It's not quite the New Year as a lot of people think of it... but we are definitely heading into the end of the year in general, and for many pagan folk, myself included, Samhain, also known as Halloween (the period between sundown on the 31st through sundown on the 1st of November), marked the turning of the year.
It hasn't been the easiest start to a new year for me, or for Heathen's Hearth, but I am still determined to make a go of it. I have every intention, no matter the rocky beginnings, of making this year to come better than the year before. Plans are already in motion for many aspects of how I intend to make that work.
I am branching out into doing craft shows. Thus far I have done 2 that are local to the St. Louis area, and I intend to do shows in Missouri, Virginia, and Maryland throughout next year. Both shows were, on my scale, great successes and I look forward to more in the future. I realized how much I missed being able to have that one on one contact with clients, and how much a difference it can really make.
If there's a show you think I should come to in one of those states, or any nearby ones (like North-eastern North Carolina, south-west Illinois, anywhere in Maryland) do feel free to let me know. If the show is big enough, I may even consider other states.
There are going to be some product changes as well. The first change has already been started, and that is that I am moving to all paraben free preservatives, all pthalate free fragrance oils, and I am branching further into using therapeutic quality essential oils, and reducing the number of perfume and fragrance oils carried in the shop.
I will still be carrying many of the favorites (Sandalwood, Pink Sugar, Lemon Cream, Leather, Patchouli and Nag Champa) and of course, will be rotating out newer fragrances every couple of weeks or months in favor of new exciting limited edition soaps.
Some of the other changes are going to include: More products with fewer artificial colors - especially the newer version of lip balms (coming back soon, in tubes!); new scrub cube and sugar scrub formulations (now creamier, easier to use), Bath Salts (a favorite is back again!), and Salt Scrubs (for those who prefer a more robust exfoliation), and new products overall.
Current formulations almost ready to come out of the testing stage are: Facial Moisturizers (yes, a full year after they were first requested, I have come to the perfect 100% natural moisturizer!), a new line of masks and facial soaps that have come from the customized requests of multiple customers to offer a wider variety than just the basic 3 (oily/blemished, dry/sensitive, normal), Olive Oil hot process soaps, scrub cubes (already in the shop under the new formula), and Sugar Scrubs.
All of the products offered in the shop will be the same high quality products you are used to. Many of the changes, like the fragrance oils, essential oils, and preservatives used, will not be noticeable to most people. The new formulations will of course, and I will be offering both side by side for a while, and slowly phasing out the older formulas. If, after they are phased out, you still want the older formulations, I will happily continue making them on a per request basis.
The biggest change of all I have not mentioned yet. That change took place a few weeks ago, and that is that Misty is no longer working with me on Heathen's Hearth. She has opened her own shop on Etsy at http://www.wickedsoaps.etsy.com. For those of you who love the cold process soaps, make sure you head over there and check them out. She's coming out with some great new scents and products as well.
Many of the changes that will be taking place here in Heathen's Hearth are due to some other issues that I have been having of late. Which is to say, they kinda know, but aren't real sure yet. I am suffering from malnourishment due to a partial failure of my digestive system. I have lost over 50 pounds in 2 months and it has begun to sap my energy levels and causing me to have what amounts to "full body charley horses" due to a lack of vitamin and mineral absorption.
The biggest thing right now, is that I have gone from the normal 3-5 day shipping time that people have come to expect from us, to 5-7 days. In order to get this back down to the lowest shipping turn around that I can, I have begun to implement a plan to narrow the shop products to only what I have on hand. I will not remove anything from the shop as it is listed now, unless or until new products replace them (such as the sugar scrubs).
It is my hope to have a definitive diagnosis and a "fix" sometime within the next 2-3 weeks. I am asking for your patience during this time. I know it is very frustrating on your end as the customer, and I can't assure you enough that it is just as frustrating on my end. If I get beyond the point of a 5-7 business day turn around, I will be putting the shop on vacation status until I am caught up again. I am hoping I will not have to do this at all, and that the plans in place to create ready to go products in the most popular items (such as soaps), will prevent it from coming to that.
I could not continue to do this without the support of the fans and friends of Heathen's Hearth, and I look forward to working with you again over the coming year. Thank you so much for your continued patronage in this exciting and life changing adventure.