Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SAFE Team Spring Challenge

Vote and win a chance at a free bar of soap!

The call to soapy glory was put out by Anhoki. The challenge - "Pick a country, any country, then design your soap around that country. Inspiration may be a scent, an item (ie plate, flag etc), a memory, anything." So team members set out to make the most fabulous creative bars based on their country of choice. How do we know they are fabulous creative soaps, you might ask? Well... they are all made by Safe Team Members of course!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to browse the photos, read each team member's inspiration snippet, then decide who you think has used their country to create the most unique soap icon to represent. The winner, decided by popular vote, will win a gift certificate generously paid for by the participants and Kelly Bloom from Southern Soapers. Kelly has matched the entry fees paid by our participants - Thank you for your generosity Kelly and thank you to all our participating team mates!

To vote, just leave a comment here on our blog. All voters will have their names entered into a drawing to win the Spring Challenge winning bar! Plus, don't forget to stop on over at each participant's shop - many will have these bars available for purchase and some will be offering discounts in their stores for voters!

Now without any further fanfair... Here are our Spring Challenge Contest Entries!

1. A Breath of French Air -
A dirndl is a type of traditional dress worn in southern Germany and Austria, based on the historical costume of Alpine peasants. Dresses that are loosely based on the dirndl are known as Landhausmode.
The dirndl originated as a simplified form of folk costume; the uniform of Austrian servants in the 19th century (dirndlegewand means "maid's dress"). Simple forms were also worn commonly by working women in plain colours or a simple check. Originally, each village had its own style and crest. The Austrian upper classes adopted the dirndl as high fashion in the 1870s. Today, dirndls vary from simple styles to exquisitely crafted, very expensive models.
My family is from Germany and when I was in High School, I visited this wonderful Country. My soap represents the dirndl. The lightly colored layers represent the layers of the dress, and the fluffy white top represents the white puffy shirt worn under the outfit.


2. Lily Pond Soaps
I have always been fascinated by the colors used by artists in China. They are very vivid and without even studying their culture you get the feeling that color was and still is very important to their everyday life.

Traditional Chinese physics taught that the five elements are water, fire, wood, metal and earth. They correspond to black, red, blue-green, white and yellow, respectively.

Scent is Asian Plum: National emblem of China is plum blossom. The plum blossoms are the only flowers which blossom in peak winter season. Though the surrounding is colder and covered with thick snow; the plum blossoms keep on blooming. In this season, no other flower can sustain. As a result, the flower has become the symbol of survival.


3. Anhoki -
Sun-drenched beaches, tropical breezes, Bob Marley, jerk chicken, rice and peas, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (My ALL-TIME favorite coffee).. Bacardi and coconut rum, banana liquor, cranberry and pineapple juice.....Jamaican Me Crazy here!!!
I've never been to Jamaica but, to me, it feels like home. I love the whole idea of being on the beach and literally minutes from EVERYTHING. The friendly people, wonderful food, atmosphere...What's NOT to love?!

My soap is a reflection of everything I love about Jamaica. The crystal blue water and the colorful people who call this awesome island home. A wonderful bouquet of rose, jasmine and geranium dances with a bowl of tropical berries lotus blossoms and vanilla orchid. Extraordinarily delicious.


4. The Skin Your In -
The country I chose for my challenge soap is Ireland. My maiden name is Campbell and I always thought my heritage was Scotch/Irish, after my sister did some tracing of our ancestry, we are actually Scottish, German, with a little bit of French and Irish thrown in to make a hardy stew!

This is an excerpt from an Irish verse by an unknown author:

Whenever I dream, it seems I dream of Erin's rolling hills,
Of all its lovely, shimmery lakes & little babbling rills.
I hear a colleen's lilting laugh across a meadow fair,
And, in my dreams, it almost seems to me that I am there.
O, Ireland! O, Ireland! We're never far apart;
For you & all your beauty fill my mind & touch my heart.


