posted in: Business 0


After months of promoting multiple online marketplaces on, Tyra and I decided to open a Big Cartel account and redirect it to the main domain. Promoting several storefronts on this site did not serve the business well, mostly it confused potential customers when we directed them here to view and buy products.

Streamlining was necessary.

When the decision was made to promote one storefront, we chose to direct visitors to Storenvy to buy products because it is a free e-commerce platform with no sign up or listing fees—and it needed major promotion as we only had 2 sales on Storenvy since we launched in late December. It made perfect sense at the time until I started testing WordPress themes to create a stylish front page that would include a link to direct customers to our Storenvy storefront. Due to Storenvy having one basic template that requires heavy HTML and CSS editing, I had to find a WordPress theme that was similar to the Storenvy template.  Going into the process, I knew I wouldn’t find an exact theme to match, but I wanted something close with simple customization. After a week of testing more themes than I can count, nothing worked! Everything I tried looked fragmented and unprofessional, ugh!

All I want is a clean looking, functional site.

After not getting the look and feel I wanted and also the lack of sales on Storenvy (sadly), I decided to give Big Cartel serious consideration after dismissing it late last year due to the monthly fee. After checking out the options for a paid account – stats, inventory tracking, discount codes, use of own URL, and most importantly, ease of customization – the decision to sign up was easy. Between sales on Etsy, the bit of direct billing we do for family & friends, and attending craft shows—the monthly fee for the Diamond account should easily be affordable as a small expense of doing business.

It’s coming together.

I am very happy with the new setup of online store and I was able to find a WordPress theme for the blog and other featured pages that integrates nicely with the online store. For now, we will continue to sell independently on other online marketplaces until it’s time to re-evaluate their effectiveness. Lastly, we’re realistic that it will take time and a lot of effort for this site to come close to the traffic and sales that we get on Etsy, but having a professional looking, fully functional website to promote and sell our products directly gives us the confidence to continue to grow the business on our own terms, and that is priceless.


A learning experience

posted in: Business, Events 0

An update of our first event at Stevenson University is long overdue. Despite having over 2 months to plan and prepare, we spent most of Friday night finishing up a few last minute details — and when I say a few, I mean a lot of details that were left undone until the night before the event. It was poor planning on our part and it’s safe to say that we will never do that again! Some lessons were learned from this event and we believe the experience will make our future events better.

It took us nearly an hour to set up because we had so much product to unpack and organize. I’ve been eying this Neu Home Can Organizer from Walmart. Loading up the racks at home and then securing the products for transport will save us loads of prep time and it will keep for a more organized display table.

Whipped Body Cleansers

We lost a couple of sales due to not accepting credit cards. Tyra and I had discussions on how to accept credit/debit card orders, but for some reason or another neither of us researched the matter thoroughly. It wasn’t until an hour into the event we noticed the jewelry vendor across from us take a credit card order using a device that was attached to her smart phone. I rushed over to her to get the 411 and after I made it a priority to get a Square Card Reader for future events. Smart phone technology is amazing!

Handcrafted Cold Process Soaps

Our shampoos & conditioners continued to be popular items, but the cold process soaps received a lot of attention and that was very encouraging. Tyra put in a lot of time and effort into make these wonderfully scented cured soaps and it was satisfying to receive positive feedback by way of sales and compliments.
For our first time out, we presented the products well and had okay sales considering the turnout was low due to a rainy day. We covered the cost of one table and counted the second table as a loss. Though we did not come out on top, the lessons learned were invaluable.

We’re excited for more shows and events this year! We will post them under upcoming events as they are scheduled.


New lip balms on the way


This picture is an old supply of lip balms we recently removed from the online store. After re-testing the lip balms it was decided that they should be improved to make a smoother balm. The new and improved lip balms will feature old favorites Cherry Berry and Coconut, Milk & Honey as well as new flavors: Hazelnut Latte, Sugared Strawberries, Marshmallow Fluff, and Iced Pineapple & Tangerine.

We’re excited about the new lip balms and they will be available for sale later this week.

End of year, new year

posted in: News, Products 0

tyra working new year

Hello there, it’s Bre again (Tyra’s sister) and we can’t believe there’s only a few hours left in 2011. As the year comes to a close, Tyra and I have learned fast that planning, starting and growing a new online business requires a tremendous amount hard work and patience, but it’s still thrilling and rewarding nonetheless.

Having said that, here at the BB (our unofficial nickname, lol) we have plans, LOTS of plans in the works for 2012 and we’re anxiously awaiting the right time to share them with you. First on the agenda is getting Tyra familiar with the WordPress blog so she can start sharing her thoughts and ideas about the products she’s creating. Yay Tyra!

In the meantime, here’s a peek into Tyra’s work area as she prepares to make the newest cold process soap for the upcoming mens line that will be revealed in the new year.

Thanks for reading, and have a safe and Happy New Year!

Our new tumblr

posted in: Business, News 0

Introducing our new virtual thank you notes on Tumblr.

