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!