I realize it’s been a while since I last made a post….actually July 7 last year. As they say, time flies when you are having fun! I figured I would just make a bullet list of some of the changes that have happened since.
1. We made it through winter! That is no small feat when living in an old building with 11 ft ceilings and lots of holes to the outside. I have to say the weather was great for making Goat Milk Soap though.
2. I’ve been working on the new soap shop and it is taking longer than I imagined to fix. Not that anything was terribly wrong, just not done right and we have had to correct a lot. It was a pricey gamble when I purchased it regarding the ceiling. I could only see a 2 ft square of tin that was rusting and leaking as everything was covered with an 8 ft drop ceiling. My husband said “No way are you buying that building.” Ok, Colin did add a few more adjectives but Ha! I say…now people see what I saw the day I walked in. While it’s no way finished, I hope to have it opened in July. Here’s some before and getting closer photos.
3. We are no longer shipping international. I will miss my soaps jetting off to foreign destinations like Iceland, Australia, Japan and Spain but people complain about shipping fees and I only charge actual so it’s just not worth the hassle any longer with customs and paperwork.
4. I started and am still working on the Arcadia Valley Soap website. It will list all of the brands I work under and showcase the Vintage Valley ™ line of soaps located on the MoSoap site. I’ve really enjoyed making these particular soaps as part of the proceeds are donated to my community – so thanks to all my customers here at MoSoap.com who have purchased them and helped our food pantry, Historical Society and a lovely little historic Church.
5. We are still working on the Commercial Hotel in between fixing the soap shop and full time jobs. Soap making is a full time job for me and my husband drives 160 miles per day to go to his job, then on weekends we work on the buildings. Thanks to those customers that have stopped by and picked up their orders – it has been fun to met some of you after all these years. I can’t believe I have been doing this online for 14 years and some of you are still with me!!!!
Happy Easter everyone!
It’s been a little over a year since I reopened the web store after being closed for our moved down to Ironton, Missouri. As some of you know, we purchased an old Hotel built in 1906 and thought things were a wee bit better than reality. Falling bricks and falling through floors have sometimes caused me to be a bit slow in having your orders out because some days, I just can’t make soap. But the funny part of all of this, is that the business has continued to grow and that was after I did the first price increase on the lye soaps in 12 years~~go figure, I was hoping it would slow things down.
But people love old fashioned lye soaps and most every day new customers comment on how much they enjoy our pine tar products, so it has made all of the troubles worth while. Nothing like leaning over scrubbing pots with a garden hose along the parking lot in 100 degree heat (or in the middle of the night when it was cool) because I had no sink for 6 months, our bath was with a garden hose in the public restrooms we now own and I wasn’t washing the soap pots in there! We love our new “home” so I’m not complaining, more trying to explain why I am slow sometimes. No internet for a few days because they were working on the walls and cut wires (ugh!), mortar and bricks actually fell in a pot of soap one night and that is when I said I was closing for a few months. So things are better but going from a 3000 sq ft shop to a 500 ft room isn’t what I was planning on in a 5300 sq ft building but the good Lord does not give you things you can’t handle. I was able to fill a 500 lb laundry soap order for a construction company in Texas that uses the soap for adobe buildings and that was challenging when the power went out and my mother and I hand grated all 500 lbs with no air conditioning and 92 percent humidity.
So now that Colin and I have decided to make the hotel back into a proper Hotel, I needed to find another soap shop. A cute little (900 sq ft) building came on the market across the street so on the 15th of this month, it will become home to the Arcadia Valley Soap Co, the home of MoSoap!! Now it too isn’t in the best of shape but with original tin ceilings and made of chucks of pink granite, I will have a place just for soap again. I posted on the site that orders would be slow for the next few weeks as I start to transition the business and fix up the building. If it’s taking too long in your opinion for me to ship your order, please just let me know and I’ll cancel it- no hard feelings and I’m happy to give you links to other soap makers. Check out the soap makers at the Handcrafted Soap Maker Guild (http://www.soapguild.org) for some soapmakers in your area. I’m not a member but I am sure they all make lovely soaps just like me and you might find someone local.
As always, thank you for supporting handmade products and reading!
I need to close the store for 2 weeks due to a family loss. I realize I have been slow on some orders but have been dealing with things that have put soap on the back burner as they say. I will be leaving on Monday to head to Statesville, North Carolina. I am closing the store until the 24th of April as I plan on being back by then but don’t want to make any promises. All orders placed on or before the 14th of April will ship prior to my leaving or I’ll send you an email.
Thanks as always for allowing me to do what I love (make soap) and take care of my family.
Normally our pine tar soaps and old-fashioned lye soaps are what I sell the most of online, but not this month (March 2013). There’s been a big run on our Pure Olive Oil Castile Handmade Soap! There’s nothing fancy about this little creamy colored soap that is made exclusively with certified organic olive oil. With a high superfat number (the percent of excess oil left in soap), this soap is great for winter dry skin and as skin adjusts from a change in temperatures as we move through spring. People tend to have allergies this time of year and sometimes you just need a break from scent.
Some of you have heard me rant on about the word castile and what it means. For me as a soapmaker, I like the old traditional definition of “castile” being at least 65% olive oil. With the cost of olive oil moving up, some companies use the word castile to mean any vegetable based soap. For MoSoap brand soaps, if you see the word CASTILE SOAP, then you are guaranteed that the handmade soap you are purchasing is well above the 65% pure olive oil. And since I purchase our olive oil for a sister store too, I buy certified organic olive oil. While I don’t list “organic” on the other soaps, if you see that olive oil is listed then it is made with certified organic olive oil. I crunched the numbers and it’s less expensive to purchase a drum than one type of oil for one soap, and organic for another.
