Handmade Beauty Connection
August 14, 2006

A Publication of The Indie Business Network
ISSN 1530-9630 | Volume 7, Issue 34
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1. IBN Member Update: Loads of News to Share!
2. Lifestyle CEO Report: How to Live What You Love With Bob and Melinda Blanchard!

3. Handmade Beauty Trivia Question: win something wonderful!
4. Feature Article: Aromatherapy, Business, Lifestyle - A Triple Blessing
5. H
ere & There: Calendar of Upcoming Events

Handmade Beauty Recipe of the Week: Facial Scrub for Oily Skin

1. IBN Member Update: Loads of News to Share!

I'm diverting from the usual format this week because I have lots of exciting news to report! I will return next week to introduce you to new and renewing IBN members as usual. In the meantime, I am taking a short vacation to enjoy a little down time and experience a vacation and a few new and exciting lifestyle changes.

But before I get to that, I want you to know how excited I become when you send emails telling me how much you enjoy the Handmade Beauty Connection and the Indie Business Network website. Here's what Stancy Sykes-Cade of Akron, Ohio, said after enjoying last week's issue: "I have been receiving your newsletter for some years now and I read a few issues every so often.  Today, I read the feature on Jamila White. It was just what I needed to hear. I just wanted to highlight the quote that said, As soon as you begin to believe you are worth more, something better will come along! I love that. I will share it with all of my friends. When I do take the time to review your newsletter its always so refreshing to see that you encourage networking and sharing of ideas and dreams. You facilitate such an inspiring environment. Thank you for that. Your newsletter is uplifting and motivational Your newsletter is about more than beauty potions -- its about living life to the fullest. Now what could be more beautiful than that?!"

As business owners striving to enjoy life as you create your own financial independence, I'm sure many of you get emails like that all the time. The fact is that when you find your passion and pursue it whole heartedly, I have found my niche and my passion, and it is the desire of my heart hat as many other people as possible be empowered to do the same. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoy my work.

Here's more exciting news from me and a few IBN members!!!

1. Valerie Yates of Essence of Esther (IBN member since February 2004) is excited to report that she is included in the August 2006 issue of Northside News, a local paper serving the historic Kennesaw and Acworth, Georgia, communities. Congratulations Valerie!

2. vonNatur (IBN member since May 2004) tells me that they've been included in lots of media outlets since re-launching their product line with new packaging and working with IBN member Marla Russo of Bella PR (IBN member since June 2005). Their Blue Green Algae Polish is featured in Beauty News LA.com and their Chocolate Mint Therapy will be in First For Women's August 17 issue. Their Sea Kelp & Mineral Detox Soak is featured in the August issue of Women's Wear Daily, and several more features in other magazines are on the horizon!

3. After months of waiting, and several anxious conversations with handmade beauty products manufacturers across the country, I will soon be in a position to announce a new products liability insurance program for IBN members. For less than $500 a year, members in all 50 states will be able to take advantage of a policy with coverage of $1,000,000 from an A-rated carrier, plus some real and personal property coverage to cover you when you deliver products in person or carry them to a trade or craft show. As I'm sure you know, working out these details is an arduous and time-consuming process, but I have made it a priority for 2006 and am happy to say that it looks like the work will pay off by the end of the summer. Stay tuned for more information right here in the Handmade Beauty Connection!

4. Are you a small business owner who is stretched to the limit with budget constraints and the constant multi-tasking to accomplish 50,000 things in one day? If so, take heart in the knowledge that you are not alone!! Renee Deal of Deal Farm Soap Co. (IBN member since April 2002), sent me this article which describes almost all of us. And it looks like we wouldn't trade the chaos for anything because despite the challenges, we still have the flexibility to enjoy family and business on our own terms. What could be better than that!?

