The Lane Lab

The official #TheLaneLab #LuxuryLaneSoap #SoapBus blog with notes from the hub of my corporate empire. Stay up to date with our continually evolving brands.

What’s happening at Luxury Lane Soap?

For the last couple of months things like blog posts, product development, hanging out and hugging has been sporadic and minimal…How come?

The house I wrote about back in October of last year? (What happened with house hunting) We cussing signed on that baby this week!! After months and months of trying to see if we could even afford a new location for our family and the business…our signatures are finally down on that magical piece of paper they call a contract.

After looking and looking for a building for Luxury Lane Soap and a separate house for us and the kids, we stumbled across a property that will combine both!! A historical mansion built in 1917…Yeah. I just said that. While searching and searching the internet for historical information on this house, we crossed this listing: Fairhill

The listing in the link above is pretty old and it isn’t even linked from the original realtor’s site, but you get a pretty good idea. The square footage listed is wrong and doesn’t include the 990 square foot ballroom on the third floor or full basement. (YES! BALLROOM! W/ original bandstand!) That is the new Luxury Lane Soap location! A full floor to create and grow the business! FINALLY! For the last year, since Soap in Carbonite went viral, we have converted our current kitchen and dinning room into a production and shipping facility. We haven’t even been able to sit down at a table together, as a family, since last summer…

We have worked so hard for this and it is finally happening, for reals! We still have thirteen more weeks until our possession date and we are in the process of selling our current home (2 story, three bedroom, 1.5 bath…interested?) So we have a crazy few months ahead of us for sure…

Unfortunately, this also means I am going to have to cut my convention tour short. I will be at StarFest this year and either GenCon or DragonCon. Though my prime goal for Fall this year is to get over to Indy to see the new Karpiuk baby! *SO EXCITED* However, I will not be joining everyone for SDCC this year. This is where I met so many of you, and having gone a full year as a friends “IRL,” I really wanted to be able to connect again this summer. ANY and ALL of you are more than welcome to hop over here and help us move in June, if you’d like. 😀 SLUMBER PARTAY!

And for the mushy part, your favorite part… Honestly, THIS could not have happened for us without you guys. I can not even begin to express what that means to me. You all helped Luxury Lane Soap take over the internet. Really. I can’t even put it into words proper like. This
is what we do for a living, we make soap. From product conception (heehee) to development to debut, you all support what we do from start to finish.

Thank you.

Our first step is to get marketing ramped up which means I will be posting more product links and generally keeping my twitter stream business related. (But not totally *wink*) I need as much help as possible these next few months spreading the word of Luxury Lane Soap! Without convention income, we will be solely depending on online sales.

Also!! I wanted to ask all of you who have tweeted pictures of your orders, if you could be mega awesome and start getting them on the Luxury Lane Soap FB page either directly, emailing them to me or by tagging us in them. I am going to move some over that I have and if they are ones you took, please feel free to tag yourself in them!! ♥

So yes. New house, business expansion and I love you. THIS BIG! Really. I will keep everyone updated on our progress with the house as much as possible. On a personal level and business level, you are all a huge part of this and I send out mega squeezes.Back of the house

Two Story Cottage
Inside!

Coming clean on the Alliance Soap Bar!

More and more Luxury Lane Soap is becoming known for our extreme attention to detail. Just like with the Companion Cube Soap we built I wanted to give you all a little insight into the process of what it takes to make a positive for us to then cast. Best part?? This entire piece was built with things we had lying around the house!!

The first step was to construct a model to make the mold from. The measurements of the original were scaled down to 75% to make it more practical as a bar of soap. Wood was used for the bulk of the model, and the detailing on the face were added to that. The block of wood was cut to size and then passed through a table saw set at a 17 degree angle several times to make the beveled sides.The design on the front of the bar was sourced from the internet with some changes made to reflect accuracy to screencaps from the episode. The image was printed to card stock twice, one with the first layer cutouts made, and the second on top of that to complete the image. Double sided tape was used to adhere them to the wood block.

