Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moving into the shop, Day 6...

In this previous post, I was in search of a chair for the shop.  Well, My Wicked sweet friend, Justin, came through for me, and found this one at Cambridge 360...
So for an incredibly reasonable fee of $25 (and a few bucks for some upholstery cleaner), I have myself an insanely comfy seat for guests at the shop!

PS:  You can keep track of progress.  Here's Day 1, Days 2-3, and Days 4-5.  

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to ruin any chance I might have had at being productive today...

Can I just tell you how much freaking fun the H&M "try-it-on" feature is?!  Holy crap.  I see this thing eating into some serious productivity time...Or as you can see by the looks I created below, it may have swallowed up a significant amount of it already...

There were no shoes I liked to go with this one, so she's uber-casual today.

I may need to branch out from Blue and Black a bit, no?

And can someone please teach me how to style my hair like that without looking like Elvis?

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fitspo; good or bad?

So I found an article the other day that was trying to tell me that "fitspo" was bad for my brain.  Basically "fitspo" is inspiration to become fit in the form of images of awesomely beautiful/fit/well-shaped people, and the article was trying to tell me that it was going to hurt my self esteem to continue looking at these images.  I see their point, but here's mine:
THIS motivates me to do squats...
Dear Ladies, please wear more JEANS
This does not...
Fast Food David
THIS motivates me to do push-ups...
fitspo, Jessica Biel
This does not...
Give Your Body A Face Lift – Part 2 – Arm Flab

Here, I'll refresh your memory...
Dear Ladies, please wear more JEANS
enough said, right?

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moving into the shop (days 4 and 5)...

Day 4:  Counter tops/cabinets painted, wicked cool old metal medicine cabinet stolen from my Mom's house, repurposed barn-board purchased from Mason Bros. in Essex (which coincidentally they got out of an old store), and a very cluttered hallway to my bathroom

Day 5: Some much-needed greenery added, salvaged wood counter front completed (still have to finish painting the cabinet legs), "office" area for packaging and shipping orders, the view from the back of the shop (you can see on the right where I used the rest of the barn-board as shelving for products), a better look at the wicked cool cabinet I stole from my Mom the day before, and the corner where a cozy chair will end up (if that monstrous boom box fits there, then a chair will be no problem).

Thanks for stopping by,

PS:  You can keep track of progress.  Here's Day 1, and Days 2-3.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In search of a chair for the shop...

Wouldn't these be the greatest chairs in the whole wide world to sit in while hanging out in a perfumery?!  PLease, please, tell me where I can fine some (one, because that's all I'll have room for) like this for my shop!  The Cambridge 360 shop has a couch on their facebook page I'd have in a heartbeat, but it would pretty much take up my entire shop space.  So a chair.... I need (OK, I don't need, but I WICKED want) a chair like this.
These ones are from here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Moving into the shop (days 2 and 3)...

So yesterday afternoon I finished up Day 3 of readying the shop space for an actual shop.  How's that poem go?  "Miles to go before we sleep..."  Really, that's the only part of it I know.  There was a very cute boy in my English class that semester and I really didn't learn much of anything (about poetry, that is).

Even though it seems so far away when I look at it right now in it's plywood and 2x4 state, yesterday was huge.  I actually moved everything shop-related out of my house and into the shop space.  My office at home seems barren and echo-y (but so FREE!).  Very great to have the 2 officially separated now.

DAY 2:  On Thursday evening my Dad and I had the how-much-sawdust-can-we-make-before-we-set-off-the-smoke-alarm-in-a-small-space contest.  By the way, we won.  We put a bag over the smoke detector while we were working.  Disclaimer:  putting a bag over something/someone's head is not a recommended way to win any other kind of contest...

Pretty great to have custom-height counter tops, and plenty of storage space for ingredients.

DAY 3:  The move.  It was jumping the gun quite a bit to move my stuff into the space before it was complete, but it was either that, or keep working out of boxes at home.  I'd had all my stuff packed up and ready to go, and then Hubby got a whopper of a cold (and then so did The Baby).  So things got delayed a bit with the get-stuff-done schedule.  It's OK though.  We're powering through.
Also pretty essential to get this pile-O'-boxes out of my living room...
...And pile them up in the shop instead!  But the sawdust is all cleaned up, which made it look all shiny and new, and ready to move into.   
 Also still to-do before I can start any major production projects:
~Hook up deep sink.
~Finish the counter tops
~Close in the front side on the counter that faces the door
~Paint the cabinets
~Hang some more shelving
~Get everything unpacked where I can use it.
Hopefully this weekend I'l be able to tackle the counter tops and the shelving.  Here's to reaching for the stars...

