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Modern Soapmaking's Highlights of the Year (2015)

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Every year, I dedicate December to reflecting on the year and planning the next year. It's been a year of growth, challenges, and changes for me and Modern Soapmaking.

As we wrap up 2015, Modern Soapmaking nears in on it's 2nd anniversary. When I set out to create Modern Soapmaking, I didn't really know what I wanted to do besides give back to the handmade soapmaking community that I have so dearly fallen in love with over the years.

In 2015, Modern Soapmaking saw an astounding 222,000 unique visitors, a huge jump from the 91,000 sets of eyeballs that perused the page of this website in 2014. Modern Soapmaking also saw a huge increase in global readership, reaching readers in over 140 countries!

I published over 75 articles here on Modern Soapmaking, writing a grand total of over 85,000 words. While I didn't accomplish my goal of two articles a week, I'm getting closer!

And it would be silly of me to not thank all the readers, contributors, and friends of Modern Soapmaking in making that possible. I especially want to thank Soap Queen, Indie Business NetworkCraftGossip, Lather Lass, Great Cakes Soapworks, The Nerdy Farmwife, and members of the Soapmaking Forum and Reddit for sharing Modern Soapmaking content throughout the year (among so many others!)

Awesome Stuff that Happened in 2015

While there were plenty of low points in 2015 for me and Modern Soapmaking, a lot of fabulous stuff happened, too! Here's a few highlights:

  • I taught my first (of many to come over the year) sold out bootcamp at The Nova Studio, and welcomed them as a retail partner of my ebooks. Lori, Cassie, and Ruth are some of my favorite peeps in this industry, and I'm glad that I got to work so closely with them this year.
  • I launched More Swatch Mania, a follow-up to the first Swatch Mania, which took me months to compile as manufacturers' discontinued and introduced colorants for soapmaking at record-breaking speeds this past year.
  • I embarked on Indie Cruise with Indie Business Network, which was a huge challenge for my anxiety, but was something I'm very happy to have done

  • I hosted Central Soapers Workshop for the very last time. I was honored to have some of my favorite people in attendance as both participants, sponsors, and speakers, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my last hosting of the annual conference for soapmakers in the midwest
  • My husband quit his job completely, fully, and one-hundred-percent to become a stay-at-home dad, which also marked the beginning of being able to work fulltime on Modern Soapmaking.
  • I hired the first regular guest contributor for Modern Soapmaking, welcoming Veronica to the content team. I look forward to growing this area of Modern Soapmaking in 2016!
  • My family and I moved to Arizona from Kansas, with all of our belongings downsized in a 5' x 8' trailer. We also bought a school bus to start a skoolie conversion project, and are currently (happily) living in 200 square feet!

 During the demolition phase of our school bus conversion project

  • We found out that we were expecting kidlet #4, who will be joining our family next month.
  • I was interviewed on the Consulting Pipeline Podcast (Episode #16), it felt great to be recognized by someone outside of the industry for my work and niche.
  • I was also interviewed on the Fresh Rag Podcast, created by a long-time friend & fellow maker mover & shaker, Dave Conrey. (The interview happened in Long Beach, too, and I had a brilliant time hanging out with Dave in person!)
  • I was featured/interviewed in the Brand Revolution Summit with Melody of Private Label Insider (and learned just how bad my mobile/location independent internet situation is these days!)
  • I spoke and/or taught in six states throughout 2015: Florida, New Jersey, California, Kansas, Missouri, & Arizona. I loooove to travel, and I love getting down to biz with soapmakers, so this was definitely a highlight of my year.

 Teaching at The Nova Studio in California

  • I completed FM2U, a newsletter project where I wrote weekly letters of success with advice, motivational insights, and reminders to hundreds of soapmakers for a year.
  • I opened up Modern Soapmaking's very tiny and private Facebook group up to the community as a whole. At the time of writing this, there are almost 2,000 soapmakers sharing and learning together about running a biz!
  • I launched Pricing Handmade Soap & Cosmetics for Profit, available exclusively in Next Level, one of many easy to use workbooks that will hit the virtual shelves over the next year. (I also discontinued my courses because I hate doing video and feel this approach is more available to the tribe as a whole!)
  • I completed the Blog Your Brand thirty day blog challenge hosted by Indie Business Network, and pushed myself to be more personal about entrepreneurship.
  • I released my class handouts from the classes I've taught throughout 2015 and beyond, with a few more to come.

Community Favorites: Ten Picks from the Tribe (& Myself!)

