Indie Business Guide - 2012 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

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Happy Handmade Holiday!

Thoughts and insights from Donna Maria

Donna Maria's Handmade Handbook

Things you should know, questions you should ask

Top 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Your Holiday Season

Tips to help you ďŹ nd peace amidst the chaos

Let's Go Shopping For -- Bath & Body

Handmade bath and body products for you and your loved ones

A Soapmaker's Journey

How a 4-H club project led to a thriving farm and handmade soap business

Let's Go Shopping For -- Handmade Jewelry

Accessorize with color, bling, and style

Honest Products

A handmade beauty business grows in Brooklyn

Let's Go Shopping For -- Herbal and Aromatherapy Skin Care

From nature to you, with heart and TLC

The Art of Aromatic Empowerment

How I make it so special for you

Let's Go Shopping For -- How-To and Do It Yourself

Take a class, download a webinar, read a book

Let's Go Shopping For - Hair Care Products

Natural products to condition and moisturize your hair

A Girl With Tight "Curlz"

A woman's journey to love and respect her natural hair

Buy Handmade Locally

IBN members with retail stores and studios to serve your local community

Log On Visit our popular Discussion Forum for more handmade goodness in a fun, networking environment!

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Contributing Editors:

Donya Fahmy is the founder and CEO of Dropwise Essentials, a San Franciscobased green business specializing in pure aromatherapy and organic plant-based personal care products. In her article, The Art of Aromatic Empowerment (p. 22), Donya shares a bit about how she creates custom natural scents using her intuition and a bit of scent magic.

Debbie Miller is the owner of Anna's Potions and Lotions in Brooklyn, NY. Her article, Honest Products From Nature (p. 19), shares how she marries her love for nature with her love for business and the products she makes. Follow Debbie on Twitter annaspotions

Rachael Pontillo is a board certified holistic health practitioner, wellness coach, licensed aesthetician, and the founder of Holistically Haute, a Pennsylvaniabased lifestyle, beauty and wellness resource. Her mission to help people treat themselves with kindness and positive intention is captured in her article, 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy The Holiday Season (p. 8) Follow Rachael on Twitter

Follow Donya on Twitter

Donna Maria Coles Johnson founded IBN in 2000 as a celebration of all things handmade. This Handmade Holiday Gift Guide expresses her mission to empower women and their families to maximize their potential through small business ownership. Follow Donna Maria on Twitter at

Karen Scott is CEO and Formulating Chemist at Vangaleen's Natural Potions, a premium all natural and organic hair and skin care company. Her article, A Girl With Tight “Curlz” (p. 29), shares a bit of her journey returning her hair to its natural state after years of using relaxers and perms. Follow Karen on Twitter Vangaleen

Founder, Editorial Director and Editor In Chief Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Esq. Assistants to Donna Maria Lauren Riemer Rob Whitley Vanessa Johnson Brooks Johnson Graphics and Video Content Director Darryl B. Johnson Design Director Jennifer Smith Contributing Editors Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Donya Fahmy, Debbie Miller, Rachael Pontillo, Karen Smith General Information and Customer Service For general information, email Indie Business Network 2012 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

IBN's Mission

Published by

IBN's mission is to harness the shared energy and vitality of handmade entrepreneurs to address issues of consumer education, regulation, marketing and public relations, freeing IBN members to focus on achieving their business goals.

INDIE Business Media, LLC 5922 Weddington Monroe Road, A-5, #101 Wesley Chapel, NC 28104 Phone: 704-291-7280 Email: Web:

Ⓒ 2012 Indie Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without prior written permission. A product of the USA.

