Handmade Beauty Connection
May 1, 2006

A Publication of The Indie Business Network
ISSN 1530-9630 | Volume 7, Issue 19
To subscribe, click here

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1. IBN Member Update: Welcome New & Renewing IBN Members!
2. Lifestyle CEO Report: Finding and Hiring a Business Coach
3. Handmade Beauty Trivia Question: win something wonderful!
4. Feature Article: Business As A Passion :: Pass It On ... 
5. Beauty Breakdown: Modern Friction by Origins
6. IBN Live! Update and Member Survey

Handmade Beauty Recipe of the Week: Fairy Whispers Aromatherapy Ointment

1. IBN Member Update: Welcome New & Renewing IBN Members!

Welcome Renewing Members!

Natural Selection Bath and Body | Jean Vavra | California
* Luxurious handmade soap made with silk fibers. We specialize in silk. Our lotions, lip balm, bath salts and salt scrub are all made with silk. Indulge yourself and your little one. Our line also includes a baby line. Pamper that special little one from the start with our Zen Baby line. Products made with chamomile, comfrey, and rosemary extracts. All natural powder that is talc-free. So much for moms, dads, and babies.

Urban Apothecary | Cheri Rychlee | Illinois
* The Urban Apothecary philosophy combines ancient beauty rituals and natural remedies with cutting-edge technology, to create amazing, over-the-top beauty products!

Sunrise Soap Company | Judy Michaelis | Kansas
* Handcrafted soaps and more for your bath, body, and home.

Welcome New Members!

MoonaLisa | Lisa Farrell | California
* MoonaLisa has been creating recipes from modern and ancient herbal folklore for the past 15 years. Having extremely sensitive skin herself, she made a necessity into a passionate business. One that incorporates natures healing with artistic expression, resulting in handmade skin and bath care products to soothe and excite the mind, body and spirit. We hand make rich herbal creams, body butters, natural soaps, lip butters, exquisite salt scrubs, paraffin and soy candles and other exotic goodies.

Perfect Skin Care Products | Terri Simmons | Texas
* Our skin care products use only the finest natural botanicals and are carefully blended by hand to ensure the freshest and purest products available.

Monkey Sudz | Whitney Leroy | California
* While we specialize in dye-free bath and body products for the whole family, we also offer handmade gourmet soaps, organic soaps, wool care soap (liquid & bar) and natural baby care products.

Rose Valley Naturals | Sharon DiMichele | Pennsylvania
Purity. Simplicity. Natural Beauty. Our hand-made soaps are carefully created with a cold-processing method to preserve the healing ingredients of natural vegetable and essential oils. All soaps are available in loaves or bars. Wholesale order welcome.

Handmade Beauty Business Magazine!

For those of you waiting so patiently for the current issue of the Handmade Beauty Business Magazine, it's at the printer's right now! Thank you all for your patience -- I guarantee you it's worth the wait! We've got lots of features including things you need to know before opening your own retail store, how to comply with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices and an introduction to the 2006 Handmade Beauty Business of the Year! Work is underway on the 2Q issue due out in June -- our Handmade Soap Issue! Thank you for your patience!

Please visit our magazine sponsors!

IBN Members on the Move!!

Valerie Yates at Essence of Esther is excited to share photos from the April 19 ribbon cutting ceremony for her store in historic Acworth, Georgia. To enjoy the photo slide show, click here. (The current issue of the Handmade Beauty Business Magazine (shipping this week!) has a great article on what you need to know to open your own retail store!)

Learn more about our members and their exciting activities by visiting their Web sites through IBN's Online Member Directory, now with 4 ways to search: (1) by state/country; (2) by member business name; (3) by keyword search; or (4) using our new alphabetical listings.

2. Lifestyle CEO Report: Finding and Hiring a Business Coach

\Life.Style CEO\n. A person who owns and manages a business, not solely for financial gain, but also to enjoy the personal rewards of entrepreneurship, independence, flexibility and fun.

Business coach Cathy Townsend joins me today to discuss what a business coach is, how one can help you reach your goals and how to choose the best business coach for you! Join us live today at 1:00pm EST on GlobalTalkRadio.com!

Check out today's Lifestyle CEO Blog: Be For Real!