5. Announcing IBN's New Home! Speaking of enjoying life on your own terms, I am pleased to announce that effective today, IBN has officially relocated from Maryland to Charlotte, North Carolina. I am very excited about this move, which will allow IBN to take advantage of decreased business costs and lifestyle benefits for me and my family which will help IBN become even more efficient and effective! Of course if my husband and I were tied to a traditional job, there would be so much more to this move. As it turns out, we were blessed to be able to simply pull out a map of the country and choose where we'd most like to raise our children. We went to visit a few of our final choices and voila! Suburban Charlotte, North Carolina here we come! I can still be reached at the usual email address. I will announce a new mailing address and phone number for IBN next week. Stay tuned for more exciting news!

6. Media Lead: The fragrance section of a popular beauty website is looking to feature unusual fragrance formulations in an article in the September issue titled 'Fragrance Rebooted.' If you have an unusual and unique fragrance presentation for a beauty product, please email me (IBN members only) with details about it and I will reply with follow up. The deadline for participating in this opportunity is 8/18.

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: Live What Your Love with Bob and Melinda Blanchard!

\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.

Live What You Love in this encore of one of the most popular Lifestyle CEO Internet Radio Shows ever! The guests are husband and wife team Bob and Mel Blanchard, authors of "Live What You Love." Married 30 years, the Blanchards have created eight businesses, each born of their determination to live what they love without compromise. Have you and your spouse ever wanted to move on a dream, but you just don't know where to start and how to handle the unexpected? Bob and Mel have been there and done that, and they will share some of the secrets of husband/wife entrepreneurial success on today's show. Show time is 1:00pm EST and you can join in at your computer here. Just click on "Listen Live" at the home page to join us!

And visit the Lifestyle CEO website book page to get the scoop on my newly released book featuring several members of the Indie Business Network who are the ultimate examples of successful Lifestyle CEOs!

3. Handmade Beauty Trivia Question: the winner of last week's contest was Marie Trudgian of British Columbia, Canada. Marie won some handmade soap!

Last Week's Question:
Over 2 decades ago, a woman with a little bit of money and a dream began making bath salts, potpourri, herbal vinegars and other handmade treats in her kitchen. Her first in-home sale was a huge success so her next step was to engage a manufacturer's rep. After disappointment using someone to rep her products, the woman took her wares to some stores herself, and emerged with $1,000 worth of orders. After another rep took her products to the New York Gift Show and emerged with $30,000 worth of orders, the woman asked a friend for some help, and together, they filled the orders themselves, one by one. Out of these humble beginnings grew a now successful and growing company. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and employing over 100 people, the company sells a wide variety of products including soaps, body washes, specialized body treats, fragrance mists, foaming bath gel, creams, oils and lotions.

Last Week's Answer: Leslie E. Ross Lentz of The Thymes. For more inspiration and details, click here.

This Week's Question: Recent industry reports reveal that the fastest growing portion of the $2.9 billion fragrance industry is celebrity endorsed or branded perfumes. Ever since Jennifer Lopez launched Glow by JLo a few years ago, other movie stars and musical artists have been associating themselves with perfumes in order to make cents out of scents. One of the latest stars to jump on the perfume bandwagon is an Oscar-winning actress who dances naked in advertisements to promote a new perfume, backed by Guerlain. To win this week, state the name of the actress and the new perfume.

Be the first to answer and win something delicious!

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: Aromatherapy, Business, Lifestyle - A Triple Blessing
by Wendy Robbins, with dM

Of course we all know that the Internet has helped to make millions of people around the world very wealthy. I sometimes like to think of the Web as The Great Leveler, because it has leveled the playing field a bit by providing a tool that Every Woman and Every Man can use to create a business and a life they can enjoy from the inside out. We all know of examples of this. Last week, I shared the story of how IBN member Jamila White used the 'Net to launch a successful Internet consulting business, and will soon launch an online handmade beauty business. Just today, IBN has officially relocated to another state so I can lead the organization from a location with significant and attractive lifestyle benefits for me and my family. In both cases, the ability to enjoy life and business together are a direct result of the existence of the Internet. Every week, I am pleased to bring you similar stories from around the globe -- stories of men and women who are taking control of their lives and building businesses that allow them to make choices that work for them, their families and their businesses.