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Handmade Is Where The Heart Is Welcome to IBN's 2012 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide! When I was a little girl, Christmas was always the best time of year. I loved it not only because of the gifts I received, but because my home was always so much more vibrant and alive when the holidays rolled around. For me and my brothers, Christmas always started in October, when my mother began baking. Between my brothers, my dad and me, by the time December 25 arrived, most of the treat containers mom had placed in the freezer were half full. We didn't care that they were frozen solid -- we ate them anyway. That's how good her handmade goodies were. Fast forward a few decades, and I am still in love with all things handmade. Buy wonderful handmade gifts! Inspiration is everywhere in this, our 2012 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide. We invite you to grab a cup of your favorite tea, sit back and relax. Enjoy the articles authored by our members, and as you do, if you're reading the digital version, note how easy it is to click through to a website and complete your purchase quickly, easily, and securely. Connect with our members wherever you are! If you're reading the digital version of our publication, we've made it super easy for you to follow our members wherever you are most comfortable connecting with them. IBN members take pride in offering you a special personal touch when you shop with them. So whether it's a Twitter, Facebook, or blog, click right through and make yourself at home. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of the 900+ members IBN serves. You are the pride of America, and it is my highest honor to serve you. May your heart and your home be filled with beauty and joy this holiday season, and may your every wish come true in the New Year!

Happy Holidays from Do!a Maria! IBN Holiday Gift Guide | 2012 • pg 5

Do!a Maria's Handmade Handb"k by Donna Maria Coles Johnson

A decade ago, handmade products were not as available as they are now. Offline, Farmer's Markets and local specialty shops carry a growing variety of handmade products. When buying from a physical locaAon, you have the general assurance that store and market managers have experienced the products and are confident to allow them to be sold at their venue.

things you should know and look for when buying handmade products online. Trust

The first thing to look for when buying online is a company you can trust. Handmade entrepreneurs are especially dedicated to connecAng closely with their customers, so it On the Internet, however, it's not should be easy for you to find always easy to tell who you can trust. informaAon about the person who This Handmade Handbook shares makes your products. If it is not, and quesAons you that makes you feel uncomfortable, should ask trust your gut. and Check for a Facebook business page Most handmade entrepreneurs maintain a Facebook business page where they share everything from product photos to inspiraAonal quotes and helpful health, beauty and lifestyle Aps. Look for quick replies to customer quesAons, and an effort to encourage fun and community.

Look for sites that are neat and Ady, and contain easy to find ways to contact the business owner. At a minimum, there should be an informaAve "About" page, a full name, a city and state, and an easy to use contact form, email address and/or phone number. Since some arAsans work from home, you may not find a phone number or a street address. If other contact informaAon is there, and you receive prompt email replies and a phone number if you request it, don't let this deter you.

Look for clear, crisp product photos Look for clear, crisp product photos that show you what you will get when you order. Since handmade entrepreneurs make handmade products, you should expect some variaAon in color and texture that do not affect quality. With the excepAon of these types of variaAons, the product that arrives in your mail box should look like what is represented on the site.

Look for a well maintained website Handmade entrepreneurs tend to take great pride in their websites because they are major product showcases.

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Ask around One of the easiest ways to obtain reliable informaAon about handmade products is to see what other buyers say. Website tesAmonials can be useful, as can impromptu feedback on TwiNer and Facebook. As you ask around, remember that you cannot always believe everything you read. Some negaAve comments are not deserved, and some glowing reviews are not warranted. If your radar goes up, act accordingly. Ingredients and manufacturing practices Look for informaAon that addresses issues of ingredients and manufacturing. How are the products made? Where do the ingredients and components come from? What packaging is used? Are good and safe manufacturing pracAces used? This informaAon should be easy to find at the business owner's website and you should not be shy about asking for it if you don't see it. Personal satisfaction and positive vibes While gePng a "good feeling" is less tangible, it is sAll important. Handmade entrepreneurs have personaliAes that are as unique as the products they make. If it is important to you to do business with people whose personal beliefs and lifestyle choices align with yours, you should have no trouble finding them. One of the best things about buying a handmade item is that you are buying not only a product, but also a piece of the heart of the person who made it.

