Hello, friends and supporters! Megan Elizabeth and Traci have been on a much needed vacation for the last week but are now ready to resume the tale of their adventure into the world of entrepreneurship. The last big thing they were really excited about was the 5xHIVE grant money being given out by Wunderkammer. That is where they shall resume.
For those who may not know, it was in early November that Wunderkammer announced that they would be giving out five $5,000 grants as seed money for new local businesses. We read over the requirements to enter and felt that our business model definitely qualified. The application was filled out and submitted within a day or two of the announcement. After that, all we could do was wait. Closer to the end of November, Megan Elizabeth received a phone call saying that the Narwhal and the Manatee was one of the ten finalists chosen before a decision would be made on which five would win the grant money. It was quite thrilling and the hope for a win was high for the owners and the community of people that support them.
They had roughly two weeks to amp up the awareness of their business, with encouragement to have some sort of contact with the press. They did a lot of blogging on their newly made web page, put up more photos on their Facebook page, and sent out a press release. The press release was picked up by Fort Wayne Business Weekly which definitely pleased the ladies and they managed to add over 60 new followers to their Facebook page. When they went to the awards announcement they were feeling very hopeful and very fortunate to have been selected as one of the finalists, especially considering the newness of their business.
It may or may not be fact, that Megan Elizabeth and Traci will take pretty much any excuse to get dressed up. Either a little fancy or a little silly, they are connoisseurs of the made-at-home costume as well as displaying an adept ability at dressing for most any occasion. Although they had been told that this was not going to be a fancy event, neither of them really took that to heart. This, to each of them, was a big deal and that meant above average dress code. They got extra dolled up and even their friends and family that were attending the event joined them in dressing for a special occasion. It was a good looking bunch of loved ones sitting in the audience waiting for the five winners to be announced.
Megan Elizabeth and Traci held hands tightly while hoping to be one of the five. The Narwhal and the Manatee was not chosen. It would be impossible to say that they weren't disappointed but it would be foolish to think that they had not discussed how they would feel if they didn't win. Their confidence may have been sky high but their plans have been, and continue to be, rooted firmly in the ground. The money would have been immensely helpful, to be sure, however the aid coming from Wunderkammer as one of the finalists is something Megan Elizabeth and Traci may not have had access to otherwise. There will be workshops that will be open to all the finalists as well as opportunities to meet investors that may be interested in helping a local business start out with a payout that has the potential to be considerably higher than $5,000.
There's no way these ladies are going to be deterred by not winning the seed money. Megan Elizabeth and Traci believe in their vision. They see it in their mind’s eye so clearly and know that someday it will be tangible, shared with all those who come into their someday shop. They see their shop growing from one to two and then, maybe, hundreds of little shops personally taking care of the skin care challenges brought to them. As far as they are concerned, the sky's the limit. They will always see their business, their partnership, their friendship as a success, a win of true hearts and determined minds.
Do you know what's so great about cream cleansers? Everything. That's right, everything. Why? Well, we're gonna tell you why.
There are probably more reasons why cream cleansers are so great but this list will do for now. We have a pretty solid cram cleanser that is getting ready to go through the testing process. Megan Elizabeth and Traci have already been quite pleased with the samples they made for themselves. They each have different skin needs but this cleanser works great for both of them. Traci even likes to use hers as the moisturizer after she's cleansed and toned her face. (By the way, Traci firmly believes in a toner after the skin has been cleansed and her favorite has been Thayer's Rose Petal witch hazel. It's amazing.)
What are your thoughts on cream cleansers? Have you used them before? Let us know in the comments below!
Sometimes we think that it must look like we are focused on mostly bath stuff and, while they are incredibly fun, we have lots of other products that are in the process of being tested before we fully release them.
So, that brings up two questions, right?
1. How do we test our products?
2. How do we decide what we are making?
Great questions! You're so smart :)
To address the first question, we have a hand selected group of human "test subjects". It should make sense that we, as a small company, don't test on animals but we feel it's important to stress that we also check out our suppliers to make sure they don't have any involvement with animal testing. This is one of the standards of our product that we feel is important to get right throughout the history of our business. We have plans to someday be a rather large company and we want to always follow a certain routine: we test first on ourselves, we then pass along the product to our fabulous "test subjects", once the "test subjects" are satisfied, we release the product for public consumption.
It could be assumed that this process has a bit of bias, and maybe it does, but we are sticklers for quality and have chosen our "test subjects" carefully. Our "test subjects" have been known to us for their taste in and demand from their skin care products. Some of them have families to help with our children's line, and, maybe most importantly, they have skin they want to take good care of. It is our goal to make sure that our "test subjects" are happy and, if they aren't, it's back to the drawing board for us. We take their suggestions on changes and recreate the product to be more appealing. This process can take time and several attempts to get right, but the quality of our products is extremely important to us.
When it comes to choosing what we make, well, that can sometimes be a case of the eyes being bigger than the stomach (in a metaphoric kind of way...really, that's a metaphor...don't eat our products, please ;). One of the ways we have found inspiration is through the crafty bloggers and DIYers on Pinterest. There are countless amazing and fun ideas out there on the world wide web, as well as a seemingly endless supply of information for us to read over and apply to our daily creations. It can be a real challenge to slim down the ones we really want to try. Our long years of research help guide us to what we feel will be good recipes to try as well as what we may want to change. Sometimes we work together and sometimes we work apart, but we always have fun and share what we have discovered with each other.
The other main way we choose what products to make comes from the requests we receive from others as well as our own desire for a specific skin care product. Customizable skin care products is at the core of what drives us to build a successful business. We know that each person we work with wants and deserves to have a
a caring heart
a keen mind
to help them find the solutions they are seeking. We feel we have those three qualities and are eager to have a place that allows us to interact more fully with our community.
