Why we don't travel far for shows

No Traveling for Us!

Dad and I only travel to shows 60 miles or less from out home in Emmaus. But why?

We get to sleep at home at night! This saves money on hotel, food, and fuel. Savings we pass on to you.

We are dedicated to our local economy. We believe in making our money locally and spending our money locally.

We make a product designed for our local area. I formulated my soaps to lather in the hardest of water (and we have plenty of that).

We price our goods to complement our local economy. I price my items at a cost that I would personally be able to spend myself. I offer clearance items at discount prices to help reach everyone.

We believe in the environment. Not traveling keeps our carbon footprint small. Why bother making something natural just to kill the Earth traveling all over to sell it?

Why bother traveling when we are still growing here? We see an average of 5% growth each year without travel, so why do it if we don't have to?

We have awesome events right nearby. Kutztown Folk Festival, Musikfest, Chriskindlmarkt, Apple Festival at Peddler's Village: these are all shows that bring in people from all over. I am grateful I have these opportunities right here in my back yard.

If you don't live nearby and still love our products, then you are the icing on our cake! I keep a map in the workshop of all the places we have shipped to and it grows every year! I never thought my little company could reach so far!

Thank you everyone for all you do for us!


Why don't my Lip Balms contain SPF?

The short answer is: legally they can't. The long answer is...

There are three main types of products that are considered to be part of the "bath and body" industry: Soap, Cosmetics, Drugs (including over the counter).

 Is it a soap, a cosmetic, or a drug?

FDA interprets the term "soap" to apply only when
  • the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product's detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds, and
  • the product is labeled, sold, and represented solely as soap
Products that meet this definition of soap are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), not by FDA.

If a product
  • consists of detergents, or
  • primarily of alkali salts of fatty acids, and
  • is intended not only for cleansing but also for other cosmetic uses,
it is regulated as a cosmetic. Examples of cosmetic uses include making the user more attractive or by acting as a deodorant.

If a product
  • consists of detergents, or
  • primarily of alkali salts of fatty acids, and
  • is intended not only for cleansing but also to cure, treat, or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or any function of the human body,
it is regulated as a drug, or possibly both a drug and a cosmetic. Examples include antibacterial cleansers and skin lighteners.

And more confusingly: If a product
  • is intended solely for cleansing the human body,
  • has the characteristics consumers generally associate with soap, and
  • does not consist primarily of alkali salts of fatty acids,
it may be identified in labeling as soap, but it is regulated as a cosmetic.

How registration requirements are different
FDA maintains the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program, or VCRP, for cosmetic establishments and formulations. As its name indicates, this program is voluntary. The FD&C Act does not require cosmetic firms to register their establishments or list their product formulations with FDA. In contrast, it is mandatory for drug firms to register their establishments and list their drug products with FDA.

How labeling requirements are different
A cosmetic product must be labeled according to cosmetic labeling regulations. OTC drugs must be labeled according to OTC drug regulations, including the "Drug Facts" labeling. Combination OTC drug/cosmetic products must have combination OTC drug/cosmetic labeling. For example, the drug ingredients must be listed alphabetically as "Active Ingredients," followed by cosmetic ingredients, listed in descending order of predominance as "Inactive Ingredients."

I get asked quite a bit if my lip balms contain an SPF. They don't and never will. It is because sunscreen is considered an Over-The-Counter Drug by the FDA. The safety of Sunscreen Gels, Creams, and Liquids is established by selection of ingredients that are safe and suitable for this purpose. In addition, these products are screened for photoirritancy, photosensitization, and photomutagenicity. Product safety is also established though strict adherence to the principles of Quality Assurance and Good Manufacturing Practices. This includes testing the compatibility of the product with packaging as well as shelf-life stability. Sunscreens are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs. As such, they must be shown to be safe and effective and the active ingredients must be approved by FDA.

The legalities and requirements of a company my size to make any drug (OTC or otherwise) is beyond my capabilities (and desires). Unfortunately there are some hand-crafters who do indeed claim to make a sunscreen product, this makes it more confusing for all consumers. Either these companies don't understand the laws, or they choose to ignore them. I may not personally even agree with the current structure of the law, but once I understand it, then it is my responsibility to follow it to the letter and run my business in both a legal and ethical way.


Customer Relations

When I started out in this business it really was just a hobby. I had made too much soap and needed a place to sell it so I could make more. The fact that anyone bought it and encouraged me to make more is really amazing to me. I look back and I think my first bars just sucked.

But I got more than I expected over the years. I didn't expect customer relations to actually include real relationships. Some of my best and closest friends I have met through my business. I have watched young couples bring by their new children and those children grow up (some are now in high school). Some who where in high school when I met them are grown and have children of their own. I have received sad letters and emails telling me of the passing of loyal customers as well.

I have made friends with other artisans, promoters, and their families. I have knit blankets for new babies, attended weddings, and even a few funerals.

I didn't expect to have what we now call my "soapy family". I didn't expect to see people so often, to care about them so much, or to have them care about me. Some of this has come with the rise of social media, where everyone can stay in better touch due to technology. But even before the rise of Facebook, I saw a web of relationships that I am grateful for.

I feel as though I run my business and my life in the essence of the old fashioned way. I don't advertise, I rely on word of mouth. I rely on people giving my products as gifts and introducing new people to me. I rely on my customers giving birth and raising my next generation of customers. There are children now that have never really used anything other than handmade soap and that fact will be what keeps our little industry strong into the future.

On the days that I am tired, that I am sick, or that I am just frustrated, it is the customers that keep me going. I started out doing this for me, and now I do it for you.