Sunday, 31 August 2008

New Stockist - Jamesfield Organic Farm

Today Jamesfield Organic Farm became our newest stockist. I love Jamesfield Farm Shop, it's got a really cool vibe about it, it's very 'family friendly' which, oddly, gives it a real community centre/local pub buzz about it and it's always busy when I'm there. Then there's the restaurant... it's what I would call relaxed posh! It feels like a treat but not so much that you have to sit up straight and elbows off the table type stuffy. I enjoy watching the adorable little chickens bobbing about out of the restaurant windows. Anyway, here's a photo of the first delivery... soon to be follow by Shower Gels, Liquid Handsoaps, Lip Balms and Bath Bombs.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Loofah Mum & Ladies Who Lunch

Hi all, again I'm going to start a post with... I really should be making soap I had lunch at Gloagburn with Brenda, my lovely Mother-in-law. I have been supplying my soap to Gloagburn for just over a month and already a second order was required. So, to kill two birds with one stone (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) I delivered my stock and then settled down to a cheese board with oatcakes (Dave's mum had a very tasty bowl of soup). Well, over at the next table was my neighbours-but-one, Isobel & Charles who are great gardeners. Isobel is growing her own loofah plants (we use loofah in all our Foot Scrubbies) and I've been extremely interested in how the little 'uns are doing. When I got home there was a ickle loofah plant on my doorstep! I'm a loofah mum! I will try my hardest to ensure that Mavis (yes, I've named it) is watered, fed and generally made comfortable ('more than what you do for me' says Dave). If all goes well I'll be using Madderty grown loofahs in my soaps. I'll let you know how it goes... fingers crossed.

Mavis the loofah plant

Anyway, I picked up Gloagburn's monthly newsletter on the way out and I was chuffed to bits to see Barony got a little mention in the local produce section. If you click on the photo to see the newsletter larger, we're mentioned in the second last line.

Gloagburn Newsletter Aug '08

Saturday, 23 August 2008

New Stockists

I'm really pleased to announce that Barony Soaps can now be purchased at Crieff Hydro Hotel Boutique, Crieff and soon to be at Jamesfield Organic Farm, Abernethy. Vicky, Boutique Manager at Crieff Hydro, sampled some of my soap when I was there two weeks ago. I've Got A Lovely Bar of Coconut is her favourite!

Barony Retail Stands

I was invited to have a stall at the Jamesfield open farm day about a month back and as a result I was asked to fill a display there of approximately 7ft x 7ft (yes, you read correctly). Well, I'm a one man band (with the help of Dave) so at that time I couldn't fulfil this amount as well as continue my monthly markets, bigger shows such as Scone Game Fair and private buyers. A couple of weeks passed and then Julien emailed me to chat about how to get Barony Soap into Jamesfield (again customer and staff were asking for us by name - how great is that?) so after a lovely visit out there this morning we've decided to start with one of the 7ft shelves with 20 different types of our soaps, 6 type of shower gels, bath bombs, lip balms and gift boxes, oh, and our soy wax candles. Phew, that's still a lot of stock. Saturday 30th August is delivery day. From then on we'll be able to slowly add to this range and as Christmas nears... gosh, I have to think start thinking about this years Christmas Range. I'm sure the very popular Three Wise Men gift packs are set to make a comeback.

Friday, 22 August 2008

As Promised...

As Promised... The Workshop

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Wrapped & Packed

I told you all on Friday that my task for the day was to wrap and pack all the soap for the weekends stall. Well, here it is...wrapped & packed.
I love the sight of it all ready to go, all neat and in order. This box is holding approx 24kg of fine handmade Barony Soap. We usually take 2 or 3 boxes like this to market, more if it's a large show. This doesn't include all the stall build up stuff (stall table, cordless drill, duck tape, strong clamps, string etc).
I was a delicate little flower before I started having to humf this lot around (who am I kidding?). I probably got a very good training for lifting huge, heavy, ungainly boxes from my time working in the Virgin record store in Perth (oh, my yoof!). A tray-box full of CDs is not so heavy when you just lift it but by the time you have carried it from the stock room, down two flights of stairs, through a shop full of people and deliver it to its destination... now that's heavy. It's much the same with soap. I don't have rock hard biceps but I can fairly tackle a stuck top on a jar of pickles!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Dave's 1st Post

