Saturday, January 31, 2009

YES!! There is justice in this world!

Even though I can't eat any of it yet, I just found out that I won DoubleDippedSweet's blog giveaway!!!

Can you say, "OH MY GOD DELICIOUSNESS?!" Here is what I get:
2 Caramel Apples of my choice
2 - 1/2 sized Gourmet Caramel Popcorns of my choice
1 dozen Dipped Oreos
1 set of either Dipped Pretzels (5) or Chocolate Bark (1/2 lb)

Holy sweetness, Batman...that made my freaking week!

Thank you, DoubleDippedSweets! And for those of you reading this....check out her shop...she has the yummiest treats on Etsy...perfect for Valentine's Day!

A little more math...

just in case your head wasn't spinning from the last

Our first month of business, we sold .37 items per day.
Our second month in business we sold .66 items per day.
Our third month in business we sold .43 items per day.

4th - 4.13 items per day (it was november... holiday shoppers abound)
5th - 6.9 items per day (it was december... more holiday shoppers)
6th - 2.5 items per day....

Obviously this isn't enough information to extrapolate accurately how quickly we'll grow as a business... that's going to depend on too many outside factors (like, are we really in another "Great Depression", because, contrary to some peoples opinions, what we sell can be considered a luxury item).

But lets say for the sake of argument...that every 6 months the number of sales we have per day will grow 7 times.

we started out making .37 items per day. After 6 months we should be selling 2.59 items per day (that's fairly accurate as it goes, since I rounded up from 6.57 to 7)

12 months = 18 items per day
18 months = 126 items per day

Nifty. i didn't even plan that... lol. but according to that, if we maintain a steady growth over the next 12 months, by sometime next year we should be making enough sales to open a retail shop...almost exactly... since the previous posts calculations put us at needing 126 sales per day in order to hire people to work in our shop. :-)

Obviously, I don't think it will work that way, because I'm sure there will be slow periods in there, and definately some periods of tapering off, where we hit plateaues (how the hell do you spell that?!?) and level off on the number of new customers we gain. But it gives me something to work with plan wise.

When I take into consideration that I can't really plan anything until we know where we're moving to after The Hubby retires...which is at least 3 years from now... 30 months into this little business venture.

So according to the math, 18 months is what we need. According to life, I'll plan on 36 months.

So my new goal is to open a retail store front by no later than August of 2011... :-D

happy sales ya'll

Retail Sales and living expenses

So I was curious about things tonight. I should never get curious. On nights like tonight its bound to affect my sense of self. But I do. I digress.

I went looking at the cost of retail shops. Average cost around Suffolk, Va $14 a square foot, per year - at least so far as I can tell that's what it was looking like - and we're looking at 500sq foot space (which, by the way, doesn't exist in Suffolk, they start at 1200 sq ft, but I digress again). Doesn't sound too bad does it?

That's only 21k a year in rent. Which works out to $1750 a month. Add in half that amount again to cover electricity, gas, property taxes and such, and we're at $2625 a month.

Factor in a good salary, for both of us, say... $20 an hour = $40 per hour x 48 hours a week x 4 weeks per month = $7680

Decent pay for the hired help (I refuse to pay anyone the laughable minimum wage) = $8.00 an hour x 20 hours per week x 4 weeks = $640

Right there we're at a monthly expense of $10,945

Making approximately $6.60 per item (average of all items across the board deducting for supply costs - this is a fairly high estimate)....

that means we'd need to sell a minimum of 1659 items, just to make ends meet.

This of course, does not include annual tax fees, business licensing fees, inspections, permits, advertising, signage, store appliances, storage, shelving, displays, or anything of the sort. We're talking ballpark figures though... so lets say that adds another... oh... $1000 a month..its a nice round number.

To cover those miscellaneous things, we'd need to sell another 152 items per month.

So we're up to 1811 items per month...

and we haven't even covered profit for expansion or whatever else companies use profit for... (what do companies use profit for besides company expansion... lol)

So lets say... we want to make... oh... $500 a month in profit to reinvest in the business...its another nice round number.

that's another 76 items.

