Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Introducing My Lovely Assistant

Those of you early birds who have been shopping at the Market this season have already met my lovely and incredibly capable assistant, Teresa Davis. She came to me via an ad I placed in Craig's List (that I thought might be impossible to fill), and she is outrageously over qualified. She just graduated from the University of Chicago and is preparing for graduate school. When I asked her for a work reference, she said I could call the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she worked for a summer. ("Um, hi, yes, I was wondering if you thought she would be a good employee for 4 hours a week at my Farmers Market Booth?" I don't think I'll bother them with that. . .) After I met her and said, Yes!, I told a friend she would be working for me during the summer--assuming she didn't meet a Kennedy and go off and get married. As it turns out, she's just finishing up a vacation at Martha's Vineyard, so that could be a very real possibility. . .

Assuming she comes back this Saturday, you can meet her at the Market where she works the early shift for me (it turns out there are some people who really are "morning people")--until 9am Tuesdays and Saturdays. She is cheerful, knowledgeable about my products, and loves the Farmers Market. She is a welcome addition to the growing Milk and Honey team. (Eeee-- I hope you don't mind that I used the word "team"!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My New Employee

Well, daughter Roan is now on the official payroll. She has been begging to help me pour lotion bars, and sure enough, as you can see in my other blog post, she is an instant pro. So she's found a way to earn a little extra money, and she told me, "It's fun to be part of the business." She is conscientious and detail-oriented, and does her best not to spill a drop--I'm working on loosening her up! She also helped me sell this past Tuesday at the Market, and got a great response from my customers. At the beginning of the day she was feeling too shy to talk to folks walking by; by the end, she was pulling people over and inviting them most sweetly to "try a lotion bar!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Lotion Bars are Here!

Aren't they gorgeous? Ok, like a doting mother, I get to brag--I'm so excited about these. This photo shows my new line of lotions, all of which are custom designs exclusive to Milk and Honey--except for the Bee & Honeycomb, which for now, is welcome to tag along. If you are dying to order some in every scent as soon as possible, you can now do so on my website. Yay.

And, if you're wondering, "When the heck are the SOAPS going to be available in these incredible forms that I can't find anywhere else and that I must get for myself and everyone I know?" (Thank you for asking. . . ) I already have batches of Lemongrass, Milk and Honey (unscented) and Lavender curing away in their red crates on the shelf, preparing for their debut in about a month. They will soon be joined by mint, rosemary and lavender-rosemary. I promise I'll let you know when they are ready!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Molds Arrive. . . and the Future of Milk and Honey is Here!

Last night was momentous for me . . . my daughter Roan and I made the first batch of lotion bars with the first round of my new custom molds. This is the first completed step of work that began over a year ago with the drafting of my business plan over the summer, applying for and receiving loan funds from Accion New Mexico and the Farmers Market Institute, creating and refining sculptural forms with sculptor Stephanie Huerta, discovering and collaborating with designer and marketer Michelle Moser . . . and here they are! I plan to introduce them at the Market this week, and hopefully on my website in the next couple of days as well. Soaps will take a little longer as they cure for one month before appearing in my booth and website. I'll be experimenting with price points; that is, ONE price point for all my products, as I incorporate my new designs into my booth and website, and rotate the old (but beloved!) designs out. There is one more mold that will come on line hopefully by the fall: a logo image mold--we are in an exciting phase of logo design right now, but it is not complete yet. Stay tuned and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bees making Honey. . . Goats with fat, lumpy bellies. . .

Today I thought I would take a quick look into my hive, and lo and behold, there was quite a bit of honey there! I did the fastest harvest of honey ever--under 20 minutes, no smoker. And I cleaned things up a bit in the hive, much to the consternation of the buzzing girls. One disadvantage to top-bar hives is that the bees are in charge of forming their own combs, and sometimes they form them in crazy directions that make harvesting impossible. So I had to clean out some of the comb that they had formed in some very abstract forms, telling them, "no Gehry-style architecture, girls!", and used some well-formed bars/combs to serve as guides for new comb-building. I was really surprised how much honey they have already made. Last year this time, I just stopped checking the hive because there was so little activity; then in July, we got lots of rain, and by the time I checked the hive again, it was bursting with honey. We have had an unseasonable amount of rain the past few weeks, so that must be good for pollen gathering and honey making.
And the other girls, the goats, are looking so fat and lumpy! I spent some time out at the barn this morning, just hanging out with them, and it's so fun to see what they do when they are relaxed and not expecting food. They invade each other's space, lie down practically on top of one another, scratch their neck itches along the ground in crazy stretched-out positions, and nibble on pine cones. They also let out these little groans and close their eyes contentedly like pussy cats. Very sweet.
My new soap & lotion molds are in the mail to me this week and should be appearing at the market and on my website very soon! The lotion bars will come first, then the soap. . . Can't wait to share them with everyone!