Archive for March, 2013

Melt and Pour Soap Interview

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

photoI started a couple years ago, and I love art and crafts. I have always loved bath products, color, and fragrances. What better than soaps where you get all that! I figured I’d play around making melt and pour, since I didn’t need to experiment with lye, and have the fun of creating. I needed some other things in my hair salon, besides shampoo, and jewelry, plus my customers are always asking me “what’s next? What’s new?” I thought I’d do a few soaps…well, I started ordering fragrances, etc. And I was hooked. And so were my customers. They wouldn’t let me stop making them. I’m now at the point of expanding my soap business, starting with Etsy. So far it’s been fun talking with people from all over!

Wow! What do I most like about your company? That’s a hard one. Besides customer service, wonderful fragrances, and value… I’d have to say the one thing I love love love, is your vanilla stabilizer. I was having a heck of a time with my soaps turning brown from vanilla. This has worked beautifully in my melt and pour soaps. A big “Thank you!”

I don’t have a website, and haven’t really been on Facebook much, but will be. Cindy Tedeschi is my face book name.

I haven’t been on twitter yet… I’m too busy checking out YouTube videos. It’s like having a craft class as often as you like. I have learned so much from so many talented people out there!

I’d like to make my soap business a part time hobby for now, eventually perhaps, more full time. I’ve been a hairdresser for 30 years, and love it. My joints from all the years are starting to get old, and one day, I might not be able to make an income doing hair any longer, and soaps is just a great thing to do!

My store name on Etsy is CLTCRAFTS

My hair salon is Tahoe Hair Co. South lake Tahoe , Ca. Where this soap picture was taken from.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this, and thank you for all you do.

Sincerely, Cindy Tedeschi

Diane’s House of Candles Interview

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

1. What’s your name & Your Company Name:
Diana Jablonski – Diane’s House of Candles

2. Why did you decide to go into business? I started making candles almost 15 years ago. It started off as a hobby. I would give them to friends and family because I just enjoyed making them. Pretty soon people started asking for so many that I couldn’t keep up. People were asking to buy them left and right. So I decided to experiment for awhile trying to find the best wax, best scents and best methods. Word just kept spreading and people kept asking for more so I decided to start my own small business out of my home. Now my candles are carried by a variety of local businesses, including many well known wineries in the northeast. My wine glass candles and wine scents are a big seller at the wineries. The football candles are always selling out also.

What was your motivation? How long have you been in business? The feedback I was getting about how much people loved my candles. They aren’t too strong and overpowering like most candles. Yet their scent fills the whole room. Even people that are sensitive to smells, love my candles. They are very true to their scent name and just the right strength. I have been in business for over 15 years.

3. What products do you make and sell? I make votive candles, jelly jar candles, pint jar candles, tart candles, football candles in a football shaped glass, and wine glass candles.

4. What are your business goals? My business goals right now are to expand my online presence. My website is currently undergoing an upgrade and redesign.

5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden? I use your scent oils for my candles. Asking which one is my favorite is like asking which child is my favorite! They are all so wonderful, I would never even think of using any other scent oil in my candles!

Your Website: www.DianesHouse.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DianesHouseOfCandles

Soy Wax Candles & Bath Fizzies

Friday, March 8th, 2013

1.What’s your name & Your Company Name?
Liz Flugel, Liz’s Country Collectibles

2. Why did you decide to go into business? What was your motivation? How long have you been in business?
I have always been a *crafty* person so this gave me a way to channel my energies and ideas into a business, especially after people kept complementing me on my items, asking me if they could buy my items and telling me I should go into business for myself. I have had a Washington state business license for approximately 20 years.

3. What products do you make and sell?
I do a wide variety of items from soaps, lotions, bath salts, bath fizzies and soy wax candles & tarts to Red Hat bears, Victorian bears and home décor that includes decorated wreaths, swags, window boxes, bird cages and assorted silk floral arrangements. During the last year I also added a bakery line of candles & soaps that includes soy wax cobblers, pies, muffins & cinnamon rolls as well as soap cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, carrot cakes, brownies & donuts.

4. What are your business goals?
To continue to make quality products at a reasonable price and to keep promoting my business so it reaches more customers. I have currently sold items to not only the U.S. and Canada but also to the U.K. and Greece.

5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?
I use a variety of your fragrance & essential oils and herbs. I was particularly THRILLED when I found your Huckleberry Harvest and Spiced Cranberry after the suppliers I used to purchase comparable scents to these two went out of business since these are two of my top selling fragrances. And I love, love, LOVE your prices because they are very reasonable and allow me to keep my prices down which is very important in today’s economy.

