Author Archives: Kylee

Breaking the Mold

The other day I was watching YouTube videos (which is what you do when you haven’t owned a television in forever) and up pops the following commercial from Ivory soap:


Here is Ivory Soap, owned and manufactured by Procter & Gamble, a Fortune 500 multinational corporation that made $82.6 BILLION in sales this year,coming after me and my fellow soap makers. A company known as one of the most admired brands in the world is saying what I make isn’t soap — evidently because it isn’t white and in the shape of a rectangle. This is news to me…So you can imagine my surprise at this “Galactic Empire” of a company coming after a rebel like myself. I mean, have my fellow soap makers and I suddenly become a threat to a company that has sales of more than $80 Billion a year?The reason this hits me so hard is because I don’t look like a “business owner” or even a “responsible parent”. I have been bound, gagged and tied down by stereotypes. By people, banks and schools telling ME I can’t be what I have worked my ass off to be because of the way I look, because I don’t fit the mold. Cuss yes I’m covered in tattoos and I drive a giant flaming van AND I own a hugely successful business. YES, I was a teen parent and I let mychildren read comics before they even touch homework AND they are years ahead of their peers in educational development. The fact the my hair might be neon pink, my pants neon green, or that there is a giant Star Trek insignia tattoo on my neck, has not one single thing to do with it.Since when do we have to squeeze ourselves into a simple, plain, mold to be something? Since when did our shape, size or color define what we were? If a GIANT billion dollar company can dictate what a product is by what it looks like…really, where is the limit? *insert my extreme paranoia here*

There are tons of things around the house, where instead of forking over money to some corporation trying to stuff you into a box, you could buy those goods from crafters, artisans, and small business owners who have love and passion for what they do and who are responsive to their customers. And for those things that can’t be handmade, maybe think of buying something used and fixing it up or simply upcycling! I recently bought an awesome cowly scarf, handmade by my friend Marissa, instead of buying new shirts for winter. Bonus points for upcycling my summer tank-tops and for supporting another crafter!

I’m not saying never buy anything from a big corporation, but we should all try and keep in our minds the idea that going to a big box store and buying something from a large corporation is only one of our options and when possible we should try and look at some of the others.


Meanwhile, Ivory Soap (and by extension Proctor & Gamble) — you keep doing what you do and I’ll keep doing what I do. I pour as much love and passion into my soap as they can hold, and my customers return it all back to me ten-fold. I’m pretty sure no one loves your soap like they love mine. And the icing on the cake? (mmmm…cake!) The whole reason I got into soap making was that the likes of you couldn’t make a soap that didn’t make my son break out into horrible, bleeding rashes. YOU created the need for people like me to step in and make quality products that people not only enjoyed using, but could feel good about.Everyone, go out and break the mold today.♥

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Dear Anonymous Jessie

I recently had this comment anonymously left in my blog and I thought I would do this “Jessie” a favor and give a real reply. If ANY of you ever have questions about my products, please please please feel free to ask away! I stand by what I make. I have no reason to hide anything that I do.

I am so very sorry if I have given anyone the impression that I have mislead them.

On a personal note, I 110% respect the viewpoints of EVERYONE. I may not agree with them, I may not believe the same things you do, but I still respect the fact that they are YOUR choices and ideas. All I ask it that we all try to be polite and respectful. If you are going to slander a person or company, at least have the guts to not be an anon about it. I mean really, how strong are your convictions if you can’t even admit they are yours?

Anonymous said…

“complete open door policy”

Regarding that, I just received my first shipment from you in the past month and noticed a card that says you are “green” and environmentally friendly but then i went to follow you on twitter. To my surprise you eat meat, which even “grassfed” cows are still the worst thing you can do for the environment. You can’t be a environmentalist and a meat eater according to the UN. So I just found that a bit misleading. Maybe you are only referring to your products but it’s not clear.

However, I noticed most of your soaps contain palm oil, which is horrible for the environment and locals health as well. I know how great “labels” can be to make profits but in all honesty it’s not fair to mislead the consumer who may not be aware of the damage such ingredients cause.

