First, I must confess – I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I’m one of those people who flies into any creative project by the seat of her (or his pants). I couldn’t plan a product line if you paid me. Or offered me a seven day stay at the beach. It’s just that serious. My creative journey begins with melted soap, color, fragrance and molds. It can progress to use of a sheet of crumpled aluminum foil, a shoe box, plastic pasta box or a deli container that once held potato salad. (The coconut soap in the picture below was molded in a square cake pan lined with foil). Along with soap and color I jump into the process with only a vague notion of the outcome. For me, there is no other way. At this point in my creative career, fragrance combinations come easy. I know what notes work together; sometimes I’ll blend them into the soap on the spot, flying by the seat of the scent (lol). Usually, the end result is a bar of soap that’s the next best thing to a trip to the tropics. But sometimes what I hoped would look like a swirl of ocean waves turns into something resembling a bar of old-fashioned laundry soap. And here’s a great example of creating on the fly. One day after cutting a pasta box block of soap, I decided to squeeze the leftover ends together. They turned out to be multicolored soap stones, an unexpected addition that sold out at the next show.
On the other hand, creams and balms require the opposite approach. Creating them is like whipping up a dish from scratch, minus the “pinch of this”, dash of that” method often used by expert cooks. Without exact measurements, a balm can end up dotted with flecks of half-melted beeswax. Without enough of an emulsifier to bind them together, the oil and water in creams will separate and show that they’ve clearly parted ways. (Been there, done that many times).
That’s how I come up with the soaps, balms and creams that make up Sand and Silk. And now for their names. Tropical Smoothie is named for a milkshake I tasted on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. It was a big cup of smooth, creamy Caribbean sweetness blended at a colorful street-side stand. Another of my inspirations came from a tropical drink served up on Smuggler’s Cove, a long spectacular curve of beach on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The proprietor made his drinks in a blender set up on a makeshift bar, powered by a generator hooked up to the battery of his pick-up truck. None of that commercial tiki-hut Caribbean on Smugglers!
The Soleful Strut Butter Balm (packed with shea, cocoa and mango butters) gets its name in part from Soulful Strut, a classic tune by the legendary Young Holt Unlimited. It’s also a nod to the wonder it works on the soles of the feet (and just as well on hands, elbows and knees). Orange Blossom Balm is an offshoot of a rich, silky balm I made for a private label customer. Virgin coconut oil and the fragrance of orange blossoms transports you straight to a night in the tropics. Stay tuned – they’ll all be available in mid-April at www.sandandsilk.net.
It may sound like a plan but I had no idea I’d be selling soaps, creams and balms when I started this journey. I simply had no intention of paying 12.00 for a bar of bubbles, no matter how fragrant and beautiful. And look what happened – see what I mean by that pantser thing?