Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Brewer For A Day" At The Foxhole Brewhouse

I had a wonderful time this morning being a 'brewer for a day' at the Foxhole Brewhouse in Willmar, MN.   I learned so much!  Ryan was an excellent teacher and showed me exactly how the beer making process works.  There were a lot of similarities to soap and cosmetic making, which helped me understand the process better.

You can see pictures of my adventures here "Brewer For A Day"

Similarities between soap making a beer making: Getting the temperature just right, making sure everything is clean and sterilized,  making sure everything is properly mixed together, weighing and carefully measuring ingredients, creating a well balanced recipe, waiting for your product to "cure" or get ready to sell.

It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to try the Galaxy Pale Ale that I watched Ryan make this morning!

This afternoon I'm taking a batch of foaming beer soap to the brewery in Annandale, MN - Spilled Grain Brewhouse.  Two weeks ago I picked up some of their Barnwood Bitter when I was in Annandale for a craft show.  I made foaming beer soap using this beer and scented it with sweet orange.  It smells fabulous!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Two Years!

July 27th was a big anniversary for Kiyi Kiyi!  Two years ago I sold my soap for the very first time at the local Farmer's Market. 
I can't believe it has been 2 YEARS!  To be honest, it feels like a lot more time has passed.  We've packed a lot of changes into 2 years.  
In 2 years Kiyi Kiyi has gone from a few soaps sold at the Farmer's Market to a full line of products shipped daily to every state in the US and also sold by more than 10 independent retailers in 4 different states.

How did we get here?
I have no idea!

Honestly, I make things that I love and share them with other people.  It's pretty simple.  

How will we keep up Kiyi Kiyi's momentum?

1 - Be competitive.  It's ok it be competitive!  It keeps you sharp.  
2- Be a quitter.  If something is not working.  Stop doing it.  
3 - Be thankful.  Tell your customers that you appreciate them.  They don't know it unless you tell them.
4 - Be yourself.  Other people's opinions are great, but you know what your business needs - not other people, so also don't be a copycat.
5 - Be honest.  When you make a mistake - apologize.  "I'm sorry" are some of the strongest words you will say.  

I never set out to be a business owner or entrepreneur, but it has been fun to learn along the way.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Just A Seed: The Life of A Poppy

The life of a poppy seed is short, but very beautiful!

The poppy flower bud.  Little does it know the long journey it is about to embark on!  From bud to flower to pod to seed and FINALLY to our shower.

Poppy flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink!  They can be either double (as in the picture) or single.  I'm not really a fan of the single poppies.  Why would you want a single row of petals when you could have this gorgeous beauty?
Sadly, poppy flowers don't last very long.  So enjoy them while they last! 

After the petals fade and fall the poppy pod stands tall and proud.  The poppy's pod has an important job.  It protects the precious seeds and allows them to fully mature and dry in the safety of its circular shell.  The green pods contain seeds that are not dry.  The green pods are very difficult to open, but once the pods dry to the correct point, little 'doors' at the top of the pod open and the seeds can escape.  A light breeze or a passing human will stir the pods and they scatter their seeds in all directions.  Sometimes the seeds will travel several dozen feet away from the original pod.  The pods act as tiny catapults! 

Each beautifully designed poppy pod holds hundreds of tiny seeds.
These seeds can be collected and planted next year or they can be used in a variety of interesting items, including soap!

The finally step in the life of our poppy seeds: Lemon Poppy Seed soap colored with natural safflower powder.  These little poppy seeds have traveled from bud to flower to pod to seeds and now will work as powerhouse exfoliaters to get our skin smooth.  

In life,
we can only hope to be as beautiful or as useful as the humble poppy seed.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Reaching Your Goals

November 2014 - Nearing our goal!

Last fall (2014) I noticed that we were getting very close to our goal of shipping to every US state.  We only had a few states left!  I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook.  Within a couple of hours my amazing customers had shared the post and we had orders from 3 of the remaining states.  
I was so excited and happy to color in 3 more states!  

It was wonderful to know that we were getting closer and closer to reaching our goal, but even MORE surprising was knowing that we had the support of our customers!  I was blown away - they cared about my little goal for my tiny business.    

March 2015 - one state left - Iowa

By March 2015 we had ONE state left.  Iowa was the last hold out to try Kiyi Kiyi products.  I had to laugh, because out of all the states the last state was one of our closest neighbor states!  
We still had a few months to our 2 year anniversary, but I was resigned about not reaching our goal. 