We encourage everyone to keep following us through our blog and Facebook to keep up to date on what we are creating. There are some exciting things in process that we are very much looking forward to sharing!
What kind of products do you think would be fun to see us try out? Are there any Pinterest challenges or recipes you have a desire to try out, but haven't yet? Want to see us try it out for you? Leave a comment and let us know!
We held our very first workshop on December 2 at Megan Elizabeth's house (hopefully we will be able to have workshops in our SHOP this coming spring!). It was a ton of fun and some lovely bath fizzies were created!
Notice there were friends of a variety of ages and everyone was able to participate equally and have a great time!
We've been making products like crazy! Why? Because a bunch of you have asked to buy stuff for Christmas! Check out what we've made and let us know what you want and how many. *Please note we have a limited number of each item! To order, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure to tell us how many, what fragrance and what size (if applicable).
*CASH OR CHECK ONLY (please!)*
Roy G Biv Gift Set
Give the rainbow! This gift set includes seven shower refreshers!
R = Rose
O = Orange
Y = Yuzu
G = Grass
B = Blossom
I = Iris
V = Violet
Sleigh Ride Bath Fizzy
This bath fizzy smells a little sweet and a little like cinnamon. It comes with fluffy frosting top that dissolves in your bath water...plus a bonus sleigh bell ornament!
Sweet Snow Fall Bath Fizzy
Melt your worries away this season with this sweet bath fizzy. The glittery frosting will melt in your bathwater and make you feel soft and refreshed.
Winter Wonderland Bath Fizzy
This pine forest bath fizzy is topped with our hand-made sugar scrub frosting. Let the fizzy fill your tub with a fragrance to remind you of a lovely winter walk and use the sugar scrub to soften dry winter skin.
The Kings Bath Fizzy
These three kings are out to pamper you! The frankincense and myrrh bath fizzy smells like Christmas and the gold sugar scrub frosting will pamper your dry winter skin.
This dual purpose little tin will soften both your lips and your cuticles. With three flavors, this is the perfect gift for anyone on your list. This balm helps soothe cracked cuticles and smooths dry winter lips. (PS...this is one of our most favorite products!)
Choose from Chai Tea, Peppermint Rose and Blueberry Rooibos Tea flavors
Price: $5 each
Snowflakes that Stay...Bubble Cookie
After that long winter hike, taking a warm, bubbly bath sounds perfect. Right? Or maybe just the bath...
Either way, this bubble cookie will fill your tub with thick, soft bubbles and the fragrance of peppermint pine. It smells like winter! This cookie is so big we encourage you to break it up to get two, three, or even four baths out of it!
Price: $8 for a large cookie (at least 4 baths)
$5 for a small cookie (up to 2-3 baths)
Spa in a Jar
Spa in a Jar is your luxurious treat waiting to happen. Start with mountains of bubbles with a bubble cookie. While in the bath, scrub away dry, itchy skin with our soft sugar scrub. Move from there to some foot pampering with our invigorating foot soak. Make your lips totally kissable with the smooth lip balm (which can also be used on your cuticles!). And finish everything off with a solid lotion bar. Your skin will be silky smooth, your mood will be calm and relaxed. Great as a gift...or just to pamper yourself. Because, come on, you totally deserve it.
*Choose between Invigorating Peppermint or Little Floral Little Fruity
Chocolate Peppermint Soft Sugar Scrub
Shower person? Bath person? Our soft sugar scrub is for both! The warming scent of chocolate combines perfectly with the invigorating scent of peppermint for a winter-time treat. Made with coconut oil, this scrub makes your skin silky-smooth, getting rid of all that dry winter skin.
Price: $10/8 oz jar
$5/ 4 oz jar
Enhance your showering experience with one of our shower refreshers. Simply place this little scoop on your shower floor and the water will slowly activate the concentrated essential oils. Morning Mojito is made with peppermint and lime essential oils. Lemon Bergamot is made with lemon and bergamot essential oils (we bet you could've guessed that, though).
Price: $2 each or $5 for three
*Please note how many of each fragrance you would like in your order
One of the big goals N&M has is to be aware of where our ingredients come from and sensitive to what impact is produced by our consumption of certain items. If the source can be as close to home as possible, and come from a source we feel we can trust that's really the best thing we can ask for. Sometimes we luck out and find the source of inspiration and product enhancing goodies in our own back yard.
When Traci moved into her new house this fall she was delighted with the already thriving rose bush planted in the back yard. As fall started slipping away, Traci decided to do a little harvesting of the beautiful blooms to make a rose infused oil that can be used in our products. The roses were dried, poured into a mason jar and covered with avocado oil. The oil and petals hang out together for a minimum of four weeks.
Rose infused oil is different from rose essential oil. The essential oil takes a lot of plant material, an estimated 5 tons of rose petals to make just a little over 2 pounds of rose essential oil. That is so many roses! While roses certainly have a gorgeous fragrance and many wonderful properties, it's really hard for us at N&M to swallow the price, both monetarily and sustainably, for rose essential oil. Rose infused oil will smell just slightly of roses, but contain all the skin softening, soothing, and restoring properties associated with using rose essential oil. This infusion can also be used directly on the skin without any irritation, unlike rose essential oil which can be irritating to the skin unless diluted through a carrier oil or butter.
We do love the fragrance of roses and don't want anyone to miss out on sharing in this sublime olfactory experience. In order to boost our array of floral fragrances we choose to use safe synthetic fragrance oils along with the infused oils. We are certainly not ruling out the use of rose essential oils in the future but for now, we have a balanced combination of nature and science and, for us, that's a pretty comfortable place to be.