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 name 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?
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…
…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,
a 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.
And 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!