Why Buy Handmade?! IBN members weigh in on what's in it for you! "The world of handmade gives everyone the opportunity to purchase a tiny bit of art, made with care every time, from someone who has put all their energy and love into their work." - Lori Nova, The Nova Studio, Point Richmond, CA "When you buy handmade, you know you are getting something made from the Heart! Someone poured their passion, care, compassion and expertise into every morsel of it. When you support handcrafted - you are supporting local, small business and most often...women!" - Dana Callahan, Magic Moon SoapWorks, Salem, MA "Buying handmade gives you direct contact with your producer for custom orders and unique gift giving. You get individuality and personal style, neither of which is available to you in mass markets." - Maria Gelnett, Angelicglow Handcrafted Soaps (Soap Studio Brookside), Chenango Forks, NY "I buy handmade goods because the variety and quality of products are generally much better than big box stores. Buying handmade also promotes the growth of small home businesses right here in the United States. To me it's a nobrainer because I like good quality products, supporting local business growth and knowing that the products I purchase are made with love." - Matt Hamilton,, Longwood, FL "Handmade is made with love. Handmade supports local artists who are passionate. Handmade is unique and special." - Melissa Rivera, Naturally Good Soaps, Astoria, NY "Most of the things in my home are handmade -- from wooden bowls to jewelry and natural body care products. They bring me pleasure and joy every time I see and use them. I am grateful to each artisan for doing what they love and sharing it with me, making a difference in my life." Joan Morais, Joan Morais Naturals, Fairfield, CA "A handmade item provides an intimate glimpse into the soul of the artisan, while offering uniqueness, high quality, and value." - Maggie Hanus, A Wild Soap Bar, Manor, TX "Handmade items inspire creativity and allow for personalization. Shoppers free their creativity by personalizing items, rather buying something mass produced." - Lisa Kasper, Blue Moon Candles, San Jacinto, CA IBN Holiday Gift Guide | 2012 • pg 7

Top 5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Your Holiday Season By Rachael Pontillo, AADP CHC, BS, LE

Ahhh, yes, the holidays. Whether or not you like them, they are here. Whether you approach the season as a special time to embrace family and friends, or an opportunity to focus on increasing your business (or a combination of the two), chances are good that you'll have to resist becoming overwhelmed with everything from expanded business responsibilities to social and family obligations. As a handmade entrepreneur, you are used to multi-tasking, and that's not always a bad thing. It's not always a good thing either, especially during the holidays when increased marketing, manufacturing, sales, fulfillment, and customer service obligations can easily turn you from a happy elf into a miserable Grinch. As we focus on giving to others during this holiday season, we must not forget to give to ourselves. When we let tasks and other people’s wants take precedence over our own needs, we risk spreading ourselves too thin. When that happens, we cannot work as effectively or efficiently, and it becomes difficult to enjoy the season both personally and professionally. Why not take a moment now to implement new ways to avoid the overwhelm before happens?

Here are my top five tips for actually enjoying the holiday season this year: 1. Schedule it in. As an Indie, you must train yourself to be good at managing your time and your priorities. Whatever system you use to meet deadlines and stay

on track in your business can be incorporated into your home. For example, I schedule “me time” using an iPad app, just as I schedule business meetings and professional tasks. This forces me to give at least the same amount of attention to myself as I give to other people and other things. 2. Treat yourself to a little luxury. Indies make incredible, unique, lush creations—and then sell them or give them as gifts to others. Why not enjoy some yourself? Create a ritual around your signature product and let yourself enjoy it at least once a week. Or better yet, buy something from a fellow Indie, and get a taste of what it feels like to enjoy someone else's version of decadence. Enjoy treating yourself, without lifting a finger to make it happen. Try it -- you'll like it! 3. Ask for help. The fact that you think you can "do it all" doesn’t make it true. The holiday season is a great time to invite high school and college students to lend a hand to your business efforts in

exchange for a bit of spending money. Get help wherever you can find it. If your children are home for holiday break, hire them temporarily. Don't be shy about putting other people to work. Help with even the smallest tasks add up quickly, and if you can delegate even a few things, you free up your mind and your body to tend to things that actually require your attention. 4. Be aware and present. There's no magic wand to wave away the stress, but you can become more mindful of yourself. Find ways to incorporate a better sense of how and when stress affects you throughout the day. Meditation or prayer, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are great for this, and results occur in minutes -- literally. 5. Give yourself permission to say "no." You don’t have to be everyone and everything to everyone at all times. Frequently, the best thing to do to take good care of yourself is to say "No" to extra favors and obligations. "No, I'm sorry, I don't carry that fragrance this year." "No, I cannot commit to blogging about your open house." It's hard, but it has to be done. Do these five basic tips overwhelm you in and of themselves? Don't let that happen ... but don't wallow in the overwhelm either. Become intentional about just one of these things and you'll see big results in a short period of time. Remember -- you don't have to change your habits all at once. One step at a time is progress.

