Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Call BS

So, I have been using BS as a metaphor when I made a "No BS" formula but there is no bull in any of the deodorant formulas but there IS baking soda and it shall remain.  I had read about some people experiencing sensitivity to baking soda and so I decided to try a recipe that left it out.  In fact, that's all it did.  The only difference.  No baking soda.  At the time, I thought "easy peasy."  And it was.  And I was looking forward to making more such batches.  But, as with the other variations thus far, I wanted other people to try it out.  So, I turned to my trusty testers and got batches out to some of those who were interested.  To try something different, I had mixed this version and poured it into glass containers thinking this consistency might be good for finger application.  In theory.  Spoiler alert.  Bad theory.  I happened to deliver some on a 90+ day and since the base is coconut oil, it was completely liquid.  So, I suggested refrigeration (much like the bee free version).  Because you can't very well dip your fingers into a liquid and have that apply easily.  I figured refrigeration would firm it up.  And it did.

Personally, I am still on my very first batch of bee free that kicked this journey off.  And it works really well for me.  And I don't tend to mess with what works.  But I was interested to try this version out for myself.

Anywho, back to "firm" deodorant.  So, it got firm.  To the point that you couldn't have possibly applied it with fingers...or in any other way out of a glass jar.  So, I put it on the counter.  Liquid.  There seemed to be no in between.  I didn't think about it for a few days.  Then, on a day with milder/ borderline cool temps, I had decided to try to salvage what I had made by warming it and pouring it into a plastic twist up.  After all, if the bee free needs to be refrigerated, this could too and could still dispense from a twist up, right?!  Well, since I'm answering myself here, the answer is yes.  But.  Here's what happened next.  I opened the one I had been personally testing and it was a good consistency.  Not hard, not liquid.  So, I tried it.  And it smelled lovely and applied smooth and I was SO excited.  Well, as excited as someone who is FINALLY getting to try a new deodorant formula.  So obviously, very excited (this might sound sarcastic, but to me - well, you know).  And then a few hours later (like, maybe 2) I smelled something I haven't smelled in about two months.  My own stank.  Which reminded me.  I am a stinky girl.  So, I reapplied.  Because why?  I don't know.  Maybe it would work better?  It did not.  I called off the testing.  In the meantime, I have been using it as a body lotion.  Lovely that way but it will not effectively kill the smell.

One of my testers asked me why it (the original two formulas...sadly not this most recent iteration) worked?  The coconut oil?  The baking soda?  I answered yes.  But at the time, I wasn't really sure.  I knew what I had read.  When I say "Less is More," I mean it.  More on that in another post.  But I had recently read that some people just smear some coconut oil on their armpits.  And, well...if that works, how can I justify selling a deodorant that adds more if that's not necessary.  But now I can confidently say that it IS necessary.  Each ingredient plays a part.  And without a little BS, this recipe doesn't work.  At least not for me.  I will continue to look for ways to improve upon this recipe and help people who have perhaps had skin sensitivities to find the right fit, but for now, I think we have stumbled on something pretty awesome.  And simple.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Halfway Point

Today is my birthday!  It's also a date that I approximate as halfway through summer.  I have been working on getting our bug spray just right.  I've also been researching price for a natural bug spray such as this and the average cost for a 4 oz. bottle seems to be in the $10 range.  BUT, as a paraben free product, I am suggesting that users only keep the bug spray itself (the liquid, not the bottle which CAN and should be re-used) for one "buggy" season.  Since summer is half over, I'm thinking bug spray should be half off too.  Since next spring/summer, I should be ready with inventory at the start of the 2015 buggy season, I don't anticipate this being the norm, but this year, it only seems fair.  So, the price is 50% off from the start!  Our first bug blowout sale!  Get yours now...these prices are CRAZY!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm So Fancy

Last week, I was investigating PayPal.  I have had a personal Pay Pal account for a long time but I rarely use it.  This past spring, I helped to organize a fundraiser that benefitted two organizations but as the organizer, my personal PayPal account was linked to receive the proceeds directly.  And in order to get the money transferred, I had to do a few things.  First, I had to link a bank account.  But before doing so, I had to change the name on my PayPal account to my married name.  Should be easy, right?  Allegedly, PP could not read my faxed documentation so I uploaded the documents electronically instead.  That is all sorted out now but since I was already on the site, I registered a business account to Barefoot Body.  And created a fancy button with HTML code and added it to the right of what you are reading right now.  Unless you are in mobile view in which case you probably can't see it.  AND, I ordered and promptly received THIS.
So fancy!
This...well, that ^ is a PayPal Here.  It plugs into my phone and I have an app so that if someone wishes to pay by credit card at a farmer's market or craft fair, they CAN.  Can you even imagine?  Perhaps I've been living under a rock, but this kind of blows my mind.  A friend on Facebook who has CDs to sell posted about a Square and being able to accept credit card payment.  I downloaded that app but there wasn't room on my phone.  Perhaps I'll get one of those too.  Because these things are FREE.  Free, of course because they deduct fees, so I guess it all depends on how you look at the cost benefit analysis.  But free!  Anyone in the know about either or both of these, feel free to comment below.