1887 items per month. 63 items per day.

This is how much we'd have to sell to make our little "at home" business into a profitable venture that would allow for expansion.

at 126 items per day, we could officially hire people to work in the store, leaving us to creating things and cutting back our hours to something resembling "normal" working hours.

Fun huh?

Friday, January 30, 2009

And These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

It's no secret...two of my favorite Etsy shops are AuntieDis and her sister shop, Auntie's Card Shop. I have purchased candles, tags, candles, earrings, candles, tags, lol....yes, I am addicted.

As I type this, I have her Framboise de Chocolat burning on my nightstand....

....and her Pink Sugar burning on my bookcase!

There is no doubt about it...if you are looking for amazing quality soy candles at a great price, you can't do better than AuntieDis.
Not only does she have Etsy's best candles, the woman puts her talent to work on awesome jewelry and the cutest freaking tags and cards you'll find!

I am in love with these Woodland Earrings.

Need a Valentine's Day card? Look no further!! AuntieDis has what you need!

And last but not least....I purchased these Java Tags to use with my Cafe Mocha line of products...I love em!

Check out her me, you can't go wrong.

Can you tell I'm hungry and going through withdrawals?!

After having 4 wisdom teeth removed yesterday, I can't have anything that has to be chewed...and I can't have anything too hot, so no coffee *cries*. So, in my moments of not-so-fuzziness from the painkillers, I've created a few new listings!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's just not fair!

I sit here in pain from having wisdom teeth removed and I am on a strict liquid and soft food diet for a few days. I am in Etsy Chat shooting the poop with my fellow Etsy peeps when DoubleDippedSweets comes in. She has one of THE BEST shops on Etsy. Period.
I think she is tormenting me...Evil Temptress of Deliciousness that she is!

I mean...take a look at some of this stuff!
Caramel Apple Caramel Popcorn

So anyway, Ms. Evil Temptress is having a giveaway on her blog and of course I had to enter it! Click here to enter!
I know what my next food purchase will be when I can chew again! LOL

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA: The New Government Idiocy

I don't usually do this, but for this I'm going to make an exception.

It is a Blog-in. Help pass it a long.

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys?

The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it. The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ok, She's superwoman - Scrub Cubes!

That's right, Misty is indeed superwoman. I'm only the brains behind the operation. :-D

Introducing Scrub Cubes -three of our best of our products, rolled into one convenient package. For all of you who want to pamper yourselves, but don't always have the time to do it the way you want. Now you don't have to skimp on your skin care just because you happen to be running late (or running the kids all over town).

They start with our all natural goats milk soap - no sls, or other harsh chemicals involved. The next addition is 100% pure shea butter - which is a skin loving all natural butter that has been known to help supermoisturize icky winter dry skin. The last ingredient is rich brown sugar - a gentle exfoliant to help remove dry skin cells, allowing your skin to heal and rejuvinate.

Check them out today in our shop - we have listings for a 6 ounce and 1 ounce sample, with the option of contacting us for a full 16 ounce package - 1 month of skin care on the fly!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yes, I am Superwoman

At least, I have to be! 5 flavors of lip balm, 10 scents of soap, a new batch of whipped Body Frosting....and I also cooked dinner...FROM SCRATCH.

Thank you, thank, I'm sorry my services aren't for hire. much do ya have? ;-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

A good day

A milestone for Heathen's Hearth today...we surpassed 400 sales in our Etsy shop! It's an awesome feeling.

I made a couple new soaps, too....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I love Hooters

Don't you? I love em so much, I put together a collection of the best hooters on Etsy for my treasury....Check it out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wholesale Orders: Now we're really a business!

Ok, so we've been a "real" business for a while now. But this morning we got our first wholesale order for our Chocolate Covered Strawberry Goat's Milk Soap. 20 bars total, so not a huge order in the grand scheme of things, but for us, its huge!

We're hovering right on the edge of 400 sales after just under 6 months of being active, 1 consignment account about to be opened, and now a wholesale order. I don't think we could be more over the moon if we tried!