Also as a fellow Etsy craft maker, it concerns me that you use trademark logos for your soaps which is not legal or fair. Not only to the companies that created that art but to other members who are trying to make an honest living.

Thanks for reading. Hope you consider these issues in the future.

-Jessie
October 22, 2011 1:02 PM

Dear Anon Jessie,

Yes, the open door policy is for real! You raised several points, so I’ll do my best to address them one by one.First – unless you’re a vegetarian who is eating only vegetables you’ve grown yourself on a solar-powered farm, with crops fertilized by the wastes from your own animals (and thus subject to bio-contamination), you’re carbon footprint is likely almost as large as any meat-eaters — and if you like your seasonal items like oranges or avocados year-round, it might even be bigger. Yes, I know meat is a resource intensive source of nutrition, but if you’re eating vegetables grown in the Big Agri US-style farming environment or even worse – US-style agricultural products grown abroad and shipped here, that’s pretty resource intensive as well — petroleum products play a huge role in everything from transportation and harvesting fuel to fertilizer and power for irrigation, and huge monoculture farms require more irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. So the issue, from an environmentalist’s standpoint, about beef=bad, vegetables=good is not really so clear-cut as you put forward. From an ethical standpoint, I do believe animals should suffer as little harm as possible and there is a lot of room for improvement in this area. I would also point out though that while humans can survive on vegetables alone, we evolved to be omnivores, and while you may disagree with my choice to eat meat, I believe that doing so in moderation is responsible from a nutritional, ethical, and environmental standpoint.

Secondly – regarding palm oil. Yes, many palm oil harvesting operations have very bad direct and indirect consequences for the environment. However, in and of itself, palm oil is a great natural product that requires much less chemical- / energy-intensive processing than other types of oil, say soy for example. As a responsible environmentalist, you have to go beyond scanning headlines and do the detailed research necessary to understand the effects your choices have — not just at a single point, but through a product’s entire production, use, and disposal cycle. In this case, I purchase palm oil that is not only certified organic, but certified to have been responsibly and sustainably grown. I spend more money on these base ingredients and yet have to keep my prices competitive, so if profits were truly my driving force, I wouldn’t go through this charade. I’d just buy the cheap stuff and charge the same price as my competitors and I’d be earning more money immediately.

Which makes a great transition to be able to talk about something that I believe is at the core of my business: integrity. I didn’t start making soap because I wanted to make money, I started because my son needed something pure enough that his very sensitive skin wouldn’t over-react to it. And I continue to make soap because it’s something I have a passion for — from the ingredients I put into the soap, to the care and attention that goes into crafting my own molds and making my soap, to how I advertise and sell it — it all comes down to integrity. And I think, compared with many other crafters, that integrity can be seen in every single product I make. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been presented with a choice pitting integrity against profit — I ALWAYS choose integrity.

Lastly, I feel I must take exception to your phrasing “to other members who are trying to make an honest living” — I’m happy to explain my choices regarding the environmental impact of my products, after all I have links on every product page of my site which answer the questions you presented, and I still took the time to reply. But when you imply that *I* am making a dishonest living, I believe that crosses a line. However, I will tell you that you seem to be laboring under a seriously mistaken viewpoint regarding intellectual property, what exactly a trademark is, and what the concept of “fair use” provides for. None of the stuff I reference in my soap is really “trademarked” per se. People always get confused about this. There are intellectual property rights involved, but within the confines of the law, there is fair use and my products are always truthfully presented as the interpretations of a huge fan that in no way presents a threat to the rights of the owners of the intellectual property rights. I have been bullied into no longer selling some products by companies that have more time, money, and lawyers than I do, but I would not sell ANY product that was not honestly represented as what it really is and that I had the right to make.

Thank you for your comments and I hope you feel that I have given them the time and attention they deserved. My door remains open to you and anyone else who has questions and I wish you the best of luck making a living, honest or otherwise, as a crafter. I’ve been doing it for more than six years and have been blessed with opportunities, but I understand it can be a very difficult business for some who aren’t suited to its demands.