A few things.  The button is a work in progress.  It has what is needed (I *think*) for an online deodorant purchase.  It does include $6.00 shipping, but as I have indicated, if I'm able to get cheaper shipping, I will refund the difference.  So, if you pay via PayPal, I *think* I can transfer money back to your PayPal account if needed.  But this is still a work in progress.  

Overall, the PayPal Here is a game changer!!  I rarely carry cash.  For others in the same boat, that is no longer a barrier.  Likewise, for friends who would prefer to use PayPal than a check or cash, that is now a viable option.  So Fancy.

When looking for a fancy swipey picture of PayPal Here in action, I found this (which shows both the PayPal Here and Square) and so I read the accompanying article to educate myself on the topic.

In more fancy news, apparently (from reading the Australian article) it is tomorrow in Australia...which will be today to those of you reading THIS post tomorrow.  When it posts.  Since I wrote it "yesterday", which is today.  Maybe that's not fancy.  Just confusing.  To clarify, I am writing this on July 15th.  The article linked above is dated July 16th.  But that might not seem fancy to you as this blog post will publish on the 16th.  In addition to being fancy, this technology is literally cutting edge.  I am ahead of my time.  Not living under a rock after all!

On a side note, I JUST now received an email from my personal PayPal account to my maiden name, so perhaps that is NOT all sorted out yet.  Grumble, grumble.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (or the Big Stuff Either)

I've fallen a bit off the radar, but intentionally...so that's ok, right?  Yesterday, we celebrated my daughter's fifth birthday and this past weekend had a party for her and her brother.  For whatever reason, I was starting to feel like there was a lot on my plate.  I had made enough deodorant so that if anyone happened to order some, it was ready to go, but I made a conscious decision to take a break until at least after the party (which has now passed) and possibly until the end of diving season which wraps up at the end of next week.  I had stumbled upon a website with information about starting a business.  While never my goal, it seems to be happening.  Listed first on the site was: Make a business plan.  That may be a wise course to take.  I feel I've already done things a bit unorthodox.  A little out of order, but that's ok.  I'm taking some time now to make a plan.  My next step is to apply to be a vendor at our local farmer's market in Hatboro through the month of August.  And that's about as far out as I have planned.  While it would be fun to see Barefoot Body in a store or being shipped all around the country, I'd really like to take it one step at a time, enjoy the process, and not stress.  In the "deodorant business", the concept of not sweating the small stuff takes on a whole new meaning!

Friday, July 4, 2014

No BS Formula

I was just reading about some folks who have super sensitive skin and react to baking soda in products so I am thinking of adding a BS (Baking Soda not...the other BS) Free Version of Barefoot Body Deodorant.  This version would need to be applied with fingers and would be in our glass containers instead of plastic.  Actually, I will try it in plastic too but I don't know if it will firm up well.  I'm going to toss the opportunity out to my current underarm testers, but is there anyone out there with sensitive skin that would like to test this out and give me feedback on its effectiveness?  Excited to add some more deo-diversity!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where My Party People?

Whether it was cosmetics, jewelry, candles, spices, bags, or Tupperware, we have all been to (or invited to and respectfully declined) one of these "parties."


I, for one, always enjoy a nice gathering with friends.  And I always do my best to support friends hosting these parties, but I know they are not for everyone.  Sometimes they are very laid back.  Snacks, chat with friends, here's a catalog, let me know if you'd like anything.  Sometimes, there's the "hard sell."  This involves an icebreaker (which may or may not be a game of chance where the "winner" gets the privilege of hosting the next party), a "short" lecture on the product line (complete with a folder with a catalog and order form), the explanation of what magnificent gifts the hostess gets (usually demonstrated by piling them high in her lap or draping her with jewelry) dependent upon the purchases of her friends, an opportunity to peruse the product line and then time to meet with the consultant one on one to place an order by check or credit card.  