These ten articles were published this year, and chosen as community favorites by members of my fabulous Facebook group full of biz owners. I also added a few of my own personal favorites:

"Controlling Trace in Cold Process Soapmaking (Without Letting it Control You!) was so valuable. Yay less sick blender and more mixing by hand." - Lina of Bathe in Grace

"Statistically Speaking: How 30 Days of Blogging Changed My Website Traffic reminded me how much blogging can really increase traffic." - Jessica of Clean Line Soap Company

"How to Know When You Are Ready to Start a Soap Company of Your Own saved me from jumping in too quickly with my re-brand and helped me establish a more professional, realistic timeline. That was my favorite "check yourself before you wreck yourself" blog post." - Ally of Shenanigan Soaps

Create Your Own Essential Oil Blends for Soapmaking shared exactly how I create fragrance and essential oil blends (even those in my 50 EO Blends compilation) to add unique aromas to bath and body products.

Why No One is Too Small to Follow the Labeling Rules & Cosmetics Regulations got up close and personal with a soapmaker who has found herself in the midst of FDA inspections, while so many soapmakers claim that our industry is too small for them to worry about. - Liz of Willendorf Soapworks says this was hands down her favorite article of the year.

The Most Popular Fatty Acid Profiles in Soapmaking expanded on the previous "best soap recipe ever" article, and shared how soapmakers soap by the numbers with input directly from the community.

The Essential Guide to Shipping Handmade Soap, Cosmetics, & Other Bath Goodies gave a huge rundown on how to create efficient shipping practices for a handmade soap company and shared a massive supplier resource list.

5 Social Media Mistakes Soapmakers Are Making (And How to Fix Them) delivered massive social media marketing tips, that went a little deeper than most social media articles do. - Tosha of Aroma Rebel Bath & Botanical chose this as her favorite article to hit the blog this year!

Being a Mompreneur: Why You Can’t Do It All (& How to Do What You Can) got down and dirty with the reality of being a mompreneur (or dadpreneur), and the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. It's rare I get this personal, but one small step at a time... - selected as a tribe favorite by Carrie of AnnMarie Designs

Using Essential Oils Safely When Formulating Bath and Body Products unleashed my inner safety nerd and talked about all the safety precautions you should be using when handling and storing essential oils. - added to the list of favorites by Janene of Ja Nene Natural Body Products

Traffic Dominators: Top Ten Most Viewed Posts in 2015

This top ten features the most viewed articles on Modern Soapmaking throughout 2015, which means lots of eyeballs on these articles made them favorite resources for lots and lots of soapmakers. A good chunk of them were published in 2014, which just goes to show how far delicious content can go!

  1. The Secret to the Absolutely Best Soap Recipe
  2. Tutorial: Lemongrass & Coconut Milk Soap Recipe
  3. Knowing the Real Cost of Your Handmade Soap
  4. Tutorial: Luxury Argan & Creamy Avocado Soap Recipe
  5. Join Jo & Her Botanical Love: Coloring Soap Naturally
  6. Tutorial: Stamping Soap with a Custom Soap Stamp from LaserCutz
  7. Tutorial: The Best Wet Shaving Soap Recipe
  8. 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Soap Company
  9. Lather Lovers: Additive Testing
  10. Tutorial: French Pink Clay & Silk Soap with Hearts

Social Lovin': Top Ten Most Shared Posts in 2015

And not to let social media pass me up, these ten articles enjoyed lots of clicks, shares, likes, hearts, and more on social media networks this year. High five if you shared one of these bad boys on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!

  1. Tutorial: Rainbow Elemental Swirl/Double In-The-Pot-Swirl Soap
  2. Tutorial: All Natural Cucumber And Yogurt Soap
  3. Tutorial: The Best Wet Shaving Soap Recipe
  4. Join Jo & Her Botanical Love: Coloring Soap Naturally
  5. Join Jo: Using Natural Colorants in Soap with Your Lye Solution
  6. Tutorial: Modified Hanger Swirl Rainbow Soap with Activated Charcoal (ISC)
  7. Tutorial: Brilliant Plumeria Soap (In-The-Pot Swirl Using an Accelerating Fragrance)
  8. Tutorial: Goat's Milk, Honey and Avocado Oil Soap
  9. Tutorial: Rainbow Ombré Soap with Bramble Berry's LabColors
  10. Calculating Your Essential Oil Usage Rate in Soapmaking (& Following IFRA Standards)

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