Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Melt & Pour Soap Base Samples have arrived!

Since the closure of SunflowerSG for their renovation works on 25 July 2010, I have been left contemplating new directions for my little business. I would prefer to showcase my products with someone who respects handcrafters and is genuinely passionate about supporting the local handcrafting scene.

This actually brings me back to 'Square One'. Time to relook into my business strategy, taking into account the experiences in the past months and feedback from customers as well as students who have attended my Soap!Soap!Soap! - Basic Soap Crafting Workshops.

One of the more frequent requests was for Nature's Little Treasures to make soap crafting supplies available locally and at more reasonable costs than what is currently available in the market; to the casual soap crafters.

Having been in the wellness industry for almost a decade, I wanted to ensure that my customers receive only the best of the best; thus the stringent screening of all our suppliers.

Our 1st shipment of 17 new and different soap base samples arrived tis morning. Now that's 11 kgs of soap and we are going to test all of them to ensure that they perform well in our SUPER HOT & HUMID Singapore weather!

We have had batches of soap that 'sweat' profusely, melt and become all soft and squishy due to the weather; so our preferred soap base would be one which is less prone to glycerin dew and contains almost all natural ingredients (100% all natural soap bases do tend to be more squishy and difficult to unmold in our weather - not desired).

New Samples of M&P Soap Bases

We hope to share the outcome of the tests soon. In the meantime, thank you for your support and do continue to give us your feedback!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Singapore Garden Festival 2010

This was our family's very first visit to the Singapore Garden Festival! I was too caught up in my previous jobs and had  missed both events in 2006 and 2008 even though I had received complimentary tickets for myself and my kids...what a pity!

Nonetheless everyone was E-X-C-I-T-E-D! The kids wanted to see the mascots - Lindy Ladybug, Gary Grasshopper and Benny Bee. I was anxious about the display of my little retail space at the Festival Shop. My lone visit to the event on the first day to check on the initial setup was distressing and left me very upset and disappointed with the attitude of the lady in charge of the shop. (Well, that's another interesting story! and it is a blessing that I do not have any pictures to show the initial horror.)

Marked improvement in visual display on 2nd day of event

Above photograph was taken by SunflowerSG who had liaised with SGF for the consignment of Nature's Little Treasures products. I have made a mental note never to allow a third party to negotiate business on my behalf again, least they fall short of my expectations. This was a marked improvement to the previous day's horror but still, I expected better. Lesson learnt!

How does one feel when one steps into the Singapore Garden Festival? hhmmm....have you ever sensed the relief when you are in the midst of nature? That wonderful, peaceful feeling - exactly!

These were some my favourites:

Silver Winner, Floral Windows to the World - Rhythms of Nature
Designer: Janet Alesich (Australia)

Gold Winner, Floral Windows to the World - In The Beginning There Was Light
Designer: Alex Choi (Korea)

Silver Winner, Fantasy Gardens - Hommage Aux Jardiniers
Designers: Agnes Daval & Gabriel Milochau (France)

Best of Show, Floral Windows to the World - Design With Nature
Designer: Brigitte Heinrichs (Germany)

Web of 13 Million
Digital Photo Exhibition by Mr Kwek Leng Joo

Web of 13 Million - This was actually the first exhibit Ryan dashed into! This was a digital show but we found the 'tandrils' & 'flowers' more interesting.

On closer inspection, we realised that they were actually fashioned out of used plastic bottles! How beautiful :)

I am so inspired to make eco-friendly soaps out of everyday recycled materials - think tofu containers, milk or fruit juice cartons, jelly cups...I believe that with some brain storming, we can come up with a really long list of household items!

How we looked on the second last day of the Singapore Garden Festival 2010

That was how the shelf looked with one more day left on the show. Well, I hope the empty and half-filled buckets meant that most of our products have been sold. My family and I shopped in the Festival Shop for almost an hour and no staff approached to assist any curious (potential) customers, including myself. Most of the staffs were chatting among themselves or just standing and doing nothing.

So we decided to entertain ourselves alittle :)

Ryan and I have always had this thingy for frogs and he found this hairband lying around and popped it onto his head and ... C-H-E-E-S-E!

This lady staff was walking past and gamely posed for a photograph. The original staff taking care of this area gave a lame excuse and ran away when I asked for permission to take a shot.