5. Indulgent Creations -
Japan - I was inspired to make this soap from my fascination with the beauty of the Japanese Kimono. The furisode, a formal kimono for an adult single woman, is usually made from fine quality silk and is brightly colored and patterned. They are representative of a turning point in a young woman's life, the time when they become of age and are recognised as an adult. This soap, "Kimono", represents the beauty of the furisode, the silkiness of the material and the vivid colors and patterns they create in my mind.


6. Pacific Paradise Soaps -
I have been fortunate enough to go to the Bahamas a few times. Once while there, I kayaked around an island & came upon a gorgeous sandy beach with a few islands off in the distance. I stopped to explore a bit & found dozens of conch shells. I really wanted to take one of these gorgeous shells home, they were so beautiful. But to honor the island I left them all there, but I did put a few together to take pictures. I colored this soap like the beautiful pink of the inside of the gorgeous conch shell. After my memorable kayaking adventure I sipped a Strawberry Daquiri & watched the sunset while gently swaying in a hammock tied between 2 palm trees. What a perfect day! I stamped this soap with palm trees and the sun setting over the ocean in an assortment of micas.


7. KB Shimmer -
America is a land full of diversity. People of many different nationalities and religions have worked together to form what we now know as the United States. United We Stand, with new hope, new vision, and a bright future ahead of us, we are rising above troubled times to show the world how a nation full of diversity, full of bright minds, full of vision, can can use the fruits of our labor to overcome and once again lead the world with our strong vision.

In my challenge soap, I wanted to showcase the diversity I see in our nation. I choose eight different colors to swirl this soap. Reflecting our bright future as a nation, I choose the brightest of colors, neon's, to make the color shine. The fruits of our nations labor are represented by the sweet scent of fruits, lime, lemon, raspberry, orange, with notes of banana, mango, patchouli and sandalwood.
I hope that my vision of a sweet today, and a brighter tomorrow for America is reflected in this soap. Thank you.


8. Thistle Delight Soapworks -
This soap is all cp soap (true soap) and all made and cut by hand, and not a cookie cutter etc.
I am born and raised in Scotland, so flying the flag (St. Andrews Cross) means you have Scottish Pride. This is why I named it Scottish Pride, I made the white batch first, then cut out the crosses by hand with a very sharp knife. Then I placed the crosses in the mold and poured the blue batch into that. I scented this soap with scottish heather, since our hills and glens are covered in heather most of the year. Just like Scotland, this soap is mystical in nature, during the day in daylight, it is royal blue and white, in the evening in electric light, it is purple and white.
Very magical and mystical soap just like the country it was named for.


9. Soap Scentsations
French style! I've always wanted to go to France. As a toddler my baby sitter was French and had we stuck around long I am sure I would have picked up some French words at that wee age. My High School English teacher was a native and her daughter (born in the US) ironically taught French! I know weird! But those early encounters with the French language and culture have always stuck with me. To me France is about three things: Art, Fashion, and FOOD! What French meal would be complete without wine, crusty bread, cheese, and lets not forget the DESSERT!

This luscious cream soap is scented with the rich flavors of creme brulee! It smells almost good enough to eat! (Custard cup and french accent not included!)


10. Swan Mountain Soaps -
I was born in the US, but I think my soul was born in Greece. And I’ve never even been there! But our family makes many visits to Greek Orthodox monasteries in Washington and Arizona every year, and I think that is as close to Greece as a person can get without actually going there! That is where my soul is at rest, soaking in the troparia and kontakion sung in melodious Greek tones, living simply and humbly according to an ancient schedule – and devouring all of the incredibly delicious Greek food I can get my hands on! . Coincidentally, I *look* Greek (so I’m told) and very often other Greek visitors will come up to me and start chatting away! I love the Greek language, the way people seem to express what they feel, without pretension or artifice, and I love the traditional Greek way of looking at life. It is, to a large degree, about simplicity, and yet it is incredibly complex too.