Website:  www.lizscountrycollectibles.com
Facebook:  Liz’s Country Collectibles

Using Herbs in Cosmetics

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

1. What’s your name & Your Company Name
Nieves Rathbun, By Nieves

2. Why did you decide to go into business? What was your motivation? How long have you been in business?
I have been in the natural products industry for two decades.  I managed the flagship store for V’tae Parfum & Body Care in Nevada City, Calif., and later worked at Zia Natural Skincare in San Francisco.  When my knowledge of cosmetic ingredients made finding products that I wanted to use myself increasingly difficult.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Abiding by the very simple philosophy that products can be made using only beneficial ingredients, I developed a line of products using wholesome time tested ingredients in unique formulations.  Happy with the results I started sharing them with friends and now I have a natural handmade body care line produced with organic ingredients and served with a twist.  I am delighted to be making a living doing what I love!

3. What products do you make and sell?
Handmade natural body care made with super natural ingredients, sassy sincerity and apothecary style.  Everything good, nothing bad.  By Nieves products are simple yet effective formulas that produce great results.  For an ingredient savvy person it’s a relief to read the contents and be able to understand what’s in the products.

4. What are your business goals?
I’d like to have more independent spas and boutiques carrying my products, and have more internet retail orders but I’m not really hunting the big guys, slow expansion feels right to me.  Currently, By Nieves, is only found in independent stores and employes 4 part-time employees in Petrolia; one part-timer in Oakland. I hope to grow to employ four to 20 people full time, diversify the economy in Petrolia (population 300) and I have a fantasy of it becoming worker-owned!

5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?
Healing herbs and spices like Burdock Root, Whole Anise Seed, and the DIY Starter Kits like the Vegan Lip Balm!

Your Website: ByNieves.com

Twitter: @ByNieves

Farmstead Bath & Body Interview

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

1. My name is Lisa Nakonechny, and I haven’t incorporated, but I call my business “Farmstead Bath & Body“.

2. We live and work on a farm.  Its always been my desire to create a cottage industry that allows me to follow my natural interests and talents while working from our farm.  Soap fits!!  Not only that, but soap really fits because I can also incorporate another interest of mine, and that is sharing my love of agriculture with others.  Each of my bars of soap will tell an artistic story of what life is like on a farm in our part of the world here in northern Alberta, Canada.  Farming is a wonderful way life, although fraught with challenges.  It will be a lot of fun tying in something fun, artistic, and most of all practical, like soap, with something equally fun, practical and even artistic like farming.

I haven’t been in business long – just a week so far!!  It has taken me over a year to decide if I wanted to turn my hobby into a business.  I needed to be sure I had the support of my farmer husband, because farming takes so much time, and so will soap making.  I’m sure combining my two passions will be both rewarding and challenging.

3. I am a big believer that something worth doing is worth doing well, so my product offering is small to begin with.  I have 10 varieties of cold process soaps.  Most of them use (your) fragrance oils, although I recognize that not everyone can or wants to use synthetic fragrances, so I also have a couple of varieties that either do not have any added essential or fragrance oils, or they use only essential oils.  My most favourite soap in this category is called “60 Grit Peppermint” – a super-duper-waker-upper-in-the-shower kind of bar! It uses peppermint essential oil and d-limonene as well as cornmeal to super-stimulate your bod in the morning!  Besides cold process soap, I also make a hand lotion I call “Mmmm Honey!” that I like because it sticks around after you wash your hands.  It does have a slightly greasier quality to it, but that is what makes it stick around and moisturize so well.  My body lotion is not greasy at all and is nameless so far.  I also make a wonderful, light and dreamy “Rose Body Souffle” which is a whipped body butter with ingredients added to reduce greasiness.  Also, a (nameless) sugar scrub with natural cocoa butter, brown sugar, and coffee beans is a feminine form of “Fast Orange” that my farmer likes.  Last, but not least, a “Lip Saver and Smoother” lip balm that sometimes shows up with some mica for a feminine tint for the whole-wheat hotties out there.

4. Other than our family farm, I am new to business. My soaping business goal is simple: I want to serve you, my customer, with a high quality, genuine hand made bath and body product. Because you love the products, you share my business with your circle of influence, and the cycle continues.  I am able to work from home, and support our traditional farming family of five beyond the basics.

