. At the least turn it into the infamous "mouse turds". From personal experience, I tried putting whole hops in a soap and they turned into brown crap with no smell.
 

lenarenee

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Heather,

You have my sincerest sympathy for suffering such a loss. I'm sorry.

Do you live in an area with medical or church organizations that offer support groups or counseling for bereavement? You and Becca might find that helpful.

You made me laugh when you mentioned "blowing up the kitchen" because for 2 decades that is what people told me when I expressed interest in making soap! I kept me from trying, and that's a shame. When and if you are ready to use lye, you don't need to worry about blowing up the kitchen and we'll gladly help you through the process! (the invention of computers and lye calculators made lye accuracy so much safer!!)

Are you a cheat for choosing melt and pour?? Some people do think m&p is cheating, but Heather you already answered your own question when you described your daughter laughing and enjoying the process. It does not matter one big fig what anyone else thinks!! It works for you and Becca and that's is the ONLY thing that matters!

No, its definitely not cheating.

My personal opinion on m&p is this: I have a great deal of respect for people who do it because it requires patience and accuracy when heating and pouring to get good results, plus there's the artistry and design planning that goes into it. I simply hate all those details! I'll do m&p maybe twice a year to make one artistic soap (like a Christmas soap) and it takes several hours for one loaf of soap! A cold process soap - I can make 5 - 7 lbs of swirled soap in an hour (not counting cleanup).

Are you adding herbs to the soap? If so, then actually m&p preserves more of the integrity of the herb because its not being exposed to lye. It was either Robert Tisserand or Kevin Dunn who said that lye kills a lot of the constituents of essential oils. Lavender is one that is least affected - but even then only retains about 50% of its "goodness" in cold process soap.

Heather, don't let anyone tell you which is right for you and Becca right now.
Do what works.

Just fyi: you know your daughter's abilities best. But don't assume that she's not capable of doing cold process simply because of her age. I'm a child care professional with a 9 year old who soaps with me, collects and pins bees in almost museum quality displays and has excavated a fossil that might be displayed in a San Diego museum (all done with adult supervision), and possibly saved a baby's life when the inattentive mother didn't notice him choking in a restaurant.

We are here to help. Talk to us. Ask us questions. Vent. Welcome to the forum.
 
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Steve85569

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^^^ All of the above.
I suspect that CP is in your future at some time.
Start where you are comfortable.
HP could eventually work for you too - just add the herbals at the very end of the process.

So many possibilities to be creative.

My sincere condolences as well.
 

dibbles

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Hi Heather. I am truly sorry for your loss. It seems like soap making might be a good thing for you and your daughter.

As far as your question about whether M&P is cheating, my answer is no. I did M&P for many years before I finally felt brave enough to tackle the lye. I so admire some of the artistic M&P soaps, that I really didn't have the patience to make. I bought pretty molds, left the soap uncolored and found my creativity in creating fragrance blends. Melt and Pour is definitely kinder to essential oils than CP. If you encounter soapers that look down their noses at M&P, just let it roll off.

You asked about your company name. I think that it is a lovely tribute to your children. I also think 'homemade' is fine. But maybe 'home made'? Homemade to me implies something 'made' at home. Home Made implies that as well, but more of a feeling of created with love from a home. Maybe that's just me, though.

Good luck as you go forward, and welcome to this forum. There are many knowledgeable people here more than willing to share.
 

earlene

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Welcome, Heather. You and your SIL sound like a couple of fabulous and courageous women. I know the loss of a child is a very hard road to travel and it stays with you for the rest of your life. Your daughter will always remember him, too, and it will remain with her the rest of her life as well. I was in your daughter's place as a child. My baby brother passed when I was 10 and it impacted my family in very significant way.

Your plans sound very right for you and your family. I wish you and your daughter and your business every success, as well as healing that comes with time.
 

IrishLass

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Welcome, Heather- my heartfelt condolences for your enormous loss. :(

Ditto to all of the above^^^^^.

No- you are not cheating. Like Seawolfe expressed, CP and HP are not any more "natural" than MP. After all, it's not like you can find any of them growing on trees somewhere. :lol:

Ditto what Shunt said- just be sure to have all your ducks in a row in regards to correct labeling and having your business license and insurance intact.


IrishLass :)
 

Millie

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Wow, I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with the others, it sounds like this MP adventure is exactly what you and your daughter need, and it sounds like it might help you make connections with others which is hard after a tragedy but so important.

You are being very creative with the soap too, so it is not just melt and pour - you are doing more than that with your plant additives and whatever else you choose to add to complement your SIL's business. It might take some time to learn the intricacies if fiddling with MP base, but everything takes time. Creating scent combinations with essential oils is also challenging and rewarding - it seems like most soapers use FOs and don't feel like they are cheating because they are still creating something wonderful and unique. We each get to pick and choose which parts we make from scratch or buy ready-made depending on what makes us happy.

I wish you and your daughter all the luck in the world, and I hope this adventure brings you joy and helps you heal together.
 

HeatherEdgens

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Well I learned a few things....

Thanks guys for all of your responses. No where only did I read anything about essential oils losing their goodness when mixed with lye. I had no idea!

