Natural Handmade Soap

The Marula Tree Soap Co. makes natural handmade soap from glycerin bases with additives such as Goat's Milk, Shea Butter, Honey and Marula Oil. Marula Oil is a unique oil pressed from the kernels of the Marula Trees in southern Africa. To learn more about the benefits of Marula Oil click here. All my products are vegan friendly except those with Goat's Milk and Honey. Thanks!

You can purchase my soaps from my etsy store here!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

Wow! I cannot believe it is 2013 already, where does the time go? This whole year has been a blur of hard work and great memories. I had the honour of attending 2 destination weddings, one in the Dominican Republic and the other in Mexico, I spent the summer running off for weekend getaways in the Cariboo, Whistler, Vernon, Kelowna and Cultas and I started my new business Liuwa in March. I moved to a great little apartment, quit a frustrating second job, and started doing yoga which left me feeling better than I've ever felt. 2012 was a great year, and I only have higher hopes for 2013. This is the year we plan to go back to Africa, which is all I've been thinking about lately. We plan to go in the fall, and by that time it will have been 3 1/2 years since our last trip there! That's unbelievable! (And equally as unacceptable, that is way too long of a gap!)
Anyway, moving on to my year in numbers! This was 2011:
Total bars of soap sold: 1047
Total bath bombs sold: 380
Total lip balms sold: 144
Total solid perfumes sold: 24
Total body butters sold: 13
And this is 2012!:
Total bars of soap sold: 721
Total bath bombs sold: 1110
Total lip balms sold: 164
Total solid perfumes sold: 58
Total body butters sold: 44 
Total roll on perfumes sold: 64
 In 2011 I had 75 sales on Etsy, and in 2012 I had 122. I'm totally happy with these numbers as I felt I was less dedicated to The Marula Tree Soap Co. this year, because I was so busy with Liuwa. Let's take a look at those numbers.
In the 9 months that Liuwa was operational in 2012 I sold 463 pairs of earrings, and had 150 sales on Etsy. I plan on expanding Liuwa in a serious way over the next few months, introducing a line of much higher end and original pieces, but that's top secret for now :)
As for The Marula Tree Soap Co., I'm going to be making some major changes to my product line over the next month, eliminating some and yes, raising some prices. After going over my year end totals, my overhead is way too much, and I need to create a strategic business plan to help bring down these numbers. More on that in the near future!
I hope everyone had a fabulous 2012, and has an even better 2013! I hope you've set goals for yourself and will spend the next 12 months striving to achieve them! What are mine? I'm keeping it simple this year; ... Health, Wealth and Adventure!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Flats!

Wow! To say things have been busy around here would be a huge understatement. Things have been nuts!! I think I've gone to the post office every day for the last 4 weeks. It's been amazing for my businesses though, with tons of new customers and a great new wholesale clients. We have definitely grown since Christmas 2011!
Amidst the craziness, I did find time to add to the earring line up with tons of new flats!
Champagne Glitter

Eggplant Purple

Snow White Glitter

Jade Green


Army Green

Black Cherry

Gold Glitter

Electric Blue

All of these new colours can be found at the shop here!
Okay, now all I want for Christmas is a hot bath, a big glass of wine and a solid night's sleep!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tara Davis Studio Boutique

Tara Davis is a wonderful client of mine that has 2 studio boutiques, one in Nelson, BC and the other in Winnipeg, MB. Both of her beautiful shops are currently selling my products! In the last week and a half, I have shipped hundreds of new items to her for the busy Christmas season.
If any of you are in those areas, I highly recommend you check out her boutiques! She also has jewelry available online too.
During the Christmas season, remember to think of handmade or locally sourced products for gifts. Etsy, craft markets and little boutiques (such as Tara's above) are full of wonderful, thoughtful gifts that you just can't get at the big department stores. They may cost more, but the quality and message behind them, are worth so much more, then all the mass made products imported from overseas. I know it can be tough at times, but whenever possible, try and support the little guys!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Mayan Riviera Wedding

Last Sunday we got back from a week long vacation in the Mayan Riviera for my sister's wedding. We had a great time! The weather was perfect, the resort was beautiful, the food was good and the good times and memories made were endless.
Here's a few shots from the big day!