♥ Kylee

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It doesn’t have to hurt.

First. I am posting NO links to the asshat who bashed con goers, or to ‘the magazine’. I know how unique visits work. So if you have NO idea what I am talking about,consider yourself lucky and carry on…Oh! look! A kitty!

For the rest of you, you know what I am talking about. I first heard about the travesty via Totalfangirl.com.

My gut response was this (as commented on @NicoleWakelin blog)

Number one reason why I have raised my kids to not be assholes…We are literally that family totally lost in a different world. Every weekend our home becomes the Enterprise, a TARDIS…the Death Star.My children even choose to sleep in cots because it fits better with where their imaginations are taking them that night. The beginning of every movie starts with us shouting “ENGAGE!” and my kids are more concerned with costume details over what they are wearing to school…

With all of THAT being said, my kids get picked on A LOT. I do not teach them to ignore it. I teach them about empathy. Feeling sad for the ignorant children at school who don’t have parents who love them enough to dress in character or explain homework in the voice of a Dalek.

WE give people the power to hurt us. Whoever wrote this article is a very sad and shallow person and personally, I don’t feel hurt by the article, and as a culture I don’t think any of us should. I am proud that those REAL con costumers are on our team.

(End my awesome response)

I thought Nicole articulated the situation very well. After a lot of searching on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and general Google searches, I started to feel sad. Not because of the article in question, but because of how WE are responding.

After reading outrages all over the internet, I honestly have to sit back and ask myself “Why?” WHY are we still letting these people hurt us? WHY are we still willing to lower ourselves to their level? WHY are we having internet tantrums, instead of saying “Fuck it. I am going to dress as Batman today in honor of the fact the I AM AN ADULT and can do such things if I want.”

I know it hurts. Been there, done that…But WHY, as a united group of intelligent, overweight, underweight, inside-out weight, beautiful faces, are we STILL letting it hurt us?

You can not make everyone think like us. That is part of what makes us unique. Don’t waste your time bashing some ass who has no idea what he is talking about. Celebrate who you are. Some of those people in the photos genuinely were overweight/underweight. You are too. So am I. It got pointed out…The end and clearly proving the intelligence level and originality of the writer.

Instead of giving MORE attention to the magazine, bust out your con photos and get to writing about the freaking awesome people you see at these conventions! Write a blog about how to craft costumes. Write a blog about how liberated you are by the fact you buy groceries in a Star Fleet uniform (*cough*). Litter our geek propaganda all over the place! Convert the youth! TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!

Just do so in a polite and respectful fashion. We knew from the beginning it wasn’t going to be our shiny six packs that made us powerful, but our brains and unlimited trivia knowledge.

Now. For your enjoyment and for actually getting all the way through my rantish blog, this is how I am making the world a better place.

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Where’s My Salon Size?!

I am sad to “officially” announce that 16oz Salon Size bottles of Hemp Satin Shampoo and Crème Conditioner have been discontinued. *Sad face* Let me tell you why…

Our primary supplier for organic, raw materials has raised their prices. Rather than pass the monetary increase on to my customers, or purchase lower priced, questionable materials, the difference is made up by dropping the larger sized bottles. HOW does removing a product that sells so well help save money?? Let us do some math…

8 ounce bottles cost $8.99 while 16ounce was only $14.95…saving you $3.03 when the larger size is purchased. I can only make 32 ounces of product at a time. Only2 of the 16 ounce bottle or 4 of the 8 ounce. 16 ounce bottles actually cost me more time and product to make. Add to that, having to purchase the additional bottles in the larger size, with additional shipping charges and salon bottles required a separate sized shipping box, along with larger product labels…

So my options were to increase both sizes $4.00 OR drop the larger bottle. It felt fair to not increase prices but drop, yes, one of my best selling products in an effort to keep my prices steady for you.

I have gotten many many many emails and at Luxury Lane Soap there is a complete open door policy. You have a direct line to me all of the time, over multiple mediums and I am so happy so many of you contacted me with questions. Not a single one of you was demanding or rude and I am glad to be in such excellent company.

