Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The update on our Trading Standards Inspection...

Under 50g must have weight 2mm high on label
50g-100g must have weight shown 3mm high on label.
Over 100g and it must be 4mm hight.

The weights can now be measured on our new and oh so wonderfully expensive scales which can do things we will actually never need nor use but it does take wonderfully acurate weights - for the extra £30 it even comes with its own wee certificate telling you what it is qualified to do.

Don't want to labour on some basic points but my own diplomas, degree and post-diplomas - printed on very nice paper I may add didn't even cost that!  Its a scandal!  That, and we are broke!

On top of the other legislation our labels are going to end up bigger than the actual soap and it does not help our packaging.  More of the up-side of that in another post.


As is usually the case, Carla, with all her perfectionist tendencies to look at unlikely situations and her need to cover every eventuality in the minutist detail - was right!

One scenario she had dreamed up was the possibility that someone from a governement department, anally retentive and possessed with a ridiculous need to stick to every legislative proceedure in the book, would walk into one of our four small local shops and see our soap.  They might even buy our soap and realise that the sizes of our lettering didn't meet EU Convention 164561548615/45877 (Made up BTW) and the ingredients listed in latin were spelt wrong!


He didn't actually buy our soap.  His wife did!!!!!

Okay, so he wasn't anal or retentive.  He was actually quite a nice man - but the principle stood firm.  What if, he'd seen the label before his wife unwrapped it???!!!  What if she also bought him one our our gifts?  Worse still, what if the label was still on it?..

Can you tell I'm tired?

The point is.  Carla was right.  I do maintain it is better to use the "suitable scale" priced at £30 quid until someone tells you otherwise but I do concede that someone telling us otherwise may well have come to us sooner rather than later.  After all, Northern Ireland is such a small place.

Night night!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

We have added a whole pile of things to our list of late.  I'll pop up a few photographs when I'm using my computer of some of our new stock.

First, I'll introduce myself; I'm Garreth the lesser half of the team.  I'm filling in; blogging is (as I try to keep informing my wife) a discipline and as this is a trait that sometimes goes awry when lots of other distractions come along I have resigned to filling in some space.

Its been busy.  One craft fare easter, three new shops with another possible shop on the way...

Great you might say.  Too true!  Long we wait for some money to come in...  But boy oh boy did we push ourselves over the last few weeks.  Up at 6am and finishing around 11 or 12 at night.  You see up until now we have only had one mold/mould of each of the soaps we make.  When we get an order for say 10 peaches it means it will effectively take us 4 days just to melt the 10 soaps and another 1 to paint & package it.  Also, on the packaging front we have had to resort to stretch-wrap, sellotape and a lot of sore fingers.  Cheap - but not time efficient.  When you consider a wholesale profit margin I think we probably managed to make about £25.00 each over a week at this rate.

But thanks to a few faithful friends I can now announce that we have silicone!!!!!  Happy Days.  We can now get 10 of each soap of the we make done in around a 1 1/2 days.  With more silicone we will increase that further.  I reckon we need about another 20kg of silicone (expensive stuff- but it helps make these!)

We also managed to get a shrink-wrapper.  This has been a joyous purchase for time-saving and works wonderfully on our soap bars but the fruits look a bit scrappy.  You can see below.  I've been trying to work out ways to present better but I'm open to any ideas people have.  It needs to remain cheap to make it sell-able but I don't want it to take away from the beautiful work that Carla has managed on the soap.

We got some new molds from Canada which are due to arrive tomorrow.  These are my new baby and I can't wait to get my hands on them to make some picture soaps.  This is another one of my babies... along with gold bars, pint soaps and pebbles.  Oh and simba....

Our unexpected purchase, and the one that threw us madly into debt again this month was a set of scales.  Carla, having read in legislation that one must use SUITABLE scales decided to find out what "suitable" meant. As I was happy interpreting that to mean a set of scales that work!  I was doing all I could to maintain composure when I was told that we needed to purchase scales at around £200 which were "trade certified" at a certain standard.  Guilt-ridden Carla did find the cheapest possible option but later added, "Oh and the guy from Trading Standards wants to come to us for an inspection & advice".

Crap, crap, crap, crappety crap crap!

Now its not that we have anything to be concerned about - its just that beaurocrasy (a word I can never spell) has a nasty habit of killing any start up long before it has ever begun.  I can only wait in sheer trepidation of what is to follow.  I'll keep you posted.

One other thing to have happened was an interview with a fellow Etsyian.  You can find it here...
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