May 30, 2014

3 Comments



Our Story

Handcrafted Soap has always been a passion of mine - stopping at boutiques wherever I traveled to smell and buy locally-crafted soaps.  My family and friends know handmade soap is a perfect gift for me - I love that it's locally made, it supports small businesses, and it's a consumable gift with minimal waste!  When I was engaged to be married, I kept thinking of what I could make for my guests as a special touch, and of course it had to be soap!  

Thus began my journey to discover the art and science of soap making - learning about how soap is made, how sodium hydroxide interacts with various oils to create various size bubbles, different types of lather and even different levels of cleaning and conditioning!  It's been such a fun journey to make my perfect formulations, and I hope you enjoy as well!

When I didn't have (or make) handmade soap, I used to use Dove bars and my husband, Kris, used Irish Springs.  About 7 months into my soap making hobby, Kris decided to go back to Irish Springs for his shower.  After he finished his first shower with the commercial soap, he came out and complained about his skin being so itchy - was our water bad?  I knew I was on to something when simply changing his soap from my skin-friendly soap to his old Irish Springs made such a noticeable difference for him!

It's an amazing thing that soap can be as simple as water, sodium hydroxide, and oil.  Each soap on this website is a labor of love, hand-made in Minnesota!  Even the soap dishes are hand-made locally (by my mom!).

 

But Where Did the Name Come From?

Meet Hannah and Hobbes:

This picture perfectly captures their personalities and relationship.  Hannah is my original Yorkie.  She's been with me for 8 years and has been such an experience - stubborn, smart, friendly, quiet, misbehaved, and snuggly.  She loves people and tolerates Hobbes.

Hannah Banana is our Chief Fragrance Sniffer and Toy Fetcher.  She loves treats, licking the air, and going for long runs - she can run 5 miles!

Hobbes' full name is Milton Hobbes and he has been with us for 5 years.  He follows me everywhere!  He's soft and snuggly and does Ewok impersonations for us :)  

Hobbes is the Director of Soap Investigating and he keeps me on track during the day by his constant presence.  When he is not underfoot, he spends his days laying in sunbeams or following Hannah around, trying to be friends.

 

The Rest of the Team:

Chrissy:  Owner of Hannah & Hobbes.  Also head accountant, chief formulator, main dog-petter, lead purchaser of both soap supplies and dog food, master dish washer, and head of soap production. 

Kris:  Ever-supportive Sales & Marketing Director.  Kris also wears these hats: dog-feeder, errand-runner, gloomy day brightener, bath salts designer, and soap pouring and packaging assistant.  Without him, Hannah & Hobbes would not be possible!

Week In the Life

Hi soapy friends - I wanted to share with you what I work on during a sample week. I say sample instead of typical, because there really isn't a typical week for me right now - I just kind of work on whatever needs working on when it needs to be done, and that suits me just fine!

 

On this particular week, I started off the week by making about 51 bars of Lemongrass Spearmint.  I have totally lucked out by having these super sweet molds made that can transform from these log shapes to other configurations to help me make all the types of soap bars I sell.  I love making this one, because it's so much fun to make the swirls on top of the soap :)

 

This picture won't orient itself the way I want, no matter what I've tried, which is too bad. So, tilt your head to the left and check out all the dishes I washed on Tuesday. The nice thing about washing soap-making dishes is a day after making the soap, the bits left in the dishes have mostly turned to soap themselves, so washing isn't too much of a chore.  Usually...

 

On Wednesday, I went to check on one of my retailers (Home Fashion Fabrics in Downtown Minneapolis - she also has just had a Kickstarter campaign funded to create cute summer dresses from her custom-designed fabrics. How cool is that?). I brought her some more soaps & dishes, and we wrapped them in pieces of fabric she's designed herself to see how they'd display. We ultimately ended up wrapping the soaps slightly in a slightly different way to show off the scent label so people knew what they were buying :)

 

On Thursday, I cut a bunch of bars I had made and stamped them with my cute little H&H logo stamp. These babies will cure for 4-6 weeks before they're available for sale, so once they were cut and stamped, they went directly on a shelf with plenty of airflow so they can just chill out and let the water evaporate out at their own pace.

 

I also worked on some product photography that day. Here's my white background set-up with my extremely fancy camera. Taking good pictures is one thing I'm constantly trying to improve. I'm trying to take advantage of the good natural light through the patio door and get some good shots before the sun moves too much. Currently, I have Studio Laguna take the pretty pictures on my website. The others are me muddling through, learning this new skill :)

 

 

On Friday, I worked on testing recipes for some new bath bombs (or bath fizzies). For these ones, I used a little more fragrance than I'd like and my house smelled like a chocolaterie for DAYS. Also note that this pic was taken in my work room with really terrible florescent lighting.

 

 

Here's a MUCH better picture I took after I finished the bombs.  I snapped this pic with my iPhone (which is how I take many of my pics, but don't tell anyone...)  Well, in full disclosure, this pic was snapped on Wednesday, not Friday.  I still worked on bath bombs on Friday, though :)

 

Hope you enjoyed the peek into a week of a soapmaker's life!  What do you think?  Interesting or not so much?  What would you like to see more of in this blog?

 

Have a very happy Friday!

 

~Chrissy


3 Comments

Dawn Tallman
Dawn Tallman

July 22, 2016

Hi Chrissy. It’s Dawn, I work with your sister
@ LI she has spoken to you about my interest in soap making. I would love to see your set up and or pick your brain with questions. She said I could call you but I don’t have your number. Let me know your thoughts.
Dawn.

Chrissy
Chrissy

June 10, 2014

Thanks Barb & Del! I wish you were closer, too :) I’ll make sure to bring some new things with me when we go see you in August so you guys can try them out!

~C

Barb
Barb

June 10, 2014

Hi Chrissy,
We are so impressed and proud of you! Am always interested in what you’re up to and what’s new and in the making. Only wish we were closer and could visit some of your events.
Keep up the good work!
Much love and support,
Barb & Del

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