Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from Second Spring Soaps!!

2011 is almost over, and 2012 is almost here! That's quite a few almosts!

Tonight, me and my family are staying home, just the three of us. We're going to have a big dinner of chicken and stuffing, and pie for desert, then we're going to stay up and watch Anderson Cooper on CNN! It will be a small and simple celebration, but it's the way we want it! Plus, my toddler seems to be getting excited, since we've been telling him about the party tonight!

2011 was a fantastic year for us! My son turned 1 back in July, my husband began his pathway program through King College and is on his way to graduating in August of 2012, and I officially started my soap shop in September! Lots of milestones! We are all very excited to see what will happen in 2012.

Happy New Year!! How will you be celebrating tonight?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012: A Preview of What's Coming

2012 is coming soon! How exciting! With only 4 days left in 2011, I thought this would be a great time to talk about all of the fun and exciting things coming up for Second Spring Soaps!

Right now (yep! right now!), I am prepping for both Valentine's Day and St. Patty's Day. A few weeks ago, I made some new two-colored soaps in great scents (lilac, honey/almond, oakmoss and sage...), and they will be going live online in just a few days! I've picked up some new yarns as well, for some crochet swag to go along with the holidays!

Oh, and debuting just in time for St. Patrick's Day... Beer soap! Beer soap is made with beer (no way! really?) for some great additions for your skin (barley, hops), but with no beer smell! So, dont worry, you wont be heading to the office smelling like you are coming off a bender.

Exciting news in the world of lip balms!! After many requests (a lot of them from my own sister), I am transitioning from round tins to the traditional lip balm tube! Whoo!! I'll also be adding lots of new flavors, such as a triple berry blend, peppermint, clove, lemon, and (drum roll, please!) chocolate!

There's even more surprises coming... new bath salts, new crochet accessories, and the addition of bath bombs!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Social Media and the Small Business

I had my second of two classes at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at ETSU today, and our subject was all about using social media! Social media has quickly became a dominate force in our lives... I mean, think about it... How often do you check your facebook? (I'll admit, I check mine often!) Small businesses can use social media to their advantage, if they know what they are doing!

We talked about 5 different social media sites: facebook, twitter, foursquare, linkedin, and youtube. Now, I am already on facebook and twitter, but I was very interested in the other three, as well as learning how to better communicate to (and with!) you guys through the sites.

One thing that I am very interested in is creating a YouTube channel! Back when I was really getting into the art of soap making, I would search youtube for hours, and was very inspired by other soap artists who posted videos of the soap making process, as well as follow-up videos once the soap was ready to cut!
So one of my goals in 2012 is to start a YouTube channel featuring my soaps! My husband and I are currently tinkering around with his iphone's video capabilities, as well as my own camera, and I want to start shooting and uploading videos by January or February! That way, you guys can get sneak previews of what will be coming up in my shop!! :oD

One interesting note that I learned today was the different in posting on Facebook and posting on twitter. On facebook, I try to only post once or twice a day, so my posts do not jam up everyone's newsfeed, so I was doing the same on twitter... Nope! I was doing it wrong! I learned that on twitter, people post more often in order to be seen in the real time feed! So, if you follow me on Twitter, look for me to start posting more often!

And of course, I'll still be on facebook! I love linking my blog to facebook, talking about new products, and uploading photos! Look for more polls and questions about what YOU want to see in new soaps and lip balms, as well as peeks into new products that I am developing for 2012!

Remember, to catch great (free!) classes like this one, and the one I went to a few days ago, contact your local SBA chapter! New classes start up in Tennessee in January, and I am looking forward to taking a few more!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just some light reading...

Well, my semester is over! Four more classes are now behind me, and I am 12 credit hours closer to graduation!

My goals for winter break are ready to be fulfilled... I've got to finish some last-minute handmade Christmas gifts, make loads of cookies and candy, I'm planning on making new crochet wash cloths and soap savers with men in mind, I've already started creating heart-shaped soaps for the valentine's holiday, and I picked up some light reading from ETSU's Sherrod Library!

