August 27, 2018

Sometimes you just wonder why you do something.  Well at least I do.  Our adventure making soap has made me ask that question quite a lot the last couple of years.  Then something happens that makes me smile, my heart skip a beat and I say yeah that is why I do this, I call this a joyful heart moment.  Before I share this story I just want to make sure you know we make soap and body care products.  We aren't doctors, pharmacist or magicians.  That simply means we help you get clean, smelling good and maybe with luck keep your skin moisturized.  The last part is pretty subjective so we aren't even totally grabbing onto that claim.  That said I sometimes hear a story about our soap that totally blows me away.

To be honest we hear from people with skin issues that we recommend our unscented soap with honey, oats and goats milk to and the response is almost becoming routine.  The buyer comes back and tells us how great their skin is doing after a bar of our soap.  Now I wish we could claim we have sole responsibility for this persons wonderful improvement.  Only thing is, at least I believe, is doing away with fragrance when you have sensitive skin and using hand crafted soap will help almost anyone with skin issues.

So on to my story.  The wife and I had just finished setting up for the Shelton Farmers Market.  Most of you have seen my wife at the markets because she enjoys talking to people so it is usually her, or my daughters' face you see but I am still there a lot of the time.  Now you probably wouldn't notice me because I figure let the ladies do what they are good at so my face isn't out there a lot.  Anyway, I was standing by the car getting ready to move it for the start of the market.  Just before I got in the car I noticed a man and a woman at the stand and decided I would wait a minute.  I recognized them from a previous market at Shelton because they came up to the stand after we were pretty well packed up looking for one of our soaps.  Since we had their particular soap in the box on top we went ahead and sold them the bar.  (Our new Frosted Loofa Bar) This day they were there to purchase some more of the Frosted Loofa soap. In fact the woman was very forthright and  said she loved the soap but really did not like the Dragon's Blood fragrance.  Now making special orders is what we do so I heard the wife ask her what she liked and make the order suited to the ladies preference.  So, having come back and make a special order request is nice but that isn't what blew me away.  It's what came next.

The lady shared how much she like the soap but then turned to the man and said "honey, tell them what happened to you".  I could tell this man was a lot like me not prone to sharing a lot of personal stuff with strangers but with two women, his lady and mine, both urging him to share he opened up.  Turns out this fella has had a life long skin issue called Ichtyosis Vulgaris.  This condition causes dead, dry skin cell patches to accumulate on the skin often looking like fish scales, in fact a common name sometimes used for this condition is "fish scale disease.  As with any skin issue the severity varies and unfortunately there is not cure for this condition.  It is often treated with prescription creams, moisturizers, exfoliation especially using a loofa sponge.  This man had tried all of these treatments without improvement.  He always suffered from these fish scale looking patches.  His wife had supplied him with loofas, soap and every thing she could think of to help.  Still he continued to have these uncomfortable patches.   Well, she urged him to try our Frosted Loofa and he happily rolled up his sleeve and showed his perfectly smooth skin on his arm where previously patches had been.  They both said they were amazed after all these years, using every thing his doctor had prescribed and anything they could think of, that it came down to "just a simple soap".  That was the moment I said to myself, Yeah, that is why I do this.

So no matter what you do with your talent and time I hope you too can have a moment like I did that reassures you that you are doing the right thing.  What is your joyful heart moment?

March 17, 2018

It is that time of year when we northwesterners get a small teasing bit of sunny warm weather that makes us start to think about spring.  Ahh, spring a time of renewal, the trees start budding and the tulip bulbs planted last fall start popping green leaves up through their beds of moist soil.  What better time to  do new things.  At Rainroom we are doing just that.  Our shop is now located in Shelton, Washington.  It was a major move over the winter and at times it felt a bit overwhelming.  We had the burden of shutting down and packing up but now we reap the rewards of a larger workspace.  Not only do we get more space but this has been an excellent opportunity to purge outdated items and organize for more efficiency.  The feel of this efficient organized space really has lifted the mood of the shop.  We were fortunate that because we were moving this purge and renew activity was spread throughout our home as well as our shop.  So, friends we decided to share our joy that this move has brought and urge you to take advantage of this spring time of renewal and look at your surroundings.  What better time to purge the cabinets and get rid of old sunscreen, makeup, medicines etc.  Trust me you will really feel lighter once you are done.  Hope you join us this year at one of the community events we will attend and see some of our new creations.

November 18, 2016

I know this is called the Sunday Chat, but figured if I am going  be more consistent with my blog page I would just have to be a little flexible.  I am going to an event in Puyallup Washington Saturday, the Silver Bells Bazaar.  The Rainroom men have other duties that day so I know I will be by myself and bushed on Sunday, therefore I will do my blog today.  The bazaar is focused on pet food collection for animals in need.  I am a long time dog lover/owner so this type of event just calls out to me like a mysterious Siren.

