On September 28th, we officially launched our sleepybeeslavenderfarm.com website. This was so exciting for us, I can't even put it into words. Everything we've done so far led up to this. Most of the summer has been spent developing recipes for bath and body products, and sending those products out to testers. After sending a batch out, we sent out questionnaires, and when we got those back, made adjustments. It was a lot of trial and error...and actually still is as we are tweaking things all the time.
We started with bath bombs, as they seemed like they would be a no brainer to throw together. I made bath bombs with my 8 and 11 year old granddaughters awhile back, and it wasn't too tough. Unfortunately, making a couple of bombs that have crumbly edges with the girls wasn't quite the same as trying to produce a large number of perfectly shaped, beautiful looking bombs that could be packaged and shipped without falling apart. It took us 4 batches to come up with the perfect recipe that looked and smelled amazing AND would hold together even when being dropped, rolled, and squeezed.
The sugar scrub, foaming hand soap and shower steamers went really well. The only struggle we really had was with getting the scent strong enough. After going back to the internet, we found that the percentage of essential oils we were using could be quite a bit higher than we had realized, so we did increase that, and were happy with those 3 items.
The body wash and lotion were another story entirely! The body wash absolutely refused to thicken up at all, seemed that it would never have any lavender scent , and really didn't want to lather. We honestly almost took this product out of our catalog because we just couldn't seem to get it right. I believe it was the 4th or 5th recipe we developed that we were happy with, and it was off to the testers. There was a lot of positive feedback on it, so we pushed on, and at this point are pretty happy with the final product. The lotion process was almost the same.
Body Butter was interesting too. This is a finicky product, which we now know, (from experience), should not be attempted on the hottest, most humid day of the year. When making all natural products and not using preservatives and chemical thickeners, the weather seems to play a bigger part in the recipe than expected. We did get this one perfected pretty quickly and it is one of my favorites. We got some feedback from one of our testers that along with softening her skin and smelling great, the butter made her tattoos shine! This was something that hadn't occurred to either of us, but was another great use for one of our new products. Getting many points of view on each item was very interesting, and extremely helpful.
Most fun of all for me and for Jerry has been making cold process soap and candles. There is room to be creative here with design, and we spent hours watching YouTube videos on how to get various looks in the soaps. We are really happy with our bar soaps and candles, and have plans for the very near future to expand our scents and colors.
I'm thinking of doing a few blog posts that go into more detail on what all is involved in making the individual products, so if you have interest in anything specific, please post a comment. I'd love to hear them!
Next week we will be getting the bee hives prepared for winter.