11. Gourmet Soaps -
Ginger Pear Soap - My first memory of handmade soap is of my mother taking a large 6 oz bar of brown, unscented soap and beating on a shirt on a washboard. We were stationed in Korea at the time, and I was only 6 years old. That memory is so vivid in my mind. I remember asking her what it was, and she replied, "Soap" as she wiped the sweat from her brow. As an adult, I realize that the soap was probably made of tallow, and I could not bring myself to recreate an unscented, tallow soap. So I scented this soap w/ a fragrance oil that smells sweetly of ginger and pears. The Asian Pears in Korea can grow to be a bit larger than softballs. It's so sweet and juicy, and not at all like the pears here in the states. This scent coupled with spicy, sweet ginger takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of simple pleasures like sweet pears eaten on a hot day as I soaked my feet in a cool mountain spring.

12. Green Springs Body Works - Moonlight over the Adriatic
Last summer I traveled to Croatia and swam in the beautiful Adriatic Sea. My ancestors come from that area and I have dreamed of going there. Croatia is known for it's beautiful scenery, deep green olive oil, and lavender fields. I tried to recreate the Adriatic in my soap.



13. inalather

Asti Eye Candy Soap - I chose Italy because I have always been fascinated by the culinary culture there. My soap incorporates two essential elements-- healthy, mild olive oil and delicious wine, I named my soap Asti after the area of Italy that produces the well-known sparkling Spumante, and added some micas to the soap to represent the sparkling bubbles of the wine. You can almost smell the bubbles!


14. Pink Parchment Soaps

One of my favorite wines is a red wine that a friend brought back from Spain.
Sangria is a Spanish wine punch that normally consists of red wine and chopped or sliced fruits. Sangria is served at informal social gatherings.

What could possibly be better than having good friends, good wine and good food!


Well... There you have it! Such creativity displayed in each and every bar! Don't forget to comment for your chance to win and to place your vote for your favorite SAFE Team Spring Challenge bar!

Friday, March 27, 2009

SAFE Team is proud to introduce

Kayla Fioravanti
as our next speaker in our Virtual Soap Symposium

She will be speaking on the topic of essential oils!

Kayla Fioravanti is the Vice President, Chief Formulator, ARC Registered & Certified Aromatherapist for Essential Wholesale and its lab division Essential Labs. Kayla received her college degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She was raised around the world living across the globe from Japan to Germany and studied in Ireland. In United States alone, Kayla has lived in Texas, California, Oklahoma, Maryland, Washington and Oregon. With these experiences, she brings the holistic health that she has learned internationally together with American ingenuity to the products, personal care and cosmetics that she develops.

Wife and mother of three, Kayla runs her company along with her husband Dennis. In 1998, Kayla started creating products in her kitchen using essential oils. Her first glimpse into the world of essential and botanical oils was by means of a personal trial; one of her children had a case of ringworm that would not go away. After trying every over-the-counter ointment and even some prescriptions, she looked into the natural way of healing and discovered essential oils. The ringworm was gone in three days and Kayla was hooked on aromatherapy. She didn’t find any companies that would work with start up businesses or that formulated truly natural bases to add the essential oils to. She and her husband decided to fill the missing nitch by creating Essential Wholesale. Kayla is chemically sensitive and before developing her own cosmetics, she was unable to use personal care items that were labeled “natural”, “unscented” and “hypo-allergenic”. Her goal has always been to stay true to a natural theme and to utilize ingredients that are wholly beneficial to everyone and the environment. Essential Wholesale is open to the public and works with any sized company. Kayla believes that natural living should be readily available to everyone.

Today, Kayla is the go-to-specialist for formulating and supplying information on natural, organic and pure cosmetics and personal care items. She formulates thousands of products including: mineral make up, skin care, body care and products for bath, body, spa, hair, baby and so much more. Through her lab division Essential Labs, Kayla formulates private label products for customers big and small from around the world. Kayla recently earned a spot as a finalist for “Innovation of the Year” by the International Cosmetic Manufactures and Distributors Association. Essential Wholesale, a leader in the industry, was recognized by the INC 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in America; it also supplies raw ingredients, bulk personal care products, mineral make up, and aromatherapy supplies at wholesale prices.

