alrighty.... ive finally found some minutes to do a little updating!
as many of you know, ive been on a bit of a mission trying to pretty much overhaul my entire production -- i recall asking you to bear with me, and i hope you took that seriously because it has definitely been a struggle! ( you can probably tell by this photo of the absolutely horrendous cut logs HAAAA i cant look at that pic and not laugh)
i had to order some stuff, i had to get used to some new equipment, hated some, had to find other options.... i had to overhaul basically the entire set up of my production area, as well as the entire way i have done everything for the last 14 years other than my recipes! take comfort knowing, they have not changed whatsoever.
BUT in order to do this properly, i had to cave to the idea of a more streamlined approach to what has been my freedom for so long. cutting the bars. there is nothing easy about cutting soap freehand, with any sort of uniformity... but after getting stuck with a needle multiple times in both elbows/forearms on friday, i know its time to switch my MO regardless. i cant keep going the way i was, and well... its going to be better for many reasons. i suppose its the perfect time for change.
about the change: remember me saying there was going to be trial and error? lol yep, there definitely has been. i had to mess up cutting a few batches in order to figure out what bar sizes could work... how i can cut things on a piece of equipment that would leave me the least amount of waste, etc.. there have been a few extra tricky parts to it all, some of which i am STILL trying to work out -- this is not an overnite thing and things may still change, but i think ive got it narrowed down to close to where i want it to be.
my first thought was to completely change the shape of the bar... and it worked, they all came out the same size, but that was when i was working in individual small batch single mold weights. when i tried to take that to a large batch multiple mold size, well... things went kinda wonky there. when i make a single mold, its an exact weight. one batch weighs exactly 20 lbs when poured. but when i work in large size ( like in my big tippers) those batches are anywhere from 100-200lbs and i only have about 5 minutes to get them poured into multiple molds. the batch thickens fast, which also doesnt leave the ability to have smooth tops to get an exact height/weight so.... trying to guess what exactly 20 lbs looks like in a mold out of a 200 lb batch is proving EXTREMELY tricky. theres not enough time to weigh them as im pouring....so im still trying to figure this part out. ill get there, hopefully soon.
i have a tray set aside with multiple bar cuts and sizes, marked with the date made and the cure date -cut weight and cure weight. so thats another part ive really got to nail down and its a waiting game.
im hopeful to have this all really nailed down within the next 2-3 months. until then please keep bearing with me. we are going to have a bunch of random things around for a little while lol.... as i tried to figure out bar sizes... there may have been one log cut at 2" another at 2.5, etc etc... so i think we will end up individually labelling and pricing some randoms as we get through this transition.
i am happy to announce however, 8 batches of the " simple soaps " are made and cut and cured, and those will be coming out for sale this week. they were each only one mold, with error cuts and a lot went out for testing too, but we will have those soaps available for sale starting march 1. theres only a small amount of each kind though, please keep that in mind if you plan on trying some, they probably wont be around very long initially.
we do also currently have samples of those bars cut so those will start rolling out as well. would definitely appreciate feedback if you happen to get some.
also, although i LOVE the cut and how they look... they just simply wont last as long being thinner than the bars you are used to from us. so ive found a cut that works to keep the bars as close to our original cut/shape and thats what we'll be doing. the thicker the bar is, the longer it lasts. thin bars will just melt too fast for my likes.
alright, lets wrap this up- so far, bar none, frenchy, bar 21 and spa bar are made in the new streamlined size. crud is up next, and then ill get back to the simple soaps coming for a bigger batch size once feedback starts rolling in on which bars you all like the best.
in the meantime ive also been making my mental list of what products are on the chopping block. ooof... as in, whats going to be leaving us, what might be out just seasonally, or what may only make it for holiday season only. so as i get my list together, ill be getting prepared to blog about that --but im not looking forward to that one. lol
ive had a crazy couple of weeks and a few bumps in the road... but i am all jacked up and ready to keep crackin on this project! esp now that i can hold my coffee cup again ;) me and kona are gonna be kicking it in production!