The model was then sprayed with lacquer primer to seal it. This also helped to highlight areas that needed some work, mainly chips in the sides and along the wood to card stock transition.
Red spot putty was used to fill problem areas, and sanded down smooth using 1000 grit sandpaper and water.
The model was then sprayed with one more coat of primer, before being sprayed with flat black paint to give the whole thing an even matte finish. The finish texture is important because it will transfer over to the mold.


After we finally have our piece to mold from, it is then on to color matching, formula testing, fragrance development, product descriptions and photography. SO WORTH IT!


We would love to hear what you think in the comments below! You can find our brand new Alliance Soap Bar right here! ♥♥♥

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It’s just that time of year…

Hey everyone! Wanted to get an update up here since I have been MIA these past couple of days. (Trying to get to emails as fast as possible!)

After an explosive sales week, Luxury Lane Soap has hit record highs and we (@Rory_Lane and I…) are literally working around the clock making these orders fresh for you. Currently we are about 72 hrs behind shipping schedule. If you have ANY questions at all about your order, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will get get to you as soon as possible. ♥ I will NOT be charging extra for rush shipping. If you need your order this minute, I completely understand. Just let me know. And a huge thank you for your understanding.

Now that the business part of this is out of the way…I have a couple of personal things going on which are adding to the delay…

My son has pneumonia and his needs come first. He had been sick off and on for a few weeks and as soon as it seemed he had it under control, his temperature would shoot back up to 102. My Dad is here with us helping take care of Trent so that we can work, but PLEASE understand, if my little boy is crying for me to hold him, you are going to have to wait an extra day to get your order. There is no other way for me to put that.

This is another reason why I am not charging extra for rush shipping. It is my responsibility to get these orders to you and I will.

Annnnd, today is my birthday! AND GIANT SQUEEZE for all of the love you guys have been sending me over twitter/email/text/facebook! I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally but I am just being slammed with life right now. (Read above…) It means a lot to me that you have taken the time to wish me a happy birthday. Really. ♥♥♥

So…like always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about your order status or to simply tell me you think I am great. ♥ Hope everyopne is staying afloat and having a great Holiday season!!

xoxo

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Give them what they want. ♥

Conditioner!!!! For your hair…

I make shampoo and the the best part about my job is being able to create and develop products…so it only seems natural that I would also make a conditioner, right? Well, I have. I do. I just don’t sell or market it. Why? Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in it. Ooooh buckets, was I wrong!

Last night on Twitter I was completely overwhelmed with friends asking, no, BEGGING, me to make them a hair conditioner. (WITH THESE HANDS!…sorry. That was for @geeksoap)

As a result, today I have the pleasure of presenting to you my newest creation. Crème Conditioner.

Let me tell you a little secret about commercial conditioners (the stuff you buy in drug stores and grocery stores). The more you use those conditioners, the more you need to keep using them. *gasp* How can that be you ask?! Commercial conditioners contain a product called silicone, creating a short term illusion that the quality of our hair has improved with that artificial slick you feel once it is rinsed from your hair. However, when used over time, silicone-based hair products coat the hair shaft and seal out moisture, possibly clogging the hair follicles. Hair can become flat and greasy with build-up or dry and straw like with a lack of moisture. So, the more you use, the more you think you need.

My Crème Conditioner is different in that it contains none of the typical fillers and junk which cause this repetitive use more/buy more cycle, giving your hair a chance to actually heal and improve. When you use it, the first thing you will notice is how it doesn’t just sit on top of your hair, it actually soaks in, providing actual protection and replenishment of natural oils that mimic what’s in your hair already.

So? What’s in it? Spring Water, Organic Jojoba Oil (non-greasy, promotes a healthy scalp and treats coarse, frizzy or damaged hair), Palmityl Alcohol (natural pressed, from palm oil), Cocoa Butter (to moisten hair and detangle, gives conditioner its creamy base), Dimethyl Stearamine (non-toxic anti-static), Lactic Acid (environmentally safe anti-bacterial agent) and Certified Pure Essential Oils. How is THAT for a pure conditioner? I want testers for my Crème Conditioner! Why? Because it is the next generation of conditioners and I sincerely value your option. Since the community gave me the push to finally get this product out there, I want you guys to try it first.♥

So, if you want to give it a try, please leave a comment here and then shoot me an email (LuxuryLaneSoap@gmail.com) with “CONDITIONER” in the subject, providing me with your name/shipping address, and please let me now which scent you would like to try, Pumpkin Cupcake, Raspberry Lemonade, Sensual Sandalwood or Jack. That’s it.