As for uses herbs.. Crystal literally goes and find the things she uses in her cleanses... pull things off trees, digs things up, whatever it is that she needs to do to get her stuff. Then she dries it herself, grinds it up, and mixes things up for people who need it. It's a seriously long, way more complicated process then I'd like. LOL... But then to, she has always been into plants, and I can't tell the difference between a strawberry plant growing versus a weed. So... LOL.

I was also under the impression that kids shouldn't be around lye. Not that I wouldn't trust Bec to do what I say, but... Online made it sound as though it was extremely dangerous.

Probably hot process is in my future. My mother tried her hand at that one year and made me oatmeal soap for christmas. I love the "rustic" look of those soaps versus the shiny that melt and pour seems to be. Maybe one day I'll get brave.... LOL :)

Okay, so I definitely feel better... I don't feel like a fraud anymore. I just don't want to offend anyone around town with my "Cheating" soaps. LOL.

Thank you everyone for your input!
 

dixiedragon

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If you are interested in a more natural base, check out Brambleberry. I'm a CP soaper myself and I don't object to people making, using or selling MP. I do object to people (not on this forum) who insist that their MP doesn't have lye but that booth down the row uses that nasty ol' lye.

I will also say that I object to MPers calling their soap made from scratch, unless they are actually making their own MP base (some do).

I do think you need to learn more about MP soap and herbs before embarking on a business.
 

dixiedragon

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As we say here, lye isn't radioactive. Respect the lye, but don't fear it. If you decide you want to try CP or HP, you may find lye at a locally-owned hardware store. I think most big-box stores no longer carry lye. My local hardware store said, "Making soap?" when I asked for lye.

One thing - You may want to make sure you are legally protected in case the FDA comes knocking on your friend's door.
 

lenarenee

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Here you go: http://roberttisserand.com/2011/06/essential-oils-in-soap-interview-with-kevin-dunn/

To clarify about kids and lye: You have to know your child - can they focus, can they hold still in a contained area without needing to jump, shout, wriggle, are they internally focused therefore don't notice their surroundings, how do they react when they sustain a small injury, do they respect the need for protective practices, etc.

I've taught an 8 year old and his mother to make soap - and trust that child's ability over our 17 year old neighbor (whom I won't teach to make soap). He goes to the same school as our girl, so they both have real lab experience and training. The 17 year old goes to a typical textbook and worksheet school, plus is very high energy and easily distracted.
 

dibbles

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dixiedragon recommended Bramble Berry soap bases. I would second that. I think their soap bases are from SFIC, which was the best soap base I've tried. Essentials by Catalina (or Elements Bath and Body) bases are pretty good too IMO.

Eventually, you might get to the point where you will be able to order directly from SFIC, but their minimum is a LOT of soap base.
 

SaltedFig

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Hi Heather,

I am sorry for your loss.

Your writing style is welcoming and engaging, and your business plan and slogan sound inviting. If the name and slogan satisfy your need now, then go with it - it's not locked in stone - you can move on from it later if you want (not saying you should, just that you can).

An idea for you, especially with you liking the HP soaps, maybe try rebatching soap noodles? You get a bit closer to the product you like the look of, and that experience could be directly translated into soaping (with lye) later on.

For the moment, M&P sounds like a terrific creative outlet and a step in a very positive direction (be sure to forgive yourself for the inevitable mistakes and missteps along the way).

I applaud you for your strength. Wishing you and your daughter all the best of luck in your new venture.
 

HeatherEdgens

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If you are interested in a more natural base, check out Brambleberry. I'm a CP soaper myself and I don't object to people making, using or selling MP. I do object to people (not on this forum) who insist that their MP doesn't have lye but that booth down the row uses that nasty ol' lye.

I will also say that I object to MPers calling their soap made from scratch, unless they are actually making their own MP base (some do).

I do think you need to learn more about MP soap and herbs before embarking on a business.

This is exactly what I plan on NOT doing. I won't pretend that I did it all, cause lying has never been my strong point. LOL... If someone ask, I plan on saying I use melt and pour for all the reasons I listed above. I also won't knock someone else's work, because last I checked, I'm not God (if you believe in him), and I don't have the right to judge. LOL... To each their own, and ANYONE that can make anything with their hands has a talent to be admired in my book. As far as a business goes.. I plan on taking my time with that- making some more to just hand out, use myself, and see what I need to fine tune. A business is a lot of work, and soap making is fun, but that's not all there is to it! My husband owns a business, so I know just how much all that takes. I'm not there yet. :)
 

HeatherEdgens

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Rebatching soap noodles... Now, rebatching I get... but this would be a first for me on the soap noodles thing... LOL

That sounds like something I'd spend more time throwing at my daughter just to make her squeal. LOL

What exactly is that??
 

SaltedFig

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Rebatching soap noodles... Now, rebatching I get... but this would be a first for me on the soap noodles thing... LOL

That sounds like something I'd spend more time throwing at my daughter just to make her squeal. LOL

What exactly is that??
:lol:

Soap noodles are pre-made soap, used as a base to process with your additives.

These people sell some (there are a few places you can buy them from): https://www.camdengrey.com/essential-oils/soap-noodles.html

Some soap makers will also sell plain soaps for you to try rebatching (I agree - noodles is funny :mrgreen:)
 
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