The Spider T (Humber Sloop) & The Reaper (Fifie)
at the Arbroath Seafest 2008
Claire has made me write this blog using the excuse that my name is on the signature too. I'm sure it's just that she can't think of anything to write today, not something that happens often.
Spent the weekend at the Arbroath Seafest which didn't get off to a very good start. Somehow the organiser thought we didn't want them to provide a market stall, leaving me with nowhere to display our wares for the day. Thankfully I'm better at improvising than I am at blogging so after a whistlestop tour of a local DIY store I managed to make a stall which got me through the day. Luckily it didn't rain, but I did suffer a bit of sunburn. Sunday was much less stressful being armed with our usual kit, there is a lot to be said for self sufficiency. And just as well as the sun from Saturday was replaced with clouds all day and rain later in the afternoon making me glad to be under cover.
The pic above is of the boats in Arbroath Harbour on Sunday, we were too busy to take a closer look.
Claire will resume normal blog service soon, she's never lost for words for too long, and it will take me weeks to think of anything interesting to write.

Friday, 15 August 2008

This Weekend's Sales!

Barony Soap Logs waiting to be sliced and wrapped

This weekend Barony will be at the Arbroath Seafest (Saturday & Sunday) and The Fayre in the Square as part of the Crieff Highland Games celebrations (Saturday). I'll be at Crieff and Dave will be at Arbroath. The soap logs in the photo above will make 240 bars as well as 5 more logs setting that didn't make it in time for the photo. My task for today is to get them all wrapped, divided into two lots and packed ready for Saturday. What am I doing writting this blog? I should be in the workshop in a blur of activity.

Todays soundtrack to soapmaking

I'm a huge fan of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and his dulcet tones will see me through the days work today. I think I will start with the newest album, The Slip, and work my way back through the albums. I've been a fan for nearly 20 years now, that makes me sound really old. I suppose the type of music you listen to through your teens stays with you. Dave is still a fan of Iron Maiden... nuf said! I often have to tell Dave 'I'm not naming a soap after any heavy metal bands'. His most recent suggestion was Back in Black for a blackcurrant bar, I mean, really, I don't know. In saying all that about Dave's soap naming, to his credit, he did come up with All Along The Foreshore for our Kelp soap. Many customers have commented on how the name takes them to a favourite beach, a romantic stroll. Dave then told me the name was a variation of All Along The Watchtower... by Jimi Hendrix/Bob Dylan. He wins.

from left to right: Lemongrass & Lime, Starry Starry Night, Sparkling Lemonade, Glittering Seas, Tea Tree Scrubbie and Pass The Soap, Sweet Pea!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Lucky Dust on my path

Last night I was at a bit of a loss as what to do with my Sunday, seeing that the Perth Highland Games trade stalls were cancelled. I suppose I’ll start with telling you about how lucky I was yesterday and how I ended up having a great day selling my soap today.

It was Crieff’s Monthly Market on Saturday and it was a complete and utter washout. The first stall packed up at 11am then more & more slinked off until only the (fool) hardy were left, until around 3pm. We all then decide it was a loosing battle and packed up.

Due to the early finish, I had time to pop into Perth for some bits ‘n’ pieces for the workshop at around 4:30pm. Now, I really grudge paying for a full hour’s parking to nip into a shop for 5 mins but then again I don’t want to park somewhere it’ll get in the way/parking fine/car scratched so I usually swear at the poor ticket machine and pay my hard earned pennies. However, yesterday I parked up and the little boy from the car next door chapped on my window and presented a parking ticket. His father shouted across the seat ‘There’s 15 mins left on his ticket, would that be enough?’ Perfect and perfect timing too! (I know you’re not really allowed to transfer parking tickets but I’m sure everyone does it).

Next, I needed to get some brilliant 'Lock & Lock' storage boxes from Lakeland so I drove to a car park nearer to the shop (really bulky shopping, honest). As I hop-skipped to the penny guzzler, and just before I fed the thing, I heard a car horn peep. I turned around and again a man shouted at me ‘Will quarter past five do you?’ What’s the chance of that happening twice in one day?

I bought a Perthshire Advertiser and a lottery ticket (first time for me, never seen the point before) on the way home. Well, after all the excitement I only got one number, oh well, the lucky streak had run out, or so I thought…

Perthshire Advertiser Friday 8th July 2008
This is the first time I’d heard of the market. I made a wee cheeky phone call to the Hydro at 9:30pm. After a quick chat to the organiser of the event I had a stall for the day.

