Some people begin to prepare for Christmas at crazy times of the year. I must admit, when it comes to my personal shopping for gifts, I tend to leave it late. However, early preparation is key when it comes to soap towards the end of the year.
Recently, I have been dedicating my time to finding efficient ways to scale up production. It's super important to spend the smallest amount of time possible making your product, so that time can be spent selling. So, by doubling up the amount of soap that I make per batch, I can dedicate more time to growing the business. In reality, that means bigger pots, pans, containers and a more powerful stick blender - they've now all been ordered. My current stick blender is a cheap 200W model - it's served me well until now, but it always feels as if it could overheat at any moment. Bringing soap to trace is a key step in soaping and if the blender cuts off at that stage - it could easily ruin a good batch of soap. The new blender that I've ordered is an 800W, multi-speed beast which should be able to deal with twice the soap mixing!
Hopefully, with larger and better equipment, it should be easier to stock up for the Christmas markets. I am quietly expecting quite the rush of sales over the holidays; so many customers have said they'd be in touch for Christmas presents. On top of my regular markets (West Bridgford and Beeston) I'll be taking on the Christmas Artisan Market at Strelley Hall. I worry that taking on too many markets at this time of the year may be a bad idea - I don't know how quickly my soap will sell out. Since the soaps have to cure (dry out) for at least 4 weeks prior to sales, it would be impossible to restock quickly enough if I sold out at the usual markets. I should have around 650 bars of soap ready to sell for Christmas, so fingers crossed that it goes well!
Over the last month, my partner, Maria, has been helping me with making soap and running the business. She has more of an eye for photography than I do, so I tasked her with taking some photographs of the soaps for advertising purposes. The image above is one of many that she took (and edited) and now I wish I had someone to help me out like that in a permanent role! The photos are all great quality and I love using them for social media posts. If you're reading this and think you could help out in a similar way, let me know!
That's it for now. It's back to soap making for me; there's lots to do over the next 2 weeks. Let's see how Christmas goes!