I'm currently working on my Indiegogo Campaign pitch. One of the prompts it suggests you talk about is, "Point out your successful track record with projects like this (if you have one)." I do have one as it were. Since I'm already more long winded in my pitch than I should probably be, I think I'll go ahead and just put this here.
The Year was 1994
Remember “creepy crawlers”? It came with a few metal molds that were various bug shapes. You put “plasti-goop”, which was a brightly colored, oily, viscous… goop, into the molds and then put them into an Easy Bake Oven kind of oven (light bulb and all) and baked them till they solidified into a rubbery critter you could, I dunno, play with? I just really liked making them; I didn’t care what happened to them afterwards. I think I pretty much just gave them all to my brother. I also remember them being everywhere in the house. It’s been over 20 years, but I bet you money my parents still have one or two in their junk drawer.
I had so much fun with it. I made dozens of those bugs. Eventually though, I would run out of goop. My parents bought me the occasional bottle, but it did start to get a bit expensive. In order to feed my creative outlet, I needed money to buy my own goop. As a 9 year old, how was I to get money? I never had an allowance and I couldn’t get a job or mow lawns yet. The best my adolescent brain came up with was, “Sell the thing you like to make so you can make more!” Things haven’t changed much, have they?
I can’t remember the cost of the goop, but I did set a price that made sense to me at the time. I figured out how many solid, single color bugs I could roughly make per bottle and then with how much the bottle costs and then set a price per bug. I didn’t have a concept of overhead, but I did have a small concept of labor. I would charge a bit more for more intricate bugs that used more than one color.
And it worked! I made a whole bunch of single color bugs and sold them for $0.05-$0.10 a piece (depending on size). I’d bag them up 10 for $1.00 and everything. I even started taking custom orders for $0.25 a bug. They'd order something like a blue bug with red eyes or a black spider with green legs, and I'd make it. It was awesome. I was able to buy my goop and make my bugs. Everyone was a winner. I was even able to buy some glow in the dark goop for “specialty” bugs.
But, it was not to be. My mom got a call home from my teacher who wanted her to tell me that it wasn’t “appropriate” to be selling things at school and that all the bugs were becoming a “distraction”. My whole creepy crawler empire was shut down with one phone call from big education.
It surprises no one in my family that I’ve taken to starting a business that has me selling things I enjoy making. They are honestly more surprised that I have kids. I wasn’t exactly the “mommy” type while growing up. Case in point, I preferred much more to make rubber bugs than I did to play house or with dolls. So, even though some things haven’t changed, it’s good to know I’ve grown up some. Well, mostly. I also have no shame in admitting that if I had access to goop and a creepy crawler oven I’d be making them right now.
Difficult to Choose.
One of the more tricky aspects of starting this business is deciding which products to offer. My problem isn't that I can't think of what to make, it's that there are so many things I want to make, it becomes difficult to choose. Right off the top of my head I could make at least 7 different versions of a face cleanser. At this point in the game though, that just isn't very practical. Well, that is unless I was only doing face cleansers. But no, I'm doing face care, as well as general bath and body goods. For simplicity's sake, I've had to narrow down my products to several that are less targeted and more appealing to a wider selection of people. Without further ado.
A healthy, hydrated face is a happy face. Whether your skin is dry or oily, normal or sensitive, young or old, everyone can benefit from more hydration. Your skin is clearer and healthier looking when it is clean and adequately moisturized. The Hammer Soap's Skin Care line for All Skin Types is the answer for healthy, hydrated skin. These face products are formulated with rich botanicals to naturally hydrate and cleanse along with 100% natural, plant derived fragrance blends from therapeutic essential oils and extracts that works in synergy. Formulated without parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes, colors, or synthetic fragrances.
Bath & Body
Bath products are so much fun! What is it about mountains of foam in a bubble bath or brightly colored, deliciously scented bath gels that make you just feel so good? Hammer Soap's Bath & Body products are a treat for the body and the senses. Made with natural ingredients, gentle cleansers, and body safe colors and fragrances so that you can feel good about getting clean.
Bar Soaps of Course!
But Wait, There's More!