This week's story comes from the mid-western United States where a talented graphics designer and single mother enjoys home and business. I have known Wendy Robbins for many years, having first contacted her in the late 90's when I was looking for a website designer. Wendy was transitioning from several contracts at the time and was not available. My great loss of course! But since then, we have remained steady colleagues and have collaborated on several projects to benefit her business, IBN and several IBN members as well. Wendy has been a member of IBN since February 2006, but she has been involved in the handmade beauty and aromatherapy communities for nearly a decade. Her story, told by her, will both encourage and inspire you to find your own special niche and take advantage of The Great Leveler as she and so many others have.

Take it away Wendy!

Aroma What??!

In 1997, I was working for the multi-media department of a large newspaper corporation in southeastern Michigan. In addition to maintaining several of their largest online newspapers, I designed and developed Web sites for their outside clients. Prior to my work for this organization, I was an independent contractor for America Online and also worked as a documentation developer and content manager for a company that was developing an online service for students.

I had heard the term "aromatherapy," but didn't know exactly what it meant. I went on a quest of the Web to learn more about it. Although much of what was online at the time was vague or confusing (and this same problem still exists), I discovered what holistic aromatherapy entailed and was very intrigued. I decided to visit a local health/new age store, and I purchased three essential oils -- spearmint, cedar and lemongrass -- by Aromaland. Still not knowing much, I chose these oils simply for their aroma and not based on a knowledge of their therapeutic value. At the time, I simply enjoyed inhalation via application on a cotton ball, and immediately fell in love with the joy they brought me. I can be rather nostalgic and sentimental, and I still keep these three original bottles tucked away as mementos.

Moving forward slightly in time to 1999, I enrolled in the Australasian College of Herbal Studies (since renamed Australasian College of Health Sciences), and completed the Aromatherapy 201 course in 2000. I supplemented my aromatherapy knowledge with reading, networking with aromatherapists and others devoted to aromatherapy, and with extensive use and hands-on experience within my household.

Connecting With Other Scent-thusiasts

Because I had a hard time finding useful information online regarding aromatherapy, I realized that there were others like me that could certainly benefit from a well organized and maintained site that had a lot of practical and accurate information on the subject. Having a strong background in Web development, content writing and online marketing, I decided to launch AromaWeb, initially as a hobby pursuit. My goal remains the same today: to maintain a helpful online resource for both those new to aromatherapy and for those that share my passion for aromatherapy. I decided upon the name AromaWeb based on its domain name availability at the time, its brevity and the ability to remember the name easily. The word "aromatherapy" is lengthy to type and is often misspelled, hence I chose to utilize the shortened word "aroma."

AromaWeb's traffic exceeded even my expectations. It is difficult to claim it with complete certainty, but AromaWeb may be the most popular informational Web site in the world based on the amount of traffic that it receives and the number of times that it is referenced by educators and within other publications. Currently, AromaWeb's traffic lies in excess of 225,000+ page views per month, with some months reaching well over 300,000 page views.

Financing The Venture

Since I originally established AromaWeb as a hobby, I needed to keep my operational costs low. I did not wish to take out a financial loan for the endeavor and am pleased that I never had to do so. My hosting company began imposing huge surcharges due to the amount of traffic it received. Originally, I did not accept advertising on AromaWeb, and I was routinely contacted by essential oil and aromatherapy retailers who requested information on how they could advertise on AromaWeb. I eventually moved AromaWeb to a different hosting company and then began to accept business listings and banner advertising placements on the site to help offset my operational costs and maintenance time. The popularity of the site has made it an attractive venue for online advertisers, thus creating a healthy income stream for the site.

When AromaWeb was in its infancy, I spent an immense amount of time writing articles, corresponding with visitors, promoting the site, and performing all the necessary tasks associated with it. As I was and still am employed full time as well, I earned the title of "workaholic." Over time, the content on AromaWeb grew significantly and now includes numerous articles, 90 essential oil profiles, recipes, aromatherapy book descriptions (including dM's Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions), banner advertisements from some of the best names in aromatherapy and a database of business listings for aromatherapy related retailers, suppliers and educators. For fun, AromaWeb even offers free aromatherapy related eCards. Currently, I spend about 15-20 hours a week on AromaWeb, most typically during evening hours and weekends. One of the advantages to operating an informational Web site such as AromaWeb is that I do have a huge degree of flexibility in when I conduct my work, and it doesn't interfere with working full time.