Kayla writes articles for Dermascope Magazine, Les Nouvelles Esthetique, New York Metro Parent, Handmade Beauty Business Magazine, HK Magazine Online, Indie Magazine and Total Mom. Kayla has been a guest on Organic Beauty Radio, Indie Radio, KPDQ Northwest Showcase, Good Day Oregon, 104.1 The Fish and Podcast From the Heart. She has been a speaker for Handmade Beauty Network and the 2006 and 2008 Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference. She also writes Essential U News for Essential Wholesale and for the Essential U blog that launched in 2007. Kayla is the driving force behind the Essential U online University, an educational center for aromatherapy, cosmetics, industry standards and business ownership. What matters most to Kayla Fioravanti is teaching others about the wonders of natural and holistic living. Essential U is filled with free information as well as an upcoming 2008 aromatherapy certification program.

For more information please visit http://www.essentiallabs.com/ or http://www.essentialwholesale.com/

Come to the Virtual Soap Symposium on Monday, March 30th at 5 pm EST.Everyone is welcome to attend! You do not have to be a member of the team, but you do have to be a registered etsy user. The virtual labs are located here: http://www.etsy.com/virtual_labs.php, and our event is in the Gallery.

For further information contact Christina Seine at


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In case you missed it ...

Monday's Virtual Soap Symposium was awesome! Kelly from Southern Soapers did an amazing job of explaining the use of preservatives for us. And, she has been kind enough to provide us with some notes from her presentation. There was a lot of information to digest!

Here is an overview of Monday's class ...

1. Are your cosmetics safe?

Kelly explained, "When we purchase cosmetic products in the store, we take for granted that they will remain usable for a long period of time. This shelf life and safety is only possible thanks to the presence of preservatives in our cosmetics. When we formulate cosmetics products for resale, we have to provide a product that keeps our customer safe."

That means we have to plan for the possibility that customers may not store our lotions, balms, butters and other cosmetics properly, and they might also introduce bacteria, yeast, mold and other undesirables to the product. "We live in a very litigious society and not all consumers accept responsibility for their improper use or storage of products that they purchase."

Bacteria, yeast and mold are present every where - even on our own skin. While cosmetics are not expected to be sterile, they should still fall within safe use ranges. Preservatives help ensure this.

2. Are preservatives safe?

Kelly pointed out that all preservatives used in cosmetics and personal care products have undergone rigorous testing, and they've had to meet strict regulations begore being approved for use. She also pointed out that the amount of preservative in a product is very small - less than 1% in many cases. "Many bacteria, yeast, and molds are far more dangerous to our health than the small percentage of preservatives used in our products."

Even if you're using preservatives in your formulations, it is still recommended that you have your products undergo Aerobic Platelet Counts and Yeast/Fungal testing.

3. What about "natural" preservatives?

Kelly very clearly stressed the fact that Vitamin E and grapefruitseed extract are NOT preservatives. They are antioxidants which can help keep oils from becoming rancid as quickly, but they do not prevent or minimize the growth of bacteria, yeast or mold in your product.

Furthermore, Kelly pointed out, "natural ingredients can sometimes be even more prone to microbial growth — just think about how long fruits and vegetables last in your refrigerator, or how quickly fresh milk sours." Studies have shown that natural ingredients often contain bacteria already - "imported butters or oils can harbor mold or fungi spores, which multiply when exposed to any amount of water in formulations. Many hands come in contact with these luxurious natural ingredients long before they arrive in your formulating `laboratory.'"

4. Preservatives are your "insurance."

First of all, Kelly pointed out that your business insurance may not cover you for claims if you are not using preservatives in your products. Also, FDA regulations do not require us to to use preservatives, BUT they do make it a crime to sell contaminated products.

