Category Archives for: General

Another Reason to Join the Texas Soapmakers Association

Texas Soapmakers AssociationOne of our members is out of a certain fragrance oil that’s not being manufactured at the moment. She sent out an email to our member list asking if any of us had some to spare. I happened to have a pound of it that I’m not using, so I’m shipping it out to her tomorrow. Instead of cash I wanted  the glass topped tins in a case she happens to carry in her store, so we’re going to barter for them! They are perfect for transporting samples. Everyone wins! It’s a great group of supportive soapmakers!

To become a member of the Texas Soapmakers Association (TSA), you must:
• manufacture handcrafted soap in a business or hobby capacity and/or sell soapmaking supplies.
• live or have a principal place of business in the State of Texas.

Benefits of Membership

• info and advice from experienced soapmakers
• New 3 month mentorship program available – limited spots available
• friendship
• use of the TSA logo
• discounts from member suppliers
• access to the members-only section of our website, with recipes, co-op listings, etc.
• quarterly TSA newsletter
• reduced admission to our annual conventions
• participation in our mailing list discussions

Membership Dues TSA Membership dues are $25 per fiscal year.

If you have questions about TSA membership, please contact the TSA Membership Chair at membership@txsoapmakers.org.  http://txsoapmakers.org

Leisure Learning Soapmaking Class Feedback

After I teach my soapmaking class the students fill out a feedback form with their comments. These comments are from the latest soapmaking class held on Sunday.

“Thank you for sharing your info and knowledge. This is so cool!”
“Really enjoyed it. It was very laid-back & comfortable.”
“Enjoyed it! Very informative and educational!”
“Good Class – very informative.” “Great Class!”

If you have taken one of my classes and have not filled out a feedback form, feel free to respond to this blog post or email me – lisa at feto soap dot com. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

If you missed this class and would like to attend a basic soapmaking class in Houston, TX, here’s the signup link! Private classes are also available.

Soapmaking Class in Houston, TX – Sunday, July 27th

My next soapmaking class is coming up this Sunday, July 27th

Soapmaking 101 with Lisa Chouinard of Feto Soap

In this class I will cover the basics on how to create your own soap from scratch with lye, water and soapmaking oils. It is a hands on class and everyone will have an opportunity to participate. I will provide the protective gear (gloves and goggles).

Class Number: R1020D Sun 2-5pm July 27th
Location: Houston JCC 5601 S. Braeswood

To register, go to Leisure Learning Unlimited’s Website:
http://llu.com/sdc/regclass.html?class=42614

or call them at 713.529.4414 with the class number R1020D.

I’m back from the Texas Soapmakers Association Annual Convention

fragrance oils from the txsoapers convention garage sale

fragrance oils from the txsoapers convention garage sale

I attended the Texas Soapmakers Association Annual Convention in Austin, TX over the weekend. It was jam packed full of great speakers, activities and soaping camaraderie. There aren’t many places I can geek out about soapmaking in person, so I’m always excited to gather with other like-minded individuals. I attended this convention last year, but didn’t meet nearly as many people as I did this year. This year I helped out with registration, so I got to ask EVERYONE their name so I could check them in and help them find their name badge. I also got to know the other soapmakers that were at the registration desk.  Sarah Bongle from Dallas specializes in making soap wedding favors with her company In the Soap Dish. She’s also signed up to be our new secretary. There were two soapmakers from Houston at the registration desk that I hadn’t met yet – Marcia Cunningham and Melanie Brown. Evelyn Martin from Lathers Del Corazon was at the other end of the registration table. She made an awesome smelling (and looking)  mp flip flop soap with a bead in it and leopard print embeds for the swap. 40 of us participated in the swap, so I took home a very large and heavy bag full of soap, candles, lotion, lip balm and bath salts. I’ll be sharing some of my swap goodies with my soapmaking class students this weekend.

During the Saturday night social there were raffles – (I won a Soap Hutch no line test mold!) & a soapers garage sale where I spent way too much money! The picture to the left is the stash I got compliments of Margie Lemons of Hill Country Haiku – I bought a few of those items, but the rest she just gave to me at the end of the garage sale. Her thank you note is in the mail. There was a Texas Natural Supply hosted a Make Your Own Bath Tea table (that’s where I get my base oils for my soap) and an essential oil smelling contest – if you guess the right essential oils, you got a prize!

In my goodie bag I got a sample of smokey patchouli from Bramble Berry. I was curious as to what it smelled like after hearing about it on the Bramble Berry blog and can’t wait to make a bar of soap with it.

My favorite speakers were Kelly Bloom from Southern Soapers – she spoke about Big Batch soapmaking, Mary Berry from Texas Beauty Labs – she shared her version of how she got wholesale accounts with her company B Pure, and four of our members shared their success stories/business models with us: Mama Says Wash!, A Wild Soap Bar, Roundtop Natural Soap and Shambhala Body Gallery.  They all have very different approaches to running their businesses.

A term that came up more than once during speakers talks was about creating a Life Plan before you write your business plan.  From Startup Nation:

“As we always say, plan your life, then plan your business. Some of the most successful and happy people we know are entrepreneurs who created a business that’s in perfect synchronicity with what they want out of life. If you do what you love, you’ll work harder, better and more happily.”

I can’t wait until next year’s convention.