I hope that answers everyone’s questions. Email me if it didn’t and I am happy to post edits here.

Side note…My days have been starting around 5am and ending around 11pm. I have a serious sleepy right now so I apologize for the my lack of kylee pep in this post…

♥Kylee

*Edited to add questions received…

Will you be dropping hair care scents to save money?

Fragrance options will NOT be shrinking and if there are any changes it will be to expand the scents available to you. I make my items fresh so it is never a problem switching up fragrances. If you don’t see an old favorite, I am happy to make it for you. I have around 300 fragrances right now so no additional materials are required.

Will trial size bottles ever be available?

I have been promising this for months and I have finally found decently priced 1 ounce bottles! These will be limited edition until the bottles run out and then I will start looking for bottles again. Custom scents will not be offered at this size, sorry.

How about a solid shampoo?

Honestly, I have never made one that I personally liked. My hair is longer than mid-back length and it is dang near impossible for ME to use a solid. >.< I am happy to begin working on one again, in a limited run, if you promise to give me feedback. 😀

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Ring

In regards to my last blog post I randomly put up forever ago…I am working on a massive discount weekend. That is what I was talking about announcing. I use Bigcartel for LuxuryLaneSoap.com and they developed the most kick butt coupon code system and I will be doing testing for what types of codes you all want. However, I am behind on that promotion at the moment as we get our Fall/Winter Limited Edition products up on the site. HOW IS IT ALMOST OCTOBER?! Bah!!

Making tons of candles today and experimenting with super low pouring temps. My place smells like an insane mixture of pumpkin, cinnamon and cake…YUUUUM! I always tend to focus on food smells in Fall. Now you know.

Local customers: I have been getting a huge amount of requests for mail order brochures and we finally have them complete and printed! There currently are three of them:

  • Best Sellers! Luxury Body Care
  • Fall/Winter Home Fragrance
  • Holiday 2011

We are doing free delivery within Sheldon and Primghar, IA right now to get a feel for how this is going to work. If demand is as high as we are anticipating, we will be looking into buying a store front come summer 2012. Yay!!

I think that is about it for today…

I actually jumped on the blog to talk about how my phone phobia is making work extremely difficult…but business updates came out instead. Go figure.

LOVES!
-Kylee

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I fail at blogging.

…and that is why I am one of the very last people with a blogger account…Eventually we are shuffling ourselves over to WordPress, but just like blogging itself, I doubt it will be anytime soon.

I was looking at some blogging stats and there are hundreds of people poking around in this blog daily. (Hi! *waves*) It hit me, I should probably add some content/updates/product info for you mighty fine blog readers to go crazy with! Woo! Party time!

Yeah…I’ve got nothing and need sleep. However, I do actually have a pretty awesome announcement tomorrow that, hopefully, will make you love me more. ♥
-Kylee

(This was me attempting to just sit down and freestyle blog, whatever that means…)

 

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What do you want?

“Create a WANT list by adding any item from anywhere on the web and have your friends and family contribute to it!” -The WANT List

Yesterday I was contacted by Greg Links (Vice President of Sales for shareabill.com) and I was introduced to the WANT button…You can check it out in detail over HERE.

After reading every possible thing I could find AND asking Mr. Links a few very blunt questions about what this is really all about, I have got to say, I am impressed. I am very cynical when it comes to anything involving a company pushing a product or service…so it is rare I am genuinely impressed.

I had issues coding the button into my site, I was helped right away. I asked questions and I got good answers. To the point and without a bunch of self fluff. Helpful and honest. +10 for Greg Links.

Anyway. Now this button is integrated into LuxuryLaneSoap.com and I want to know what YOU think. Social shopping and networking and media and marketing…it seems like there is a “button” for everything. Do product pages look to bloated? Do you think a want button is even useful? I do see great potential for this program when it comes to wedding/baby/holiday/birthday wish lists…

You can visit any product page on my website and you will see the “Want” button directly under the “Add To Cart” button. You can also see the “want” button in action over on Sharperimage.com.

So I call on you, my friends and customers overflowing with awesome…what do you think?

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