Over the last 6 months most of you have noticed prices increasing. It's been no different with soap making ingredients and packaging. Shanda and I crunched some numbers and different options, thought we had come up with a few good solutions to avoid price increases. Soapmakers are known to be thrifty so we can usually find a way around to make something work better for less. We actually came up with a few ideas that I wish we would have been doing for the last 5 years! But I am a creature of procrastination and until I have to do something, I tend not to change my ways.
Back in February I went to buy sodium hydroxide (lye) from the chemical supplier I have ordered from in St. Louis for close to 20 years and was told, sorry no lye for you! That was a wee bit scary when your livelihood as a handmade soap maker revolves around a particular ingredient. They had no idea when they would receive more and I was down to my last couple of bags so it was a shock. But as things go, Shanda is a bargain shopper and my "google-er" for things and she found a much better deal on lye than I had been paying but the only catch, it was by the pallet load. I think she realized she wasn't going to have a job if she didn't find some quick! Motivation for both of us was kicking in on that day.
Olive oil was another issue. I was watching the price and markets in January and figured I needed to stock up. Today, we buy in barrels which is something I hadn't been able to do since moving to Ironton due to space requirements as 450 lb barrels on vintage wood floors just doesn't work for me in my tiny shop. With my husband seeing my distress, he suggested using the old hardware store with concrete floors - so problem solved! Now we can buy many barrels at a time (which I stocked up on thanks to Christmas sales) so no price increases on base oils as buying in bulk truly makes a difference.
Simple, plastic clam shell containers that we use for wax melts were becoming more and more expensive with the added cost of shipping. I had always hated those things anyway so I was more than happy to find new molds for our scented wax. We transitioned over to bars of wax and biodegradable packaging 2 months ago which saved money. Just this last week, Shanda came up with a clever way to make and package them which people in the shop prefer even more, and it's a savings....go figure. You'll find the melts available only in the shop right now as the summer heat is a factor I can't control with shipping. No one wants a runny, waxy box in the mail due to being on a mail truck all day in the middle of summer.
Since we were on a roll saving money, we figure we would combine the 2 websites into one and save close to $1000 a year. It would make accounting a bit easier too. I never imagined the hassle of removing MoSoap.com and trying to export/import products, reviews, data and customers. I hit a button wrong and the email that went out had the wrong link to find us, the shopping cart wouldn't function and it was an over all mess. I am grateful for all the people that told me about the problems!! This last Sunday, I figured it wasn't worth making people sad that they couldn't locate us, answering calls and emails. I reinstated MoSoap.com, which required a new website design (nothing seems simple some days) and sent out a new email stating the site was active again. Within 48 hours of posting on Facebook and that email blast, you all have allowed me to pay for the site 2 years in advance which saved $$$. It made my day seeing so many names come through that I have seen literally for 2 decades buying from me. I am truly humbled by my customers that you would come back and shop with us. I am sorry for trying to be thrifty in the wrong areas, and will ALWAYS have a dedicated site just for MoSoap.
The only things I couldn't purchase in larger quantities and maintain the integrity over a period of time has been fragrance and essential oils. Those have been creeping up for a while and we did have to make a decision to raise our price on the scented Country Soaps by 70 cents a bar. Flat rate shipping increased by $1 and well, I don't think I have to explain shipping costs : )
Thanks so much for reading and sorry if it was more than a bit long winded but I wanted to explain what happened. Again, I can't thank you all enough for your patience and kindness, and always supporting handmade.