Classically Evil's Blog

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Archive for the category “Products”

What are you worth?

  We go live tomorrow and things are exciting.  There is a lot into opening an online shop (as most of us know) but there are some things that are more stressful than others.  For me, it’s pricing and shipping.  I know that I want a fair price for my goods.  Fair for my work and fair for my clients so that I am being competitive in a very tough market.  I’ve been spending a lot of time just trying to mathematically figure out how much my products are worth.  After spending 2 hours doing math, I realized there is a much simpler way of doing it.  Compare and contrast.  I looked at a bunch of other etsy sellers (whom had similar products to mine) and evaluated their shop.  What did I admire and what do I do differently that may make my product more valuable.

Having experience as a manager in a high volume, customer service-driven business, I learned how to survive.  And one of the major techniques I learned and coined “copy and modify.”  We all do it.  We’ve been doing it for centuries.  It makes you ask yourself: “What do I do?  Who does it better?  How can I do what they do better?” 

I’ll keep this brief.  I am just gonna finish up the store tomorrow and hopefully it should be up and running around noon (pacific standard time).  Check back later for new updates.

When Times Get Tough…

I know, I know.  I’ve gone totally M.I.A.  These last 3 weeks have been rather hectic here in Classically Evil land.  I have adopted a puppy (she’s almost 11 weeks old) and she’s quite the handful; I am facing some tough negotiations coming up; and I even had an interview with the dream job and still waiting on the results.  With all of this, when times get tough…the tough get crafting.  That’s right.  I plunge, head first, into the craft work.

I’ve been experimenting on a few ideas with Le Fleur Du Mal products and even made a dog bed for the puppy.  For a long time I had forgotten how good it feels to be distracted by making something with my own hands and watch the time fly by. 

I’m getting everything finalized and should have a few items up on my etsy page as soon as my labels are finished.  I will also get back to posting some more detailed posts soon!

Organic, Vegan, and Great Resources for Doing It Yourself!

After some careful research (and not so careful – I ended up somehow getting a virus and wiped my hard drive completely!) I have determined organic is totally the way to go…unless of course, you are a vegan…then vegan (of course! Duh!) is the way to go.  Of course, 99 times out of 100 vegan is organic.  I know it seems pretty clear-cut, but there are many reasons to go organic and be able to control what you’re putting on your body.

A little back story on myself and Classically Evil.  I moved out to Southern California in January of 2005 to pursue a career in the film industry.  The following year I quit the industry (I had some successes and some failures, but all in all a wonderful experience) and got a job in retail.  It got me thinking.  I can do this myself.  I can do it better.  I can make it personal.  I started working on the concept for Classically Evil back in 2006.  It originally started as a clothing line concept – 1940s inspired gothic.  I started doing research and kept working at my own style.  Then one day it hit me: Bath and Body Products.  With the vegan and organic revolution taking hold over the next few years, I decided I would start making my own and noticed a huge difference in my skin.  I starting bringing my products to work (lip balm and lotion) in 2011 and testing it out on people.  I started donating my products and giving them away as gifts.  I got a lot of very positive feed back and decided to quit my day job and pursue Classically Evil full-time.

Now I go around and encourage everyone I meet that they should make their own scrubs, soaps, lotions, and masks.  You can control what goes on your skin – no harsh chemicals.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a store, looked at the bath/body products, smelled them (smelled great), and then looked at the ingredients and couldn’t pronounce them let alone know what it does for my skin.  Before I started making my own product, I used a particular brand of body scrub.  I loved the way it smelled and made my skin feel.  For $8 I got 18oz.  The first three ingredients are Sucrose, Glycerine, and Polysorbate 20.  The body scrub you can make yourself has only the ingredients of epsom salt, sugar (I like to use organic sugar), and extra-virgin olive oil.  It’ll only cost you about $8 to make 24oz (roughly).  And the craziest part of all of that: it is more EXPENSIVE than the organic counterpart you can make yourself. 

Some basic ingredients that you have around your house that are commonly used in bath and body products: epsom salts, sea salt, sugar, baking soda, honey, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, vitamin e oil, coconut oil, oats, lemons, and tea.  It’s always great to have chamomile and lavender on hand.  Maybe growing it in a garden.  This year I started growing my own herbs and vegetables on my balcony.  We’ve been using them quite a bit and it’s a ton of fun.  You’d be amazed as to how useful and easy (on your health and wallet) it can be.

As I am working on this, I am currently checking out a couple of Etsy Online Labs for marketing and branding.  Always learning this one right here.  If I find out anything cool, I will try to pass it on to you guys!

I have a few resources below for you to check out.  A few books, websites, and stores that I use as wonderful resources.  I’ll keep you all up to date if I find any other cool sites or books.  I’d love to hear from you guys if you know of any great sites/books/stores you use that you can recommend!

