Adventures in Soap Selling

By , July 6, 2019

A lot of interesting things have happened just recently on the homemade soap front.

The biggest news: Aly and I appeared at Alaska Rod’s as First Friday Featured Artists. That was a kick!

We’d just cured and processed our latest attempt at a proper Sitka spruce soap, which met with considerable success. Most importantly, we got the natural fragrance strong enough for our taste, but secondarily, it came out in an amazing, milk chocolate-like color. When we trimmed and polished them a bit, they looked like rounds of stained mahogany!

Zeiger family Sitka spruce soap

Our latest version of our latest soap: Sitka spruce. Seasonally available at our web store (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Since we knew that our appearance would focus on soap, we made sure we had all of our three current varieties—Russian tea, devil’s club, and Sitka spruce—available in quantity. We even cut some of the thinner rounds into free samples. And that’s where it started to get weird . . . .

As I cut the pieces we normally save for family use into wedges, everyone in the room commented that they look good enough to eat. So, when we set up our display for First Friday, I wrote a little sign that warned people against eating the samples!

Zeiger family homemade soaps on display

Our homemade soaps at First Friday. Note the cautionary note, soon moved to the door side of the sample bin to try to keep visitors from eating first, reading later, or not at all (Photo: Rhonda Hinson).

Even so, we had a few close calls. One fellow grabbed a chunk and started to eat it as he walked by without ever seeing the note. Luckily, Aly saw him do it and stopped him before he bit off a chunk. Only later did we realized we’d blown the chance to ask him what it tasted like!

Mark and Aly, ready to discuss soap, Mark’s books, lost dogs, smoke haze, whatever . . . (Photo: Rhonda Hinson).

We’ve also filled a lot of orders locally and some on line, so sales have definitely picked up. Most of our current inventory now resides at Alaska Rod’s. If we get any more orders, we likely may need to go get some from the store to send to people.

Thankfully, we’ve got new soap molds that are much easier to use, which means making soap has become a little faster, and has inched closer to one-person operation if needed. We may actually be getting the hang of all this . . . .

Sorry to be so slow posting to the blog. We’re devoting as much time and energy to Dave and Anke as we can in the short time they’re here (see Family Time!). The cruise ships continue to restrict our access to bandwidth. And, no doubt you’ve heard on the national news that Alaska is enduring a record-breaking heat wave. We’re trying hard to keep the garden watered and the chores done despite (for us) high temperatures and clouds of biting flies! On top of all of that, the wildfires to the north are darkening our skies enough that we expect thunderstorms at any moment. Something will change soon.

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