In August of 2011, Lavender Alden, a Cobleskill soapstress, opened her shop on Etsy for worldwide sales. Having recently gained a studio where she can create (instead of working in her home kitchen), she felt she was ready to expand her customer database. The name of the shop, Sweet Neon Bath & Body, came from the Neon Amazon Dianthus flower. Lavender learned of this flower through her horticulture classes at college and she knew she wanted to include plants in the name. She finds inspiration from many different things, but usually from aspects of nature, baking, and the family farm she grew up on.
She got her start making soap in a junior high science class. She was instantly attached to the novelty of it that she even researched different techniques for making it. With this research, she found that she could make many different kinds of bath and body products aside from the soap. She started making products as gifts, but when she entered college she realized she could sell it, too. She received so many compliments that she decided to get a bit more serious about the matter of selling and so she started taking business classes.
"It allowed me to combine my love of science, art, colors and design." -- Lavender Alden
She started the business full-time once she graduated college and had learned about Etsy through a business magazine. Up until then, she was selling at farmers markets and around the college. She also hosted home bath and body parties with her friends and does custom orders for weddings and other special events. However, this summer she plans to sell at statewide craft fairs, too.
From looking at the wide array of soaps from smells to colors, you might begin to wonder how she does it. She doesn't use any machinery except for a Kitchen Aid mixer, otherwise everything is done by hand, and she makes everything in small batches. Some of her favorite ingredients include glycerin, shea butter, and coconut oil. Also, the ingredients are all natural and therefore there are no harsh chemicals in any of her products. To ensure safe delivery and happy customers, Lavender makes sure to offer a low shipping charge, deliver as quickly as possible, and include free samples in every purchase along with a return customer coupon.
With the fact that she's been experimenting since junior high school, she also plans to expand her shop on Etsy over the summer. Just to name a few of the new products, lip gloss, lotion, and perfume oils will be offered.
"I am finally ready to unveil ... one product in particular that I am really expecting to set me apart from the other soap makers online and I am super excited but I can’t give it away yet." -- Lavender Alden
When Lavender is not soap-making, she enjoys crocheting, scrapbooking, and floral design. She has even picked up sewing and is currently obsessed with making skirts. Spending time with her children and fiancé is another favorite of hers.
"Sweet Neon Bath & Body is a small company with a big vision of providing all its customers with beautiful, bold and uniquely handcrafted products!" -- Lavender Alden
Don't forget to check out the slideshow featuring some of Sweet Neon Bath & Body's products in the upper left hand corner of the article!