Happy New Year!!!
OK - I know we are a bit late on our well wishes, but don't mistake our recent radio silence as inactivity over here! We generally take the time in January to plan our years events and how to make improvements as well as our goals in how to progress our company. This season has been particularly chaotic as we are launching into laying the foundation for some pretty profound changes that may make our customers quite happy.
Impact Reduction Project!
The New Year is a great time to reflect on goals, motivations, and ensure that the daily practices align with the intentions. Many folks don't know that half of my education was in Environmental Science and I have worked in multiple countries studying the environmental impacts on the worlds wildlife. I have experienced first hand the most overwhelming stressors humans create, even in the most remote of locals. Nobody disagrees that human waste is devastating - that particular is just simply not up for debate - It just comes down to how to address it. I've been called a Granola and Tree Hugger (I am by the way :), but I believe that change will not come from the top down and it has to begin with us. I believe that micro businesses, like ours, are in the unique position to lead. Our customer base is full of exceptional folks whose beliefs align with ours in this regard and will stand by us as we transition into even better practices with less environmental impact. We continue to source our suppliers carefully, support companies that sustainably harvest, with a focus on toxin free ingredients and with the least refinements possible. Our company purchases raw ingredients in large volume, recyclable containers, with very little overall waste. In fact, our feline shop friends produce more waste than our entire company. We've always said that 'better ingredients makes for better products'. This year, we are focusing on the fact that 'better practices make for better business'. I once had a professor say to me as I questioned him on how we could make the shift into the modern world with more sustainable lifestyle practices. He said to me "Better Ecology make for Better Economy". He argued that it is the attitude that they are at odds that is the issue and that caring for the environment we live in creates the longer lasting success. With this in mind, we have chosen to completely revamp our packaging, but are still working on this. You will begin noticing this transition throughout this next year. We will also be expanding our 'bring your own container' options onsite at The Caldarium, having some refill packaging on hand and creating some zero packaging options for some of other products. We are so looking forward to partnering with our customers while forging this new path together.
Exciting Additions in the 'Works'
Along with the transition of our packaging, we have some other new things are on the horizon. Firstly, we finally have a new website! While we continue to build the content, we are excited to have some more ways to integrate data and allow for better ways to share information and have improved general organization. Also, we have not only created this blog, but will also be sending out our monthly newsletter 'The SoapBox' for announcements like our customer of the month, events occurring that month or any extended hours being offered at The Caldarium, new products, new retail partners and such. Be sure to sign up to get yours delivered to your email.
New Limited Short Runs
Also, due to the popularity of many of our products, we have had some difficulty keeping up. It is a large burden to keep such a huge inventory of products year round and also makes it hard to find time to be innovative. There are also many products that are just more seasonally appropriate that don't need to be stocked year round. We will begin offering limited runs of products, soap varieties, specialty runs that will be only available in short supply and then will go away. Don't worry, this will not apply to products that are the most sought after for health reasons, but might have some extra varieties of those products that come and go away for time. We will soon be creating a special facebook page that will manage these reveals for a smaller, opted in group to be able to claim these limited, short runs before (or instead of) going live to the general public. Stay Tuned for more information on this!
Celebrating our 5 year Anniversary
We have just passed our 5 year mark of being in business!!! At this mile marker, we are just so honored to have the customer base that we do, full of like minds and dedication to a more healthy, toxin free world. You are why we continue. You are who challenge us to grow and we are always grateful for each and every one of you. We remember where we came from and how hard it was to convince anyone to buy anything from us. It was so difficult to get into the most popular events and markets and we were on waiting lists for many years to be seen as significant enough to consider. I began my soapmaking in the cellar and selling it in Clinton County (30 minutes away) and eventually swelled out of my designated space and spilled over into the kitchen. In the next 3 years I took over the home office and eventually the entire Family Room. By that time, the laundry room housed 3 drums of oils and our house seconded as a store. Last year we realized it was time to transition out of the family house. We opened our Lebanon production facility almost 1 year ago where we not only manufacturer our products, but we have a retail store and our growing medicinal gardens. I also brought in my dear friend Emily to help and her kiddos, as well as two shop cats and a new puppy to create quite an active shop life. We consider our business a family business in that it cannot take precedence over it for long stretches so we just end up including them into the mix. Sometimes its important to remember why you started down a certain path in case you need to readjust and for us it was for family. For us, it's what keep us motivated, knowing how fortunate we all are. On reflection, it makes me quite proud to see how we have been able to find creative ways to navigate along on our business journey throughout these years - Kids and critters in tow :)