Friday, December 29, 2006

The End (but only for a short while)

Today marked the last day of SudsMuffin at the City Market at least for a while. I am taking a much needed break and waiting for the New Year to hear from the community funding office. With any luck all will go well and we will reopen very soon in our new location. We plan to use the time to experiment with NEW scents and products for the new year. I would like to take the time to thank all the Market staff and patrons who supported me though out the last year. I hope that everyone comes visit us in our new home once we are up and running again. TTFN

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shea Butter ~ Super Moisturizer


Several of you have emailed me to ask about our Whipped Shea Butter and I wanted to take some time to talk about it here with everybody else. Shea Butter (also known as Karite) is a butter make from the nuts of the wild Shea or Karite tree. This tree is found in the savannas of Togo Africa and is edible as well as highly valued for skin care. We source our Shea Butter from a women's cooperative from Togo, who are paid fair wages for producing this wonderful rich butter.

We take pure unrefined Shea Butter and whip it to a light fluffy texture, making it easy to use. As many of you know, a very little bit goes a long way. We offer it in three varieties- natural, lavender, and peppermint tea tree.

While we do not claim that Shea Butter is a cure, many of our customers have experienced relief for various ailments such as dry cracked heels, chapped skin and have even seen their eczema conditions improve with diminished redness and cracking. Drop by the market to see us and sample some Shea Butter for yourself.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

catching up

Hi everyone, I'm sorry I have neglected you for a few days. I have been busy filling Etsy orders! Sales have been going quite well. I think they may be better than last year. On the storefront, plans are moving ahead. Last week, I sold some Whipped Shea Butter to a Massage Therapist. Well today, one of his clients came from his office directly to my booth and bought some after the MT used some on her. Ahh the power of Shea...

Oh and this is for all you lavender lovers out there. I will have some hopefully very soon. I will keep you apprised.

I was on our local news last night. It was nothing to do with my booth but it was fun anyway. I did receive a few comments about it today. TTFN

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Much Better!

Today was much better, although it started out very slow and I had a number of small sales by the end of the day. Tonight we went to a Yankee Swap at the beautiful home of one of the crafters that we associate with. It was a fun time. We had some great food and good conversation with no kids around. We don't go out very often so it was a nice change of pace. We came home with a very nice sculpture and a handsome knit scarf (which Mrs SudsMuffin may be claiming).

Not the best day

Today was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SSSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!
I sold for a mere $5.00. That is truly disheartening. However, I did do some more work on the collaterals. They are coming along quite well.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A good day today

I had a meeting this morning with the Community Funding Office to go over my business plan and eventual business goals. The meeting went very well and I believe that we are one step closer to opening our store. I will keep you all aprised as the story develops. Look forward to pictures, hopefully soon.

To top it off, I had a very impressive sales day and received a possible wholesale contact. Yay for the SudsMuffin! The heat was still on and working. No more frappucino! I started working on some target market collaterals, specifically for the real estate business, corporate gift baskets and bridal offerings. They're still in draft mode but they're off to a good start.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fundraising baskets delivered

Yesterday I delivered 23 fundraising baskets to Amanda at Aamanda's School of Dance. These were the foot care kits with custom labels. Take a look.



Here is Amanda, hiding behind the money but trust us, there's a definite smile on that face. This will allow the kids to participate in dance competitions next year. Our dancers have a lot of heart so we do what we can to help them grow in their skills.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Fun with Funds

After two nights of hard work, the fundraising baskets are just about ready to go. I think they're very impressive and the folks receiving them should be very pleased. Each basket contains a package of foot soak, a half peppermint tea tree soap, a bottle of cooling foot spray and a bottle of scrubby foot cream. Drop us a line if you would like us to supply your fundraising effort.

Monday morning I have a meeting with the local Community Funding Office to discuss my business plans and future business growth.

The wonderful Ms Munn stopped by today to make a purchase for herself and for her sister. She has a lovely bed & breakfast here in town: A Tanner's Home Inn and we have been supplying her with our hospitality soaps for a few years now. Drop us a line if you would like to discuss soaps or gift baskets for your business too.

