Great Timing!

Remember way back when I said I’d (w00t!) won a contest? Bramble Berry was holding a contest to launch their new subscription service, Handmade Beauty Box. Each month, subscribers get a surprise in the mail: a kit to make their own soap, balm, lotion, nail polish, mineral makeup…

I entered with the post below, making a suggestion for a possible subscription item (who doesn’t love lotion bars?), I voted for a logo design, and I followed Handmade Beauty Box on the various social media accounts I keep. Well, wonderful little Jamisen, Anne-Marie Faiola’s 3-year-old son, picked my nameHBB Winning Comment out of the hat as the winner of a 3 month, free subscription. FREE! Someone give that boy chocolate!

Our first box arrived just as Chanukah was getting started and school was ending for the semester. “Our,” you ask? Well, yes. I mean, you did know I’d have to share it with Avital, right?

That time of year: lots of boxes coming to our house
That time of year: lots of boxes coming to our house

Look! A cheerful pink box arrived… along with a lot of other boxes, because… December.  I was in the throes of making body butter and lip balm to keep up with holiday demand (because I took a few weeks off in October to go to Japan instead of making stuff!).

The timing was perfect. It was a Chanukah gift for Avital, and the project gave us gifts for her teachers.

We opened the box...

We opened the box…

…and found the instructions right on top (always a good idea), and everything securely packed with paper squiggles. The paper squiggles went right into the worm bin. (What’s a worm bin? I compost. Using worms. I do not blog about it.) I appreciate that the packing material was compostable, and the box will be reused to ship someone an order, or take an order to a local wholesale account.

The project created 8 melt-and-pour loofah soaps in their own molds/containers. We had 2 lbs of melt-and-pour, 8 soap molds with lids and pre-printed labels (thank you for that!), plenty of Sunny Herb Garden fragrance oil,

Beauty Box Number 1a nice chunk of loofah, two color blocks (Tangerine Wow and Electric Bubble Gum), a pipette for adding fragrance, a spritzer bottle (to spritz the hot soap with alcohol, which prevents bubbles), and raffiah to tie things up.

I have a confession. The raffia was between two of the mold/containers, and I thought it was more packing squiggles, so I composted it. The raffia is sleeping with the worms.

Oh well. Not essential to the project. (Can you tell I don’t use raffia? Or read instructions before pitching stuff?)

I was pleased. Really pleased. Had I not won a contest, but paid $30 for this, I would have felt  good about the purchase. Eight bars of nice soap, packaged and labelled, with a spritzer  bottle and some color block left over? And all top shelf, none of that “let’s clean out the excess inventory feel” to it.

Those of you who buy my soaps and balms will realize something: “Um, Lesli. You don’t use Tangerine Wow or Electric Bubble Gum Pink in your soaps. Nor do you use fragrance oil. And your soaps aren’t melt-and-pour, right?” Right on all counts.

My soaps are handmade from scratch, I use natural or nature-identical mineral pigments, clays, and herbs to color, and essential oils to scent. I am not a bright pink, sparkly, unicorns-and-rainbows kind of woman. But my 6 year old daughter is! The pinker, rainbower, sparklier, more unicorny it is, the better! (How is this my child? Sigh.)

And while I don’t use those colors and fragrances, I don’t think that they are of the devil or anything. So onward.

Even with the help of a 6-year-old, the project only took about an hour. Avital and I have made melt-and-pour soaps together on a few occasions (once with a friend of hers!), so she knows the drill.

You can find the whole tutorial on the Handmade Beauty Box site–along with better pictures than mine, but suffice it to say that for a couple of old pros like Avital and me, there were no hitches. We cut up the loofah, put it in the molds, cut up the soap (Avital helped, but it’s not easy for a 6-year-old to cut), melted the soap, colored it (Avital’s job was to choose how deep the color would be, and cut up the little color blocks), we scented, and poured. I did the pouring of the heavy container, but she helpfully put her hand on mine to participate.

I apologize for not taking pictures of the process, but we got into the mom-and-daughter fun, and I forgot.

Swirly Pink and Orange SoapAnd in the end, we had swirly pink and orange scrubby loofah soap. We put on the lids and labels, and the next day, Avital took it to school as gifts for her teachers. So we didn’t get to try it ourselves, but I’m sure it was fab.

And you know what else was fab? Having some fun project time with my daughter, and hearing her idea to gift the soaps to her teachers. I love when my baby shows that sort of spontaneous generosity.

So thanks again, Anne-Marie at Bramble Berry/HBB, for a really fun project. Avital and I enjoyed it. And I just received notice that another one is on its way to me… I wonder what project number 2 will be? And I wonder if Avital will nag me to buy a subscription once my three winning projects are done? Oh, just kidding. I don’t need to wonder. She will!



  1. This post motivates me to actually make my soaps from this kit! I paid for it as part of the Kick Starter project and don’t regret my purchase.

    M&P was my entry point into hand crafted products and I’ve gotten away from it. I use fragrance oils almost exclusively, but I really wasn’t fond of sunny herb garden. Luckily, I have plenty in my stash. 🙂

    How wonderful that you and your daughter were able to complete the project together!

  2. Lesli says

    The project is fun and totally worth doing. An orange EO would go well with the color scheme, or grapefruit and orange–anything bright and citrus, I think.

  3. Alyssa says

    Congrats on your win! Looks like a great package and it’s always fun to create bath and body goodies with our little ones. Look forward to hearing what your next project will be.

    • Lesli says

      She’s a totally crafty kid. In a couple of years, I’ll be teaching her to knit. I just know it.

  4. The soaps turned out great. I love that you were able to do this project with your daughter. How special! Please tell Avital that her soaps are gorgeous!

  5. Anne-Marie says

    Jamisen totally had so much chocolate and thanks you =) Also, thank you for the support. Glad you had fun making it with your daughter =)

    • Lesli says

      We had so much fun. And when I told Avital you commented on my blog, she said, “That’s impressive!” She wants me to open Bramble Berry, East Coast Edition, probably so she can have unlimited access to M&P, glitter, and unicorn erasers!

  6. Penny says

    What memory-makin’ fun! Makes me want to know what’s in box #2!

  7. Lesli says

    You’ll find out soon. It took me a while to blog this one, because of the holidays, but I’ll be more timely about the next one. (And better about taking pictures, too.)

  8. Great post! I supported Handmade Beauty Box on Kickstarter and my box has arrived! I have not yet had a chance to open and play with the contents, but I’m excited to do it soon. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lesli says

    Hi Donna Maria! I loved the podcast with Lela Barker. I met her in May at the HSCG conference, and just fell in love with her energy, enthusiasm, and positive attitude. I’m a new member of IBN, and I’m really getting into all the resources!

    Back to the kit: having an enthusiastic, crafty 6 year old around means a kit never sits unopened in our house for more than about 10 minutes. We received our second kit on Friday and as soon as Avital was home from school, she dove right in! She even skipped snack. Now that’s devotion!

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