Upcoming Lifestyle CEO Show Guests ::

May 8: Diedre Wachbrit, Esq., a leading estate planning attorney, joins me to talk about what small business owners can do to plan for the future - theirs and their family members'.. 

May 22: Author Rachel Hamman joins me to talk about her new book Bye-Bye Boardroom: Confessions From a New Breed of Stay-at-Home Moms. Rachel talks about her interviews with moms all over the country (including me!) who abandoned the corporate board room to have more family time and own their own businesses.

3. Handmade Beauty Trivia Question: last week's winner was Melissa Vo of Pittsburgh, PA. Melissa won some Bay Twist handmade soap, courtesy of IBN member LENA MAE SOAPS ...! 

Last Week's Question:
Soon, "realistic scent" will join surround sound and 3-D glasses to make your movie going experience even more realistic -- or something. With the release last weekend of a movie incorporating aroma into the movie-going experience, movie-goers who pay for "aroma seats" will enjoy smelling scents that correspond to scenes throughout movie. Just think of all those great animal smells to go with the Disney characters, or maybe the perfume of the leading lady as she prepares for her first date with Mr. Hunk. A paid advertisement for the featured perfume can't be far behind. What will they think of next? Anyway, I digress. The question this week is to state the of the Japanese company credited with inventing this fragrance releasing concept.

Last Week's Answer: NTT Communications Corp.

This Week's Question: I own a perfume boutique in New York where I sell perfumes that are named for various venues in New York. My newest perfume commemorates the tragedy of 9/11. My uniquely designed perfume bottles include a replica of a New York subway token. As a business woman, I drive a hard bargain. My perfumes are sold in high end department stores like Saks, but I'm not in small boutiques even though they have a great deal of clout and deal of cache because I refuse to pay their "advertising allowance," a fee paid by companies whose products are accepted into high end boutiques to help the boutiques cover their advertising costs. I hire French perfumers to create my blends and I pay them well. I used to work for a well known brand that makes perfumes and scented candles, but we had a nasty business fall-out. To win this week, state my name.

Be the first to answer correctly and win something wonderful!

Please read the contest rules here before submitting your entry. Put "TRIVIA CONTEST ANSWER" in the subject line or your answer will not be considered. While time does not permit me to respond personally to all entrants, the winner's name will be announced in the next newsletter!

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4. Feature Article: Business As Passion :: Pass It On ...
by Annette Esterheld

Join us this month -- the month of Mothers, where we celebrate IBN members who are also moms!!

IBN member Marge Clark of Nature’s Gift, who has been supplying aromatherapy and healthcare professionals with essential oils, hydrosols, accessories and hard to find books and videos for over 10 years, is writing a book of her own, and she can hardly believe it. “Apparently I’ve sort of become recognized in some circles as an essential oils ‘expert,’ and that amazes me,” says Marge. “What an ego boost! I may become a real published author, and not self-published. WOW!” But getting to this point has been no cake walk.

When Life Gives You Lemons ...

The oils she loves have made a difference in Marge’s personal life, both emotionally and physically. In 1994 she was working as a secretarial and office manager, when she became disabled and was told she would never work again. She was on her own and needed to be self-supporting since life as an army officer's wife had ended several years earlier. “I was, and still am, totally in awe of essential oils and their healing, balancing power, first physically, but on a deeper level, emotionally,” says Marge. That fascination provided a direction for her to go when life knocked her out. She used credit cards to buy her first oils, and used her “job time hours” to study and learn about aromatherapy. Her friends and family were her guinea pigs and when they said she ought to sell her products, Nature’s Gift was born.

Marge tried securing loans to grow the business, but says “each time, I was either too big, or too small, or something.” So she ran her company on credit cards at first and Marge says “it was a hole the money went down. I don’t know who was more surprised, my accountant or me, when we made a profit in our first year!” It was a small profit, she says, way under $1,000, but it was there. To Marge, it wasn’t the amount of money she made and that continues to this day. For her it was reaching beyond the devastation of her disability to realize that she was free to do what she loves, which is providing essential oils to help people, and that has become the greatest gift of her life, along with her children and grandchildren.

