Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shipping FAQ

Shipping can be a major deciding factor when shopping online. I wanted to take a quick minute and explain some of the options I use to help save you money and to ensure that your product gets to you quickly and safely.

For shipping, I prefer to use the US Postal System. It has many cost efficent options and they ship world wide. They also offer free packaging for some of the shipping options, which saves us both money.

First Class Mail:
If you purchase a soap sampler, a bar or two of soap, or almost any product that is under 13 oz, I will usually use first class parcel shipping. This method runs from about $2 to $4 and gets your packages there in just a few days!

Priority Mail:
This is my most used method of shipping. Priorty mail boxes are free from the post office, meaning I don't have to purchase a box for your order. They also offer flat rate envelopes and boxes. I can fit upto 9 bars in an flat rate envelope for $5 anywhere in the US. The same in a box could be over $10!

Parcel Post:
Parcel Post used to be a great option for packages, it was cheap and you could get a package there within a week. But, with gas prices on the rise, the lowest price for Parcel Post is now over $5.50, making it more expenisve then priority in many cases. This is especially true for heavy boxes, shipping in a Priorty flat rate can save a lot of money.

Parcel Post is also the only entirelly ground service that the post office offers.  Parcel post cost start $5.39 with delivery confirmation.

Packing materials:
Being that I am cheap, I mean, being I always want to save you money, I often recycle packing materials that I get in packages. This means you may have several colors of packing peanuts, the bubble wrap may be different sizes, or paper I use may be white or brown. But I always do my best to pack your orders so that they arrive in one piece.

In the end, my goal is to ship your item so that it arrives safe and sound, and does not cost you an arm and a leg. Rest assured, if shopping on my website or on my Etsy site, I will always refund shipping overages in excess of $2.00.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is here!

This past winter was very busy for KBShimmer. I did a few shows around Christmas, participated in one of our winter market dates, and spend a good two months living in my packing area shipping out online orders for Christmas gifts.

Now that spring seems to be upon us, it is time to start thinking about craft show season. For us, the first one this year is the Bloomington Handmade Market on April 7th. I attended the fall show and it was one of my best, so I am really looking forward to this one.

Bloomington Handmade Market is a juried show that only allows handmade artists. This means that you will find unique goods all made by small business owners like myself. No one will be pushing Mary Kay or Tupperware here!

Head over to the site to see who else will be attending and to find out more details.

Bloomington Handmade Market

In preperation for the show, I am spending this week packing up soap, making scrubs and nail polish, and labeling lip balms. During the winter rush, I ran out of everything I had pre-packed, so it will be nice to have products ready to pull for orders again, not to mention ready for future shows and markets.

If I can get that all done, I want to spend sometime outside. Many of my spring blubs are blooming, color is popping up all around my yard, and I have had little time to enjoy them. I did manage to snap a few pictures before the mower removed the weeds, so enjoy!

Even weeds can be pretty.

These are all around my neighbors yard, so pretty.

I can not believe that March already has our blubs blooming.

Looks like our lilacs will have nice blooms this year!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The hardest part of new products

First, I am so sorry I am such a bad blogger. I tend to do better keeping up with Facebook, where I can post a few lines and be off! I get busy with working, family, and friends, and sleep wins out over posting.

Moving forward, I want to talk about the latest addition to the KBShimmer family of products: Nail Polish!

By now, anyone that has been to my shop or seen my products locally, knows I love color. One thing that you may not know is that love of color extends to my own body, specifically my toes. I love picking out a new color to paint my toes. Blues, purples, pinks, greens; no color is off limits. Even when working in a business environment, you can always have a sassy color hidden under those practical pumps.

One of the newest trends in handmade cosmetics, I think stemming from the popularity of mineral make-up, is "Franken" polish. That is taking store bought polish, mixing colors, adding glitters, and even pigments to create your own unique polish. But now, some of us have taken it one step farther, creating custom polishes from scratch!

As much as I love new products, I am not one that enjoys the testing phase. I like to jump right in and go. But working with a new medium, it is always better to plan ahead, test your components, and take it slow to ensure quality. So I test everything new I get.

For nail polish, this started with testing glitters. I used almost a whole pint of base and bought hundreds of dollars in glitters. You see, making a polish is not as easy as adding glitter to clear polish. Glitters can "bleed" into the base, losing color and dying the polish. They can warp, or curl, leading to lumpy polish. They can flake apart, breaking in the polish, or even cause the polish to thicken. None of these are good when trying to create polish you can duplicate over and over for customers.

See how the red and black polish look? That is bleeding glitter. The white used to have an iridescent glow to it and now that is gone and the polish is very thick. The green and gold are normal.

Testing colors was fun. I have a ton of colorants for soapmaking, so I was able to use a lot of those in polish. Figuring which blended well in polish and offered shades that I loved was one of the best parts of testing. In polish, micas can really shine making for an opaque polish, while oxides and cosmetic neons can make a semi sheer color that allow for glitter to pop. One of my best mistakes was taking a pure dye and adding it to the polish. While the polish did not gain color, my fingers did when I removed it! But that testing assured that those lessons were learned before any polish was sold to you!

After all the testing, I launched the polish about a month ago, and it seems to be going over well! I invite you to go and check out the polish I have available to see if anything appeals to your sense of color. If not, send me a message. I love suggestions!

My Etsy Shop