So many plans, so much to talk about. Stay tuned.

I'm working on a series of topics I want to start talking about, from pthalates, SLES, skin care, natural vs chemical products, and more. :-)

I am so amused

I haven't felt like such a displaced Northerner since my epic battle with McDonald's over sweet tea.

This morning, all the schools in the "7 Cities" (I have to research what cities those are) have been closed because Hampton Roads is under a Winter Storm Warning. We are supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow.

Yes, folks, you heard me right. SUPPOSED to get. It has not yet started snowing. Not a flake has fallen...and schools are closed.

I laughed maniacally when I heard that. The Michigander in me snickered with glee...1-3 inches and things shut down...hell, where I am from, it takes 1-3 FEET to close schools, lol.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Toile...sophistiqué et beau, non?

I have always been a lover of Toile and anything "French Country" or Shabby Chic...I can't help's the girly girl in me. I love pink, I wear make-up, and I have a purse buying sickness. Amy makes fun of me (usually good-naturedly, lol), but I am not ashamed! In fact, I love it so much, I dedicated a treasury to it.

Heathen's Hearth Top 10 Scents

*And other ways we keep score*
So I went through all of our sales last night and copied the scents of each item sold into a spread sheet. OMG the dull.

The doldrums were broken up by spending about half the time I was making the list on the phone with a friend of mine. But I'll get to that story in a minute. First the 2 top 10 lists. (Yes, 2, there was going to be a third, but I'll do that one later.)

The first list is our Top 10 Sellers, includes all holiday scents, and is undedited in any way.

10. Pumpkin Pie
9. Lavender
8. Cafe Mocha
7. Honey Oatmeal (aka Oatmeal, Milk and Honey or Oatmeal Honeycake)
6. Lemon Cream
5. Spiced Cranberry
4. Frosted Snowdrop
3. Gingerbread
2. Peppermint Frosting
1. .... I'll save this for later. After all, its number one in all of the lists...

The second top 10 list excluded all holiday scents. The reason being that, well, we don't carry them all the time, so its not really fair to the other scents, since we're using the top 10 lists as a way to narrow down our shop listings. Each of the top 10 scents will have its own listings... all the rest will be put in a single "pick your own scent" listing. That way, people who like the less popular scents can still get them, but we don't lose as much listing scents that aren't likely to sell as often. Win/Win for everyone.

So...without further ado:

The Top 10 scents of the last 5 months:

10. Dragons blood
9. Blueberry Cobbler
8. Amber
7. Pomegranate Vanilla
6. Pumpkin Pie (after serious debate we have decided to carry this one full time...)
5. Lavender
4. Cafe Mocha
3. Honey Oatmeal (see aka's above)
2. Lemon Cream
and the #1 scent: Sandalwood. :)

Now, others that are new (like Cedar & Saffron, Sandalwood Rose, Euphoria, Seduction, and other seasonal scents) aren't affected by these lists and will still have their own listings. We haven't had them up long enough to know how they'll perform - even though they're tied with scents that people obviously aren't gung ho over, like Orange Pomander, Apple Crisp, and Victorian Rose.
Now I'd like to tell you a (roughly paraphrased) story of true customer loyalty. Its a story about a child's love of chocolate mint, and a dread of boring bath time.
As I mentioned at the begining of this, I was on the phone with a friend of mine while making up this list, and we were talking about life and children, and she was telling me about an incident with her 9 year old daughter.
"We were out of snacks, so I stopped by the convenience store and picked up 2 of those Texas Cinnamon Buns. When I picked her up from school that afternoon, she had $5 on her that she didn't have when she left - So I asked her 'where did you get the $5?' "

"Oh, this boy in my class wanted my cinnamon rolls, and he offered me $5 for them, so I figured since you only paid 50 cents each and he really wanted them, why not? Oh, and since I have $5 now, can you buy me some more of that chocolate mint soap? My baths are really dull without it."

True story. We must carry chocolate mint soap forever, or until this child outgrows it. Because who can dissapoint a child that precocious?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

And holy crap, my lips and skin suffer the most! In my ongoing effort to use only products made by us...I am so happy with our newest lips and skin are, too!

