As I write this, we’ve just come back from the Healthy Planet, Healthy People fair at the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. The event is momentous for a few different reasons. To begin with, it was the first
year for this event. Second, there was an attempt to break the world record for the greatest number of people simultaneously doing jumping jacks. And last but not least, it was the first event I attended as owner of Shannon’s Soaps – more about this in a minute.
I imagine many metropolitan areas have organizations similar to the Cleveland Metroparks. They are a government-sponsored collection of wilderness areas around various suburbs of our fair city. There are trails and picnic areas, with some of the more exotic locations including the zoo, and toboggan chutes. Even if you’re not the environmentalist type, everybody likes to get out into nature every once in a while.
Well, this event was a great opportunity to do just that. In addition to the excitement of the 5k race and record attempt, we (well, my husband Brian anyhow – I was otherwise occupied with sales duties) got to spend some quality time with our daughter playing on the swings, walking in the river, and looking for fossils. Even if we hadn’t sold a thing, it would still have been a nice way to spend a Saturday morning.
Speaking of sales, I’d like to thank all of the people that bought some of the items I had on hand. It was great to get out, meet people, and talk about my products. I’m happy to say that we got a good, steady stream of shoppers until things died down after the awards ceremony.
There are some common questions I’m asked about my products, and the fair was no exception. Here are some of the things people commonly ask:
Q: How is your soap made?
A: Quite simply, I make soap by mixing fats with lye in the correct amounts. Soap is created in the reaction, and precise calculations are used to make sure that all the lye is used up in the process. I blend different types of fats in different proportions to give the soap its desired properties. Some fats make bubbly soap. Others make creamy soap. Still others enable the soap to condition the skin. From careful research and experimentation, I’ve developed what I think are the right combinations for a gentle, luxurious, cleansing lather. The process is explained in a little more detail on my About Shannon's Soaps page, but those are the basics.
Q: Which of your soaps is best for sensitive skin?
A: That’s a tough call. Different people have different types of skin, so it’s difficult for me to make a precise recommendation, since you know more about your skin than I do. However, all my soaps are made to cleanse gently, without synthetic detergents. I can tell you that my husband, whose hands break out in eczema after using any and all liquid hand soaps, some shampoos, and certain hand sanitizers, can use all of them without a reaction.
Q: Is your soap “natural”?
A: My product line contains many soaps that are 100% natural, like Honey Nut with Goat’s Milk – with no added fragrance, or essential oil scents, and natural or no added colorants. Other soaps, like Chocolate Marble, contain natural scents and naturally derived colors like ultramarines, oxides, or even cocoa powder. Even my soaps that have D&C dyes and fragrance oils are still 99% natural. In a roughly 3-lb. batch of soap, I use roughly 0.5 oz of fragrance oil and 10-12 drops of dye.
Q: Why use fragrance oils at all?
A: Some scents just aren’t able to be made as essential oils, coconut and vanilla being two of the more popular ones. Some essential oils are just way too expensive to be used in soap-making, especially if they are delicate.
Natural jasmine or sandalwood can cost hundreds of dollars per ounce!
That about covers the more common questions. I’m sure there will be ample opportunity to answer more in later postings.
So was the jumping jacks record broken? I’m not sure. If not, perhaps it will be next year, and hopefully I’ll be invited back to sell my wares again at the next Healthy Planet, Healthy People fair.