Well, not more products. For now at least. I think this is a generous and diverse offering of products for my venture at this point. Stay tuned to my blog and facebook page, because from here on out, I'm going to start showcasing each product and delve a little deeper into their ingredients and utility. I will also talk about plans for the future and how I plan on expanding my product lines. As we approach my launch date in late August, I aim to prove to everyone how amazing this is going to be. By giving you all details about each and every product, I wish to keep everyone engaged and excited about the future of Hammer Soaps. I hope this sneak peak gets everyone excited. I sure am!
I'm in the process of hashing out my Indiegogo Campaign and would love to hear some feedback. I've got a catchy title, a tagline, and I think I have a persuasive pitch coming along. I'm at the point where I'm to decide on perks. If you aren't familiar with crowdfunding through Indiegogo, or crowdfunding in general, let me fill you in. Perks are incentives for people to donate to or "back" your campaign. It's a win/win. The campaigner will get the necessary funding and the backers will get something in return. Often it is something to do with the product or service the campaigner is trying to fund. In my case, things like the bath and body products I will be producing would be a good choice. I'm already going to produce it, and this gives people who are interested in the project to experience its success first hand.
So, that being said, what perks would YOU like to see me offer? In addition to the bath and body products I'll be selling, I'm also considering a logo t-shirt. My other Hammer people out there do love hammer apparel! Suggest away!
"Inspired by Nature, Founded in Science and Hand Crafted with Care"
I make soap. You all know I love doing that. But you may be wondering why Hammer Soaps exists at all. What am I trying to bring to the world here? Why, when there are already established bath & body companies, am I bothering?
That, is an easy answer. Easy, but a bit long winded, so buckle up.
First, the whole reason I started making soap in the briefest way I can tell it. I used a bar of real soap I had gotten as a stocking stuffer and it was pretty good. It wasn't great, but I thought it was neat. I also wondered what went into making real soap and I wondered if it was possible for me to do it, so I started researching. Being the crafty sort of person I am, once I found out what to do, I wanted to try my hand at it. I figured out what I may have liked and didn't like about the soap I had already used and decided to make some that I would like better. So I did. And it was AMAZING! Well, that sort of overlapped with a whole bunch of other bath and body products I had been using throughout the years which means I've come up with a whole mess of recipes for stuff that I've made and tweaked and used, sold, and even given away.
My current party trick is picking up a cosmetic, a lotion, or a wash or whatever and being able to tell you what each ingredient does in the product and why it's there. And if I don't recognize an ingredient, I look it up and can then gain an understanding as to what it brings. My husband finds this amusing. I've looked at an awful lot of products and seen an awful lot I don't like. Now, you may think you know what I'm talking about, and your mind might automatically go to the current demons that are trendy such as parabens, dyes, fragrances or other "chemicals". Not this time, that wasn't my beef. No, I was getting ripped off, and that made me mad.
Hammer Soaps is all about skin care with naturally derived ingredients, potent active ingredients (nature derived or manufactured), put together in a way that makes it effective, without sacrificing aesthetic. I was reading the ingredients on several natural lotions and saw nothing more than common oils, an emulsifier, water, and some fragrance. Now, that's all well and good and sometimes simple and natural can be best, but I'm not paying $35 for an ounce of product when there is barely $1.00 worth of value in the jar! And also, when looking at the less natural alternatives, I saw some active ingredients listed prominently on the front label as one of its "features" (truth in product labeling is another sore spot with me, but that is a rant for another day). Some of those active ingredients sound sexy, but just look for them on the ingredients list. If they are there at all.
See, cosmetic ingredients are listed in alphabetical order by prominence, you know, greatest to least? So, when it comes to the percentage of an ingredient in a product, the most should be listed first and then so on and so forth in alphabetical order. Now, do you know where those "active ingredients" were listed? Near the bottom, in the 1% zone AFTER the preservatives (which may be less than 0.5%). Now, one of these actives I know for a fact can safely be used up to 30% and still see efficacy at as little as 5%. Basically, they charged a mint using the active ingredient as a selling point and then put in so little as to be completely ineffective. *breath Julie, just breath*
Anyways, that's bull and I can do better.