Texas Soapmakers Association 2008 Convention Swap Soap

Last year I was talking to a fellow microbusiness about google and she didn’t think that feto soap would come up in a search for handmade soap in houston. I had never googled those terms before and a computer happened to be nearby, so I punched in handmade soap in houston. Guess what? Feto Soap was the first result. Daisy Soap was the second result. I clicked on their link and they had the Texas Soapmakers Association logo prominently displayed. I hadn’t heard of it until then. They were showing that their annual convention was the following weekend, in Houston! On Monday I signed up for the convention. I participated in the bath & body products swap – and I came home with a canvas bag FULL of 40 handmade bath & body goods from my fellow Texas soapmakers. I’m glad that I had a conversation about google searches or I wouldn’t have learned about the Texas Soapmakers Association!

This year I am bringing one of my most popular soaps to the swap – Blackberry Sage. I packaged them in chinese take-out boxes. I can’t wait to see what my fellow soapmakers have created for the swap. If you click on the picture you’ll get to see more pictures (like what’s inside!)

blackberry sage handmade soap

Midtown Farmers Market Local Crafts Spree Saturday!

Midtown Farmers Market

Feto Soap will be vending at the Midtown Farmers Market Local Crafts Spree on Saturday, June 14th from 8am – Noon. The Midtown Farmers Market is located in the front of Monica Pope’s T’afia. 3701 Travis Street @ W. Alabama directions here.

Houston Craft MafiaSECOND SATURDAY SHOPPING SPREE!! Lots of local craft vendors on the patio such as Houston Craft Mafia Members Mandorla Designs and Eutectic Handcrafted Jewelry will be there! Shop Local and Shop Handmade!

Cheers!
Lisa Chouinard, Feto Soap

bike



bike, originally uploaded by fetosoap.

I started locking my bike outside in our locked & gated parking lot like my neighbors were doing (hauling a bike up and down the stairs is no fun) and it was going well until last week when someone cut the lock off it in the middle of the night. I found out thmy neighbor’s bike had also been stolen.

I might invest in a folding bike at some point so I can store it in my trunk or apartment easily.

Leisure Learning Unlimited…

…used my class listing to explain how to register for classes in their catalog! Oh, and my next Houston, TX Soapmaking class dates are July 27th and September 21st! You can register online at http://llu.com or by phone.

Leisure Learning Soapmaking Class Listing

Scanned by Jessica Merrit of www.snaptacularphotos.com Thanks Jess!

New Houston Soapmakers Meetup Group

Meetup.comCharley of Skunkwerks Soap Co. (formerly from MO) has started a new Houston Soapmakers Meetup Group that meets once a month. We had our first meeting on Sunday and I’m trying out his Pine Tar Soap in the shower now. He’s got a lot of great ideas for the group.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

I’m going to be in Austin during the next meeting at the Texas Soapmakers Association Convention, going batty over soap July 18 – 20th.

A typical week in the life of Lisa Chouinard

In addition to running my microbusiness, I fix computers a  hospital during the day! Here’s what a typical week looks like:

This is a typical (Monday – Friday) Day

7 am – wake up and get ready for work (the hospital where I fix computers)
8 am
– Work (fix computers)
11am– lunchtime! I usually run errands like go to the bank, drop packages off at FedEx, run to the office supply store/Discount store for supplies/displays and or run home to process orders or go to my dr’s visits at this time. and scarf down some lunch.
5 pm – Gym – usually cardio for an hour
6:30 pm Dinner – usually out with friends (have to be social sometime!) or I eat at home.
7:30 – 11pm
Make Soap and process orders, update website, blog, twitter, do product photography, clean my apartment.
11pm – I aim for this time to be sleeping. I don’t always make it, but I try!

Saturday (when I have a market)
6am
– wake up and get pretty for market
7am – set up for market
8am – Noon Market!
Noon Break down market.
Lunch
Make Soap
When I’m done making soap, I go dance, usually around 10pm.

Sunday
Laundry
Grocery Shopping while laundry is going
Clean Entire Apartment
Make Soap
Relax!

Feto Soap at Midtown Farmers Market Saturday!

Midtown Farmers Market

I will be vending at the Midtown Farmers Market Local Crafts Spree on Saturday, June 14th from 8am – Noon. The Midtown Farmers Market is located in the front of Monica Pope’s T’afia. 3701 Travis Street @ W. Alabama directions here.

Don’t forget Dad! Father’s Day is June 15th! I will have many manly soaps for Dad such as Bay Rum, Man Smell, Cold Water & Pepperberry!

Rubber Stamps, Bookplates & Tea

If\'n BooksMy name stamp from Vista Print finally came and I put it to use on the bookplates I bartered for with If’n Books a while back.  Feto Soap customers – your invoices are going to be stamped up! (You’ll see on your next order!) I have been ordering stamps like crazy from Vista Print lately. I hope  you’re having a happy Sunday! I will be making some Shea Butter Natural Lip Balm today and a small batch of Cold Process Shea Butter White Tea and Ginger Soap swirled with Ginger Powder  (9 bars). I bought some White Tea from Te House of Tea to brew up and use tea in place of water for this batch. I’ll post pictures when it’s ready!

Maker Faire through Kai’s Eyes

Kai Maker Faire SFMy friend Kai from Austin flew up to San Francisco to be my assistant for Maker Faire and he blogged about his experience here.

I have been working on orders pretty much non-stop since I got back from San Francisco and the happy little packages will be making their way towards you now! Perhaps I will write about Maker Faire this Sunday.

If you have any questions about the status of your order, please do not hesitate to contact us!

In the meantime, hope to see you at the Midtown Farmers Market tomorrow where all items at my booth will be $5.00!

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