• The FD&C Act prohibits the marketing of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics
in interstate commerce. Violations of the Act involving product composition--
whether they result from ingredients, contaminants, processing, packaging,
or shipping and handling--cause cosmetics to be adulterated and subject to
regulatory action. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-206.html

5. Resources: Thank you Kelly for these awsome links!

Sagescripts Microbiology Services

Cosmetic Contamination Resulting in MRSA Infection

Southern Soapers Supplies Preservative Overview PDS’s

Voluntary Registration of your Cosmetics Manufacturing Facility

FDA Authority (FD&C Act)

Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Business Liability Insurance

Indie Beauty Network Business Liability Insurance

Southern Soapers Supplies Business Insurance Rebate Program

Formaldehyde Safety in Cosmetics

Proctor & Gamble Study of Microbial Growth w/ Various Cosmetics Closures

Natural Formulators Should Take Care to Avoid Pre Market Contamination

Question Over Natural Preservatives

Cosmetic Microbiology

FDA’s Cosmetic Safety: More Complex than at First Blush

Microbial Quality Assurance In Cosmetics, Toiletries, & Non Sterile Phamaceuticals
http://tinyurl.com/ccpl7p (link shortened for Google Books)

6. Information on the specific kinds of preservatives -

If you're looking for specific information on the different brands of preservatives, Kelly has an awesome directory here from the Southern Soapers site: http://southernsoapers.com/cart/index.php?main_page=page&id=26&chapter=0

7. And best of all ...

Kelly most generously has offered etsy soapers a special discount in her store! Enter the coupon code "ETSY25" to receive $5 off a $25 order. Kelly said we could use this coupon as often as we wish, too. (She did ask, if we used the coupon to please heart her etsy shop, southernsoapers.etsy.com).


Sunday, March 22, 2009

SAFE Team is proud to introduce

Kelly Bloom
as our second guest speaker in our Virtual Soap Symposium.

Kelly Bloom is the owner of Southern Soapers supplies for soapmakers, voted Supplier of the Year in 2007 by Saponifier Magazine. She will discuss when it is necessary to use a preservative in your formulations, and she'll give an overview of the different kind of preservative systems available, discussing the pros and cons of each different kind.

Ever wondered ....

* If your lotion needs a preservative system?
* Is there an alternative to using preservatives? What about Vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract?
* If there is there an "all-natural" preservative?
* Why there are so many different kinds of preservatives on the market?
* Why some people feel preservatives are bad? Are preservatives safe?
* How to choose the right preservative for each kind of product you make?
* What exactly does a preservative do, anyway?

If so, come to the Virtual Soap Symposium on Monday, March 23rd at 5 pm EST.

Everyone is welcome to attend! You do not have to be a member of the team, but you do have to be a registered etsy user. The virtual labs are located here: http://www.etsy.com/virtual_labs.php, and our event is in the Gallery.

For further information contact Christina Seine at http://www.swanmountainsoaps.etsy.com/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy

are proud and honored to introduce
Marie Gale

As our first speaker in our Virtual Soap Symposium

Marie Gale, President of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild and author of the book “Soap & Cosmetic Labeling,” will discuss how to label your soaps and bath & body products correctly – including when your soap is a cosmetic, and when your cosmetic becomes a drug according to FDA standards. Learn the rules and regulations that apply to your business, without wading through pages of technical information and legalese!

Please join us in the Etsy Virtual Labs, on March 16th, 5 pm.

It all started when Marie moved, with her daughter, to her family's ranch. Needing an income she did lots of research to find her outlet. Wanting to do something that was somehow related to the land, so she started researching different types of “homesteading” activities, and soapmaking was the one that stuck! (Luck for us!) In 1998 she created Chandler Soaps with some help from her family. In 1999 she attended her first (their 3rd) Annual Conference of the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild and launched her website for Chandlers Soaps! Both have paid off quite well!!

Being a member of the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc. since 1998, Marie was elected to the Board of Directors in 2003. The following year she was re-elected to the Board of Directors and became the Vice-President. Upon taking office of Vice President she immediately assumed the Office of President, as the elected President was unable to take office due to health issues.
She has been President since — re-elected in 2005 then again in 2007 for two year terms. The 2007 term will be over June 30, 2009 and, unfortunately, will not be eligible for any further terms on the Board or as President. It is a volunteer position, done for the love of the Soap Guild, and we would like to thank her for all of her hard work and dedication! She has been a true asset to the organization.

