Interview with a Soap Crafter – Amanda Stevens, Homayd Natural Care Products

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2014

Hello soapers and other crafters!

Apple_Pumpkin__94473.1411229695.1280.1280
Apple Pumpkin Soap

Meet Amanda Stevens of Homayd Natural Care Products. This very talented lady is from Arkansas and she makes some beautiful soap. Here is what she has to say about the joys of making soap and how she got started. [Click to enlarge images].

What prompted you to start making soap?

It all started when I got pregnant with my daughter. My husband and I were already trying to reduce chemical exposure through foods and cleaning products, which naturally led me to examine the products I used on my own skin. Since our skin is our largest organ and absorbs about 60% of what we put on it, I decided to start making my own soap as a way of reducing my family’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

What other types of soap do you craft? Do you also make bath & body products?

I mainly make cold-process soap, but I also make diaper wipe concentrate for babies, hand sanitizer, and a few fabric items.

When did you decide to sell your soap?

Once our daughter was born, we made the decision that I would not return to my job as a software developer. I started noticing that God was blessing us with lots of people who were wanting to try (and even pay for) my soap, so we turned it into a full-fledged business in January 2014.

Do you also sell your soap at crafts fairs/markets, stores, etc.?

Yes, we sell at an online Farmer’s market and various fairs and organized race events. We also have a few stores and salons that carry Homayd products.

What are the advantages to selling online?

The customer base is much broader. Also, most people prefer to buy items from the convenience of home, so it helps us be available to those who may not come to any local events.

What is your favorite fragrance or essential oil? What are your most popular scents?

ExSpearimint Soap
Ex-Spear-I-Mint Soap

I love the traditional lavender and tea tree essential oils, but my recent favorite for soap is spearmint essential oil. It’s so refreshing since it smells like a pack of Wrigley’s in your pocket.

What soap crafting books have you read?

Oh boy, I’m a book nerd. I’ve read about all of the soap books I could find at our local library. To name a few…

Soap Making by Sarah Ade

Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola

The Natural Soap Chef by Heidi Barto

and of course…The Soapmaker’s Companion by Susan Cavitch

 What soap crafting videos have inspired you?

I like the Soaping101 channel on YouTube. When I first started making soap, I watched a lot of her videos for ideas.

Where do you get your soap/packaging ideas?

Most of the soap ideas I just make up, usually by season or holiday. I think of what I love or what captures the season best, and I play around with those ideas. The packaging was born out of necessity of using cheap packing material and has morphed into a handmade look that streamlines my wrapping process.

What advice would you give to new soap crafters?

Definitely start out simple. If you try to get too creative before you’re comfortable with the process in general, you’ll make a few expensive mistakes and may get discouraged. Master the process, the craftiness will follow.

How did you come up with your company’s name?

A few years ago I decided to make my entire family’s Christmas gifts. Being a slightly type A personality, I decided to make up a little product name to go with the gifts. I love putting the letter “y” in the middle of names (both my husband and daughter’s names have a “y” in the middle) so I just threw a “y” in the word “homemade” and shortened it a little. The rest is history.

Bunches of Honey Oats
Bunches of Honey Oats

Name: Homayd Natural Care Products

Owner: Amanda Stevens

Location: Maumelle, Arkansas

Website: http://www.homayd.com

Blog: http://www.homayd.com/blog

Social Media:

http://www.facebook.com/HomaydNatural

http://www.twitter.com/HomaydNatural

http://www.pinterest.com/HomaydNatural

http://www.instagram.com/HomaydNatural

Do you make and sell your own soap? Do you have your own online shop and want to be interviewed? If so, just send me an email: lisa_maliga@msn.com Please use “Interview with Soap Crafter” in the subject heading.

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Interview with a Soap Crafter – Odette Handley, Riverlea Soap

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2014

Hello Everyone!