5. Because I live in Canada, importing from the US costs a lot.  I buy the items that make the most sense economically.  So far, that is 8 oz and 16 oz bottles of your fragrance oils.  I love that you offer a $1.00 discount on each bottle when you purchase at least 5.  The flat rate boxes through the USPS are especially nice, as there are no brokerage or customs fees that way.  Because of this, I buy 98% of my fragrance oils from you alone. (I was looking for a “dirt” fragrance oil, and had to go to a competitor ;( ). I love how your website gives SO MUCH information including reviews that endeavours to help us make decisions without the benefits of sniffing.  I also love the document you made that lists all the fragrances and how they perform in cold process soaps. You have gone above and beyond to serve your customer, and you have a customer for life in me!  My favourite fragrance oils are: Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Cannabis Rose, Peony, and OMG Olive as they are my best sellers so far.  I use them mainly in cold process soaps, although I have used them in lotions as well.  I find your fragrances perform just as expected, and stay potent in the bottle longer than a year.  I can’t praise you enough for how you have treated me as a customer – both with tremendous products, and with stellar customer service!

Because I am 40++, keeping up with social media is challenging! But I do have a Facebook and Twitter account.  Please visit my Facebook page and “Like” it, so we can strike up a conversation, and I don’t feel like I am talking to myself!  Also, my webpage is barely a week old!  Getting good product photos is interesting, and it is a work in progress. Check back often as it continues to be created.

Website: www.farmsteadbath.com
email: lisa@farmsteadbath.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/farmsteadbb
Twitter: @farmsteadbb

Picture: I am usually the one behind the camera in our family…but I found a picture of me on my favourite Belgium, Blaze. I designed a soap that was inspired by these beautiful animals called “Belgium Hayride”. It uses your Cafe Caramel fragrance oil.  I’ve included a picture of it too.  It hasn’t cured fully yet.

Natural Bath Products Interview

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013


I’m TUBBI, aka( Jacqueline); my customers cursed me with that name! LOL! I run a small business called TUBBILICIOUS! We make the Best organic & natural tub treats! I’m SUPER new to your company! I recently made my first purchase about 2 weeks ago, and since that point haven’t stopped! We have incorporated many of your products into our recipes, including using your molds. We have only been open about 7 months, and are about to hit our 900th  sale! Whoo hoo! I intend on growing in many new ways with the new found opportunity of having such a wide variety of products from your company at my fingertips! PLUS I LOVE that you have sampler “teach me kits! ” That’s ALWAYS a nice touch!

I’ve always had a passion for anything that smelled good since I was a child. This all started about a year ago, lol, in my niece’s kitchen no less!  My biggest interest in making my own stuff came from finding alternative ways for people to wind down and relax from the daily stress that life can cause physically & emotionally. I’m a firm believer that a well made, quality  tub Treat can do wonders for the mind, body and attitude. Smells often can trigger memories for people; aromatherapy plays a big part in peoples’ lives, even if they are unaware!

What products do you make and sell?

We make everything! Bath bombs, bubble bars, body wash, scrubs, body sprays etc. We try our best to use all organic & natural products. HOWEVER, we do use Premium grade fragrance oils that have been deemed safe for bath & body use. But the product that seems to have been our #1 seller has been our MONKEY PITTS!  It has EXTREMELY great reviews.. We’ve sold hundreds of jars all over the world.

What are your business goals?

Just to keep it fun I suppose …I love what I do, so That would be MY personal goal.

What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?

I’m a new customer, and I’ve been using the molds, SOOO Adorable! Also been using a few fragrance oils. ( Its only been about 2 weeks, I need more shopping time! LOL ) You have SO many things I’d like to incorporated in my work! I have bought sea salts etc.. I have a great plan for the Black Hawaiian Sea salts! But I will get there, it takes time!!

Your Website: www.etsy.com/shop/tubbilicious

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tubbilicious

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuvTubbilicious

Blog: http://www.tubbilicious.com/blog.html

What is a Surfactant?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Have you ever tried to wash dirty dishes equipped only with a sponge and water?  This can be quite a feat.  You will notice that it takes a lot more time and elbow grease to get the job done.  Wondering why this is?  The answer as you will notice right away is that the dish soap is missing.

Did you know that the most eminent surfactant in existence is soap?

Surfactants seem to always get the bad rap.  Many people associate surfactants as bad ingredients to have in your recipes, but truth be told, this statement is not true!  Yes, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is a surfactant, and it can be more irritating to your skin than other surfactants, but is it as bad as what you read in the media lately?  It is an urban myth that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate causes cancer.  Read the truth for yourself.   In fact, many of the surfactants that will be listed in this class are derived from a natural source and they work to improve the integrity and performance of your cosmetic formulations.

