Tales of an Angry Handcrafter: Rude Soap, Candle, & Skincare Questions with Answers

Tales of an Angry Handcrafter- Rude Soap, Candle, & Skincare Questions with Answers

I like to present myself as a jovial person full of laughs and jokes. Put me in the right crowd and that’s exactly who I am.  I am also capable of fear-rendering rage, but this Hulk only comes out when 1) Driving – because I am obviously the only person who knows how to drive in the whole world, 2) Facing Arrogant Ignorance – because nothing grinds-my-gears quite like a person preaching from a soapbox (no pun intended) about wrong information.

I was vending at an expo earlier this week and it was uncharacteristically slow. On top of the lack of foot traffic, the number of rude people out of the few dozen people who stopped by was blisteringly high. But today’s post is not just about the rude commentary from the expo event; it also includes a collection of various rude comments I have received about my business and the answers I wish I would have had at the time.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge some facts: 1) My business is not for everyone, 2) My personality and demeanor are not for everyone, 3) Those who appreciate both are the best people on Earth.  Now that we cleared that up…but seriously, it’s okay if my products don’t appeal to you – I may not understand your opinion, but I will always respect it. That said, a little respect goes a long way, and if you’re at a show and not loving the products at a vendor table, simply say “thank you” and walk away.

The following statements have been made to me at vendor events over the years by people who lack couth, were raised in a barnyard, or just sadistically enjoy rudeness. In an effort to minimize these comments in the future, I also have answers… I hope you appreciate my snark.

  1. Why should I buy your soap when I can buy a bar of soap at the grocery store for 99 cents?
    1. Why buy a Ferrari when you can get a 1974 Gremlin? The reality is that wherever people spend money is where they find the greatest value. If a person doesn’t value a product that is carefully formulated and hand-crafted, free of parabens, phthalates, detergents, animal by-products, is certified cruelty-free, vegan (OR sustainable palm-oil vegetarian), that is made specifically to moisturize skin, then I won’t be able to change your mind.
  2. Oh no, your products are not “all-natural”!
    1. No, and we never claim them to be “all-natural;” however, we do use natural ingredients mixed with SCIENCE. Why aren’t we touting ourselves as “all-natural”? Well, because poison ivy, scurvy, mold, and the bubonic plague are “all-natural,” and yet, we don’t want our bodies rubbed in them. There’s a reason people live well into their 80s now and not during Paleo times – it’s called SCIENCE.
  3. I can buy candles at XXCANDLE STOREXX for much cheaper.
    1. Yes, you probably could, and we’re sure they’re wonderful. So, what makes our candles stand out? Well, for one, we use USA soy wax, ensuring American farmers remain employed. We skip on paraffin because it’s petroleum-based, and we don’t believe big-oil needs any more money, plus soy burns much cleaner; we skip on beeswax because we’re a vegan company and love plants. Our wicks are cotton, not lead or zinc, so you won’t be burning any metal pollutants in your home. Our fragrances are always phthalate-free, minimizing the risk of allergic reaction and indoor air pollution. Our jars are Libbey-glass, which are American-made and high quality; they’re not going to combust on you. We assemble and hand-pour each and every candle with love and concentration to quality. So, you could spend less somewhere else, or you could support our small business that always has YOU (and not the almighty dollar) at the center of our vision.
  4. Oh yeah, I saw a video on how to make XYZ product myself; that’s easy to make.
    1. Awesome! We love supporting other makers! Let us know when you’ve bought all the ingredients, created a Good Manufacturing Process lab, purchased packaging, created a website, obtained liability insurance, designed and printed your labels, maintained batch numbers, followed FDA regulations, received a county business license, federal tax-ID, state tax-ID, and tested your products – then we’ll be super-psyched to purchase and try your products out, too!
  5. I make soap/scrubs/etc. also, can you share your recipe?
    1. In a word, nope. We’ll gladly share our ingredients (because we 1. have to legally disclose them, and 2. like to be transparent), but our recipes – sorry, friend, we went through a whole lot of testing (=time & money) to ensure our recipes are superb. However, we’ll happily private label our products for you to sell and make money with!
  6. You use lye in your soap. I can’t use soap with lye, it makes me itch/squirm/dance-on-bars, etc.
    1. So sorry to hear you’re unable to use SOAP – what do you wash with? Oh, you see, all soap is made with lye (even way back when great-great-great granny made her own soap). No lye = no soap.
  7. I only use natural essential oils which are chemical-free.
    1. We love essential oils, too! We use them in many of our products, but we also love phthalate-free fragrance oils. You see, there are only so many scents that can be recreated with essential oils, and we like to have the ability to tap into all fragrances.
    2. Also, essential oils are not “chemical-free” – if it’s chemical-free, it doesn’t exist on Earth.  For example, Lavender essential oil is comprised of “a total of 47
      compounds representing 98.4 – 99.7% of the oils were identified. 1,5-Dimethyl-1-vinyl-4-hexenylbutyrate was the main constituent of essential oil (43.73%), followed by 1,3,7-Octatriene, 3,7-dimethyl- (25.10%), Eucalyptol (7.32%), and Camphor (3.79%)” – African Journal of Microbiology Research.
  8. Are your products homemade, like in your kitchen?
    1. Our products are “handcrafted,” and maybe we’re just being picky about connotation here, but the implication of “homemade” versus “handcrafted” implies a product with less sterility and stability. And no, we actually have a dedicated LAB where we create our products.
  9. Why do you donate to rescuing animals and not something important like cancer research?
    1. We believe any cause for the freedom, health, and well-being of Earth’s creatures is a justifiable cause. Our focus happens to be animal rescue because we’re advocates for those who don’t have a voice and because we personally rescue pit bulls. However, we’d love to be a part of any charity event, and in fact, we currently support various religious, historical, civil-rights, and animal groups through vending.
  10. I don’t use soy because of all the GMOs and your products have soy.
    1. Yup, some of our products, and all of our candles do use soy wax or soybean oil. Truthfully, we don’t mind GMO soy for wax candles because it allows for a larger production to support American jobs – and since you don’t eat your candles, it’s not going to alter your body. As for our skincare products, we use organic soybean oil (and according to USDA standards, you cannot label something organic if it has GMOs) because we know that’s important to you and it’s going directly onto your body.