One of our regular customers asked us when we would add massage oils to our line of products. After discussion we thought, well...why the heck not?
We use only light, emollient, skin-absorbing oils which are perfect for massage or to add to your bath water.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Ok... I shouldn't have done that, now I have that song stuck in my head. LOL.

But, I wanted to announce some pertinent changes that will be coming in our inventory within the next week - then we can get back to our regularly scheduled randomness.

First up, Sampler sets.

We've just recently listed a grouping of soap samplers. As before, each sampler set is grouped by its scent type (Fruits, desserts, sensual scents, etc) and there is also a sampler called "Buyers Choice", so that anyone purchasing that one can choose their own mix of 5 scents.

The photos show a set of hearts, however, the shapes are probably going to change seasonally.

Next Up on the agenda of changes, are the samplers of body frosting. They have been selling very well, though cost effectiveness of them (for the buyer) and losses based on actual retail value (for us) have been in conflict I think. Right now the 1 ounce sets currently listed (being 5 one ounce jars) are at $12, plus the requisite 3.50 shipping. We're going to be discontinuing those sets in favor of smaller 1/4 ounce jars. Our reasoning is fairly simple. We'll be able to sell them at their actual retail cost ($6) and not continue to lose money on each one purchased (really, a loss of $4 isn't too horrible, but aggregate, because its one of our best selling items really hurts after a while). Plus, halving the price point will make them much more accessible to a variety of buyers out there who really want to try it, but really don't want to risk losing $15 on something they may not like the scent of.

So for now, the sampler sets of frostings (Found here in our sets section) will be the last 3 sold. After that we will be listing new sets to reflect the lower price and smaller jars.

For those worried about size, part of what prompted this change was the realization that 1 ounce of our body frosting is sufficient for daily use for up to two weeks - longer if you are only using it as a hand cream. We feel confident that 1/4 ounce, which would be sufficient for several days usage (for each scent), is plenty for customers to get to know our product, but cost effective enough that they are not deterred by the price tag - in this economy, we know every penny counts.

And of course, since we have samplers of those 2, our next most popular product is our sugar since we'll have all these lovely 1 ounce containers floating around, we've decided to go ahead and introduce sampler sets of those as well. Each container will be sufficient for a single full body application (2 if you happen to be like me and only use it on the elbows, legs and feet). I'll update more on those when I've completed the boring accounting :-)

One other note worth mentioning... The rollout of samplers of our lickable body frostings (also in the 1/4 ounce jars) will most likely begin by next weekend - Jan 24th-25th. So to those who have been patiently waiting, never fear! Our Lickable Line (body frostings, massage oils, sugar scrubs, body powder and lip balms - with matching *NON-lickable* Soap) will be available in time for V-Day shipment!

We may or may not re-introduce the sampler sets that we typically use for give aways and seasonal stocking stuffers. I suppose that will depend on demand. People did seem to like them though. (Full Line Sampler Sets would include 1 ounce of soap, 1 ounce of sugar scrub, 1 ounce of bath salts, 1/4 ounce of body frosting.)

Speaking of which, stay tuned, because I should be announcing our next Give-Away shortly.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Love...we has it!

In spades, apparently! We are currently featured in three different treasuries!

Scents that make sense for cents by MaineLeeCrochet

Pink Chocolate by erinkeys

Be My Valentine by AuntieDis

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I think I'm in love...

I was making some soap to fill orders and my creative juices got flowing. I've seen some black soaps on Etsy and I just love them. I made a partially black soap when I created our Heartbroken Black Amber Musk Soap, but I had yet to do a completely black one.

I changed that today :). I am proud to present our Black Celtic Sandalwood Soap.

I combined two of our best sellers in this amazing soap...dark, earthy and sensual sandalwood, and an amazing Celtic design.

With it's dark, sleek and simple look, it's perfect for a man or woman.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lovely for Valentine's Day

IngasGems put together this lovely treasury titled Beautiful Woman and included our Victorian Rose Whipped Body Frosting. It's absolutely beautiful!