Virtual thank you note on Tumblr

This is our way of saying thank you to customers for supporting our new online store while using an extremely active social network to feature recently sold products and possibly attract new customers. More on this project later if it bears the expected fruit.

Sneak Peek: Warm Oats


Here’s a sneak peek of our second cold process soap, Warm Oats. It was made on Dec. 14th and it will be ready for sale on Jan. 14th. Warm Oats is made with grounded oatmeal, whole oats & vanilla bean powder; scented with milk & honey and a touch of orange sherbert fragrance oils. We believe you will love this soap as the oatmeal will relieve dryness while restoring the natural moisture of your skin.

We can’t wait to share this soap with you!

Until Warm Oats are ready for sale, check out our first cold process soap Eucalyptus Olive Oil Soap. It’s a great bar of soap to lather up in when you feel a cold coming on or when you want to simply relax your body & senses with a therapeutic bath soap before bedtime.

Now the real work begins

posted in: Business 0

Hello, Bre here… I’m Tyra’s sister and my job is to manage the website. I’m also supporting Tyra with marketing products online as well as locally in and around the Baltimore area.

Getting to this point has required months of planning, research, and hours of trial & error soap making on Tyra’s part. While she was in her creative element of making the next best bath & body product, I started setting up this website. I spent countless hours testing WP shopping cart plugins and theme designs to make an aesthetically pleasing website with a user friendly online store. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that my limited skillset will only get me but so far and I needed help without having to spend money to hire someone to create an online store or pay for a monthly subscription e-commerce system. As Tyra got closer to completing the product line, I needed a simple, but affordable (free) solution to manage an online store.

That brings us to Storenvy. I’m not sure how I found the site, but I remember glancing over it one night last summer without giving it much thought and then bookmarking it as I do with most websites that are relevant to my current interests. With the pressure of not having the website up & running after months of trying to figure it all out, I gave Storenvy a second look earlier this month and it turned out to be almost everything I was looking for in an online store service:

  • No setup fees, no monthly fees, no listing fees, no transaction fees – Check!
  • Upload unlimited products for free – Check!
  • Easily customizable templates (even with my limited coding skills) – Check!
  • Order management, stats, inventory tracking, discount codes and more – Check!
  • Flexibility to sell products without restrictions – Check!
  • It’s free – SOLD!

Learning everything that Storenvy has to offer re-energized my efforts to finish setting up the website again. I am most excited about the Facebook app which imports the store’s products onto a fb fan page, then Tyra can share products with her network and possibly grow a following of potential customers. We’re also considering the custom domain feature for a small fee of $4.99 a month, but it’s not necessary until the store has consistent sales so the cost can pay for itself. In the meantime, I am satisfied with the setup we have now – linking the store from the main website. Now if I can figure out how to make the main website and store design seamless, I’d be a very happy lady.

With the details of setting up a flexible online store behind us, the real work of driving people to the store to buy products is just beginning.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Shampoo & Conditioner Collection on Etsy

We are excited about the tremendous feedback from our customers about Creamy Lentils Whipped Shampoo. This gentle shampoo contains lentils which is known to be nourishing to the hair. In India, women would soak lentils over night and wash their hair with them the next day. Creamy Lentils is excellent for hydration and high shine, which also gives the hair body while it conditions.

As a companion, the Hydrate Conditioner is for dry moisture starved hair. After applying a small amount to lubricate your strands, Hydrate will leave your hair healthy without a filmy residue. Also, use as a detangler for unmanageable wet hair.

Natural Oils and Butters

Braquel’s Bathroom products contain the following natural oils and butters:

  • Olive oil – Softens skin and attracts external moisture to your skin. It helps keep your skin soft, supple and younger looking.
  • Jojoba oil – Excellent emollient for skin conditions like psoriasis, because it has a chemical composition very close to the skin’s own sebum. It is suitable for all skin types and beneficial for spotty and acne conditions.
  • Castor oil – Attracts and holds moisture in the skin.
  • Avocado oil – Contains vitamins A, D, and E, which makes it healing as well as moisturizing.
  • Grapeseed oil –  A lightweight oil that absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving a heavy greasy feeling.
  • Coconut oil – Great for very oily skin.
  • Palm oil – Cleans well and is also mild. Palm oil is universal and used in many expensive luxury soaps.
  • Sweet almond oil – A great moisturizer and helps condition the skin.
  • Tea tree oil – Great for soothing dry and flaky skin.
  • Vitamin E oil – Good for skin aging, dry skin, sunburns, and scars.
  • Cocoa butter – An excellent skin softener with a natural chocolate scent.
  • Shea butter – Great for nourishing extremely dry skin.

Pink Sugar Bath and Body Scent

Ooh La La! This fragrance is light and sweet with a touch of bergamot, strawberry, cotton candy, orange, raspberry and fig leaves. It’s a very delightful and feminine scent. Braquel’s Bathroom carries the whipped soap, bath bomb and body oil in the Pink Sugar scent! *Tyra

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