I only have about 40 samples and it is completely first-come, first-served. Also, I would love you forever if you email me your feedback (both positive AND negative are appreciated!) after you give it a try. ♥

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Customer Service

As a shopper, the most important factor to me, aside from product quality, is customer service. I will spend more of my hard-earned monies for good service. (Yes, I am the jerk who will not tip my waiter unless my glass stays full. However, I will tip triple for good service. )

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.

-Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

Think about that for just a second. Customer service (henceforth “CS” because I’m cool like that) can either grow or completely destroy a business. You would think the chances of crossing bad CS would never happen…but it does. Especially online, where it is so easy to ignore our customers.

Fun personal facts about me: I have obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety, paranoia and minor hallucinations. I’m so anxious I can’t even talk on the phone. My voice mail is full so people can’t leave a message. I hate getting dressed. I have to have strangers take care of me when I travel.

So how in the hell do I have a growing business with supreme customer service and a record for over five years now of 100% positive feedback?

Honesty.

Yup. That is pretty much it. Well that, and the fact that I actually care about what I do.

I just asked on twitter:
Hey everyone! I am writing a blog about customer service….what does CS mean to YOU?! I would like to feature some of your quotes!

Replies! (A good sign, and proof, CS DOES mean something to people…)

CS is having it successfully explained to me politely that what I DON’T want IS best for me.” –@WilliamPall

I like this. When I worked in retail I would be candidly honest with customers. It’s true. Don’t ever try to sell something to someone when it is not in THEIR best interest.

CS is supposed to be about the customer. But these days if you do get anywhere, it’s like the company’s doing you a favor.” –@JoeShopping

Attitude. If someone is spending their money, investing in your business, you are NOT doing them a favor by giving great CS. You are doing your JOB.

Customer service is ‘The customer may not always be right but they are listened to and appreciated.’” –@vadersmom

The saying ‘the customer is always right,’ is wrong. This sounds harsh, but it is true. However, you bend over backwards to LISTEN to your customer. You give that customer 110% of your time AND understanding. Next, you appreciate your customer for even coming to you with a problem.

Which leads wonderfully into this next one…

Empathy and sharing the responsibility of a negative experience of their product or service.” –@MrDystopia

I’m going to repeat from above, you have got to listen to your customer. It is hard not taking it personally when someone comes to you with a bad experience, especially if they have a problem with something you made.

I mentioned my company has had 100% positive feedback. This does not mean that I have never had a problem. As my business has grown, I routinely deal with customers who may have been overlooked or received damaged or unsatisfactory products. I am only human. I do make mistakes. What matters is how I deal with these mistakes.

I am always happy to resolve, refund & replace.” The Luxury Lane Soap Guarantee

Me. Kylee Lane. I take responsibility for what I create and sale and I examine each and every situation individually. THAT’S what I expect out of every business I do, well, business with.

Now you can only sit here and read about how wonderful I am for so long, so I guess it would be a good time for me to make my point…

If you are a business owner, whether a small crafter or a large corporation, shut up and listen to your customers. Treat every person who crosses your path with respect and be honest. If you can’t get an order out, or meet a deadline, be honest about it. That doesn’t mean making excuses to buy yourself some time; it means you tell people what is going on. If you don’t have passion for what you create, find a different job or simply make something else YOU LOVE.

After hounding @terrence_oleary for a quote, he indeed sums everything up wonderfully… “Customer Service – most important part of ANY business – so vital to exceed customer expectations – anticipate issues and be proactive…”

Big thanks and hugs to everyone who helped put this post together! ♥ Please feel free to share your CS experiences below. How could companies improve their services? What would you like to see business do for YOU?