Thanks for stopping by,

PS:  You can keep track of progress.  Here's Day 1.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Moving into the shop (day 1)...

So, remember when I mentioned that the space I rented for the new shop space was tiny?  Well, here it is...
 Looking in from the front door
 Looking towards the front door (obv) from the back

Yup, that's it... Oh, and this charming little commode closet.
And here's your lesson in nastiness for the day...  Dear everyone, if for any reason you should move out of a dwelling and leave it vacant for a long period of time, please leave the toilet seat up (contrary to everything your Mother taught you, and everything I've taught the boys in my own house).  If you don't, then there is little to no air circulation under the lid of the toilet, and it will turn into an impressive science experiment of mold growth.  Dear Seventh Generation, your bathroom cleaner is freaking incredible, and I love you beyond words for helping me take the heebie-jeebies out of my new shop naturally!

PS:  is it frightening or funny that the fire extinguisher was next to the toilet?

PPS:  Going back this afternoon to work on constructing counters and putting up some shelving.  Progress photos to follow.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New look for the new shop...

My Dad and I are starting work on the new shop space this morning (before-and-after photos to follow soon)!  

The shop space I'm moving into is teeny, itty-bitty, incredibly wee.   So I need to save on space wherever I can.  Streamlining my packaging seemed like an awesome place to start.  So now, with the exception of balms and perfumes, all of my products will be packaged in either these snazzy glass jars, or equally classy white bottles.  Behold!
So, even though a lot of my decision stemmed from a space-saving/efficiency standpoint, I also wanted things to be (even more) eco-friendly, more customer-friendly, and more me-friendly (meaning more simplified).  I had quite a few people mention to me that the lotion pumps were cute, but didn't get all the product out of the container.  Wasteful, eek!  So I decided to switch to jars instead of bottles for packaging the lotion (and a few other new products that are still in test-phase!).  And for the rest of the products that need to stay in plastic, like ones that are primarily used in the shower, they'll be in white instead of black.  The black packaging was sexy as hell, but an absolute nightmare to put labels on.  

Hopefully these changes will make it easier for folks to get every last little bit of product out of the container, as well as offer totally recyclable and reusable packaging options (and help me keep my sanity by making it much easier to store fewer types of packaging in a very small space).  I hope you like the new look!  

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why I make natural products... Also, a Friday-free-for-all...

Alrighty then...  So every now and then, I like to bring out some good ol' shock therapy.  This image depicts some of the most commonly used cosmetic products by women, and the methyl-ethyl-bad-shit they contain.  Ladies (and gentlemen), your skin is your largest organ.  It's amazingly absorbent   What you put on it, goes in you...    
The 515 Chemicals Women Put on Their Bodies Every Day
First, I would like to point out that NONE of the products I make have ANY of these ingredients in them.  You're welcome.  Now, I'm not saying that you need to go all crazy Hippie and stop wearing makeup, start braiding your leg hair, and stink like a transient hiker on the Long Trail, BUT, I'd love it if you'd make informed decisions.  Please read the labels on your beauty products (especially the stuff you use EVERY single day).  My medicine cabinet is not perfectly hippie-fied either.  But when I can afford it, I try to buy (or make) the good-for-me version.  Using "natural" ingredients in products is expensive.  Trust me, I know this all too well.  Every time I put in an order for new ingredients, my bank account drops into practically single digits afterwards.  When someone asks me, "Is your lotion really $15 for this little jar?"  The answer is, "Yes, really.  The ingredients I buy cost me a freaking fortune, because I buy good stuff that's good for you."  Spoken in a much less snooty way, of course.  So sometimes you just have to suck it up and fork over the cash for the good stuff.  It's still going to be cheaper than the treatment to fix whatever the cheap stuff does to your body...

