Thursday, October 16, 2008

Open Studio hours this Saturday at Studio 658

This Saturday marks the beginning of our Open Studio hours! We will be open every Saturday from 11am to 3pm, from now through Christmas. I will be manning the shop this Saturday, so please stop by and say hi! My new soaps are out and ready to be tested, and it's a great time to get some gift ideas for the holidays. Felted Heart also has all of her merchandise at the shop, and is now making great stuff for adults. So come check it out!

Studio 658
658 Angier Ave, unit C
Atlanta, GA 30307

We are located in the Old Fourth Ward, in a white warehouse building. We haven't gotten our signs yet, so when you get there, pull in the driveway all the way in the back, and park to the left.

Click here for directions.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Email Marketing and Product Updates - An informational rant

I've been working hard on getting my site updated for the past couple of weeks, so I could do a marketing email. I just looked at my Constant Contact account and saw that I haven't sent a marketing email since February of 2007. So THAT must be why people aren't coming to my site. Which means I spent all of that money for an email sign up box on my website that no one uses because they don't go to my website because I don't send any marketing emails reminding them that I exist. I mean, who can be bothered with marketing, right? I'm a creative person! Business lesson #4832. Remind customers you exist. Check.

A quick note about this. I have about 600+ people on my email list. Some of them are friends who I added to bulk up my list before I had any customers, but most of them are legitimate customers or people who expressed interest in becoming a customer. People who have bought my products and raved about Mama, only to never be heard from again. This goes to show, no matter how good your product or service is, you have to keep reminding people that you're around. There's a lot of competition and people are busy. I always wondered why Coke advertised, because everybody knows about them. But I suppose that could be because they're everywhere, so you can't forget. (especially if you live in Atlanta). Yes, this all seems like a no-brainer. But when you do everything in your company and you have X hours a day to do it, you tend to focus on the tasks that you like. Like the making products, creating new ones, designing packaging, coming up with new scents, etc. The fun stuff.

So it occurred to me, as I send my first marketing email in 19 months, Mama has evolved quite a bit since then, and it might be good to do a product line update for all of my (hopefully) returning customers, who I pledge not to lose touch with again!

1. The most notable change is that I've switched my lotion preservative to a non-paraben preservative called Optiphen, which just recently became available to companies of my size. Preservatives are a controversial subject that I have been researching for years, so at some point soon I will do a post with my research. Until then, just know that parabens are no longer desirable preservatives and we don't use them anymore. For more info about why we use preservatives in our lotion, go to the product info section on our site.

2. Speaking of lotions. My first couple of years in business were a little dicey with the lotion formula. The consistent feedback I got was that it was too hard to get out of the bottle. You were heard, valued customers, and I worked hard to come up with a new formulation that has received rave reviews. I also changed the bottles to one that is a little more squeezy, so if you're willing to go round 2 with the lotion, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

3. I've discontinued using Fragrance oils, which meant saying goodbye to Green Tea and Vanilla. When I started this company, I wrote in my mission that I wanted to offer the purest, safest, most effective products to my customers. So that means sticking with essential oils, which are plant based and 100% natural. I did decide to make one exception for the holidays - Cranberry was very popular last year, so I'm bringing it back as a limited edition holiday scent just for this holiday season. I'm working on coming up with an essential oil blend next year that will be a suitable replacement.

4. Scrubs - I've replaced my salt scrubs with sugar scrubs. They have become my best sellers, and I don't think any former salt scrub lovers will be the least bit disappointed. Sugar is a very effective and more gentle exfoliant than salt. And the coconut, almond oil, and shea butter base stays nicely emulsified and leaves your skin soft without the heavy oil feeling that the salt scrubs left.

5. New sizes - I've added more sizes to the products I carry. Body lotions come in 4 and 8 oz bottles, sugar scrubs in 10 and 20 oz jars.

6. Gifts - my vendor discontinued my snap trays! Such a bummer. I started using chinese takeout containers while I was trying to find a suitable replacement, and these have been so popular, I decided to stick with them! So that's that.

7. Soap! Mama finally has soap! Most body product companies usually start with soap. I tend to do things backwards. My husband Chuck decided to come on board as my soap maker, and his soap is great! Richly scented with a nice creamy lather. I highly recommend!

And there ya go! Head over to our site and check it out!