I grabbed two books. The first is the "AMA Complete guide to small business marketing." This boo seems great, and has lots of space for interaction, quizes, and self-reflection. The second book is "Successful Marketing for Small Business." I am already in love with this book! When I first opened it and started reading, I realized quite quickly that this was a book I would be taking notes from!

What great resources!

What are you doing over winter break?

**PS: If you are interested in purchasing from my etsy shop for holiday gifts, make sure to do so by tomorrow!!**

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A little help for the budding entrepreneur...

My fall semester of college is getting ready to end (only two finals left and I am free for a month!!), and one of my favorite things to do each week is to grab a copy of our school paper, the East Tennessean. And I bet you can imagine my excitement when I read that the TSBDC is offering training classes for small businesses!

Wait... what is the TSBDC?
It is the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is associated with my university AND the SBA! They offer courses and counseling for people who run, or want to run, small businesses. They are also associated with ETSU's college and business and technology!

Well, I called and immediately signed up for two of their courses (I cant take the others because of my silly finals! Dang!). I attended my first of two yesterday, called "So you want to start a small business." I was so pleasently suprised by the class! It was a small class (I was one of 9... and I think I was the youngest there!), and our instructor was friendly and encouraged an open forum... The open forum was fabulous! I was able to ask about getting my sole proprietorship in Tennessee, even though the majority of my sales are out of state.

We also got some cool swag!
We were able to keep the small business workbook, which came with invaluable information, such as local phone numbers, steps to filing paperwork, and help with attempting to get small business loans from banks!
My swag also included a yearly calendar (this is going to be great for tracking my mileage!), a magazine about computers (an interesting read if you are looking to upgrade your devices), and a pamphlet from Google on how to best use Google to your advantage!

So, for all of my budding entrepreneur friends out there, looking to start up their own small businesses, make sure to check out your local SBA branch for classes! My two classes were free to attend, and I gained some very valuable information, as well as getting an opportunity to network!

My second class is next Wednesday, and we will be covering social media... So remember, you can like me on facebook, as well as follow me on twitter! ;o)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's in a name?

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my Mom about my soaps and showing off my shiny business cards from Vista print, and she asked me "Why Second Spring Soaps?" (... then she made a joke about my soaps sounding "second-hand," but that's neither here nor there!)

So, I got to thinking about it... maybe others out there are curious as to why I chose this name for my soaps!

"Second spring" actually comes from a quote I stumbled upon over three years ago by French philosepher Albert Camus. The quote reads:
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
I fell in love with this quote! I honed in on the words "second spring:... They spoke so softly to me... At the time, my husband and I were dating... We actually met when we were 7 and in elementary school together, but my parents and I moved away when I was 10, and we had just re-met and fallen in love about 4 months prior. I had been married previously, and I looked at my new life and new marriage to my husband as my second spring in life... my new shot!

So, I clung to the name for over a year. I've always wanted to make my living by creating things with my hands, and a friend directed me towards After a few ideas at shops, one of which included knitted items (never got off the ground) and hemp jewelry (I worked hard for 6 months before deciding to rethink my shop), I finally settled on soap making, and Second Spring Soaps was born!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Market in Johnson City, TN

Big announcement!!

I will he heading to the Johnson City Farmer's Market on December 17th to sell at their Christmas Market!!

Here's a link to their web page if you are interested in learning more about them.
And make sure to go and "like" their Facebook page to get updates!

I am a huge supporter of our local farmer's market, and my plan is to be a full-time seller next season, starting in May! So, I am super excited about the Christmas Market... I am calling it my "test run!"

So, if you are in the area between 9am and 2pm, stop by and check out all of the wonderful handmade goodies made by local crafters ad artisans! And say "HEY!" to your favorite soapy gal! ;o)