Oh, and because it's Friday, and it's my blog, and I can do whatever I want, here's some stuff I've found on the World Wide Web this week (all much less scary than the post above), Lovely Ladies edition:

~Ladies, do yourself a favor, and go buy this bra in every single color available.   It's not, the most crazy sexy thing out there, but definitely not into Granny territory yet, and hands-down the best shape/comfort/price bra out there.  And for those of you out there who are reading this from my neck of the woods, the Bali/Hanes/Playtex outlet in the Essex Outlet Center has these, so you can try before you buy.
~I think Squats and Lunges are the most evil thing out there.  Not because they're hard, but because I think they're boring.  I usually knock out about 3 and start looking at my watch.  But here's some inspiration to keep doing them.
~I think this would be a universally flattering outfit on just about and shape, size, or color woman.
~And this is so me (the top picture...of course...)

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, January 3, 2013

resolutions...UGH...I know, I told you I wouldn't do it, but here they are anyway...

So, I know I told you, I was going to spare you from this, and post only the ones I had for the business, but, well, I lied.  Not on purpose, but I did.  i had every intention of keeping these to myself, and not boring you with them.  But I guess I just feel like if I spout them off here in Blog Land, then I'll be holding myself accountable.  So really, this post is more for me, than you (sorry)...
~ (Keep trying to) GROW MY HAIR OUT... But continue to get regular haircuts.  Let me explain...  I'm famous for "growing my hair out," getting it to my cheekbones, then loping it all back off to pixie-style over and over again.  The main reason is that the back of my hair has this illusion of growing much faster than the front.  This, Folks, is called a mullet.  So by the time it reaches this phase, I'm horrified every time I pass my 80's Hockey Hair in the mirror, and instead of getting it trimmed, I freak out and remove it all.  So, this year, trims, not butchering.  I'm setting small goals right now.  I'll be thrilled if I make it to something like the pic (above right).
~ (Keep) RUNNING.  I've actually been doing much better with this over the last few months...  (Other than a few epic fails of Cookie-Monster-style shoveling of food into myself over the holidays, and feeling like I'd barf if I bounced up and down on the treadmill afterwards), for the most part I've been making a point to make my way to the basement a few times a week to blow my eardrums out with my ipod and pretend I'm "running" instead of gasping for air at a slow jog.  Operation get-Grace-Potter-legs continues...

a bike like this...
~ BIKE TO WORK (sometimes).

~ TALK CONFIDENTLY ABOUT THE PRODUCTS I MAKE.  Truth be told, I'm incredibly proud of myself for starting a business from the ground up, with products that I make from scratch.  But can I tell anyone that?  No.  When I sit down for meetings with potential wholesale account, the first thing out of my mouth is usually something like, "sorry about the tiny print on the labels."  And the worst thing I do (which I've caught myself doing on more than one occasion) is when I bump into someone I haven't seen in a while, and they ask, "what are you up to now?" and I say, "I'm home with my baby."  Then I think to myself, "well yes, AND I'm also running my own company..."  So, next Tuesday when I have another meeting with a store that's interested in displaying my products on their lovely shelves, I'll open with something like, "this stuff fucking rocks!"  Maybe the curse-less version though... And the next time someone asks me what I'm up to, I'm going to say, "I just started my own company called House 54.  I make perfumes and natural bath and body products.  Here's my card."

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Laughing baby, always good for the soul...

This is The Baby discovering that peek-a-boo is, in fact, the World's most hysterical game.  Even near the end when he starts getting tired of holding his giant head up, it's still fun to play the lazy-baby version...

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Picking a color scheme for the new shop (Oh...I'm opening a shop!!!!)

I'm freaking beyond excited right now (and maybe a tad panicked as well).  This Friday I'll be signing a lease  for a space to move House 54 into.  It was numero uno on my Business Resolutions list for this New Year.  And things just fell into place really nicely (and very quickly) for the perfect space.  OK, maybe not perfect... It's not much bigger than most peoples' walk-in closets, but the price was right, and it gets all my production stuff out of my house.  Therefore... It's perfect.  So to take my mind of the magnitude of the situation and avoid freaking out completely before I sign on the dotted line, I'm taking this time to do a little aesthetic planning for the space.  Playing with paint chips at the home improvement stores always takes my mind off bigger, more important things.  So here's what I'm deciding between for color schemes.  Let me know what you think...      
So...light minty blue-green walls, accents of bright grassy green, with dark wood shelving and counter tops?  Or light peachy walls, accents of bright coral, with lighter, warmer-toned wood?  Basically, warm or cool?

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy New Year!