Hopefully it will be a bit warmer at the Market tomorrow and the heating situation gets resolved. I don't think I could stand another day seeing my hot chocolate turn into a frappucino.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Damn it's cold!!!

Holy crap! It was so cold at my booth today! I had to leave early because I had no heat at all. My hot chocolate actually started to freeze. I tried to get the heat turned on but everyone is passing the buck. So in the meantime I start to turn into a Sudscicle. The administration of the place that I have my vendor cart seems to think that it is a good idea to raise my rent yet make it nearly impossible for me to operate. I swear, it was colder in my area than it was outside. The lobby seems to trap and hold on to cold air. Anyway, there is always tomorrow. TTFN

Monday, December 4, 2006

I messed up!!!!!!!!!!!

Not the best day today. I nearly froze (until a very, very, very nice lady gave me a hand warmer) which helped my hands but did little for my tender toes. The day ended with a few sales and I left early to run some errands. I lost track of time and missed picking up my 8 year old daughter from the bus stop. The bus driver ended up taking her to her house with her and spoiled her rotten. However I drove around for a good hour trying to find the place. You have no idea the panic I felt or how much I was and still am disappointed in myself. I feel so stupid and wish I could start the day all over. It all worked out in the end and she is fine. She even went out to play in the snow after supper and she shoveled the front walk. What a great little kid I have.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fund Raiser

We were helping our daughter's dance school raise some money for competitions. To do this, we made up some custom gift sets of foot care products. We then made up order forms for the students to sell these sets. We had also added an extra incentive if the entire school sold 40 kits, they would get a pizza party on our dime. We split the monies raised 50/50. The kids raised over $400.00 so the school gets to keep half. Congratulations to all students and thank you for all your hard work! The student with the most sales wins a 12 inch pizza!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

It Looks hopeful!

I had an early meeting with my local MLA (member of Legislative Assembly- for those who don't know). It went very well. I went to drop of my Business Plan outline and request a small grant for my business. The fine gentleman seem to be impressed with the samples that I brought with me. I hope that my efforts pay off, but I will find another way to help fund my store opening if this does not work out. Keep your toes crossed!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Happy Day

I had a very happy day today! I had a long day set out ahead of me and did not expect many sales. It turned out I was wrong. I received a fabulous hair cut from the great people at Academy of Hair Design (Only ten bucks, including tip). I then went and spoke with the owner of the building that I want to put my shop in. That meeting went very well and I think that the shop will be a value add to the street. The owner will even put in new flooring as long as I am willing to do the wall repairs (fill some nail holes) and do the painting. Anyhow, I finally opened my booth many hours later than normal and still had a very marvelous sales day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I feel blessed !

I feel very, very, very blessed! Today I had an older gentleman to whom I had sold a jar of our whipped shea butter a couple of days ago, come back. He was near tears with joy as he told me that his feet were feeling better than they had in years. He had been in pain for many years due to dry cracking feet. I saw extreme gratitude in his eyes. This fellow was genuinely grateful for the relief that our product was able to provide him. It gives me a feeling of great satisfaction to know that my efforts have been an aid to another. I am loathe to make claims of a medical nature about our products. However, I have seen personal and customer results which leads me to believe I can say with relative safety that SHEA BUTTER works, with AMAZING results. If you have had any such experiences like this, please let me know by responding to my blog.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paint and Candles

I took today to try and finish fixing my front window. There was not a cloud in the sky. Twenty minutes after I finish doing part of the outside, just my luck, it started to rain. I hope it had dried enough.

Anyhow I am going to try my hand at candles again tonight. My first attempts have been not so amazing. I think it is just a matter of time before I get it right. I am doing this because my customers have been clamoring for candles, so candles they will get. Maybe?! lol

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Trying something new!

Friday was a good day with sales better than expected. Saturday, on the other hand, was less than stellar. I just received a new book written by Jeffrey Gitomer. I hope that some of the information and advice will be adaptable to the "Sales" side of the business. I am truly grateful to my loyal customers and it is in that light that I am trying to increase my sales ability. I want them to want to buy because I have something they really truly need. I want to be able to learn how to find what it is they need without being too aggressive. I want to develop my humor but still be taken seriously as a business person. I try never to give information that is misleading about my products. I make no over-inflated medical claims about my products, but I do relate some of the great results my faithful customers have shared with me.