Ryan, Aiko & Lizzy with Lindy Ladybug, Gary Grasshopper & Benny Bee hanging overhead :)

My favourite Oncidium Orchid - Golden Showers

We were tired and famished after walking through the entire 4th and 6th storeys of lucious floral and fauna. We truely enjoyed ourselves and the kids went home with their stalks of orchids (complimentary from the organisers, which I felt was a very nice gesture), stuff toys - Ryan chose Titoy, Aiko and Lizzy grabbed Sara the Botanicosaurus and "Sara goes to the Supermarket Garden" books and keychains.

Strangely, the staffs at the cashier counter of the Festival Shop insisted that we stuff all our purchases into ONE small carrier bag. Even when we showed them that the bag could not hold all our purchases, they refused to let us have a second bag.

Perhaps they wanted some free advertisement by making my kids carry their stuffed toys around the event area? Thinking back, I should have used the discount coupons given for my purchases instead of paying in full!

Nonetheless, I have marked Singapore Garden Festival 2012 in my calender for the year 2012. Despite some misses, this is still one event not to be missed. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nature's Little Treasures @ Singapore Garden Festival 2010 !

I was thrilled when told that my soaps were selected to be sold at the Singapore Garden Festival 2010 - Asia's best garden and flower show, a biennial event held in Singapore. What better way to start our blog then to share with you - NLT soaps specially created for the Festival Shop @ SGF!

Given only a week's notice, limited resources and a free reign to design, I decided on 6 different types of soaps and a lovely aloe & shea butter hand cream to showcase Nature's Little Treasures.

Summer Watermelon! Very juicy, sweet and fruity - just the thing to put you in the mood for picnics on warm sunny days...and the weather was S-U-P-E-R H-O-T!!

Our "Summer Watermelon" Soap is a BIG kid pleaser!

I must admit that the "Energizer" Geometric Soap was my favourite. Scented with a stimulating blend of grapefruit, lemon & lime with fresh cucumber & jasmine, and with a touch of pineapple, blackberry & champagne. YUMM!!

Energizer Bars!

A perfect and exciting gift!

Whenever I hand bars of soap scented with my favourite men's fragrance - a delightful blend of bergamot, sandalwood and musk, to my lady customers...they all pause and exclaim (and in typical Singlish) "wahh....very sexy...mann". Some of my girlfriends love this scent so much, they hog the "Very" body cream and roll-on perfume for their personal use!

A perfect blend of clean and masculine, well-loved by both men & women!

I always love a good pedicure, especially after a long tiring week. This pedicure soap with real oatmeal will moisturise and soothe the skin, whilst finely grounded apricot seeds and loofah gives a gentle, yet invigorating exfoliation. Great for pampering the aching soles of the Nature Lover after hiking through the great outdoors!

"Pamper-me Pedi" Soap - Bright and fresh with notes of green!

The next two soaps were really fun to make. I decided to try something different and package the soaps in reuseable soap molds and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out :)

Plumeria Soap-in-Soap was inspired by the sweet ambrosial nectar of the frangipanni tree. Did you know that Plumeria obtusa is also known as Singapore Plumeria? I wanted a soap to remind me of home - the sunny tropical island of Singapore!

Being Asian and of Chinese descent ( grandpa was from Shanghai and grandma from Guangdong province in China), we love our Kumquats! These evergreen trees are believed to be native of China and a symbol of good luck in Asian countries. Their luscious golden fruits are also known as "little gold gems" and are perfect for gifting!

    Kumquat Soap-in-Soap

I was going through all the photographs taken and realised that I have forgotten to snap one of my "Yummy Milk & Honey" Luxury Hand Creams during the mad rush of packing to deliver all the products to the Singapore Garden Festival. *sigh*

This luxuriously creamy and moisturising hand cream is an awesomely yummy melding of creamy milk & honey with a touch of almond that leaves the skin soft and silky. A nourishing treat for the Gardener's hands.

It was definately a blast working on this project, given the unique circumstances - one week to plan, design and produce the order, limited materials (as I did not have the luxury of time to plan ahead and order the materials I needed, I had to improvise along the way and maximise the materials I had in-hand), and the total lack of sleep (I survived on 2-3hour naps daily for the entire week!).

I so love what I am doing...and I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you :)

Next! Our visit to the Singapore Garden Festival 2010!