Continue to do what you can do, and let that

be enough.

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A Soap Maker’s Journey by Starla Ledbetter

I love working with different combinations of oils and scents, but goat’s milk is always the core ingredient of any product I make. Handmade soap contains many wonderful skin loving ingredients, including naturally occurring glycerin that commercially made soap often does not contain. Goat’s milk adds a wonderful dimension to my handmade products, lending them so many naturally My Kids Got Me Into This ... occurring emollients, vitamins and triglycerides that moisturize I didn't see it coming. My life the skin. with dairy goats began as a 4-H Goat’s milk has a pH level project for my youngest child. When my daughter went to that closely resembles that of college, I found myself unable human skin, and this helps to part with the herd. I had prevent dryness. It is so dabbled a bit in soap making rewarding to create products after taking a few classes in a that are gentle and beneficial, dairy goat education program. and so useful too. Everyone As time went on, I discovered needs soap! that making handmade soap is a valuable creative release and It Takes A Village something I truly enjoy doing. My favorite time of year is Fall. I enjoy brisk morning walks, when the sun is just beginning to illuminate our small Northern California farm with soft, warm light. As I head up to our barn, I am greeted by our herd of LaMancha dairy goats, ready to start their day with a turn in the milk room to provide an abundance of fresh goat’s milk.

As many handmade businesses begin, mine started after my products were well received by family and friends. I decided this was something I would like to develop into more, and so it began.

I enjoy taking my products to a variety of craft fairs, farmer’s markets and festivals; meeting new people - both customers and other Indie vendors. I also enjoy interacting with customers and other soapmakers through social media. In addition to offering my products through face to face venues, my website makes it easy for customers to order and re-order no matter where they are.

Handmade Satisfaction Working with my hands to create a product that is useful to so many people is very satisfying.

At the end of every day, as the sun begins to set, you can find me in the barn in the milk room, where the day started. I will be with the LaMancha “girls,” filling up the milk buckets with more of my favorite Launching a business is soapmaking ingredient, fresh, never easy, but help is always creamy, rich goat’s milk. near. I have received great advice and assistance from the This is the life -- the life I Indie Business Network and the created, the life I love. Handcrafted Soap Maker ’s Guild. So many wonderful And I wouldn't have it any people are willing to share their other way. advice and encouragement.

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Honest Products From Nature by Debbie Miller

A few years ago, a fellow member of the Smoky Mountain Herbal Society shared a jar of her handmade rose cream with me. Not only was the cream handmade, but it also contained rosewater that she had distilled from rose bushes in her own back yard. I bought the jar on the spot. It was the loveliest cream I’d ever used. When the jar was empty, I wanted another, but she’d moved out of state, so I was out of luck. At the time, I had an extensive library of herb and gardening books, so I began learning about and experimenting with recipes of my own. After a while, I had created what I thought was a reasonable duplication of the lovely cream I had used long before. This

experience became the inspiration for my cosmetics line. Rose cream made with organic Bulgarian rose oil, rose hydrosol, rose hip seed oil, rose petals, and rose hips is now our signature product.

A Perfect Marriage Between Nature and Business What a blessing to be able to combine my love of gardening and plants with the personal satisfaction that results from owning my own business. It feels like the perfect marriage. I’ve been a gardener most of my adult life, and an herb gardener for more than 20 years. Since 1997, when I left

the Tennessee house and garden I’d owned for nine years to move to New York City, gardening has been a challenge. In the absence of outdoor garden space, I’ve grown houseplants in my Brooklyn apartment, herbs on my windowsill, and perennials in pots in the air conditioner “cage” outside my living room window. This year, I was fortunate to join two community gardens within walking distance of my home. One of them, located behind a local public library, was created by two gardeners with a small community grant. I now have a 4 x 8 foot plot of my very own to tend. This year, I planted peppers, parsley, lavender, calendula, and tomatoes. The second garden is larger and coincidentally, also behind a public library. I’m on a wait list for a plot there, but in the meantime, I grow herbs and fresh vegetables in two containers in a space reserved for people on the waiting list.

learn so much, and I pass this information along to my customers in the form of the products I lovingly create for them. I love making products that hearken back to a simpler time when honest products were handcrafted in small batches, and customers were confident that what they put on their bodies was pure and wholesome. That's what handmade delivers. This perfect marriage between nature and business sets handmade products apart. It's about "honest products from nature," my company slogan. It's about things that are made with honest intention and purity of heart. Anonymous computer-controlled machines cannot deliver that. Handmade can, and handmade does.