Like I said, I always enjoy any excuse to get together with friends, but I don't always enjoy the feeling of obligation to purchase something I don't necessarily need.  So when a friend of a friend asked that friend, "Any chance you are going to host a Barefoot Body sale gathering?" I thought, nah.  Then I thought...maybe.  Then I thought, why not?  My current model of home delivery isn't really a sustainable one and at the same time, I'd prefer not to have to ship to local people.  I am hoping to set up shop at a Farmer's Market, but in the event that people can't make those particular times/places, I think home parties could work well.  Feedback is welcome in the comments below as this is an ongoing process.  This has been a very grassroots, organic "marketing" (if you can really call it that) campaign.  So, the only people that know about this deodorant are friends of mine or friends of friends.  And while I am trying to keep it manageable/small, I'm also not trying to keep it a secret.  So, if someone is looking for a natural deodorant option that works and they don't particularly want to navigate making their own, I'm happy to supply it.

Now, we've all been to these type of direct sales parties and the thing is, I don't have a gimmick.  And I don't want to have a gimmick.  I only have one product (so far)and chances are the potential host/hostess has already tried it, thus prompting them to invite friends to try it too.  So, I don't have boxes or bags to load on their lap or bling to drape over their necks.  But I DID have a thought of a nice way to gather friends around a cause.  So, the plan is for the host/hostess to choose a charity to designate and 10% of all sales from the party would go to that charity.  

So, if  you would like to host a Barefoot Body Party, email me at barefootbodybrand@gmail.com. 

We will work together to:
  • Choose a date/time that works for us both
You will:
  • Choose a charity to receive 10% of party sales
  • Set up a Facebook or other electronic invitation
  • Invite (at least) five friends
  • Friends who cannot be there in person can still place "party" orders to benefit your charity
  • Arrange for a few light snacks (invite friends to bring a favorite recipe to share)
I will:
  • Have at least one of each variety of deodorant prepared for the party
  • Have additional pre-orders and requests ready for delivery at the party
  • Discuss any questions/concerns/comments that friends have about deodorant
  • Take orders from the party, fill them, and deliver them back to the host/hostess to distribute to friends
  • Donate 10% of sales to the charity of the host/hostess' choosing
  • Eat your snacky food (just kidding...but really, I will)
  • Not bother you or any of your friends if they are not interested in getting deodorant (I PROMISE)
With that...let's party!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recyle (and Rot)

In an effort to ensure this operation is environmentally friendly, I wanted to share a few of the things we are doing to minimize impact.  First of all, we are utilizing plastic containers.  There is no sugar coating that.  Even if you were to use pure cane sugar, agave nectar, or Sucanat.  But, let me explain.  When I first found a recipe for making my own deodorant, there were some options to pour it into a glass container (the better choice as far as material is concerned) or to pour it into a used deodorant container (a good re-use of a product that will never break down in a landfill and at best will be recycled eventually into a plastic bag).  For whatever reason, I had a hang up about applying deodorant in the "normal" way.  I couldn't imagine swiping it on my armpit with my fingertips.  At this point, I don't actually think that would bother me, but I have heard from a lot of people who feel the same way.  Also, to clarify, we do have glass containers as an option for those who would prefer to minimize plastics in their life.  Anyway, I waited until I had two empty deodorant containers myself to even attempt the recipe.  The thought never occurred to me prior to this experiment that one could buy empty deodorant containers.  This has been such an education!  So, my first batch was into containers I was re-using and I liked that.  I thought others might like it too.  So, one of our promotions is to re-use a BFB container for 10% off or if you have recently finished a container of deodorant, I can pour new deodorant right into your container.  You can use the same container forever.  I might suggest a person pursuing this route purchase two to start so you always have one at the ready.  In a game like Rock, Paper, Scissors, Reuse beats Recycle every time.

In an effort to be mindful of the products we use and the fuel utilized when shipping an item, as well as packaging material, I have ordered in large bulk for the ingredients needed for the recipe.  By doing so, one larger box was used instead of several smaller ones.  I am planning to hold on to smaller boxes for future shipping potential as well as packing material.  I am planning to use one of the larger boxes, unfolded as a Barefoot Body sign for Farmer's Markets and I used one sheet of cardboard from the side of a box to make a price list.  Any extra cardboard that can't be re-used will rot.  I have recently been reading a book called "Zero Waste Home" and the author follows 5 R's: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.  We have recently begun a compost pile in our backyard.  We have plenty of greens but not as much brown material.  I have taken to shredding junk mail that is not glossy, and cutting cardboard to add to the compost.  So, into the pile it goes.  If it can't be used in a crafty way.

And that 40 pound tub of coconut oil is going to make a fabulous bucket around our house one day.  Hopefully it lasts a good, long while, but I am looking forward to having a ginormous bucket.