Yes, believe it or not, we have received all of these questions, and usually presented to us in a rude manner, but we remember the heart of it comes simply from not knowing our brand yet. Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of who we are…and a better way to ask questions when you don’t know!

Do you have “rude” questions for us? Please feel free to go rogue and ask away!

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

Taking a Moment Away from Social Media

Taking a Moment Away from Social Media

I love social media. I love reading funny updates from friends and family, watching videos of adorable pets, staying abreast of momentous occasions from people I don’t speak with very often. But despite all of the wonderful news I learn from social media, and the glorious “unfollow” button, I am still bogged with political banter, tortured animals, and nefarious messenger-chain-letters.

Even with all of the annoying aspects of social media, I still enjoyed scrolling through Facebook (which is where I spend most of my social media time)…until one day about a month ago. A friend of mine posted a candid photo of a bunch of us working on a project. The photo of me was awful – my hair was in a messy bun, I have gained a bunch of weight this year, and I overall looked like something from “The Worst of Jerry Springer.” I asked the person to take down the photo, but they kindly insisted that I was my own worst critic and it was “such an awesome candid photo of us all working together.” Finally, I decided she was probably right and I was thinking too much into it.

Until someone commented: “Who is that fat beast on the right?”

I was so shocked and hurt, and figured my friend would delete the comment, but no, instead came a mixed barrage of agreements, laughing emojis, and a couple of “you’re a jerk’s.” I quickly untagged myself from the photo and blocked the initiator, but I realized it wasn’t enough.

Something about social media perpetuates the cruelty of humanity. More so, the indignant, maligned sense of righteousness that comes along with the commenter. To him, I am subhuman, an unwieldy mass to be extinguished.

Of all the moments I try to recreate in my products, I never anticipated empathy as being a required sentiment.

I decided I would quit social media.

