I am a soap maker, and I also wear other hats: wife, mother, grandmother, substitute teacher, retiree from John Carroll University after 22 years, and have numerous other creative hobbies. My other hobbies include sewing, reading, cooking, and cake decorating.
Upon retirement, I began soap making as a hobby. Soon I discovered that making soap was more than just a hobby. After more than a year of trial and error, I was confident enough to sell the soap that I made. With much help and support from my family, I now have an excellent label, several kinds of soap, and a variety of fragrances.
I like working with my hands. I like colors and fragrances. Making soap is a natural combination of both color and fragrance. Although I do not color my soaps, matching label colors with fragrances is a challenge and an enjoyable experience. Making soap is a labor of love, but the finished products are well worth the hours of planning and work.
Several years ago, I went to the “Last Minute Market” in Lakewood, Ohio. This show is the last Saturday before Christmas and attracts over one hundred vendors and thousands of visitors. I stopped at a table belonging to a young lady who makes her own soap. I bought a dozen bars and signed up for her soap making class. I was fascinated with the soap making process and the outcome: my first batch of cold process soap.
My first batch of soap was a success. My family tested it and gave it good reviews. I assembled supplies at home in my kitchen, bought a soap making book, selected some essential oils for fragrance, and began making small batches with trial recipes. Because of the positive input from my family and friends and my interest in combining the oils, essential oils, and organic botanicals grown in my yard, i.e., lavender, I continued to experiment making small batches of soap with a variety of recipes and essential oils.
My creative process is spurred by my interest in perfecting soaps that I am confident in labeling and selling to people who pick up my bars of soaps at various retail stores, garden centers, art and craft shows, and gift shops. I am pleased with the positive feedback that I get with each new recipe that I try. I am also fascinated with the process involved in making a batch of soap: mixing the various oils with the essential oils for fragrance, distilled water, sodium hydroxide, and organic botanicals. I am not a chemist, but I have learned a lot about the chemical reaction of these mixtures and what goes into making soap as a result of combining each of these individual products.
My goal for my soap business includes introducing new recipes and essential oils as well as placing my soap in additional retail establishments. I will continue making each batch of soap by hand in order to maintain control of the recipe and final product. I believe it is important to maintain consistency with my product from quality, labeling, packaging, and presentation in a display.
I believe branding is essential. I want consumers to know when they see Basin Soapworks soap or hear about my soap, they are confident that the soap they purchase is a high-quality bar of soap that has been made by hand with pride, contains no artificial ingredients, and has been tested by my family and friends.
Meet Marilyn Thomas from from Dottie Bee Merry...
I am a polymer clay artist specializing in original totally cute figurines. I have been doing craft shows for over 13 years and have a shop on etsy where I sell my creations.
Since this my first Avant-Garde show, I thought I would take a minute and introduce myself. I started claying over 13 years ago to help deal with a personal loss. I picked up a book and made a scarecrow by carefully following the directions. Well, that poor little scarecrow didn’t make the oven baking and wound up in the trash. Never one to be defeated, I tossed the book aside and used the knowledge I had garnered, and started over, this time doing things my way! That little scarecrow soon became santa and a cow and the rest is history. I had found my niche. I learned that I couldn’t draw to save my life but I could sculpt anything that entered my mind!
Everything I make is handmade and I enjoy challenging myself to come up with new ideas every year. This year you will see tons more holiday items and Halloween is shaping up to be spectacular! My challenge this year was to make at least 20 pieces for every holiday. I have Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter ready to go and I’ve also started other lines such as Artic Antics and Mutts and Meows.
Each year I also take on a cause and make a special piece that I donate the proceeds to. In the past I had a co-worker who’s daughter was battling breast cancer so I made an angel that I sold for $5.00 each . I was able to donate over $500.00 to her just after 3 shows. I believe in the power of giving back. I have the talent to make a difference and I want to share it. This year I will donate the proceeds from my Mutts and Meows line.
Thanks for taking a minute to read my story. I hope to meet you at the show!
2017 Chagrin Falls Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Saturday & Sunday, March 11th and 12th, 2017
Saturday - 10:00am-5:00pm
Federated Church Family Life Center
16349 Chillicothe Rd.
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
For more information, contact Becki Silverstein, Event Coordinator at Becki@ag-shows.com
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