Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Science of Evasion... Damn you Chemists!

If something has to be done as a matter of importance, it's an imperative with varying degrees of urgency depending on the job type. If a Formula One driver needs to turn left as a matter of urgency then we can usually expect a response from him in a fraction of a second. If a fireman needs to respond to an inferno then odds are they'll be there in 10, maybe 13 minutes (traffic allowing). However, if several emails and 2 voicemail messages are anything to go by, the man I employ to Chemically assess the safety of my products will respond to a matter of urgency in... well, it's been 9 days and still no response.

I suppose chemistry is amongst the most baffling of subjects and those who practice the sciences have every right to lord it over those of us with Humanities degrees (stupid, pointless, waste of time Humanities degrees!) but really, there's basking in your knowledge of covalent bonds, allotropes and the principal causes of Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (inhalation of silica dust, obviously) and there's just being rude.

Documentary footage of scientists at work.
Basically, I can't sell new products if they're not chemically assessed, it's not legal and rightly so; you can't just have any Tom, Dick or Harry making soap and demanding the public smear it on their face it's cause more skin issues than a 5 years old's knife throwing party. I'm not putting people out here, I'm willing to pay them money (in fact, there seems to be a frustrating disparity between the amount of work carried out and the price charged) but all I need from them is a 'Yes' or a 'No, can't be bothered' so I can start bringing BarSoap Moisturising creams to market.

Until next time Soaplovers...

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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Intense Market factors and Heavy Pretensions.

These days I’m not as prone to spouting bygone aphorisms from philosophers and the minds of past millenia. Whilst there is something to be said for learning about the great thinkers, they’re not always the most knowledgeable about the subjects most pressing to the entrepreneurial soap salesman (ever hear Socrates, Dr Johnson or even Nietzsche waxing lyrical about Search Engine Optimisation or Ebay listing fees?) That said, Machiavelli does suggest that ‘whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times’. What a clever clogs!

So, when I say that a substantial proportion of craft fairs I’ve sold at have been, by and large, a waste of time; devoid of customers and, in some cases failing to recoup costs. How should I deal with this? Whilst Machiavelli might console the organizers of such events after all ‘There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.’ Personally, I no longer have the inclination to reassure.

One recent notorious example where the close of play revealed a net profit of -£28 (not including an hourly wage) still saw the organizer approach me with an admirable level of optimism to encourage my booking onto their next event. Now, no matter what your level of education, it is patently obvious that -£28 is an unsustainable business model for even the smallest financial concern. So, in light of the single figure attendance to his event I was forced to politely though emphatically decline. I tried to spare a thought for his feelings but, in the cut-throat world of Soapmaking, as good ol’ Nicollo Machiavelli says ‘It is better to be feared than to be loved, if you cannot be both

As financial concerns become more prevalent (our current speculate to accumulate business model seems so heavily weighted towards speculate I’d equate the monthly outgoing on soap supplies as on a par with a reasonably severe marijuana dependency) I’m looking for more assured Markets that are guaranteed a heavy footfall. To that end, I’ve had to concede that although the official Manchester Markets might have an inflated booking charge, I’ve a much greater chance at recouping losses when there is some chance of a customer walking by as, in spite of the cost, ‘Never was anything great achieved without danger’. To this end, as I peruse a thoroughly depressing financial statement (my bank has even started sending me abusive text messages) I echo Niccolo’s sentiment ‘I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.’

I’m guessing this is a common problem for the majority of sellers just starting out. Certainly I’ve bemoaned a lack of sales with fellow stall holders; we swap success stories and failures and eventually come to the understanding that the more expensive, established stalls are, in fact, less a gamble more a necessity. When it comes to spending money though, it’s an obvious lesson that is the hardest learnt I suppose ‘The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

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Monday, 6 June 2011

Lip Balms part 2: Even Balmier!

In a manner comparable to Indiana Jones - bloodied though roguish and unyielding - as he returned the 3 Sankara stones to their rightful owners in legendary 1984 documentary The Temple of Doom, I too feel a serenity, a peace... A journeyman's sense of rest as he pierces the fog leading towards the end of lands at those four disparate Atlas points.

Cocoa Butter. Where Gods and Men are made equal in hydration.
 What began a fevered rash of alchemy and bone splintering labour has culminated in perhaps the easiest mechanism for any one man to process raw ingredients in solid gold. Now, whilst Gold can be taken as either literal or figurative... I for one find far greater satisfaction in my ability to consistently replicate the perfect Lip Balm that is grounded in Cocoa Butter and a raft of other skin hydrating ingredients (Coconut oil, Olive oil, Vitamin E oil, Beeswax) than that other Fool's Gold; who would smear a Rolex across their parched lips in these arid coming months,? Who indeed would take comfort in the sharp metallic odour of a polished Gold ring?

Indeed, none but a madmen.

Yes, the scent of the Cocoa Butter Lip Balm is nature's true Gold (not the imposter element Au) and you can purchase these divine sticks right... HERE

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