 Inspired by the bazaar and my Schnauzer, Rocky Balboa, I am introducing a new soap especially for dogs.   In this soap I have included Tea Tree Essential Oil because my poor Rocky is sensitive to fleas.  I believe much like a citronella candle is supposed to discourage mosquitoes, the Tea Tree may act the same with my Rocky.  The last couple of years it has been rough on our pets in Western Washington with pet owners like myself becoming engaged in the battle to control pests.  I don't know how everyone else does it but thought I would share my method that seems to be working so far.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth - I use this sparingly in out door areas.  I am pretty cautious about wearing a mask etc. but I may be just a bit too cautious.
  2. Vacuum - I  vacuum everything and often!!   I make sure to empty the vacuum dust bin every time. I also wash all bedding, area rugs, etc.  It's a lot of work but better then fleas.
  3. Talk to the Vet - My vet recommended a spray indoor product that helped a lot and from the label appears to be safe enough.  I would urge you to talk to your vet because what works in my area may not work in yours and if you have children crawling around it may not be the best choice.  Please remember this is just how I won the battle against fleas and not all of what I did would be good for you. 
  4. Comb and bathe the Dog!  Remove as many of those little critters a possible. Just my opinion but I think my Tea Tree Essential oil dog soap works pretty good for this.  You knew that, of course! 
  5. Lastly, during the months of higher infestation we have used a product recommended by our vet to be applied directly onto Rocky.
  6. Bonus- Make sure your pet is fed a good balanced diet and healthy.  Animals with weaker immune systems can be more susceptible to parasites.

I don't think I will every win the war but figure I at least have won some battles with fleas.  If anyone has suggestions for a better method for winning this battle I sure would like to hear it. 

Thanks for taking some time out of your day to stop by and good luck.

October 2, 2016

Today's Topic "Why I Support My Fellow Soap Makers"

I often ask my face book viewers and customers to check out a fellow soapers store, booth, on line media or other space. ask why would I do that.  After all isn't business all cut throat?  Aren't I afraid that I will loose sales?  Am I a bit Crazy?  No, No, and well the jury is still out, is how I answer those questions. 

Hand crafted and artisan soap is almost always made and sold by people a lot like me.  They are passionate about their craft, they have put in hours and hours into learning and research and they run a small business.   Our goals are the same.  Create great products that we can be proud to provide.  Products that give you great, safe and healthy products.  So when I see another soap maker I see a bit of myself and I know how hard they work.  My theory is I alone can not make enough product for everyone out there.  Yet, I want everyone to have the kind of soap that promotes the healthiest skin.  So I need my fellow soap maker to be successful because our industry is not filled by two or three major corporations, but thousands of small business owners, like myself.

In addition to the quantity needed to fulfill the goal of everyone using the best soap possible, I see another reality.  Each soap maker has their unique method of not only how they make soap but which elements are part of their soap story.  Some of us choose to make all natural soap with a strict definition of "natural, others choose to make soaps that are extremely intricate but may not be strictly natural. ( As the FDA has not established a legal definition for "natural" that can mean so many different things to different people and natural is not always better).  Some make only cold process, others only hot process, still others enjoy making what is called melt and pour.  So many methods are used even within each category that it would be an entire blog page just to share most of them.  Some sell their bars "naked", others, like myself want packaging that protects the soap from handling.  Some just label their soap with little more than the word soap and the weight.  Others like myself not only strive to label our ingredients with INCI terms (an industry standard), but also every day English. 

I guess to sum it up.  I will go on promoting other soap makers that I admire.  In the end I hope it will build a strong community of small business people that are mutually successful and customers that are truly satisfied. 

From under the Rainroom Umbrella best wishes.

June 26, 2016

Giving this Blog thing a go.  Please be kind,  we at Rainroom Essentials are all totally new to this whole blog and internet thing.  So it may be rocky during the learning curve.  Ok let's get started!

This week like many weeks at the Farmers Markets we attend the question is often asked "what soap is best for.....".   One type of skin question that keeps popping up is how to deal with DRY skin.  So as the senior member of the team I will be addressing this issue based on my years of dealing with dry skin..  Please note I AM NOT  a doctor, my comments are based on personal experience and may be different from your experience.  I am only offering suggestions that have worked for me and mine.  I am in no way trying to treat, heal or diagnose any skin condition.  That is something that should be done by a professional in medical matters.  I am just a little ol' lady who makes soap so please keep that in mind. 

First I wish I could say the right soap is all you need but alas that would not be true.  The biggest tricks to keeping your skin hydrated are the same as keeping your whole system hydrated.  A good nutritionally balanced diet, plenty of water, fresh air, proper rest, stress management,  sun protection,and exercise.  Without this foundation of good health, the largest organ of your body, (your skin) will suffer.  So before you look at products make sure you have a good healthy foundation.

So you have a good foundation but darn it you still have dry itchy skin.  The second thing I recommend is still not product but a look at your hygiene habits.  I love a HOT shower, I like them better than anything but if your skin is dry turn the temperature of your shower down.   A cooler temperature will be less drying.  Also, consider how often you shower.  Showering more than once a day, and sometimes even daily showering can increase the dryness of your skin.

You've got a great healthy foundation, take showers that are not too hot and yet still the dry skin prevails.  Ok now I can talk about the stuff I enjoy talking about,  products!  First look at your cleanser.  Are you using a quality hand crafted soap or a department store detergent bar?  Yes it makes a difference.  If you are using soap it will tell you on the label.  If it says "cleansing bar", "facial bar" or anything other than plain simple soap look at the ingredients to see exactly what is in it.  You might be sensitive to one or more ingredients.   You want soap, not detergent to clean you delicate skin.

 Along with soap you should exfoliate your skin regularly to get rid of the dead dry  flakes.  I think for a lot of people a nice sugar scrub once a week is a good thing. 

 Last, but not least,  a daily application of a good skin lotion will help to retain moisture.  (We will be offering our body butter, lotions and scrubs in the near future)

I hope some of this will help my fellow dry skin suffers.  Maybe you have some ideas you would like to share.  We would love to hear them.  So until next week, Marlena (aka Mom) signing off.