General News, MsBarb, Starting your own cosmetic business, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Learning Curves: buying new stuff

By now, you have seen this….

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 7.15.19 AM.png

And you know my time here in China is limited! And because I know where I am going and what I’ll be doing, I can begin planning my future inventory. And because I too can pretend to be clever? I know I won’t be a whackadoo and buy every little new oil and ingredient that I coo over. I also know that it will actually be cheaper to buy 2g of that fancy anti-aging powder to start rather than the 10g bag in the long run.

Marie over at HumbleBee&Me wrote a brilliant article about throwing things away and I do agree with her on most everything she wrote. But that article doesn’t really help those of us starting over quite literally and not figuratively from scratch. None of the products I have made here (like the almost 500 bars of soap) can go with me to Europe. None of the ingredients I bought here in China can be used to sell products in Europe. It means, when I move, anything I bring with me must be for my personal use. I’m looking at you AVC! And my sea buckthorn oils. And my moringa oils.

Everything else, must be bought.

That means, all the soaping ingredients I want to soap with must be bought. All the stuff to make lip products, must be bought. All the stuff to make anything I want to sell, has to be bought. And not just bought from the EU, but from a reputable supplier that will supply me with things such as the MSDS reports, Certificates (of batch) Analysis, Sensitizer reports… and, I have to have a very accurate and official inventory tracking system set in place. How neat is that!

In a way, I am very happy about this! With starting from scratch it means I get a chance to do everything right the very first time setting up my stock/store room and setting up an inventory supply. Oh yeah. Inventory. A proper and established inventory!

It also means, that since I’ve gone through the, “Hey! This is a new hobby! I must try everything!!!!”, “oh a shiny” phase (and survived!), I’m not going to be tempted by seeing 1kg of coffee butter go on a 75% sale and need to buy it. It’s actually been kind of funny, I’m buying some stuff already for The Move and it’s funny to look at my shopping carts. It’s no longer, “oh look! I bought 10mL of this essential oil, but I bought 100mL of this essential oil. I need to buy both bottles in 100mL just in case I like them and so they look better in my essential oil box!” It’s now, “Well, I am not sure if I like this essential oil in this blend, so I’ll get 10mL of each, but I know I’ll be using this essential oil a fair bit in various products to sell and for personal use, so I’ll get it in 30mL. If I use it quickly, then next time I will get the 100mL. After all, it will be cheaper to buy another bottle later when I use this up rather than toss it out because it expired!”.

For the fact that everything in my house must go, it’s actually been neat to clear out things! The hardest part is what am I going to do with 450mL of Apricot Oil (and all the other oils back there, and packaging, and shelves, and and and and and and and and and and) that still has eight months left on it’s shelf life? And if you say make soap, what will I do with those bars of soap?


MsBarb, Starting your own cosmetic business, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Learning Curves: Inventory

Oh no. No. No. No. No. No.

I know that is what you are thinking right now. RUN FOR THE HILLS! And I’ll be right there behind you all. I’ve kind of sort of have tried to make an inventory up a few times, I did one for most of the items when Sonia officially became part of Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin, but that was like doing physics in a sandstorm. I think? Maybe? Possibly I did it right? I am hoping I did!

But I have to admit, I’ve never set up an inventory so getting around to making one has been a pain in my backside. (Yeah, we’ll talk about accounting later, that’s like a boil on the head of boils on a severely broken toe then squeezing that foot into two sizes too small of a shoe) As I said, I’ve tried a few times, but because it’s not that important here in China, we’ve kind of let it slide a little. But, since our move date is getting any further away, and we are slowly getting bigger, we really need to work on an inventory tracking system that’s better than just,

Barb: “oh hey, I realised I am out of Allantoin. Do you think they can get some here by Friday? I don’t know, let me WeChat the ingredient dealer and find out.” text text text, “Nope. Earliest is Monday. Crap.”

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 10.57.56 AM.pngI’ve begun a new template of tracking ingredients used (as pictures above, not a great recipe by the way, needs more liquid oils, I am thinking to try 7g jojoba oil next), as I’ve always been pretty good at getting good pours, but I’m human and sometimes I over pour. And then have to think drats! Recalculate the recipe! STAT! Which I hope with this new method of tracking ingredients will help in some way, shape or form with inventory.

