Emulsified Scrubbin’ to our Elbows

I had an AWESOME Saturday at Otion. I was there all day working with Julie from a lavender farm in Sequim, Washington. Though she is already one busy lady, getting her Masters in Horticulture and running her farm and burgeoning toiletries business, she has big plans. Rather than experimenting with recipes for the next year, she decided to get all her questions answered with a custom designed day, including recipes already figured out, at Otion.

Here was the schedule of the day:

9:30 start (lay of the land, coffee, bath rooms)

9:45 – 11:30 – Advanced Lotion with Whipped Butter (includes preserving and shelf life)

11:30 – 11:45 – break

11:45 to 12:45 – lip balms/lipsticks (4 different recipes)

12:45 – 1:15 lunch delivered from Old World Deli

1:15 – 2:15 – Body Scrub (three emulsified scrub recipes)

2:15– 3:15– Soy container candles

3:15 – 4:00 – Bath fizzies

4:00 break

4:15 – 5:15 – Spritzers & follow up questions

5:30 End

We jammed all of that into the day and Julie left with a huge pile of goodies by the end of the day between all the recipes we made. And most importantly, she now has a stable of successful recipes to turn to when expanding her line.

Julie was super smart and brought a store bought lotion that she loved. We dissected the ingredients and created something similar both in feel and performance. It was fun to make similar recipes with and without IPM to feel the difference in slip and feel. We also played with the addition of talc to reduce oiliness in the oh-so-rich body butters.

We made lip balms and lipsticks. We had lots of fun experimenting with manly-man type lip balm flavors and ideas. Julie is a huge fan of unrefined hemp oil so we spent some time talking about the tradeoff with the unrefined hemp versus shorter shelf life for products.

We had a delicious lunch delivered by Erik, the Otion Store manager, from Old World Deli. I got my typical (homemade pickled onions, with fontina cheese & spinach, grilled to perfection) and Julie had a delicious chicken pesto sandwich.

Then we were back in the thick of things (literally!) with emulsified sugar and salt scrubs. We made a variety of recipes and discussed the pros and cons of each. It was fascinating to see how much salt and sugar needed to be added to get any sort of legit ‘scrubbiness’ to the products.

We did have one small mishap. The emulsifying wax/oils/stearic acid mixture spilled a bit on our protective paper towel. We didn’t think much of it and kept using the microwave until we smelled smoke. Whoops! The oil/wax combo coupled with the dry paper towel caught fire in the microwave. That was quite a surprise and we put out the (small) fire quickly, marveling at the strange occurrence and vowing clean up thoroughly after each and every spill from here on out.

Then, with barely a pause, it was back to the races to finish the busy learning schedule with bath fizzies, candles and making body spritzers (Polysorbate 20 is your friend for body spritzers). We did take a quick break to run across the street for donuts for a late afternoon pick-me-up. We were both pretty tired but satisfied when 5:30 rolled around.

Thanks for a fun day, Julie!


Like it? Share it!

Become an email subscriber

Enter your email address below and you will receive all our new posts directly in your email inbox.


  1. Mary says

    Wow, looks like lots of fun. Love the fizzies…always been a challenge for me. A class would probably do a world of good!

    Good luck to you!

  2. Anne-Marie says

    Hi Team –

    I'm glad that you found inspiration in Julie's packed day. It was a lot of fun!

    The Bramble Berry story is probably a lot like many small start ups – fumbles, mistakes and just enough success to keep you going =)

    Yes, I'll eventually write it up and blog it.

    Madpiano, have you checked out the posts tagged 'Business' – I've been blogging at Soap Queen for a few years and have written lots on business advice. This one is a good one though – go back to day one and then follow it through day 9. It has lots of business basics in there to help you with food for thought:


    I also really love the book 'The Success Principles' by Jack Canfield for helping to get your business off and running.

  3. Soapchick says

    Wow, I'm so jealous what a fantastic and tiring sounding day! I would so love to do that, maybe one day I will be in a position to offer some training days like this to people wanting to make soaps? who knows, I'd so love to do it, here in the UK. I just wish I could come on one of your days Anne-marie

  4. Kelly Taylor says

    Then I will begin immediately to put aside the capital to make the next SWI! That will truly be an experience worth investing in and alot of fun to boot!

  5. Rose Carbajal says

    Kudos and best of luck to Julie!
    She definitely invested wisely in her company…

    Oh I think I will have to plan my vacation to go to the West then!

  6. madpiano says

    wow, that sounds like such a great day ! But as much as I would love to do something like that, I would have to swim to the US to be able to afford that. Maybe one day….

    I second FooFooBerry, it would be nice to have a "how did it all start" blog from you. At the moment I feel a bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

  7. Anne-Marie says

    Ha ha, Jennie – I was totally bummed that we didn't manage to take a video!

    Kelly, Design Your Day is $625 for the day but judging from what I read about your activities on your blog and FB updates, you don't need a day with me at all. However, you would probably get a lot out of the Otion Soap Weekend Intensive which generally runs $350-$375ish for a full weekend of classes AND has the benefit of lots of fabulous soapers and passionate small business owners to keep us all in high spirits. =)

  8. jennie w. says

    I like how there's a fire in the microwave but you still manage to get a picture for the blog!

  9. di Palermo Body says

    How fun! There is nothing better than a day full of making bath products. Good for Julie I hope her adventures take her far. I think I'm going to make some goodies right now you got my appetite started.

  10. Mary says

    What a fun sounding day…and a very busy one.

    I would have loved to have been there.

    Julie, I wish you a world of success!

  11. Brigette says

    Sounds like such a great day. It sounds like Julie was smart to take the lessons to get solid recipes and shorten the experimentation time.

  12. FooFooBerry says

    Sounds like you had a great time.

    I have a suggestion for a post and maybe I'm not alone here in my question. I know you started out selling at markets while building the Brambleberry empire. How does one go from selling at a market to a big scale idea? I have an idea of where I'd like to go but have no idea how to start or where to begin to continue and expand my business. I've thought of checking out the small business office we have in town to see if they have any imput. I know you have blogged about this before but not sure if you have blogged about starting from the very beginning when you were just starting out and selling your products at fairs etc.

  13. Kelly Taylor says

    Well, I am super happy for Julie,
    and super jealous for myself!

    What does one day with Anne-Marie cost, just exactly?

    If I start hitch hiking right now, I can be there by Saturday.

    I have millions, perhaps billions of questions.


    How totally cool and so happy for her! And I know you had joy in pouring alot of your passions into another like minded soul!