Living What I Love!

Although there are many aspects of AromaWeb that have been extremely rewarding, one of my greatest joys is receiving emails from those new to aromatherapy who write to say that the information on AromaWeb has helped them learn more about aromatherapy and begin incorporating aromatherapy safely into their lifestyles. This was my original purpose for launching AromaWeb, and it remains the most thrilling part of operating it. In a few instances, I have heard from individuals that wound up enrolling in aromatherapy courses and began implementing aromatherapy into their careers. It tickles me that AromaWeb helped them even in a small way. I also receive a lot of inquiries from educators and authors/journalists that seek permission to use or incorporate AromaWeb's content within their materials and publications.

But the Bad Guys Are Out There

One challenge to owning an informational site is that the text has been plagiarized to an excessive degree. It can be time consuming and unpleasant to deal with the unscrupulous individuals that have republished AromaWeb's text online or in print without permission. I strongly encourage those that develop their own unique site content to learn how to document your work so that you can prove ownership should you ever need to. A reputable attorney can assist you with this.

And That's Not All ...

In addition to owning AromaWeb, I work full time as the Marketing Manager for From Nature With Love (FNWL; IBN member since July 2000) a family owned wholesale supplier of 1,750 natural and complementary ingredients and supplies. It is important to me to work for a company that provides quality ingredients and whose owners are ethical and selective in the products that they offer. I cherish that FNWL's founders and owners, Kibby Mitra and Jay Basu, understand that I must remain impartial and objective with AromaWeb for the benefit of all visitors and advertisers. Working for FNWL has been a perfect complement to my work on AromaWeb, and both endeavors help to strengthen my knowledge regarding aromatherapy and natural hair and skin care.

You Can Do It Too

Creating and maintaining an informational Web site requires skill in a variety of areas. For those that may wish to consider establishing an informational site, I encourage you to consider your talents and knowledge of the subject at hand and weight the amount of time and costs that will be required to fully launch and maintain your site. Always begin by preparing a business plan and review competing sites and establish what areas that you can excel in.

Setting up and maintaining a successful Web site requires thorough knowledge of the subject that you are presenting, knowledge of Web development and design or the willingness to hire a competent developer, the ability to organize your site and make it easy for your visitors to navigate, the ability to successfully advertise and promote your site, the ability to keep abreast of search engine optimization and the ability to write and present textual information clearly. Not all individuals possess all of these skills. Having help in these areas is often necessary and can significantly add to the costs of maintaining your site. Having said this, the cost and time to establish an informational site as a hobby can be minimal and can let you slowly develop the skills needed to expand and grow should you decide you do hold the interest and desire to invest more time and funding into your pursuit. 

Be Sure To Find A Niche Though

Millions of informational site exist on the Web, many that have large advertising budgets, so you will be competing heavily for traffic. Try to find a unique niche that will appeal to visitors. 

A Great Move For Parents

Operating a site can be a lucrative endeavor for parents and others wishing to work from home. In addition to the skills touched upon above, working from home in any business requires a great deal of motivation to stay focused and complete your work tasks before resuming personal activities or housework. Creating a balance in caring for your children can also be a challenge. You have to be able to be a very strict boss with yourself. One of the touchy issues that occurred for me and still occasionally arises is that friends and family often would think that because I work from home, I can drop whatever I'm doing whenever they want to stop by or chat on the phone. They didn't take my work as seriously as they would if I worked at an office away from home. It takes determination to be firm with those you love, and explain that although you might be home, you are focused on work and you have specific priorities that you must complete.

One of the biggest challenges for me is being able to manage my time so that I am able to enjoy some personal time each day. Working for FNWL full time and operating AromaWeb takes up a great deal of my time each week. Due to my time constraints, I try to make the most out of each minute and strive to find more efficient ways of performing tasks. I use scheduling programs and a day planner to help me stay focused and remember goals, upcoming events and prioritize my projects. So far, this has been quite effective for me.