Handmade Can, Handmade Does.

My love of plants and organic gardening has informed my business. I

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The Art of Aromatic Empowerment


People often ask me how I create a new aromatherapy blend. It's an interesting but tricky question to answer. The best response I have come up with is, "The nose knows best." From the time I first started blending aromatic oils, it was clear that I had a knack for it. It's an art, and I just trust my nose. In the early days, there was a lot of experimentation and not all of it was pretty! But after studying the various properties of essential oils and blending them for several years, I developed a strong intuition about what kinds of oils work well together -– both synergistically and in terms of their odor profiles.

An Artist of Scent An artist friend of mine once introduced me to some of her friends as “an artist of scent.” I guess I had never thought about it that way, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

If the shoe fits ... Unlike many artists, I can’t say I have a specific ritual or process that I use to create a product using my intuition. Sometimes ideas just come to me out of the blue. That’s when I consult my personal collection of essential oils. I open two or three bottles and allow my nose to speak to me. I smell them in unison and note what my initial reaction to the combination is.

Sometimes it works, not. As I build a new times, I sense that I'm starting point, but I can

other times looking for. It's a very personal blend, often process, and each new product builds at a good on the ones that came before. tell that the

blend needs another oil or oils to When I started my business, I was complete the idea. I follow a similar excited about making products that not pattern to identify what to add to round only help people feel better, but also create "experiences" for them. I out the blend. continue to love doing this. I am constantly aiming to use my gifts to Putting the "Hand" In create products that empower people Handmade and deliver an unforgettable experience every time. I make everything by hand. To create a new product to add to my own I now continue that journey with line, I start by looking at what’s missing the addition of information products in the current line, and then mull over designed to empower people to various ideas (many of them from become their own "scent artist." By customers) before creating a new showing people how to harness the product prototype. power of essential oils for health and wellness during all stages of their lives, For example, a couple of years I can touch their lives for years to ago I began to sense that our come. aromatherapy blend collection was missing something. It needed more It's a privilege to help people sensuosity and earthiness; additional create a personal toolbox of alternative grounding to round out the lighter and products and information that more airy notes. I got to work by empowers them to take care of visually arranging our “earthy” and themselves naturally, instead of “sensuous” oils into groupings of 3 or 4 depending solely on more traditional that I felt might work well together. methods.

This is the fun part about I love my work! Being involved in what I do. The experimenting every aspect of production of the began. products I make not only pleases me, The end result? A blend called Enchant, which combines lemongrass, lemon and tangerine (citrus top notes) with ylang ylang, vetiver and patchouli -- those more earthy notes I was

but it also uplifts others and helps give them the confidence they need to use simple methods and ingredients to live a healthier life -- and have more fun too!

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A Girl With Tight "Curlz"

I’m a natural girl with tight "curlz," and styling my hair hasn’t always been easy. When my journey from relaxed to natural hair began, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that while my hair looked okay, it was beginning to thin, and the salon process was long, grueling, costly and full of toxins.

- by Karen Scott

The girl with the tight curlz (or "tiny coils" as some describe them) has found her way home. With time, I have become more familiar with my hair as I pay close attention to its likes and dislikes.

I have worn my hair natural for five years now. I continue to give my hair love and attention, and my hair loves me back. Our relationship has never been so healthy, and the new hair growth is out of this world -- all because I know my hair and treat it I feed my hair vitamins and right. nutrients through a good diet of I made the decision to go natural natural ingredients and herbs. I I Love My Hair! and informed my beautician. She was hydrate it with water and moisturize it horrified, “Why!?," she responded. with organic butters and oils. Without hesitation, I let her know that for me, it was time show my natural I protect my hair from excessive hair some love by setting it free from heat. I no longer use dryers and, for all of the abuse. the most part, wear styles that guard my hair from environmental pollutants. I smooth, sooth and love my hair. I From Perms To Tight Curlz keep it natural. The transition to natural was Less stress and more rest is also similar to starting a new relationship. part of my routine, especially now that It took some time to get to know and I no longer take those long and understand my hair in its natural state. expensive treks to the salon. It had been so long since I had seen it that way!

