The Proper Care and Storage of Soap

How to take proper care of your handmade soap.

No, this isn’t advice on how to make your soap last longer in the shower and stop it from going soft and mushy when wet. If you’re looking for advice on that, my advice is to use a soap (like ours) which doesn’t go soft and mushy as soon as it gets two drops of water on it. This does seem to be a problem with a lot of cold-process soaps, particularly those made using only vegetable oils, to the extent that some soap makers recommend that you buy two bars of soap  (coincidentally doubling their sales) and alternate between them each day so they don’t turn into a gooey mess, so maybe I’ll do a future blog post about what qualities the oils used for soap-making should have to avoid this problem. Continue reading “The Proper Care and Storage of Soap”

On being Audacious

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.
~ Tacitus

De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace!
( Audacity, more audacity, and always audacity!)
~ Napoleon Bonaparte, attributed.*

But can you really make a living selling soap?
~ Concerned friends/family, when we started out.

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One unexpected thing Kate and I had to face when we decided to do this full­-time was the occasional, if well-meaning, questions from friends and (often) from family about whether this whole idea was viable as a way to earn an income. Heck, we still get the occasional question from old friends and strangers when they find out what we do. I usually answer with some variation of “well, it’s been working so far!” or “I hope so!” It hasn’t been a cakewalk, by any means, especially when we were starting out, but we’ve managed to do OK, I think, and yes, we’ve had help from our friends and family, with them being our first customers and promoters.

I still remember how excited we were when the majority of our page’s fans switched to people who we weren’t friends on Facebook with! Would we have got to the point we are today though, if we had listened to the doubts people had about whether the path we were starting out on was could lead to success? Continue reading “On being Audacious”

How We Grew Our Craft Business

People often tell us how much they’d love to start a craft business, or that they have a craft business on the side and they wish they could just get it to grow a bit faster, and ask us how we’ve managed to do it full time. Well, there’s quite a bit to it, but mostly, I’d say the practice that’s really helped us get where we are has been….standardisation.  What do I mean by that? Well, a lot of crafters make really beautiful products really well, but each one is unique and a once-off item. For some crafts, this can be a very successful business model, especially if your product is valuable enough to command a high price for each  individual item. But for most products, as much as crafters don’t like to hear it, a superior business model is to standardise a product, or products, and get larger volumes out into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “How We Grew Our Craft Business”

Sketches on bus trips

I sketched, coloured and painted all the artwork on our packaging, and designed the layout on paper (wonderfully computer-proficient graphic designers took it from there).

sketching the art work

Initially, they were just little Idea sketches, but they just transformed into the illustrations for our packaging. So, am I qualified/trained in Packaging Design? Well, when I was about 10, I went through a phase of designing wrappers for my dream chocolate bars (hmmm, I wonder what happened to those…) but, no, the simple answer is no. But, I have always loved drawing. Continue reading “Sketches on bus trips”

We have this Thing about Rondavels

Here at Rondavel, we love finding out about the sustainable uses of natural resources – their historical, current and future potential. Most of our product formulation is about taking raw ingredients from Nature, and combining them to create something new, that is both functional and true to its roots. The traditional Southern African hut, a rondavel (Afrikaans for Round House) is a perfect example to us of how human hands can take natural materials and shape them into a functional, beautiful form. This is why we have chosen this humble dwelling as our logo. Continue reading “We have this Thing about Rondavels”