Surfactants work with various liquids and substances; including oil and water.  Much like that of the role of the emulsifiers, surfactants have a hydrophilic (water-loving) head, and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail.  In fact, emulsifiers are surfactants, and surfactants are vital to the industry of bath and body products too.  They comprise the largest category of cosmetic chemicals, and seem to have an endless list of cleansing capabilities.  So, needless to say, there is quite a variety to select from when seeking the perfect surfactant for your recipes.

The main qualifier in deciding which surfactant to use is all based upon the benefit that each surfactant provides.  Just like cold process soaping or any homemade bath and body products, the components that you choose to use in your recipes have a direct beneficial affect on the skin when the recipe is transformed into a finished product.  Therefore, when selecting which surfactant to use; it is just as equally important as to what you are looking to achieve in your finished product.  Each surfactant has key functions in which it will excel and equivocally each will also have other functions where it will be lacking.

The term surfactant is actually a combination of its meaning:  surface acting agent.  Let’s look at it again: surfactant = SURFace ACTing AgeNT.  But the term surfactant is not always the one that everyone sticks with.  It seems that surfactants have several names that all become applicable depending of the role of the surfactant in a specific recipe.  For example, in recipes where foam is the finished product, the surfactant used maybe referred to as foaming agents.  Surfactants used in body recipes, can even be termed as detergents or soaps.  Or, in the example of shaving creams, surfactants are considered lubricants because they protect the skin from irritation and the razor’s sharp edge while still allowing the removal of all of the unwanted hairs.

Everything that a surfactant does occurs at the surface levels of the liquids.  The biggest role that a surfactant has is the capability to lower the surface tension of a liquid.  The reaction which then occurs is the conversing of the liquid (with the lower surface tension) and the additional substance.  To break this down in simpler terms; a surfactant has the power to change the properties of a substance.  This process is known as adsorption.  The term adsorption means:  the gathering of gas or liquid in a condensed layer on the surface.  This condensed layer creates a film which is why the surface tension is lowered.  There are four different categories of classification for surfactants based on their interfaces and charges.  They are: Anionic, Nonionic, Cationic, and Amphoteric.

Education is always a powerful thing, and it is not necessary to completely know the ins and outs of everything surfactants.  But, you will want to have a general idea of each group of surfactants and how they play a role in your finished product.  This is especially true if you are looking to accomplish a “made from scratch” recipe.  It is also beneficial to know a few other things about surfactants too.  This would include information like why the surfactants are grouped or classified together or how/if surfactants work with additional groups of surfactants in a collaborate manner.  Spoiler alert:  Not all surfactants play nice with one another!

Anionic surfactants are considered to be the go to surfactant for many formulations.  This group of surfactants is also the most commonly used among foaming product productions, like shampoos or body washes.  The reasoning for this is because the anionic surfactant’s primary functions are creating high foam, high cleansing, and high washing capabilities in a finished product.

Anionic surfactants have a negatively charged water-loving head.  Anionic surfactants work very well in recipes which have a reaction between a chemical (like lye) and fatty acids or alcohols (like animal lard or vegetable based oils).  Hand processed soap, whether it is CP, CPOP, or HP, are all examples of anionic surfactants.  Other examples of anionic surfactants are Sodium sulfates, Ammonium sulfates, sulfosuccinates, sarcosines, sarcosinates, isethionates, and taurates.

One of the drawbacks of using an anionic surfactant relates to skin sensitivity.  Due the high foaming, cleansing, and washing capabilities, skin irritations can occur.  It is for this reason that if you are looking to create a handmade recipe it is best to choose another category of surfactants, or balance the anionic surfactants with amphoteric surfactants.

Amphoteric surfactants are the go with the flow surfactants.  They have the possibility to either have a positive or negative charge.  Their charge is all based on the pH or alkalinity of your finished product.  Hence the amphi prefix.

When an amphoteric surfactant is used in a recipe where the end result of a finished product has a lower pH, the amphoteric surfactant takes on a more conditioning and nourishing role.  On the other hand, when an amphoteric surfactant is used in a recipe where there is a higher pH in the end product, it resembles more of an anionic surfactant with high foaming and cleansing capabilities.  Neither option is necessarily bad; they are just on two different planes of the beneficial skin aspects.

Amphoteric surfactants are the most docile of the surfactants.  They are also the second most used surfactants in the industry.  This is because when used alone, they are able to provide a gentle aspect to the nature of your end product.  Adversely, when an amphoteric surfactant is coupled with an anionic surfactant, the amphoteric surfactant mellows the harshness of the anionic surfactants.  In fact, amphoteric surfactants can be used solo and in conjunction with any other of the surfactant groups.  There adaptability is just one of the reasons why they are so widely used.