At the beginning of April we attended the HAMMS (Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed) event.  At that event we told many, many customers about our goal of shipping to every US state and that we were ONE state short of our goal.  Near the end of the event we met an amazingly kind customer that chose to help us reach our goal.  She asked if she could buy a soap for a friend that lived in Iowa and have us ship it to her friend.  Would that help us reach our goal?
Yes!  With her help we would reach our goal of shipping to every state!

How unusual is it to find a stranger that will go the extra mile and help you reach a goal?  
Through my small business I have discovered that it isn't that unusual.  People want to care about other people, but we don't get many opportunities in our daily life to show that we care.  

If you have a small business, whether you realize it or not, you rely on the kindness of strangers.  Customers are people that have chosen to invest their dollars and time in your business.  They choose to try your products and invest time in your business by sharing their experiences with their friends.  

I love my customers and without them I wouldn't have a business!  
Thank you to each and every one of you kind strangers friends that helped us reach our goal.  We couldn't have done it without YOU!    

April 2015 - We've shipped Kiyi Kiyi products to EVERY US state!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Morning Edition Coffee Soap

One of my favorite soaps!  Morning Edition Coffee Soap was originally created for our Soap of the Month Club members in Sept. 2014, but it is such a fabulous soap that we moved it to our permanent year-round soap line.  It's THAT good!  

I designed the soap recipe to provide a thick dense lather that is incredibly cleansing (a favorite of mechanics with greasy hands), but also SUPER moisturizing.  Morning Edition can be used as a shampoo bar, general body bar and also for shaving!  That dense lather is perfect for straight razor shaving.    

Morning Edition contains finely ground coffee beans for exfoliation and jojoba beads to moisturize skin.  It's a pretty soap too!

I named this soap after one of my favorite Minnesota Public Radio shows: Morning Edition.  With a blend of coffee extract and mint essential oil this soap will wake you up and get you ready to start the day!

The last time I made Morning Edition I had a little left over and I made a loaf shaped soap too.  Yum!  I wanted to eat it!  Smells sooo good!
To find Morning Edition soap is our Etsy Shop -

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snow Soap Video

New!  A video all about our Minnesota snow soap and a sneak peak at the first 2015 soap of the month!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Woodchipper Soap

Today I'm showing off one of my favorite soaps: Woodchipper!

It's made with beer from the Fargo Brewing Company.  They have a beer called Woodchipper.  
When I was designing this soap I though about the movie Fargo, woodchippers and the delicious scent of the Woodchipper beer.
It smells like pine and grapefruit!

So I made soap "woodchips" from a soap that included rhubarb root.  The rhubarb root lends a slightly pinky red color where it touches the white layer.  Anyone seen the movie Fargo??  Yeah, that's what I was going for ;)

I used black spruce essential oil and grapefruit essential oil to scent this soap. 
Wow!  It smells SO good!  Yum, yum!

The combination of the sugars in the beer and the olive oil in my vegan recipe creates HUGE bubbles in the shower or bath.

I love this soap!

You can find Woodchipper in our Etsy store here: Woodchipper Soap

Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Show of 2014

Wow!  What a year!  
So many exciting things happened this year that I feel like it should really be 2 years, or at least much more than only 365 days.  There's no way for me to pack the entire year into one post, but I would like to share a few pictures from my last show of the year.  This was at the Women's Art Festival in Minneapolis on Sat.

As usual, my Mom and I had a blast together!  
At 4 am when we were driving into the cities (in a thick blanket of fog) I was contemplating making this my last show ever.  But my Mom talked me out of it.  It's a lot of fun for us to spend 8 hours of uninterrupted time together.  When and where else do you get to do that?!  
So I will be applying to shows for 2015.
Maybe not quite as many shows....but we'll see what happens in 2015.  Last year I never would have guessed the leaps and bounds that my little business would make one year, so you just never know what will happen!

With every show that I did this year, I felt more prepared and it was less work and more fun.
At this last show, I added little toothpick signs to each of the soaps.  The signs helped customers to see at a (quick) glance which soaps were made with Minnesota goat milk, MN beer or vegan.  We still explained the products to the customers, but this way, if we were helping a customer, people could still shop and have some idea of which type of soaps they were looking at.

I need to remember that not everyone can look at a bar of soap and know what I put into it!  I made them all, so that's why I know each of them - like they were my babies! 