We’ve invited an actual business lady to come up to my house for a couple of days to see what we are doing and help us keep our stock better organised and possibly, if there is time, help us set up an inventory system. And we’ll do accounting with her the next time.

So Learning Curves for you all. If you are getting into the craft of making your own products, start early. Get into the habit of keeping records of your inventory! Get into the habit of keeping your stock room organised. It will help you in the future.

China may not be strict about keeping track of inventories, but I know western countries are. We are doing this now, so we can get into better manufacturing practices and save money on ordering. Even in China the cost of delivery is horrible, abroad, there is the potential of international fees too. Having a good inventory tracking system can help with ordering, storage, space, taxes, it can also help you to figure out what to make when.

So… off I go to write up a list of oils. If you don’t hear from me by Monday, the lard ate me.


General News, MsBarb, Starting your own cosmetic business

Learning Curves: The Move 2

At the moment, we’ve been looking into the European Union’s rules and regulations for selling skin care. When Sonia and I first discussed opening a brick and mortar shop in another country, we actually thought it would be pretty easy. Get the business registered, license it, insurance, register the tax stuff, and maybe another step or two but not much more than that.

And then we began looking into selling skin care products. And holy sweet mother of olive trees. My mind was blown away with the regulations. To the point where I was ready to give up and just not do it. But then, the more I wrapped my head around the idea of it all and why the EU has these rules, is actually quite smart. It protects the consumer. And it is not too bad. On paper!

So what have we been working on in terms of The Move? And yes, I think from now on it shall be referred to as, “The Move”.

We’ve been looking at Assessors for our products in case we decide we will end up in the EU. And let’s just say, some of them have horrible communication skills. I can understand that a lab company might have a lot going on, but good Time Lords, why am I chasing you down to reply to my emails inquiring about your company? I want to pay you to do my assessments and that’s going to be a costly fortune to get done. And because I have to chase some of these lab companies down to reply to my emails, it makes me want to use another lab. And it is not just one lab. It’s three! And from the groups I belong to on Facebook? This is common!

In between the frustration of lab companies and dealing with our new customers and their questions of, “are your products organic? Chemical free? 100% all natural?” we’ve been finalising our soap recipes. We have the final list of ingredients we want in our soaps, just we wish that we could have 110% oils in soaps and not just 100%. Changing 5% of tallow is a huge deal when you only have had 10% in the recipe. But if you look at changing 5% of olive oil when olive oil is at 40% it really isn’t a big deal. But I want my hard, long lasting hydrating bars of soap and tallow gives me that! And then the superfatting, I like 8%, but is that a bit too much? Or should we have some 8% and some 5%, and the can market the 8% as super moisturising/ gentle and the 5% for everything?

Ah soap. I love you. But you have too many choices to play with!

We need to finalise all our products and get the recipes set in stone with no further tweaking ASAFP. If we move anywhere, we have to register our products with the FDA/Health Canada and EU, and once they are registered, we cannot be changing them unless we register them again and/or get them tested all again. Which has to be paid for. With real money. And not Monopoly money.

Which epically sucks huge camel…. er… toes.

Rant over.

For now.

MsBarb, Starting your own cosmetic business

Packaging= early hell

Hi it’s Barb.

I’m taking the lunch hour off to wolf down some chow and keep up the blog. Today, the Scrub Me Down Kitchen is closed for the day as with all the new stuff that’s been made, it means it has to be packaged.

What we use:

  1. Happy Skin sticker
  2. shrink wrap bags
  3. sealing machine
  4. heat gun
  5. LOTS OF TIME and minor finger burns

So you clean the bottle/container with some rubbing alcohol, then apply the Happy Skin sticker trying to make sure the sticker is straight. Then place the product into the shrink wrap bag, seal it, and then use the heat gun to seal it all up.

It sounds easy for one item, and it truly is. But when you are dealing with more than just one item… you dedicate an entire evening or morning to the task. And since the weather is crap today, meh. Crappy job day too!

Packaging is not as bad as doing the dishes after soap making as you get to sit around and catch up on some of your favourite TV shows! I packaged, over 100 Lippy’s (Midnight Lippy, Victoria Rose Balm, Victoria Tea Rose Balm, Lip Gloss), about 50 various sized bottles of Summer Silk.

Even though it is a pain in the arse, hopefully everyone likes the new packaging!

Packaging 1
Midnight Lippy’s getting ready to go!