December 30, 2022 6 min read 1 Comment
As I look back on the past year, the word that comes to mind to summarize it all is "elevated".
This year has been full of amazing moments along with tough decisions. We've reached HUGE milestones as a business and as a family. The resulting image of Silver Stone Apothecary as a brand, a business, and most importantly, a lifestyle companion has been completely elevated.
The physical appearance of our brand logo and packaging has been elevated over this year, but also our connection with you. As we elevated these aspects of our business, its effect has elevated our personal lifestyle as well!
Writing this article is me, the alchemist, Angela. For the majority of Silver Stone Apothecary's existence it has been run primarily by me. I did all of the creative work, the production, the marketing, the packaging, the order packing, the cleaning, the in person events (with my children's help, of course) pretty much by myself. My husband, Chris, was completely supportive the whole time, but didn't really have any physical part in the business. This year, though, he has been working alongside me on his days off from his full time job doing production, packaging, order packing, and cleaning. There's no way I could do it all myself. And this month, we made the decision to have him involved in the business full time, with no other job. Today is his last day working for someone else. Now, our combined efforts are focused completely on our family business and thus, we are elevated. Our intentions on this business and providing your favorite products have been elevated to a whole new level. And for that, we have you to thank. Thank you for loving our products and sharing your love of our products with your friends.
Now, for the elevated aesthetics and a look back on some of YOUR favorite things from this year.
Our most popular products are our Aura Solid Shampoos & Conditioners. This year, I was finally able to purchase custom printed boxes for our bars that are even more eco-friendly than before! They are printed on a metallic paperboard and shimmer just enough to capture the elevated nature of these magnificent shampoos and conditioners.
Along with the new look, the new messaging on each box conveys that these bars are made for curly hair. Not just one type of curly hair like you get from other companies (who are clearly formulated by those without curly hair) but a full selection of shampoos and conditioners for all the different types of curly hair out there! The majority of our hair care users are curly haired and that is the audience I serve best. This doesn't mean you have to have curly hair to use them, which I explained in this article here. I wanted to be the first and only solid shampoo and conditioner company to firmly plant my flag in the curly hair universe. And to my knowledge, I am.
This year there was an upset in the rankings of our solid hair care! For the past few years, the Aqua Aura Solid Shampoo and Conditioner have been the most popular. This year, though, the Silver Aura Solid Shampoo took first place by a long shot! I think it's because curly haired individuals of all types use this bar as a gentle clarifying bar with their routine. I know I do, and I regularly recommend it as a supplemental bar for all hair types.
Another monumental moment in the hair care this year was the return of the Aqua Aura Curl Cream!! If you remember, I discontinued it early last year because getting bottles and pump tops was so difficult. I decided to double down on our solid formulations and eliminate products in bottles and jars from our regularly available offerings.
I got so many emails and messages requesting this cream, though. I had to reconsider. Y'all were saying things like, "I've never been able to wear my hair natural until I tried your cream." How can I ignore that?? So, I found what I thought would be a reliable source of glass bottles and brought it back last February. We sold out right away. The "reliable" bottle source was actually not, so I sporadically had it available through the summer. Then, no more bottles. They are STILL out of stock, along with the pump tops I like. So, a few weeks ago, I re-launched in glass jars!! At the time of this writing, I still have a few big and small jars left, with more jars on the way.
Our Inspired Clean Hand and Body Soaps got a whole new elevated look, too (and a name change). Formerly the Gemstone Hand and Body Soaps, I re-designed the labels to fully encompass the messaging I wanted to convey with these soaps. I wrote all about the change here.
We also started offering seasonal collections of these soaps to make sure you had a group of soaps to infuse your daily rituals with the message of the season. The current collection is "The Favorites" collection, so you can revel in the favorite soaps of 2022.
In November, we launched a new product to infuse your bath time ritual with the youthful magic of BUBBLES! True to our love of solid formulations, these come in concentrated pucks of bubble makin' magic. Each one can easily last for 2-3 baths in an average sized tub.
I first made this product for a Create Magic Monthly Box, and the feedback was amazing! I knew it would be a great addition to the Inspired Clean line, so I have four options available in the favorite scents of the year.
We continued with our monthly subscription box: Create Magic Monthly. Each month I craft a box around an affirmation and include a crystal, artwork, and three full-size personal care items to help incorporate the theme into your daily life. The boxes this year were so much fun to put together and really pushed me to make some amazing new items!
My personal favorite and a subscriber favorite were the Bi-Phase Hair Serums. These were included in three different boxes throughout the year with slightly different formulations. All of them featured hyaluronic acid, which is super hydrating and lightweight, and one of my new favorite leave in hair ingredients. You all really loved the oil facial serums and of course, the powder to foam face cleansers. Lip Gloss was a new endeavor, which was very well received! And the micellar water is still being requested after it sold out from the May Box. Some variation of these items can still be found in the Limited Edition Boutique.
Insights from the Alchemist
This year, I was able to write a few informative articles to give a little insight into our work here. The most popular article was Soap Vs. Shampoo: What's the Difference.This article actually trends pretty high if you search for this information, which gives me so much satisfaction that consumers are educating themselves on the difference. If you've talked to me in person about this topic, you know I'm passionate about explaining the difference. I've talked with too many people whose hair has been completely damaged by using bar soap that was labeled as shampoo (I'm looking at you, fellow soap makers). If you want to read the full rantformational piece, I highly recommend it.
My favorite article was one I did in April for Earth Day, which included a little experiment to demonstrate how many bottles of liquid shampoo one bar of solid conditioner replaces. It's called: One Solid Conditioner Equals How Many Bottles? It inspired a series of fun reels on Instagram, too.
Looking back on this year, I am so happy with how things have unfolded. We've grown as a business and as individuals. There are so many other highlights to this year I didn't even touch on, like all the wonderful people we met at our in-person events, the magical experience of the Renaissance Faires, and the increase in efficiency and organization that has taken place.
Wow, I need to wrap this up because I think I could go on for a while!
Thank you for being with us through this amazing year! I cannot WAIT to see what next year holds for us!
Alchemist and Owner
Silver Stone Apothecary
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