This is the first time (this year) that we brought the shelving unit to a show.  This little shelf has been hanging out in storage since 2013 when I used it at the farmer's market.  I stopped using it there, because of the wind and its propensity for tipping over!  
It was AMAZING at the show on Sat.  Worked great!  People could see all the lotions and easily access them.  My Mom loves to talk about the lotions, so she was able to stand behind the little shelf and answer any questions or offer lotion samples to anyone walking by.  
I sold out of almost all of my lotion!  I brought home a lot of empty boxes. Yay!
One of our best sales 'tricks' for the lotion is to offer a sample and tell the customer to walk around the show.  We tell them if they walk around and they think the lotion feels good, then they should come back.  Almost 100% come back to buy and they bring their friends.  Of the percentage that don't come back, some of them will message me the day after the sale and ask where they can get that wonderful lotion!  LOL!  
I really like the lotion recipe that I have created, so of course I'm a fan of my lotion, but it sure is fun to see that other people like it too :)

This year I made over 100 different type of soap.  This meant that at all the shows I did this year, I was able to bring a few new soaps to every show.  I think it's important to always be developing something new.  Not only for the customer, but I do it for myself too.  I didn't start making soap to be UN-creative.  I want to BE creative and have fun.  If I just make the same thing over and over again, I will very quickly lose my joy and interest in my products.  If you don't love your own products, how can you expect other people to love them?
So I make crazy soaps and stay happy!

This is our booth after the show.  Clean up time!

Thank you to all of the wonderful people I have met this year through my little business!!!
All my fun customers!
And all the amazing other crafts people!
Thank you for a perfect year!  
Can't wait to see what happens in 2015!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring and also the international day of happiness.  I wanted to show you my newest soap, because it is making me happy :)  and also it looks like Spring!

I bought 2 new molds that I love!  
I had to wait a long, long time for them, but it was totally worth it!

These soaps will be part of a luxury line that I'm releasing for spring.  It's not actually spring here LOL!  They are forecasting more snow for tomorrow :(  For me Spring is May.  These soaps will be ready around the middle of April, so that will be perfect!

They are made with grape seed oil, avocado oil and cocoa butter.  I love to use cocoa butter in the spring.  I'm not sure why??  Maybe it's the yummy scent - mmm raw cocoa butter smells SO good.  Sometimes I just want to eat a piece!

They are scented with strawberry, kiwi, apple blossoms and a blend of berries.  It's a really nice soft and gentle scent - perfect for spring!

And I made a video!  You can find out the secret of the pretty rose mold ;)  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Soap Making Video! Punked Sugar

I made a soap making video!  I thought it would be fun to make a video of one of my new spring soaps - Punked Sugar.  I used colors that I thought looked like punk neon colors.

It's been a week since I made them and they are already turning black, instead of the forest green weird color (you will see in the video).  Chemistry is amazing!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Food In Soap

I was going to title this post Food In Soap: A Journey, but I thought that was a little too serious :P

If you have read this blog before, you know I love food and I love making soap, so it's not a big jump to putting food IN soap.  There are many reasons to put food in soap, antioxidants, minerals and skin soothing or smoothing or purifying.  I put food in soap, because #1 it is fun and #2 it's a challenge. 

So here are all some of the soaps I have made with food ingredients.  These are only the recent ones, because I got tired of looking for pictures. 

Pureed Organic Banana

Fresh crushed gooseberries.  These gooseberries were from the bush I planted in my yard a few years back.  I can't wait to try currant soap with some of my currants this summer.

Honey, propolis, bee pollen.

Crushed frozen lingonberries. 

MN goat milk.  I make a lot of goat milk soaps - not that unusual, but I included it anyway :)

Beer.  Also, not that unusual.

Dried, crush kumquats.  I LOVE kumquats.  

Dried, crushed dandelions.  Some people eat dandelion salad, so I thought this one could count as a food ingredient ;)

Pureed Organic Cucumber.

Black tea and goat milk.

Fresh pureed avocado.

Organic carrots.  These carrots were from my Dad's garden and they must have had EXTRA beta carotene, because they made the soap very yellowy-orange. 

Hemp Milk & Beer

Venison tallow and sunflower oil.

Coconut Milk and ground Jasmine Rice.


Almond Milk.

Organic Egg Whites.

Chamomile and Oatmeal.

More Organic Carrots.

Cow's Butter. 

Organic Pumpkin.

Coffee (espresso) & oatmeal.

Hard Cider.

Rhubarb leaves and stem.

Rhubarb root infusion.

Want to try a food soap?  You can find my little shop here Kiyi Kiyi