Some examples of well know amphoteric surfactants are Coco Bentaine, Lauryl Bentaine, and Hydroxysultaines.

Cationic surfactants are the opposite of anionic surfactants.  They have a positively charged water-loving head.  It is because of this positive charge that cationic surfactants can offer many skin loving, nourishing benefits to the skin and body.  These surfactants are best used in recipes where foaming is not necessarily mandatory such as hair conditioners.  Cationic surfactants alone do not allow for ample foaming capabilities.

Cationic surfactants work well with 2 of the 3 remaining surfactant groups.  Both amphoteric and nonionic surfactants will be compatible with cationic surfactants with no problems.  However, because of the opposing charge cationic (positive) and anionic (negative) surfactants will not combine.

Some common cationic surfactants used in bath and body recipes are your chlorides (Benzalkonium, Stearalkonium, and Centrimonium), Trimethyl Ammoniums, and Methyl Sulfates.

Nonionic surfactants have no foaming capabilities which is why this group of surfactants are rarely used as a recipe’s main surfactant.  Evident by the prefix non, these surfactants do not have a charge in their water-loving heads.  The end result of using a nonionic surfactant will allow for a finished product that has a very gentle cleansing ability.   But, just because it doesn’t foam, it doesn’t mean it does cleanse.

Psychologically speaking, there is a direct mental correlation between foaming and cleansing.  We as a race have somehow inherently made this connection.  Whether it is a physical view of suds equating to cleanliness, or simply urban myths that have taken on a life of their own, the reality is; it could not be further from the truth.

Nonionic surfactants, or at least some of them, are ethoxylated.  What this means is that the nonionic surfactants have had some reaction to the addition of ethylene oxide.  With this reaction comes an even more water-loving head, almost as if it has been supercharged.  This then makes nonionic surfactants (like Polysorbate 20) perfect solubilizers.

But, don’t just disregard this category of surfactants yet.  Nonionic surfactants can also be used in formulations to reduce irritants, due to their gentle cleansing ability.  They also have the capability to be used as an emollient, softening or soothing skin.  Not to mention, these surfactants can be used to stabilize foam in recipes.  Hold on to your seats though folks, because it gets a little better!  Due to its lack of a charge, nonionic surfactants love every other category of surfactants; you can consider them the peacemakers!

Some common nonionic surfactants used in bath and body recipes are your Polysorbates, Emulsifying Wax NF, E-wax, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate, ingredients with the prefix PEG, Ceteareths, Oleths, Sorbitans, Lauryl Glucoside, and Polyglycose.

In summary, surfactants are amazing little compounds found in many items we use every day like adhesives, bath gels, creams, lotions, frozen foods, chewing gum, inks, and fabric softeners; just to name a few!  There are four main applications of surfactants particularly in just bath and body recipes.  They include: cleansing, solubility, emulsifying, and conditioning.

Some other additional aspects of surfactants to bath and body recipes include:  the potential to increase stability of a product; certain surfactants can be used as thickening agents; due to the composition of a surfactant, some maintain anti-microbial elements and therefore can be used as preservatives; there are even some that have the capability to reduce irritation allowing for a milder product on the skin.

Interested in adding some surfactants to your recipes?  Below is a list of some commonly added surfactants to bath and body recipes:

sodium lauryl sulfate (can be derived from coconuts)  Produces High Foam; easy to thicken. Strong Anionic Surfactant; can cause irritation
ammonium laureth sulfate (derived from coconuts) Produces High Foam; easy to thicken.  Strong Anionic Surfactant; can cause irritation
disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate (derived from coconuts)  Foaming agent, Mild Anionic Surfactant; gentle on the skin
Cocoamphocarboxyglycinate  (derived from coconuts)  Mild, Amphoteric Surfactant
decyl Polyglucoside (vegetable derived, used in baby shampoos for its gentleness)
cetearyl alcohol
stearyl alcohol
Cocamidopropyl Betaine (derived from coconut oil) Amphoteric Surfactant
Decyl Glucoside (derived from sugar)
Glyceryl Cocoate (derived from vegetables)
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (derived from coconuts)
Almond Glycerides (derived from vegetables)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate (much milder surfactant than SLS)
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (derived from vegetables and is a natural substitution for SLS) 
sodium methyl cocoyl taurate
(derived from coconut)
Sucrose Cocoate (derived from sugar)
polysorbate 20 (vegetable derived)
polysorbate 80 (vegetable derived)

If you formulate your own cosmetics, please visit our customer suggestion page and let us know which surfactants you would like to see Natures Garden carry.  We will be increasing our line of natural cosmetic supplies.