The Mom Connection

This is coming at a time when Marge, a grandmother (and that’s as close as I’ll come to telling her age), is looking to retire and work on special projects. In fact, she had someone lined up to buy her business, but that fell apart. So these days Marge is working 12+ hours a day and in her nonexistent spare time she’s writing a book.  Her

Marge has two sons, Tom and David, and one daughter, Jennifer. Tom is married to Wendy and they have three children, JT, Kaitlinn and Josh, and live in Bloomington, Indiana. Tom has a degree in business management so he sometimes helps his mom “figure out what to do next” when there’s an employee problem. David and his wife Candace and their daughter Chelsea Morgan live near Marge in a suburb south of Nashville. David founded and runs a landscaping business. Daughter Jennifer manages a veterinarian’s practice in Virginia.

Spreading the Healing Gospel of Aromatherapy

Marge has so much more than book knowledge about essential oils. From her own personal experience, she says her best selling essential oil is Bulgarian lavender and other best sellers are Helichrysum italicuum, frankincense and Rose Otto. I asked her what her favorite is, but Marge couldn’t limit it to one. “I couldn’t live without Rose Otto and Rose bliss bath. I also use a lot of sandalwood, a lot of frankincense, and a lot of neroli hydrosol, “she says.

arge's enthusiasm for aromatherapy is contagious and she is passionate about what she does. Nature’s Gift evolved out of Marge's love for essential oils. That passion shows through in her careful selection of pure essential oils from the four corners of the world. “Our goal, “she says on her web page, “is to provide the finest quality pure and natural essential oils available today. I do not shop from ‘mass market’ suppliers, but rather from small distillers who either grow their crops themselves, or personally know and observe the farmers whose oils they sell.” She also says that “nothing artificial is ever added. "I spend a tremendous amount of time and effort seeking out the best suppliers to provide the highest possible quality ingredients for my blends,” she says.

Nature’s Gift sells wildcrafted and organic essential oils, offers information on their safe and effective use and also offers a full range of aromatherapy accessories like aromatherapy jewelry. Marge's daughter, Jennifer, says “we send out boxes full of joy and healing.” Even the name Nature’s Gift was chosen by Marge because it “just felt right for how I feel about the oils.” Although she says if she were renaming her company today, she’d choose something starting with the letter “A” for listing in all the directories that list alphabetically. “We are an online business and that might have made a difference the first few years,” says Marge.

It Works Because We Love It!

“I think our love for what we do comes through,” says Marge, who adds that she gives a way a lot of product when there’s a personal need, not to fundraisers, but on an individual level. “Yes, it is important to make money. We have to have it in order to do what we do,” says Marge, “but I think what we do is important. We really do sometimes make a difference in people’s lives,” she adds, “we aren’t just selling widgets or can openers, although I guess if you were starving to death a can opener might make a real difference, too!”

Marge says she does a “tiny” bit of wholesale and that’s mostly to hospitals, pharmacies and spas. “We sell to a lot of hospitals,” she says. “They buy the essential oils mostly.” She continues, “The hospitals have set up complimentary medicine departments and are using aromatherapy as part of the programs, which are run by nurse-aromatherapists. We supply the oils used in the training course many of the nurses have taken.”
Marge says her staff is “amazing.” “When we know someone is ordering for a special need, like an emotional healing, a physical crisis, or a death in the family, they will pour healing energy and prayer into the package as its being packed.”

If It Ain't Broke ...

Nature’s Gift is strictly a Web-based business. Marge says she tried a small retail shop in front of the building she’s in, but she said the area was “truly an aromatherapy desert.” “Had we depended on the store for survival, we’d have been out of business in six months!” she says. “We can accomplish a lot more with the shop closed and we needed the space for another workroom.” (You can learn some of Marge's tips on how NOT to open your retail store in the upcoming issue of the Handmade Beauty Business Magazine!)

Marge's Sage Advice

Her advice to other IBN members who are purchasing essential oils is, “Don’t cut corners on product. Buy the best you can find, not the cheapest. Sometimes, you have to go WAY out on a limb.” She adds that every time she’s made a purchase decision based on price she’s lived to regret it. “You have to follow your instinct and trust your gut,” says Marge. “You also need to be honest with the people you deal with. Let them know who you are. Remember that you are dealing with real people, not faceless customers.” Marge says through the years the vendors and customers she’s chatted with and met online have become truly close friends and that’s been a gift to her.