So I will do better. Hammer Soaps will be creating products with the best active ingredients that nature and science have to offer. They will be made to be safe and effective and worth every penny. Not to mention fun. Skin and body care products can be so much fun, there's no reason that "better for you" has to be bland. And also, because I've been let down so often by products, I'm packaging up smaller, sample size versions that make it easy for you try before spending more money on the full sized products (even though I just know you'll love them!). And, they won't be in those messy little one-time-use foil pouches either. My fun size products will be generously portioned mini versions of their full sized counterparts. By using sample packaging that is similar or even the same as the full products', you'll get a consistent user experience between the two. To make life even easier, I'll be doing this all online, so you don't even have to put on pants or even a bra to get them. Bonus! I'll be setting up a subscription box offer so you can have stuff delivered to you with out even having to think about it. It doesn't get much easier or more convenient than that!
Thanks for listening to my rant. I do tend to get a bit... passionate. If you've got similar stories, or have anything else to add, let me know in the comments!
Labels are hard.
Well, not really hard. Just... time consuming. I mean, look at my logo. It's simple. Nothing really crazy going on there. But it took me forever + a day to settle on the font, the color, the placement, etc. And then I had to work it all out in photoshop with transparency and layers so things were independently editable*. But, in the end I think I turned out really nice. The look I want for Hammer Soaps is "high end, but fun". When my sister saw it, those were the exact words she used. Nailed it! Mission accomplished. Well, hopefully. I'm no graphic artist nor am I a brand designer. I'm sure someone out there sees my stuff, shakes their head and chuckles a bit while muttering, "At least it's not in Comic Sans". Anyways, I've got a working label that'll be the basis for every other label here on out. Unless I change my mind. I'm apt to do that.
*Is that even a word? I guess it is. It just sounds really weird right now. I think I've been at the computer too long. Day two of working on labels.
See, I've got this one too. Not sure where I'm gonna use it. It's kinda important to me to have the hammer visible everywhere, you know? Either way, it looks quite nice. I'm sure I'll find somewhere to stick it.
By the way, the face wash is AMAZING! I use it morning and night. Can't wait for you all to try it! Let me know what you think of the design in the comments. Or on Facebook. I'm posting there too.
Hey everyone, welcome back to Hammer Soaps! I've been pretty busy these past few months. As you can see, I've made some changes to the logo and my website. I want to take the time to let you all know what's new with Hammer Soaps.
As many of you know, I've been doing the soap thing for quite a few years now (OMG 5!). You've probably purchased my soaps, maybe received some as gifts, or even given them as gifts yourselves. I've always gotten really positive feedback that tells me you guys love the way it makes your skin feel, how long it lasts, and how nice it looks and smells. I am more appreciative than I can say for that feedback. It's really inspired me to make the best soap for you all and I am beyond grateful for all of your support.
During this time though, I've been making much more than just bar soap. I've been creating other fun bath and body goodies. I've made solid bubble bath bars, lotions, liquid soaps, lip balms, bath bombs, scrubs and even trying my hand at mixing my very own exclusive fragrances. Now, all of this that I've done has been on very small scale that hasn't been much bigger than for my own personal and immediate family's use. Even with my soaps, I've only every kept that scale really small by selling locally with friends, family, and acquaintances. Outside of several craft shows and craft malls, along with a few Etsy sales, I've not really made Hammer Soaps a true business. It's still sits squarely at "hobby status". But now, that's about to change.
What Happens Next?
I'm re-branding Hammer Soaps as Hammer Soaps Bath & Body. I want to do so much more than just soaps. As cold process soap has always been my first love, there are so many more things that I've created that I want to share with not only my friends and family, but everyone! I want everyone to have a chance at using the products I create! That is why I'm officially upgrading Hammer Soaps from a mere hobby, to a legit business, able to produce at a much larger scale. In the coming days, I'll be laying out the entire scope of my vision with information about the products I will produce, my business model, and the scale of production I will be looking at.
How You Can Help.
At the end of August, I will be launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund the initial launch of Hammer Soaps Bath & Body. Things like larger scale production equipment, bulk ingredients, and packaging will be in my funding goals. You can look forward to early access to products and goodies as perks with your support. Again, over the next 8 weeks, I want to excite and inspire you with all of the really cool things that are going to be happening before my campaign goes live. So, keep tuned to this space for regular news and updates. Also, subscribe to my various social media pages and sign up for my newsletter (on the homepage) to stay on top of everything Hammer Soaps! Thanks again for your support!
Julie Hammer is the owner of Hammer Soaps Bath & Body.