The long days and endless sunshine really put me in the mood to get stuff done. It's also an opportunity to try new things and make sure we're having fun. There were many good times this summer, but there are 3 highlights that really make the summer of 2019 stand out.
The Canterbury Renaissance Faire
Not only had we never set up shop at a Renaissance faire before, but we had never attended one. Friends of ours who have been vendors at this particular faire for years encouraged us to give it a try. In order to participate, Oliver and I had to dress as authentically to the period as possible, and disguise our modern canopy and display as though it could realistically be a part of a marketplace during the 1500's. True to my stubbornly DIY nature, I busted out my natural dyes from my textile artist days to hand dye our fabric. Combined with my amateur sewing skills, I put together a couple of outfits for us that I'm pretty proud of. Then, we decided to give wood burning a try and crafted some simple signs in place of my normal signage.
So, after binge watching videos about Ren Faires, a season or so of the Tudors, practicing our British accents and Faire speak (Thee, thine, thou, doth), I thought I was totally ready to do this. I readied my over the top pitch and called to a couple to come over and smell my magical soaps, which I had heard would protect against the plague if used regularly. The first man took one look at my display and said, "Ew, soap. We don't use that." And my heart sunk. Duh. If everyone is being true to period, no one is going to use soap. It took me a few hours to acclimate to the environment, and things started to come together. Oliver started playing the rat game and running around with a bunch of kids who were not new to the scene. He started to get into character which really inspired me to just let go and start having fun with things. By the second day, we were hocking our wares just like 16th century traveling merchants. I would call to bearded men to come over quickly and use my Obsidian Warrior Skin and Hair Elixir. I promised that the ladies would not be able to resist them. As crowds were passing by on their way to the joust, I ushered groups over to try on one of our essential oil perfume rollers, that way they would be the best smelling out of the whole lot as everyone stood sweating under the sun (because, theoretically, if you dont use soap you smell awful). I got lots of laughs and the part I played was genuinely appreciated by the patrons.
The last day, I caved and bought a leather bodice. It was also the best sales day of the whole event. Coincidence? Who knows, but I did learn that I should leave the costuming to the professionals next time. It was far easier to hand them money for their amazing goods than it was to sew shirts, dresses and faux corsets with mediocre sewing skills.
Shampoo bars became our best selling product.
When I launched the solid shampoo and conditioner bars in April, I thought I was being clever by designing them into sleek blue orbs. I loved the way they rolled through my hand as I glided the ball over my locks. However, I could NOT communicate how to use them to you guys and at first glance everyone thought they were bath bombs. It was a huge hurdle to overcome, but thanks to your honest feedback (especially those of you who admitted they kept rolling off your dish), I was able to re-design them quickly which actually resulted in many benefits. They are now pressed to be extra hard and are over 20% larger. Best of all, they are recognizable and more of you are willing to give them a try. So, after just a couple of months with the new design they are now my best selling product!
The Obsidian Warrior line got a whole new look!
I've been wanting to expand the Obsidian Warrior line for a while; it has a special place in my heart for many reasons. When I was an undergrad doing field work for my Archaeology degree, I spent two full summers in Taos New Mexido and fell in love with obsidian. I tried my hand at flintknapping (making arrowheads) but wasn't very good at it, so when I started making soap I early on played with the texture and designed my signature Obsidian Warrior Charcoal and Beer soap which is meant to be reminiscent of an arrowhead. We added the Charcoal Cleanser: Oil Balancing Face Wash in July to serve our oily-skinned, break-out prone friends. It has a rich, creamy texture that is the perfect balancing cleanser for problematic skin. Even though it's not for my skin type in particular, I can't help but use it myself from time to time.
In addition to the new product, we upgraded our labels and really had fun with the copy and story behind these products. Our product photographer took some very sexy photos that truly capture the spirit of the line. I am proud to say that this line is currently being prepped to ship to boutiques across the country!
So I would say this has been a very successful summer for the team here at Silver Stone Apothecary. There are always more things on our to-do list than can possibly be completed, but I am very happy with the progress we made. Even though summer is virtually over, our family business is just gearing up. We are working on finalizing some more additions for the holiday season that is fast approaching! Thank you to everyone who has supported us, we really couldn't do it without you!