Today I am proud to say that I am in love with my natural hair!

I’m a natural girl with tight curlz and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I had so many questions and wasn’t sure of where to go to get the answers. What products and tools do I need? Should I cut my hair down to the new growth? How do I style my hair? It was obvious that I needed to do some research. I went to the root of it all, by looking into herbs, flowers and oils, and found some very interesting information. The chemist in me was intrigued, I began to formulate, incorporated my family roots. I connected with a cosmetologist, and my own handmade hair care products line was eventually born.

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Buy Handmade Locally find handmade products in your town

One of my favorite things to do on weekends is visit local farmer's markets. From the man preparing fresh-to-order omelettes with eggs and herbs from his farm, to the woman selling handmade soap and herbal salves, I love the smells and the community I experience when I am in their midst. If I can't get to a market, I enjoy discovering local stores that specialize in handmade items. There are a few of them in my adopted hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. When I travel, if I have time, I try to make it to at least one shop that sells handmade items. Recently, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of IBN members opening retail stores and studios in their areas. This is good news not only for IBN members, but also for local communities and the American economy. On this page, you'll find listings from some of our members with retails stores carrying fine handmade items and/or offering classes to teach you to create your own handmade things for fun and gifts, or to support a business of your own. I hope you find your town here, but if not, stay tuned for updates in the future. (Store names, locations and phone numbers are included here. Check with each location for store hours, some of which are by appointment, and can vary during the holidays. CALIFORNIA Ancient Stones Nurturing Naturals 440 W. Julian Street, Suite 210, San Jose 510-796-8991 Sunsara Skincare 8055 W. Manchester Avenue, Suite 100, Playa Del Rey 310-821-2143 The Grapeseed Company 201 W. Carillo Street, Santa Barbara 805-456-3655 The Nova Studio 24 W. Richmond Avenue, Point Richmond 510-234-5700 COLORADO Tilvee Eco-Ethical Skincare 600 Corporate Circle Unit A, Golden 800-479-0758 GEORGIA Mama Bath + Body 743D East College Avenue, Decatur 404-808-6900

ILLINOIS Abbey Brown 4113 West Newport, Chicago 312-738-2390 Ashley Lauren 1102 Davis Street, Evanston 847-733-9470

Fields of Ambrosia 9 Norcross Place, North Conway 603-356-3532 janegee 10 Ladd Street, Portsmouth 603-431-0335 NEW JERSEY

Blue Beaker 721 La Salle Street, Ottawa 815-434-1000 INDIANA Lather and Lotions 613 Brackenridge, Ft. Wayne 260-498-2382 KENTUCKY Woodford Wicks Candle Co. Outlet & Gift Shoppe 260 Crossfield Drive, Suite D, Versailles 859-684-9152 MARYLAND Monave Mineral Cosmetics 914 S. Wolfe Street, Baltimore 410-534-1058 NEW HAMPSHIRE

Pooka Boutique 15 South Essex Avenue, Orange 973-954-2471 NORTH CAROLINA The Bath Place 105 Focus Ct, Rocky Mount 252-266-9705 PENNSYLVANIA

TEXAS Jones Handmade Soap Co. 5660 El Paso Drive, Upstairs, El Paso 915-208-4222 Shambhala 415 N. Bishop Avenue, Dallas 214-943-7627 WASHINGTON Bramble Berry (Otion) 301 W. Holly Street, Bellingham 360-676-1030 Siren Soapworks 204 Yelm Avenue E., Yelm 253-238-0882 VIRGINIA

Emma’s Friends Soaps & Lotions 32 West Broad Street, West Hazleton 570-956-9334 SOUTH CAROLINA

Soapalooza! Soap Arts Studio 320 Hull Street, Studio 142, Richmond 804- 291-1400

Simple to Sublime 120 Central Avenue, Summerville 843-879-9792

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