Crieff Hydro Hotel Summer Market Sunday 10th August 2008

It was mainly dry with a couple of showers but it still made for a really profitable day. I really do think someone sprinkled some ‘lucky dust’ on my path this weekend.

I hope yours was just as good.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Can't think of a witty title

I received a phone call today to say that the Perth Highland Games have had to relocate to Perth Racecourse on Sunday instead of its usual home of Perth’s South Inch. I take it’s because the Inch is waterlogged…again. So I’m afraid that due to relocation there won’t be any space for Trade Stands, one of which was Barony. Oh well, outside events are such a hit or miss in Scotland.

After our usual stall at Crieff’s Monthly Market tomorrow, our next outing is the Arbroath Seafest at, you’ve guessed it, Arbroath Harbour on Saturday 16th. This will be our second year attending. Last year was two days of glorious sunshine, fresh sea breeze and good company. I hope it’ll be the same again this year.

As you will probably know from previous posts we are trying to ‘do-up’ the workshop up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with it as such, it just when you spend 8 hours a day in your workplace you need it to be somewhere you want to spend time in, am I right? I’ve decide to paint one of the walls a warm brown and hang a couple multicoloured polka dot pictures to add a bit of colour. I’m also considering having some stained glass art put into the bottom panes of the new door. Anyway, running between the house and the workshop (the cordless phone does ring in the workshop but the reception is rubbish) I caught a glimpse of my lavender patch and although it’s a common sight I though I’d say hello to my little garden visitors.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Learning to Blog - Old News

I think I'm getting better at this blogging thing. So, I've moved a wee report about the Royal Highland Show from the news page on the website to here. After reading it again I did chuckle. They often say 'you'll laugh about it one day'... so true, so true!
We've just come back from the Royal Highland Show...
and we're exhausted!
Claire at RHS 19th-22nd June 2008
This has been the largest show David & I have exhibited at to date and a very steep learning curve on how much preparation is needed for such an event. I don't think I saw my pillow until 3am throughout. You see, we sold out of our 4 most popular bars twice over, which was great. Just when I thought I had enough, someone would buy 5 bars of one type to ensure they had enough until the next time they saw us. (note: you can order online at anytime and we'll post them out to you)

We did have a few 'character building' hiccups along the way...
Our cash box fell off our sack barrow into a big, wet, mud puddle, and yes we did have to fish pennies from the depths!
The night before show-day I decided our stall looked awful. So after a few heated words between Dave and myself, we spent a fortune in a rather famous Swedish store to rectify the stall staging problems.
And we constantly ran out of pound coins for change (extra special thanks to my good friend and erm, 'Marketing Manger' Gill who is now on first name terms with the ladies maning the Bank of Scotland branch at the show - Gill also helped man the stand on the Saturday and I owe her a slap up meal for her help)

All in all, though, we had a super time meeting everyone and chatting about different scents evoking childhood memories, finding the right soap bar for Great Aunt Meg, which teacher was going to receive the raspberry or lemongrass & lime bath fizz and I even christened a new bar.... Monkey Business - soon to be on these pages.

So, The Perthshire Showcase is the next show you will be able to visit us at. Do you think we'll be better prepared for that one? me, neither!

Calling Trinny & Susannah...

It's about time Barony HQ got a much deserved makeover. Originally a garage at the front and a workshop at the rear (made for the previous owner, a golf professional, to repair and customise clubs) it's now been converted into a soapery at the front and David's wooden gift box/stall display making workshop at the rear (big dividing partition seperating the two).

I'll start by showing you the outside. First, we're getting rid of the dodgy up'n'over brown garage door and replacing it with much more suitable wooden double doors.

From this...

Old door

To this...

Dave hard at work on the new door

Not finished yet, but you can start to see where we're going with this. I'm so excited about it all. We will be painting it a warm brown (nicer than the old door). We're then going to add a couple of plant pots each side of the door and hanging baskets. Next step will be to get a sign made for above the door.

As Dave was busy hanging the garage doors I went for a wander down to the bottom of our garden and saw this...

Double rainbow from the bottom of the garden 04/08/08

I'll post the finished frontage as soon as it's done. Oh, and some photos of the inside.