Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Handmade Goodness - Guest Post by Cari Shannon

Handmade Goodness
Written by Cari Shannon
Coquette Bath & Home™ 

Now, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you're probably already nodding your head. Handmade is goodness, after all. We all know that. Right?

Well, not always. While I would never attempt to make my own shoes (cause feet are tricky...) I've pretty much made what I have worn, what I have eaten, what I've used to scent myself, clean myself and decorate myself for much of my life. Not to say that anyone else needs to do all of that. But, in so many ways, there are so many opportunities to use handmade...that I'd like to encourage you to think outside the box a bit.

First, let's talk about that big pink sparkly elephant in the corner. Yep, that one. The one with the white price tags on its sides. It's a nice elephant and it is just sitting there and waiting for you. Don't fret about it. Just smile and nod and it will be okay.

Elephants don't eat people, you know. But this sparkly pink elephant is there to remind you that handmade isn't going to be bargain basement pricing. Nope. It isn't made by little children working 15 hour shifts in poorly lit conditions without even a running toilet...as is sometimes the case in many third world places. Handmade is often created by a SAHM or someone who has chucked the rat race to fully express who they are. And they have light bills, and insurance on the car, and yeah eating is cool, too.

So, while you may be able to get a product for $5 at the local discount megaplex, you won't be able to get the same price in handmade. At least not usually. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. Quality over quantity. Find someone who really loves what they do and you can see that in the products they make. For those sweatshop products, the end result is to make a product as cheaply as possible. Not as well as can be. Not as good as can be. As cheaply as can be. That's why it breaks on the second use. Or loses all shape in the wash. Even some 'big company' products made in the USA (since I'm in Texas, I'm assuming you are in the US, if not, then cool...but since I am, I do rather make some assumptions...) can be pretty crappy, too.

Since I have my own product line (Coquette Bath & Home™, selling on my dot com (
www.coquettebath.com) and on Etsy as CoquetteBath), I do have a few personal issues.

So, let's start with soap. Yep, now you could buy 5 bars of something bar shaped at the local megaplex for $5 or so. But that's not soap, folks. That's a synthetic detergent bar. They get these chemicals to play around and produce these curds. And then they scoop those curds into a big press and  push really hard and out pops a bar that looks like soap. It will lather like soap. But unlike soap, it is made with chemicals designed to approximate quality. It may smell great (and some of them do, honestly) but the chemicals are harsh...stripping your skin of necessary natural emollients. Your skin is now dry as the desert, thank you very much. And so you reach for a bottle of the lotion that this company (thoughtfully) provides for you. But it's crappy, too. Filled with water soluble ingredients that wash away at the first hint of water. Not chock full of great butters and oils, like a handmade product is.

Now, you see some idea why the Goodness of Handmade is so important. I want to make a great product. Not good. Not acceptable. But great. I'm always tweaking my recipes, finding new molds, working on my labels, taking better photos...all in the interest of providing you with a great product. And, to encourage you to give my products a try. My soap is $5 a bar, most of the time. But it is real soap. Not made with some funky blend of chemicals that requires a PhD in Chemistry to pronounce. How about Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, Shea Butter? Yep. I use those and more.

I can go on all day, but right now, I just know you're dying to trot over to Etsy (CoquetteBath, LOL) and other fine shops and do some perusing. Have fun. Buy real soap from real soapmakers. You'll be glad you did. And enjoy the lushness and the Goodness of Handmade.

Bio: Coquette Bath & Home™ (CoquetteBath on Etsy and several other online shopping venues) is the wholly owned biz of Cari Shannon. BS in Management/Marketing (Purdue University), single parent of two college age kiddos, former B&M owner, and now planner for a major humongous corporation, making fabulous products is just of a day's work for Cari. With more than a decade's experience making bath, body and home fragrance products, she likes to write on handmade, the benefits of handcrafted body and scent products and general (hopefully humorous) looks at regular life. Contact her at info@coquettebath.com or through her shop on Etsy (CoquetteBath). 

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