Now that I've tried handcrafted products from several shops, I've been thinking that I'd like to find one shop to be my main supplier. I'm sure I'd still be keeping an eye on others, treat myself as new or interesting things come along, but I think it would be nice to settle down to one shop in general. So I've been thinking about what I'm looking for and have realized none of the shops I've tried so far meet all of my criteria. How is that possible with all the shops I've tried?? Crazy, I know, but true.
And just what is it I'm looking for?
First, what I intend to buy regularly is bar soap, body butter/cream, and lip balm. Plenty of shops have all three, but what usually cancels them out is I want my soap to be goat milk soap. Some shops offer the occasional bar of goat milk soap among their many different types, but I'd prefer to have a shop that is ALL goat milk. While some soaps out there are freakin' works of art with their colors and glam, I tend to like the more subdued style. I also prefer smaller sized bars because I don't cut mine down, so I like something I can hang on to, and I like to use up a bar and move on to a new scent.
Melt-n-pour soaps will not get my business.
I like it when a main recipe is used, instead of every bar being an experiment in new formulas. Maybe that seems simple or like a shop is just churning out bars but really, if I buy a bar of Pink Sugar scent from Blah Blah Shop and find I absolutely love everything about that soap, I don't want to go back to buy more but in Love Spell scent only to find it's made from a completely different recipe.
When it comes to lotions I prefer the creams, the thick but light and fluffy style. I would love that they are made from scratch, since I've been told they are easy to make. Some of the creams I was absolutely in love with early on turned out to be from pre-made bases that you buy and just finish off. While I'm not totally against this because I *LOVED* some of those cheater creams, it seems if it's easy to make from scratch, and vendors are running 'handcrafted' shops . . . their lotions should be handcrafted too.
I'm not too particular about lip balms yet, but a lot of shops don't have them. Oh, I want the tubes, not the little tins or pots that you rub on with your finger.
So those are the products I'm looking for. Now what about the shop itself? I've found that I like consistency in a shop. That doesn't mean I want the same five soaps made the same way endlessly. It means the shop has settled into it's style, it's look, it's manner. I'd hate to find a favorite natural looking bar with a cozy scent and really cool medieval style only to go back next month to order more and find it's now all about bright colors and trendy names and packaging. I'd like a decent sized general catalog that is always available, enough scents to have a variety but not so many that it's overwhelming to try and choose . . . and then have new ones pop up here and there, along with seasonal choices. Shops that are totally customer/trend driven kinda turn me off.
I go back and forth on packaging. It's always been my opinion that fancy packaging adds nothing to the product and just drives the cost up in the end. Having said that, I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging! LOL
I love samples! Extra bits added to your order are so much fun, whether it be a soap sample or a thank you note or even just a business card. To have that bar of soap I ordered arrive just plainly thrown into an envelope without so much as even an invoice is sort of, I don't know, snobby. Samples don't have to be huge or numerous, but they really do help you get to know other scents. Maybe there is something I wasn't sure about when I ordered but now I've received a sample with my package, enough for me to be able to tell whether I like it or not. And after I've sniffed it I can pass it on to someone who maybe hasn't tried that shop yet.
Goat Milk Stuff was the first goat milk soap I ever tried. Heck, they were the first handcrafted soap in general I ever tried. Goat milk soap?? I'd never even heard of such a thing before stumbling across a blog post about it. Goat Milk Stuff is still my sentimental favorite but they are a bit pricey and they don't have the type of body cream I like.
Haus of Gloi would totally be my main shop if they had goat milk soap. Since they are a vegan shop though, that's not going to happen . . . LOL
And then there is a shop very local to me, a goat milk soap shop that I really want to love and make my main shop but her lotion is the thinner, runnier, true lotion type. She has liquid soaps . . . hand soaps, shampoos and conditioners, shower gels . . . and that's intriguing. She also frequents a farmers market very close to me so it would be so handy to just pop over and buy what I want. I think after I work through a good chunk of my current stash I'm going to try some things from that local shop. And who knows, maybe she'll consider doing a thicker creamy lotion!
Anyway, if anyone knows of a shop that has my main three . . . lip balms, body creams, and goat milk bar soaps . . . I'd love to hear about it!