One of my favorite stories involves a customer whose hands were in horrid shape due to her work environment. Her skin was damaged to the point that it was cracking and bleeding. I explained about the virtues of Shea Butter. She was willing to try anything so she bought some and in about 3 months she came back in to buy some more and her hands were almost completely cleared up. Needless to say we were both very pleased with the results. These are the kinds of stories and testimonials I hear from my Shea Butter customers over and over. If improving my selling ability allows more people to experience benefits from Shea, then the minimal cost is worth that.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not a complete waste

I was to spend a great deal of the day not doing business, or at least I thought. I went to the hospital to get my shoulder looked at. It turns out I needed some steroid shots into the bursa at the shoulder joint. The doctor also advised I get low level laser treatment and physiotherapy. After all this I had to go take care of some government red tape. In one office I visited today, I got to talk to a guy whose wife has VERY sensitive skin. She has a hard time finding things to keep her skin moist and soft in our harsh weather. I gave him one of my cards and shared a little of our product line and invited him to check out our website. He seemed to be very pleased! I then walked around town and gave out a few cards and talked to people about what it is we do. All in all , it was a good day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New set up

Well today was the first day back at the City Market. I had a lot of new things to add to the booth but not enough room to put it. So I had to improvise and repurposed 2 shelving units into something far more workable. It required a couple of simple hand tools and a little ingenuity. It took the better part of the day and a little frustration but here is the kicker: Despite the general chaos around my booth, I had a good sales day. Tuesdays are usually very slow but I had people who forgot this-or-that at the Craft fair and they just had to get it! Anyhow, I am very happy with the results of my labours. My cart looks full and vibrant and a fun place to shop.

If you're near the City Market in Saint John NB, come by and see us.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Great show!!!!!!!!

Well the show is finally over. It turned out to be a very satisfying time. It was a successful end to a good time. Today was the best sales day that I have had in a long time. I also made a number of wholesale contacts that have huge potential. Our name seems to be getting a lot of recognition and
our branding is catching on. We were giving away a free lip balm to everyone who was wearing "SudsMuffin Pink" ie a hot pink shirt or coat. Anyhow, I am gonna be sore from tear down and lugging a couple hundred pounds of soap, lotions, perfumes etc... TTFN

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oh me achin feet!

Hi everyone. I just wanted to relate our experience at the weekend sale. Every year, there is a huge 3 day craft show at our arena, Harbour Station, former home to an AHL team and now home to the less than stellar QMJHL team, although they do try their best every game. Anyhow, this place is huge and there were a couple hundred vendors this year. We have attended this craft fair for three years and have always had one or two competitors but this year was different. After my set up, I did my walk around checking out what there was to offer. There were 6, count 'em 6! vendors selling soap. I was a little worried that I was gonna lose some biz yet to my surprise we did better than expected. I have even given out a number of wholesale price lists to other vendors who run gift shops. Lucky me. Anyhow, despite the good sales, the floor is wreaking havoc on my tender feet. It's a good thing I make an awesome foot care line.

I have also learned that I NEVER NEVER NEVER prejudge a person as a sale. There is a lady who gives me the creeps. We have seen her at several venues before, always touching and smelling but never buying. But low and behold, we had something she not only wanted but needed. Ya for me!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Introduction

Hi there folks, let me introduce myself. I am the Sudsmuffin or Suds for short. I live in South Eastern New Brunswick, Canada with my awesome wife (MuffinMama) and our talented but precocious daughter (MiniMuffin). We run a small bath and body biz that we have built from the ground up. We make all of our products from scratch. Check us out at www.SudsMuffin.com.

I normally operate out of a vendor cart at our local City Market. We got started in this biz as a way to give Christmas presents from the heart. It just happened that in the (Homogenized Hole from Hell) call center that I used to work at we had a Health Day. We (ie- my wife) did a little research and made a bunch of things for this show.

Holy baabaa-shticky, Batman! It was a great success! We have gone through a great deal of changes over the last 6 years. In future posts, I will tell stories of our adventures in soaping and some of the very strange but lovable folks we have encountered.