Further reading:

Natural Beauty at Home.  Janice Cox.  Holt Paperbacks.  2002.
Organic Body Care Recipes.  Stephanie Tourles.  Storey Publishing.  2007.
Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.  Kelly Coyne & Eric Knutzen.  Rodale Press.  2010.
The Big-Ass Book of Crafts.  Mark Montano. Simon Spotlight Entertainment.  2008. (The book that started it all)

Sites to check out:

Mountain Rose Herbs.  They’re great for organic and vegan products.  You can get just about anything.  They’re a little more expensive, but you pay for convenience.
Lip Balm Tubes.com.  They’ve got the lip balm basics as well as vegan alternatives.

Stores:

99 Cent Store.  Surprisingly great location for basics like Epsom salt (2lbs. for $0.99), Vitamin E oil (4 oz. for $0.99) for instance.
Trader Joe’s.  If you are anywhere near a Trader Joe’s they have Coconut Oil ($7 for 16oz.) and Jojoba Oil ($8 for 4oz.).
Sprouts (formerly Henry’s).  You can get Essential Oils (and do some fun research for organic beauty products) here.  They’re a little expensive.  However, keep an eye out for sales.  Occasionally they go on sale for 20-25% off.
Smart & Final.  Great for spices that you can put in your products.  I believe I got a 1/4 oz bag of dried chamomile flowers for $0.99.  Not too shabby.

To Thine Own Self Be True

In my particular line of work, smell is essential.  Well, good smell, that is.  We all have our own preferences.  Some like floral, fruity, or earthy.  Just because we love the smell of fresh cut grass, doesn’t mean that we necessarily want to smell like that either.  By starting Classically Evil, I have discovered my own personal fragrance pallet: fruity, tropical, tasty.  Personally I like to smell like food.  But just because my personal tastes lean one way, doesn’t necessarily mean that my client base agrees.  Here lies the issue.  Stay true to what smells I love and products I personally use?  Or do I try to use scents like Lavender and sandalwood in my products because I know that there is such a large base?

Like Polonius said to Laertes in Hamlet, “To Thine Own Self Be True.”  Nowadays we take this to mean to be true to who we are and what we believe in.  What Shakespeare really meant was to be true to our own interests.  In a way this seems a bit selfish and self-serving.  I take it both ways.  I have to serve myself in my business.  After all, at the end of the day, I have to make a living.  However, the whole reason I started this business is to create a product I can believe in and stand behind.  I think that I can make a good product that I will be proud to put my name on and sell.  Granted, I am not a huge fan of Lavender (for instance) but I’m sure I could pair it with another scent (say chamomile or vanilla) and make a great combo.  It’s all still a work in progress, of course.

Just as important as smell, is also sight.  You’re not going to want to put anything on your body (no matter how good it might be for you) that looks and smells gross.  Sometimes I had a couple of drops of food coloring to achieve the right effect, but for the most part, I believe that the products should speak for themselves.  For the most part my products are either white, tan, or clear just because the bases or the ingredients themselves are those colors.  I’ve also been doing some investigation with natural dyes.  Beet juice is great for lip stains.  I have discovered this fact while trying to cook with them (Literally my fingers were red for two days!).  There is also a bit of a healthy balance here.  You don’t necessarily want beet juice in your body lotion (looking like a lobster before a first date is not the best idea).

I’m actually really excited because tomorrow afternoon I will be attending a couple of online workshops through Etsy.  Marketing and Branding workshops.  Marketing and Branding are just as important as your product when it comes to the online community.  Tomorrow I’ll report as to how that goes and what I’ve learned as well as the ultimate question for me: Regular product vs. organic vs. vegan.  Which is the best way to go?   Is there such a huge difference?  Or is the $2-$10 I save on getting non-organic, non-vegan items are just as good as their expensive organic vegan counterpart?

The Importance of Packaging and Product Finalization!

I have been doing some serious research and serious contemplation as to how I want the Le Fleur Du Mal (Flower of Evil – bath/body line) to look.  It’s got to be simplistic and yet edgy.  The pictures below are from SKS Bottle and Packaging.

 

The packaging is being ordered as I type this.  I should be getting the new packaging in about 2 weeks!  I am super excited.  Not only for the packaging but I have finally narrowed it down to what will be sold here at Classically Evil!  I want to keep it kinda simple right now. 

Here’s the Le Fleur Du Mal line: Body lotion, body scrubs, soap, and lip treatments.  Below is a photo of an Invigorating scrub with the scent of peppermint (left) and a simple Muscle Soother (right).  The Muscle Soother will probably have Lavender and Chamomile added to it soon!

I am a huge fan of my coconut body lotion right now (pictured below).  I use it all the time, myself.  And am now looking forward to passing it on to everyone else.  I have a coconut lip balm that I plan on selling as well.

Some of the items that I’m selling that I don’t have pictures for yet: Healthy Morning scrub (with green tea, sugar, and lemon), Lip Stain (all natural with beet juice!), Cinnamon Oatmeal soap, and a few more experiments I’m working on.

I’ve also been working on a home line.  Just a recycled notebook and an apron currently.  But I’m also planning a few ideas for kitchen, bath, and organization decor.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  As you can see by the right side we have a count down until Etsy shop is up!  I am super excited.  I’m also hoping to be coming to a Farmer’s Market near you!

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