The hardest part of quitting social media as a business owner is that I drive 96% of my business from my business’ Facebook page and VIP group; without social media, my business would drown.  I thought about having someone else manage my business social media while I took a hiatus, but I realized I would lose the core of my business, and that’s the raw honesty and the community I built around that. When I decided to quit, I could only do so half-heartedly, and that hurt the most. I needed to keep my own page so I could manage everything with my business.

I decided I would quit posting and hide as much as possible from my timeline unless it was directly related to my business.  Part of me thought that I might be giving him power by shutting down, but I was reclaiming my sense of self – my right to not live my life on the web.

Since I stopped posting over the last month, I feel like I have washed off an enigmatic, parasitic need to prove myself. It’s as though I have spent the last 20 years (I’m going way back to AOL profiles and AIM away-messages here) documenting the fun and friends that I have. I spend so much less time searching for the next witty comment or cute photo that I am actually enjoying the little moments.

Now, I’m making it sound like I was hyper-addicted to social media, and that was never true, but I did find myself trying to make people laugh or showing off some fun activity I participated in. Worst of all, though, I would allow myself to keep going through photos of my past and compare my ever-fluctuating weight. I know what I am, but I felt like the consistent reminder of what I was was starting to break me.

I long for the opportunity to just delete my profile and make a strictly-business account, but there is so much good that comes from the ability to quickly message a group of people, create an event, or ask a question in my soaping groups – obliterating social media altogether would just isolate me from my time era.

With that said, it was high time I took a moment away from social media to find a moment of balance.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident

How to Enjoy Soy Candles Without Lighting Them

How to Enjoy Soy Candles Without Lighting Them

It’s fairly common for us to have a customer come up to one of our tables at our vendor shows, smell the candles, fall in love with the fragrances, and then explain that the customer “doesn’t burn candles.” We can completely understand and respect this for a variety of reasons: Small children in the home, curious pets, not allowed (such as dormitories or regulated apartments), fear of forgetting to extinguish the candle.

While highly unlikely, especially if following proper candle burning procedure, candles can potentially be dangerous – but this doesn’t mean you need to swear off candles.  There are a number of ways you can enjoy candles without ever actually lighting them.

  1. Simply decorative. Candles are beautiful all on their own. Their labels, their shape, the smoothness of the wax; having a candle located in the right place of the home can prove to be a lovely decoration.  Curate the colors, name of the candle, or the cold throw (the fragrance you smell when the candle is unlit) with the right room to create a full set.
    1. Candles as Decoration
      Photo Courtesy of Irene DellaCroce
  2.  Make a car smell amazing. Leave a candle with its lid off in a car, especially on a warm day, and the fragrance will emanate all throughout the vehicle. Try keeping it in a cupholder or securing it while the car is parked.
  3. Keep your candle by a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Your candle will warm up and the fragrance will gradually seep into the room. Note that the sunlight may cause discoloration of the wax and/or label.
  4. Place your candle on an electric candle warmer to gradually heat up the jar and melt the wax to make the fragrance come through for everyone to enjoy.
  5. Start a collection for aesthetic purposes. Everyone loves to collect things – it’s a natural desire to have all the parts of a whole. You can create a beautiful and impressive collection of candles for a variety of purposes – same color, same fragrance, same brand.
    1. IMG_0366
      The full collection of Bath, Body, Candle Moments natural soy candles
  6. Need a quick-fix fragrance? Try using a heat-gun or blow-dryer on your soy candle. Use the lowest setting possible, point at an angle at the wax (not directly at the wick), and circle the candle around while you’re warming the wax to be sure to create an even melt pool. This will warm the wax and bring in some gorgeous scent into the room without the fire! **(This is also an awesome fix if your candle was previously tunneling.)
  7. Keep one at your desk while you’re at work. Depending on the type of fragrance, a good quality soy candle will have a strong cold throw (the scent when unlit). This cold throw can create a light fragrance right at your desk. Pro tip – keep the lid on until you’re ready to take a whiff of scent so your nose doesn’t become “scent-blind” to the fragrance.

For millennia, people have been enjoying candles – okay, sometimes they just needed them for light – even unlit, candles are one item that has never gone out of style.

Kristen Fusaro-PizzoPresident