Well, we (happily) survived the onslaught of new customers earlier this month.
This increase in business has been a great eye-opener. Deb is still making the soap part time, and one concern she's always had is getting more orders than she can handle. This recent deluge of orders, and subsequent soap making to refill stock, were easy to keep up with, and still remain an enjoyable process. All concerns are alleviated.
Pretty soon we'll take our foot off the breaks and let the customer base grow. It's nice to know that the last 10 years of making and selling has given us the chance to practice and refine all aspects. Everything is running like a well oiled machine: ordering materials, making labels, packaging, shipping, and of course making the soap itself.
One major improvement over the last year has been the soap lab. A year ago I rebuilt the basement area where Deb makes the soap, and it's been an absolute dream for her ever since. I promised her I would make a blog post detailing the new lab soon.
Label printing has been a bit funky lately. I'm pretty frugal when it comes to printing. I print the labels out on a consumer level Brother color laser printer. Brother is a great company, but they're not immune to hardware issues.
The yellow toner cartridges always gives me the biggest headaches. Most recently I replaced it and now my labels are grayish. While I like to blame the new cartridge, I suspect it's the drivers and color management. The current drivers I have installed on my M1 Mac don't seem complete, lacking the option to configure color management. It's something I'll have to dig in and troubleshoot.
On the home front.
We found some amazing local honey and beeswax, which we've been using for both cooking and soap making (specifically the solid lotion and lip balm). There's nothing like fresh, local honey.
Speaking of cooking, I've been making a lot of bread recently. A few years ago we swore off all wheat, as it gave Deb major stomach issues, and my blood pressure was through the roof. After doing some research, we decided to try it again, this time only eating wheat foods we make ourselves, and using flour that doesn't contain a certain desiccant in the harvest process. Sure enough, neither of us have had any issues.
It's been over 15 years since I made bread from scratch, and to be honest, I wasn't all that good at it. At the time I quickly threw in the towel and bought a bread machine. It was ok, but the texture of the bread (especially the crust) was drab.
This time, thanks to numerous YouTube videos, I've been making much better bread from scratch. Pictured here are a pair of Turkish Pide bread. Not pictured here are some ciabatta rolls and some classic sourdough rustic breads I've made this month. They all taste better than anything we've gotten from a store, and no negative health affects.
Another personal victory was pizza. Growing up outside New Haven, I have an appreciation for the world famous regional pizza. That said, my favorite will always be Sicilian pizza, old fashioned pizza, and Greek pizza. I managed to make a hybrid between these. The edges were crisp and fried, with a light fluffy inside, and homemade sauce on the top.