Combining Talents and Gifts To Make a Living

I receive great satisfaction in sharing aromatherapy information with others, and I love the ability to put my writing, marketing and Web development skills to good use in maintaining AromaWeb. I also savor being able to hear from visitors and network with others involved in aromatherapy either as a hobby or profession. It has been a wonderful way to get to know others that share my passion in aromatherapy. I also adore assisting my advertisers and working with them. Their financial support is what keeps AromaWeb in operation, and they are the most wonderful individuals I've had the pleasure of working with. I don't receive feedback from every one of my advertisers, but I am greatly thrilled when advertisers share their feedback on how advertising on AromaWeb has helped them increase their sales and exposure. Occasionally, advertisers hire me to create their banner advertisements that appear on AromaWeb, and I enjoy working as a designer in this capacity as well. Professionally, I also appreciate the flexibility that I have in being able to continue to operate AromaWeb even while employed full time.

The flexibility has allowed me to be more available to my beautiful fifteen year old daughter, Ashley. My interest in aromatherapy and natural skin care has had a wonderful influence upon her, and I enjoy making skin care products with her. Although there is much about Metro-Detroit that I do not enjoy, I do appreciate being so close to the water and the generally tame weather that we have here as compared to other regions of the country. I, do however, wish that the area was much cleaner and more scenic. I tend to head to northern Michigan when time permits so that we can go biking, rafting, and enjoy the scenery there.

Editor's Note: They say that "content is king" on the Internet, and those of you who spend even a short time reading my writing, know that I agree. Wendy's story highlights a few things that bear repeating here. First, no matter what type of business you have, you need to figure out a way to generate informational content -- either in the form of an online newsletter, blog or even frequent site updates -- that is of interest to people who will buy your products. Second, Wendy underscores the importance of identifying a niche. Competing with hundreds and perhaps millions of websites makes finding a niche a prerequisite to success. Third, Wendy notes that even though it's great to run a business that does not have traditional overhead like monthly rent payments, recurring expenses can still be significant. Having some sort of plan in place before starting can prevent many headaches.

Finally, Wendy omitted what I think is one of the most special and significant things that has given rise to the success of AromaWeb, and that is Wendy herself. Some people run their online businesses as if they have no personality to speak of. Wendy is not one of those people. Instead, she understands that the tone of her site is set by her personality, and that even if site visitors and advertisers never meet her in person, they are banking on her personality, as reflected at the site, to enhance their lives. Wendy is a genuinely pleasant human being with a kind and caring personality and a positive disposition. These traits serve her well. It has been a pleasure working with her over the past 7 years (Wendy, it has been that long??!), and am looking forward to many more.

Please visit Wendy's Aroma Web site to enjoy wonderful original content about all aspects of aromatherapy. And if you're lucky enough to catch her at a good time, make sure to ask her to design a graphic that you can use to promote your business. She's talented, efficient and a pleasure to work with!

6. Here & There: Calendar of Upcoming Events

As always, there's a lot going on at IBN, and our members are very busy. I'll be including this chart in upcoming issues so everyone can stay abreast of the happening here at IBN! IBN members, do you have a workshop or upcoming event you'd like to add to the calendar? If so, just enter your username and password at this link and you'll be taken to a calendar form. Just one more way that IBN works to help you promote your events! Questions? Just email me!!

Date Event Location & Registration
August 19, 2006 Making All Natural Baby Products at The Nova Studio -- check our Events Calendar for all of The Nova Studio's upcoming classes! San Francisco, CA
September 23, 2006 Lifestyle CEO Workshop :: For Entrepreneurs in the Natural Aromatics Industry, with dM and Natural Aromatics Expert Rosanne Tartaro of SunRose Aromatics SunRose Aromatics, New York; register by calling (718) 794-0391
October 13-14, 2006 Two Days With dM and Lisa Price of IBN member Carol's Daughter The Open Center, New York; registration to be announced
Spring 2007 The Lifestyle CEO & Handmade Beauty Network Conference (pictures from 2006 conference) Charlotte, North Carolina registration to be announced


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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