Marge offers some advice on pricing your handmade beauty products. “When you are first starting out, the temptation is to price your products at less than they are worth, because you think you HAVE to sell them,” says Marge. “If you are offering a quality product, then charge what it is worth,” she adds. “Remember all the ‘extra’ costs that you are going to have to pay, so don’t just price something based on what you paid for the ingredients. You have to cover rent, labeling, insurance, taxes and salaries. Even if EVERY penny you are making now is going straight back into the business that’s what you have to do. It’s what I did for years.”

IBN, IBN Members and the Future of Nature's Gift

“I’ve learned a lot from Donna Maria over the years,” Marge says. “And at times, other IBN members have inspired me and given me the courage to do something that I’ve been too afraid to do.” “I have to add that I LOVE seeing what other people are doing,” she adds, “even if it’s not something that interests me for Nature’s Gift.”

So while Marge tries to find someone to take over her business (anyone interested?) so she can semi-retire to do projects like finishing that book she’s writing. What else is on the horizon? Nature's Gift has outgrown its current space and that is "terrifying" to Marge. She says it was scary four years ago when she found the site she’s in and spent, she says, “way” too much money renovating it. So other than overcoming yet another fear (where's the rose/sandalwood blend??!), Marge plans to keep doing what she’s doing, and do it better year after year as she shares the healing power of essential oils with as many people as she possibly can..

You can enjoy some of your own aromatherapy inspiration at Nature's Gift.

5. Beauty Breakdown: Modern Friction by Origins

So I'm waiting for my train to leave for New York a few weeks ago and I stumble across the Origins store. The last time I was in an Origins store was several years ago in California. It's very inviting with the light colored wood fixtures, color coordinated, softly lit displays and a little sink so the sales persons can rub stuff all over you to seal the deal.

As you know, I'm a handmade beauty buff and like you, I know quite a bit about the cosmetics industry. And it never ceases to amaze me how many chemical combinations there are in products, even though a few natural ingredients will accomplish many of the same purposes at a fraction of the price. This product is no different as you will see in this Beauty Breakdown. Tons of chemicals and a few natural ingredients.

:: sigh ::

Anyway, as you know, I share Beauty Breakdowns not to say whether or not I like a product, but to inspire you to package your delicious goodies using some of the marketing techniques employed by companies who have been doing it for decades. You can get your inspiration here. (Members, remember to enter your username and password for access.)

6. IBN Live! Update and Member Survey

Members who attended IBN Live! last week tell me they had a great time -- and so did I. The call last for about 50 minutes and members shared their takes on everything from answers to product labeling questions, where to get inexpensive yet smudge-proof labels and products liability insurance issues. Since last week's session, I have received emails from members who really wanted to attend, but a full-time job or other obligations prevented them from making the time (2:00pm to 3:00pm EST). I have received a few suggestions on how to make it so more members can benefit. I have listed them below. Please take a moment to email me your choice:

1. We can alternate times so that one month IBN Live! takes place from 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST and the next month, from 9:00pm to 10:00pm EST. This would allow most members to attend 6 calls a year. Under this option, IBN Live! would continue to be at no charge to members. 

2. Record the calls so people can download them at the website. Under this option, there would be a $20 per call investment per member to cover the costs of server space an audio upload.

3. You tell me your own option and it will be considered!

Email me your thoughts so all members who want to participate can participate!

Best & Success!!
Donna Maria
Editor, The Handmade Beauty Connection
The Indie Business Network | www.handmadebeauty.com

Copyright (c) 2000 - 2006 by The Indie Business Network (IBN) and Donna Maria. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or reproduction is prohibited. IBN does not necessarily endorse any product, event or ideology featured in The Handmade Beauty Connection (HBC) or on IBN's website. All information is provided on an "as is" basis and no express or implied warranties are given. Any use of the information contained in the HBC or on IBN's web site, including recipes, is solely at your own risk. IBN and Donna Maria disclaim any liability in connection with the use of all recipes, products reviewed and other information. Except for sponsorships, HBC refuses compensation from companies to feature or mention their names or products. Opinions expressed in any Product Review are personally those of the reviewer and do not represent the views of IBN, Donna Maria (unless she is the reviewer) or any other person or company.

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