Be sure to check out her shop for some gorgeous earrings...and her other shop, BeInspiredDesigns for pretty and fun scrabble tile pendants!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

La De Da De Da...

I'm kinda bored here at work, so I was playing around in Picasa and came up with some collages of my favorite product pics :).

What an Awesome Way to Start My Day!

J. Leigh from Jleighdesignz is one of our returning customers, so we know she likes our products, but we didn't know just how deep the love affair went until this morning, when she featured us on her blog...check it out here! When you're done reading that, stop by her Etsy shop for some lovely cards or invitations. You won't be disappointed!
In other news, I'd like to show off some of our newly listed items!

It is the perfect way to finish off your bath after soaking in the tub with our Ocean Breeze Skin Softening Salt Soak and washing with our Ocean Breeze Natural Shea Butter Soap.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Celtic and Norse Lovelies

I snagged a treasury in Treasury West yesterday (yes, yes, I know we snag a lot of treasuries, lol). Anywho, I wanted to share it with everyone because there are some AMAZING items in it by FANTASTIC artists!

Celtic and Norse Lovelies

Good Stuff, Maynard!

You know what makes me feel really good? Knowing that our customers love us and our products. Amy and I both spend a lot of time in the Etsy Chat rooms and have formed relationships with many of the other Etsy sellers, who happen to be our best customers. We joke around with them, saying they are Soap Pimps because they are gushing about how great our stuff is all the time. What is better than that?!

Some of the actual feedback we have received is just plain awesome:

"HeathensHearth is THE best bath and body shop on Etsy!! I will come back again and again :) Thanks for your generosity and amazing customer service! Happy holidays :)" - designsbygalina

"It is always a joy to purchase from Heathen's Hearth! Fabulous products, very reasonable prices, and super quick shipping! One of my very favorite Etsy shops." - mrsbradley

"Smells like heaven and is so lush...awesome!" - abigor

"Best Soap Evar!! I have never been happier with a product. keep up the good work!" - NeitherHereNorThere

"very fast shipping. I LOVE THE SOAP. I have bought alot of handmade oatmeal soap over the years and this is THE BEST!!!!!!" - NancysJewelryDesigns

You know what is even better than that? Returning customers. To hear that they love our stuff is one thing, but when they come back for more and more and more...that is amazing!

Thank you Etsy and thank you to our wonderful are fantastic.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

May it be better than 2008.

All in all though, 2008 wasn't a bad year. We started our little shop on August 1st, and managed to make it to 350 sales in just 5 months. We started out like a lot of hobby soapers start I think, using standard formula MnP soaps, premade bases for lotions, etc. By October we graduated to all natural products, including our soaps, bath salts, body frostings (our biggest hit!), milk baths, and more.

We have lots of long and short range goals for the new year. Starting with winnowing out the scents that didn't do so hot in '08, adding in new scents and products in time for Valentines day shoppers, graduating to cold process and hot process all natural soaps.

We're still working on lickable Body Frosting, which is high in demand, but a bit longer in planning and experimentation than initially hoped for. I really thought we'd have more time in December to work on it, but we got slammed with sales, and spent so much time filling orders we really didn't have time to work on anything new.

We will be able to add massage oils to our line up in time for Valentines Day. I think we'll also make up for the lack of Lickable Body Frosting by adding lickable body dust (a delightful blend of honey and arrowroot powder) as well as Shampoos and Conditioners to the line up instead.

Along with eliminating the scents that didn't do so well (though, eliminate is probably the wrong word, they'll be available as custom orders, they just won't be in our standard line up in the shop) we'll also be rounding out our lines with some new scents: Euphoria, Seduction, and Love will be joining the Cedar & Saffron and Mid Summer Night.

I'll also be working on my new novelty soap scent: Sunday Afternoon Football. An earthy blend of dirt and fresh cut grass, with a bit of citrus... trust will smell better than it sounds :)

So there's our plans, in the rough, for 2009. What are your plans for the new year?

Stay tuned for more goals for Heathen's Hearth.