Whether you like this pure olive oil soap because of the lack of nut oils, soy bean oil, or the absence of fragrance, I wanted to say “Thanks!” for supporting handmade.
What a difference a day makes.
I have tried to offer people the best options and choices I could find regarding shipping. UPS was offering a small business shipping special with rates 16% off, I signed us up and offered UPS as a shipping option last night. This morning after packing and printing the shipping labels, I called for a pickup. No problem I thought, everything was running smoothly until I went to add a few more packages to the pile for the driver. Seems from the time I talked to the pickup man on the phone to printing a ship label for the next order, my business discount disappeared and no one at UPS could figure out how to find my “negotiated rate” and apply it to the shopping cart. After receiving 2 emails with complains on our shipping prices overnight, put on hold and transferred all over the global it sounded like, and realizing I was being charged way more than I or any of you happy MoSoap customers wanted to be charged….I have decided to go only United States Postal Service. I won’t close my UPS account out as I want the packages I shipped yesterday to make it there and at the price I paid but after that unless you MUST have UPS, I will only be shipping by the postal service; parcel, regional rate, flat rate or Priority Mail.
I think it time to go have a cupcake and redo all the packing slips. So if you see a shipping notice come through that I canceled your shipment today, there will be a new one coming through. I have to repackage all of the orders, print new labels and eat another cupcake! : )
I hope everyone is enjoying 2013 so far! It’s been a wild ride at our new home in the Commerical Hotel with trying to rehab the building and make soap at the same time. In November we finally had indoor water and I could take a bath…nothing like being a soapmaker and not able to shower. And let me tell you, using a garden hose outside for 6 months made me appreciate a warm bath even more. As always, I appreciate everyone’s patience while I try to find my stride making soap. Going from 3000 sq ft to less than a workable 500 sq ft all while the business grew was a challenge.
Speaking of other challenges, the United States postal service had a rate increase Jan 27th. Please don’t write me hateful emails regarding how I am ripping you off with shipping prices. With that increase I decided to once again offer UPS ground as a shipping option. While most time US Priority Mail is still less than our UPS (United Parcel Service), many people prefer UPS. I did a test on the two carriers – ship 12.3 lbs to California from Missouri. UPS wants $21.94 and takes 4 days. USPS Priority Mail is $11.30 and takes 2 -3 days. Most people will choose “ground service” because they THINK it’s going to be less expensive.
When you order, you will see the option for either UPS Ground (default) and the next option is for USPS Priority then the option for Outside USA (that’s international pricing) and then Customer Pickup. If you can’t pick up your order here in Ironton, Missouri and you live in the USA, then please select either UPS or Priority Mail. If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, choose Priority Mail as UPS is not an option and will not show shipping. I will still charge you shipping, but it will be at USPS Priority Mail rates which are even less than parcel post most times. With Priority Mail, I pass the 10% online discount to you and since I process the labels online, delivery confirmation is free. With Parcel Post both of those savings are not in effect.
Witout fail, I will always check for the best rate for you!! While I think our soap is stellar, I don’t want you to pay more than you have to on shipping. If the store quote for shipping is more than the actual price, I will lower it for you. If I can find a less expensive way (like for a lipbalm only purchase) I will adjust shipping. I can’t seem to make the shipping feature on the website understand the difference in sizing like a bar of soap or a jar of salve, and each item needs a different box soI can save you money.
Time flies as they say when you are having fun, and I think sometimes when you just become busy! First off I would like to thank everyone that has stuck by us during our move. For those that follow our site HotelIronton , you’ve seen some of the construction and changes we have made over the last few months. As of today, we still have no inside working water or drains, no bathrooms and only one outlet per room. What that means is, I am appreciating my soapmaking grandmother and great grandmothers so much more. There’s something about washing outside that brings out the pioneer woman in me. Previously in my Winfield shop, I had a beautiful 1500 sq foot, air-conditioned, organized cabinet workspace with all the appliances I could ever ask for. Now things are a bit different but I am actually increasing the batch volume and within a few more weeks, will be opening the retail brick and mortar shop right next door called A Little Shop on Main which will house a seasonal selection of soaps I make. So other than learning about the effects of long-term 100+ degree temperatures on brick and watching a pallet of lard begin to melt, things are going well here in Ironton.
One change that some people haven’t realized is MoSoap is the brand name I use, and the business that pays the taxes was MoHerbs. I actually had someone do a background check on me to try to report me for not having a sales tax license but then again I also had a customer in law enforcement purchase my soap and do a background check on me with a fingerprint found on my soap! That was a bit creepy but he thought I might be some “hippy or something” with a company name like MoHerbs- great. Having passed FAA medicals for years and still able to, am bonded and insured I take most things in stride. I always figured the name MoHerbs was based on my family name of Morrison and that we were in Missouri (MO) and I grew flowers and herbs, taught classes ect but I understand that people form opinions without knowing the facts all the time. Because of that, and the fact I love our new location here in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with parks and history all around me, I made a decision to change the business name to Arcadia Valley Soap instead of MoHerbs. MoSoap is the same as always and always will be. But don’t be surprised if you see the reference to Arcadia Valley Soap on brochures and such. I have always worked under several brand names (another one is Botanical Earth) and just make a lot of soap for a lot of very different people.
I hope this answers some of the questions recently. As always ask away with questions or comments, follow us on the blog here or on MoSoap’s Facebook page.
Try to keep cool this summer!