As an author Marie has written (along with many other wonderful thing) a book that clarifies and explains the basic regulations of product labeling and makes them easy to understand. The 2nd edition, published in early 2008, has added more pages, pictures and diagrams, including a complete chapter on the labeling of soap. Surprisingly, getting the labeling right isn’t very complicated … but it is very detailed.
This book explains, in plain English, how to follow product labeling rules and regulations from:

-Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act
-Fair Product and Labeling Act
-Uniform Weights & Measures Law
-Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulations
-State Laws

In addition, the appendices include cosmetic color additives and their approved uses, INCI names for common ingredients, restricted and prohibited ingredients and metric conversion charts.

Whether you’re an old hand or a newcomer to the business of soap and cosmetics, you’ll find the information presented in her book to be clear and easy to understand, and Soap & Cosmetic Labeling an excellent guide through the maze of labeling regulations.

We would like to thank Marie Gale for her time and expertise. For more information on Marie you can visit her website http://www.mariegale.com/ and the Hand Crafted Soap Makers Guild http://www.soapguild.org/.

Friday, March 6, 2009


“Everything you wanted to know about bath and body, but didn’t know you were supposed to ask!”

Etsy Virtual Labs - Starting March 16th, 5 pm Eastern
Is there really a root beer essential oil? Are preservatives really evil? Can a soap really eliminate cellulite, prevent acne and make my ex-boyfriend beg to have me back? Can I add real strawberries to my Strawberry Shortcake soap? What information needs to go on bath & body product labels? Why should I care?

Bath and body is currently one of the most popular categories on etsy – and for good reason! In a stress-filled world, nothing is nicer than treating yourself to a bar of handmade soap, lotion, balm, scrub or candle. It is one of the most economical and instantly gratifying ways of pampering one’s self! However, with hundreds of thousands of listings on etsy, and new sellers opening up every day, how can a person be sure that what they’re buying is safe, and that their product will actually do what it says it will do? How can a seller stand out in the crowd without making amazing claims?

The Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy (SAFE) Team is a group of soapers and bath & body makers committed to the very best manufacturing practices. While some are fairly new to the craft, many team members have been making soap, lotions, balms and other products for many years – some even for decades! And yet, even the “old pros” sometimes have a hard time wading through FDA labeling regulations and sorting through the often conflicting information regarding essential oils and other ingredients.

So this spring, the SAFE Team has invited the experts to weigh in on many of our biggest questions. Etsy’s first-ever Virtual Soap Symposium will take place on Monday evenings in the Virtual Labs and will feature many of the bath and body industry’s biggest names. Everyone is invited to attend, and there will be a question-and-answer session at the end of each presentation. Don’t miss out!

March Events:

Monday, March 16 - Labeling Your Products Properly. Marie Gale, President of the Handcrafter Soapmakers Guild and author of the book “Soap & Cosmetic Labeling,” will discuss how to label your soaps and bath & body products correctly – including when your soap is a cosmetic, and when your cosmetic becomes a drug according to FDA standards. Learn the rules and regulations that apply to your business, without wading through pages of technical information and legalese!

Monday, March 23 - Preservatives: When and How to Use Them. Kelly Bloom, owner of Southern Soapers supplies for soapmakers (voted Supplier of the year in 2007), will discuss when preservatives are necessary, what can happen if they aren’t used properly, and how to determine the best preservative for your bath or body product.

Monday, March 30 – Knowing Your Essential Oils: Kayla Fioravanti, Registered Aromatherapist and Chief Formulator for http://www.essentialwholesale.com/, will discuss the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils, which essential oils can be used safely on the skin and the different properties EOs can bring to a product, as well as how to know when an essential oil is NOT an essential oil!

For more information, contact Christina Seine, http://www.swanmountainsoaps.etsy.com/.