Ocean Breeze Melt & Pour Soap
Ocean Breeze Melt & Pour Soap

Today is the first interview with a soap crafter. Allow me to introduce Odette Handley of Riverlea Soap. This very talented lady is from South Africa and she makes some beautiful soap–as you can see. Here is what she has to say about the joys of making soap and running her own business. [Click images to enlarge].

 

Cupcake Soap
Cupcake Soap

What prompted you to start working with melt and pour soap?
I had been making CP soap and was looking for a soap to behave in a different manner, and I wanted to make clear soaps so I thought I would try MP as it didn’t look too difficult. Boy was I wrong. After my first attempt I packed it all away and didn’t try it again for a year. In that time I did some research and realised it could not be as hard as I imagined. I was right I love it now.

What other types of soap do you craft?
I make a lot of CP bars. I think working with CP is my favourite. It is so versatile. I have been known on the odd occasion to make liquid soap and Body Butter. Do you also make bath & body products? Yes I make lotions, bath oils, liquid soaps body butters and fizz bombs and solid bubble bath.

When did you decide to sell your soap?
This was very soon after I started making soap in 2007. I saw a gap in the market for natural novelty soaps that looked like cup cakes and slices of cakes. So I changed direction slightly from the bars of soap and when straight to desserts.

Do you also sell your soap at crafts fairs/markets, stores, etc.?
Yes I do and I LOVE it. It is such a great way to meet your clients. They come back for more at every market. The least I can do I be there to sell it to them.

If selling online – what are the advantages to selling online?
I love selling on line because it is almost passive income. I have already made the soap so it is not a custom order. I already have the ingredients in boat loads so when some one buys on line there is no stress as it is already pre packed. You just fill the order, take payment and ship it. Easy peasy.

What is your favourite fragrance or essential oil?
My favourite EO is Neroli by far. I love this EO so much. The smell gets me every time. Fragrance would have to be Green Tea, uplifting and fresh. What are your most popular scents?

My most popular are Vanilla, lemon Verbena, Lavindin EO, I have some spicy ones for the guys and those always sell well.

What soap crafting books have you read?
Oh now that’s a list. I am an avid reader so I have a lot. My first book was Soap Naturally by P Garenza & Tadiello which I read from cover to cover while lying in hospital recovering from a back operation. I also have Soap handmade and pure by Tatyana hill, Soap bubbles and scrubs by Nicole Seabrook, Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin Dunn , Soap crafting by Anne Marie Faiola, Natural soapmaking by Bev Messing, Soapmaking the Natural way by Rebecca Ittner, The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss, Gourmet Soaps made Easy-Melinda Coss, SoapyLove Squeaky Clean soap projects-Debbie Chialtas, Bath Bombs, Elaine Stavert, The Soapmakers Companion- Susan Cavich, The Everything Soapmaking book-Alica Grosso… And more. I love to read.

Where do you get your soap/packaging ideas?
I love Pinterest so I get quite a few ideas there but my sister is a chef so I get a lot of inspiration from food books.

Packaging is another story… I really battle with this and find myself lost on many occasions. I think I need an intervention. Ha ha.

What advice would you give to new soap crafters?
Be methodical, work tidy, have fun and grow organically. Don’t try to do it all at once. Your most important aspect of you business is cash flow. Manage like a tight fisted old lady.

How did you come up with your company’s name?
That was a tough one. We went round in circles a lot. We were moving from the city (Durban on the east coast) to our farm in the Midlands and I thought maybe if the soap is made there I would take on the name of the farm. Hence Riverlea Soap.

Riverlea Rose Soap
Riverlea Rose Soap

See more at her website: http://www.riverleasoap.com
Visit her blog to see her helpful tutorials: http://www.riverleasoap.blogspot.com

Do you make and sell soap? Do you have your own online shop and want to be interviewed? If so, just send me an email: lisa_maliga@msn.com Please use “Interview with Soap Crafter” in the subject heading.