I'm knackered but happy that everything went so well today at my first Farmer's Market. The day was balmy and spring-like and there was a good showing of people who stopped by to have a look at the newest stall holder's wares. I went into the day with low expectations of sales since it was my first time and the weather might not be conducive to outdoor shopping. But I was happily surprised to sell as much today as I had at my Christmas Market stall - Yay! :)
In addition to my cold-process soap I also had small displays of two other products I plan to start selling more of this year: beeswax lip balm and handpainted stones. The lip balm is made from local Manx beeswax, shea butter, sweet almond oil and nothing else. It's nourishing, light on your lips and has natural sunblock properties...I love it. My handpainted stones were also very popular at the market and I hope to make more with Manx themes such as local wildlife, symbolism and landmarks depicted on them. I think they'll go down especially well with our tourist crowd which begins arriving in May.
Some really lovely people also stopped by and had a chat with me as well - some were market regulars I was later told but one lovely lady and her husband turned out to be followers of my blog. She bought a few soaps and told me of her interest in making soap too, though she was a little fearful of dealing with lye. If you're like her and would like to have a hand at trying some simple soap making I'd suggest that you begin with using 'Melt-and-Pour' soap base. You literally melt the base then add extra ingredients such as fragrance, colour and herbs before you pour it into moulds and allow it to harden. It's easy and will give you all the fun of making soap without the riskier elements such as handling lye or having to get your ingredients or temperature right. A good source of Melt-and-Pour in the UK is the Soap Kitchen and in the US it's Brambleberry - I've made those names into links to their websites.
Since I sold so much today I rushed home to make another batch of soap - this one 'Beer & Almond' scented. I really need to step up production in the next week so that I'll have plenty of stock on hand for both my weekly stall as well as for some other events I have lined up. It takes four weeks for my soap to cure so there's a lot of waiting between now and the time I'll be selling today's batch. I have plenty still to sell but if my sales continue the way they've done today I can see myself making soap a lot more often than I do now!
It was a good day but I'm looking forward to kicking back and enjoying a glass of wine now - homemade of course :) Tomorrow is going to be another tiring yet fulfilling day but this time I'll be working at the allotment. We're building a communal shed in the next couple of weeks and a massive fallen tree branch needs to be moved and cut up. That makes for a convenient source of material for a Hugelkultur experiment so watch this space.