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Facebook…now what?

Luxury Lane Soap now has an *official* Facebook fan page. Woo yay! Much thanks to @geekwithsoul for making me get my bum in gear on the FB project…

So…now what do I do with it? In my last blog I had wrote about the need to expand and grow into the next phase of business and marketing. Facebook feels like part of the natural evolution of things (like ten years ago…) and I just want to make sure I am posting content that people (you!) find valuable and useful. I know the whole FB fan page thing is not new, or really even trendy anymore (or is it?) but I need a middle ground.

Honestly, this is the only analogy I can think of…It’s late and I will probably edit this in the morning. ( I didn’t…do enjoy my crazy talk…)

Twitter is like dating. You meet some crazy people and some really nice people and some really nice crazy people. You develop friendships…and sometimes you just have to click block.

Blogging is like being married. It feels lasting. Solid. It is your home, a place you feel comfy, a place that is yours. Annnd sometimes the mere thought of blogging gives you a headache.

Facebook has more commitment than tweeting but less than blogging. A good middle ground to run around and play. Like going out for lunch with your Mom…wait…more like playing volley ball with a group of friends…no, that’s not it either…Facebook is a place where we all pay our own tabs. We aren’t having constant chit chat, and we aren’t spending paragraphs making a point…We are visiting and saying hello.

Did I nail it? Does that sound right?

So, what do YOU want to see on the new Luxury Lane Soap fan page? I do plan on linking press throwbacks and giving shout outs to the people who helped me grow. I am still in awe of the world wide support and can never say thank you enough. Ever. (What? You thought you were going to get through an entire blog with out me getting mushy??)

I also plan on featuring new products as they arrive to the shop. I know a lot of you follow me on twitter, read my blog AND already follow my personal FB AND business fan page (+10 for the creepy stalkers!!) and I just don’t want to overload you with repetitive information.

Suggestions? How in the world to people manage all of these things without being rude and while keeping things…personal and meaningful?

An idea…

Earlier this week I posted about the joy of invention. Making mistakes into something more. It only seems fitting to end the week on a similar note.

Today I released the Companion Cube Soap. *gasp* I know. Stunning.

I really want to thank everyone who RT’d and sent love for my new soapy creation. Honestly though, all credit goes to my production leader, Rory Lane. (Who, btw, FINALLY has a twitter! @Rory_Lane. Give him a follow. He is awkward and hilarious.)

The Companion Cube was an idea we both had and became very excited over, but I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to do it with such….well, I wouldn’t have had the patience. Period.

The production of this piece was very slow (and at times extremely annoying…). It began with nothing more than a simple 2×2 inch wood block. That’s it. From there, my husband was able to turn this basic shape into a marvelous work of art.

Wood, foam, primer, glue and lots of sanding…The basic design is formed!

Regretfully, I didnt take enough pictures…I do have a business to run…

This is the actual final product which was molded.

We tried two different types of molding before a technique was found that worked to our liking and which stood up to our standards of product perfection. After the mold was finalized, next color matching and soap formulas had to be created and followed with fragrance testing. (My favorite part!!)

After many moons, weeks, and months, our creation is now ALIVE!

It is such a wonderful feeling watching something being built from the ground up. Making something like this is no easy task and not for the weak, BUT SO WORTH IT! Really, anything I say is going to sound cliche’…

So. I want to know one thing YOU have created. Anything. What have you made that makes you proud…or taught you a lesson? Anything. And if you have never ever made anything, go make something right now. Matter of fact, double extra points to anyone who feels inspired to create.

You need a bribe? Of course you do. ♥ (This is where I tell you I am going to give you something!)

Leave a comment on this post (with a contact email) telling me something you have made or want to make or are in the process of making and I will do a drawing for one winner to receive TWO Companion Cube Soaps. I will announce a winner Friday, October 22nd, during the #FF love fest on Twitter and tell everyone how awesome you are.

♥♥♥ Want extra entries? You can 1.) Tweet about this giveaway and post a link to the tweet here and/or 2.) Tell me how much you love me.
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And we have our winner!!!

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