I don't think my sister could have asked for a more perfect wedding day! Congrats to the happy couple!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Pains of Shipping

I've had to make an adjustment to my shipping procedures within Canada, so I thought I'd explain it here. Shipping within Canada has always been a cause of frustration and loss for me. Regardless of the weight of a package, the rate varies from $8 to $16 to ship across the country. A package sent to my own Postal Code would cost $7.90, and a package sent to Chatham, ON would cost $15.00. Because of this huge difference, I've been forced to change my shipping policy to a flat rate of $14.00.
Etsy only allows one rate PER country, so a customer from Vancouver, and a customer from Toronto would both pay my current rate of $7.25, plus $0.95 per each additional item. Right from the get go, I'm losing money. If the customer in Toronto chooses to buy 1 $5 soap, and pays $7.25 for shipping (a total of $12.75), it's going to cost me $15 to ship. Not only am I making zero dollars on the soap, and using up precious and costly shipping supplies, I'm also paying an additional $2-$3 to ship. Basically I'm paying for someone to buy something from me, which is just not an acceptable way to do business. Now luckily, most customers buy more than one item, but even still, the margins can be way too small.
Shipping to the US is a little more reasonable. The shipping is flat rate across the country (so a package to Maine and a package to Washington cost the exact same). The prices also rise with weight, which makes it easy to set, as the more items you buy, the more the rate goes up with each additional item. (I believe my current US rate is $5.90 plus $0.90 per additional item). The rate jumps up quite a bit, going from $5.97 to $8.35 to $12.80, and anything over 2lbs jumps to $18+. Although this is still not ideal, it is definitely better than shipping within Canada.
I feel that having a flat rate of $14 within Canada will hopefully encourage shoppers to buy more items. Maybe go in with a friend, or co-workers, and split the shipping. The only provinces that really ever come in under $14 is BC and Alberta, so in these cases, I will promptly refund the difference in shipping once I've dropped it off at the post office. I know this new policy will deter "small-time" buyers, just looking to try out 1 or 2 soaps, but at the end of the day, a sale I lose money on, doesn't help me grow my business.
Thanks for reading!
and P.S. - Blog post coming soon on my recent trip to Mexico for my sister's wedding!

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Leaves and Bikram Hot Yoga

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I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I wanted to make sure I had 3 months of classes completed, before rambling on like I know something.
Near the end of July, I decided it was time to make some changes in my life. We had recently moved into a condo in a great location, with a Bikram Yoga studio right across the street. With my self confidence and energy levels dwindling, I decided to give it a try.
Now as a side note, I tried a Bikram Hot Yoga class once before, about 4 1/2 years ago because I had a free class card. I spent 50% of the class on the floor, wondering if I was going to throw up or not, and I swore that I would never put myself through that 90 minutes of hell again. I even went as far as to judge everyone else in the room, wondering how they could voluntarily put themselves through that everyday - were they crazy?
For a little background on Bikram Yoga, this is the basic class set up: The room is heated to 41 degrees celsius, and is 90 minutes in duration. There's 1 instructor who does not do the postures with you, but guides you through the class. They say the only thing your supposed to do is breathe, and listen to their voice guiding you. (A sort of 90 minute active meditation). Throughout the class you do 26 postures, two times each, and begin and end the class with a breathing exercise. It is extremely difficult, with frequent dizzy spells, and the sweat rolls into your eyes and burns like hell. Not to mention the difficulty of the postures; every single one is meant to be uncomfortable, and every muscle in your body is being used, locked and contracted.
Now onto the benefits! (And there are many!) It's unbelievable the changes I've noticed in myself. First of all, the most common goal of exercise, the changes in my body. I have muscles that I didn't even know existed, and have noticed toning that I've never achieved in any other workout regime. My cardio has also improved, and I've never been this flexible. Next, my lifestyle; Adding 90 minutes of yoga to an already jam-packed day IS tough, but my newfound energy levels make it all worth it. Also, I sleep like a little baby at night, and that's not an exaggeration. My sleep just feels so much deeper, and I wake up feeling fully rested. My appetite has also changed, I go longer between meals, and don't crave things that are bad for me. And finally, I've noticed that I'm just much more calm in life; I worry less and go with the flow more. It really has just been a life changing decision, and I plan to stick with it. I call it my "new leaf", but it truly has been.
For anyone that has been interested in or has tried it in the past and gave it up, I strongly urge you to give it a shot! Don't judge it based on the first few classes, as they will feel impossible, but the progress you watch your body go through is amazing!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Product from Liuwa.... Rings!

I've been wanting to make rings for awhile now, and though I received all the supplies weeks ago, I finally just found time to really create them. I'm really happy with what I've come up with! I think they are simple and versatile, and I can't wait to see how they are received by my customers!
Here's a close up of each one:
Cool Mint

Off White

All 4 of these are now available in the shop here!