“Here’s a toast to the future, a toast to the past, and a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant, the past a bright dream; may our friends remain faithful and dear.”
This year, like all of them, has seemingly flown by. Having a toddler in the house definitely adds to the surreal feeling of time being extremely fleeting. Some of the highlights were:
Spring S.O.A.P. Panel – This panel started working in January to help us pick out our spring and summer fragrances. A big thank you to them all for volunteering their time to choose some definite winners. The winners of their studious and thoughtful testing were: Lavender Green Tea, Honey Beeswax, and Pikake Flower. The fragrances were testing in everything from bath fizzies to cold process soap to lotions to melt and pour soap and performed beautifully making them S.O.A.P. Panel Winners!
BBAC - This year, we debuted our Bramble Berry Athletic Club where we sponsored customers and readers in charity races of their choice. Bramble Berry has always donated to worthy non-profits and this year, we wanted to support non-profits that were important to our customers and encourage physical fitness (after all, running a small business is a marathon, not a sprint). We had 11 soapers on our Bramble Berry Athletic Club and were thrilled to read about their adventures throughout the year.
Mobile Site - We launched the Bramble Berry Mobile Site in 2012. But, like all things technology, it had opportunity to be improved upon so it’s undergoing another facelift right now (along with a website upgrade over the holidays) so if it looks a little plain to you on your smart phones … don’t worry! It is! The facelift will be done by February.
Bath Fizzy Swap - Twenty-eight fizzmeisters participated in our inaugural Bramble Berry Bath Fizzy Swap! It was so fun to see all the packaging and the different formulations people used. Round-up posts here and here. We also did our first live Google+ Hangout to showcase the fizzies to people who couldn’t participate but wanted to get in on the action!
Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference – Four of the Bramble Berry team visited beautiful Portland, Oregon to teach, laugh and learn at the Soapmakers’ Guild Annual Conference. We started planning our displays early on in the year and were pleased with how they turned out because they allowed for many people to stop ‘n’ sniff fragrances, and essential oils and take project sheet hand outs. We loved meeting so many soapers and customers; it was such a treat. You can read our 2012 Handcrafted Soapamkers Conference reports here, here, and here.
House Holds Hearings – The House committee of Energy and Commerce hosted hearings entitled ‘Examining the State of Cosmetics.’ Bramble Berry, Indie Beauty Network, the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild and others submitted testimony in writing. Debbie May of WholesaleSuppliesPlus testified live. You can watch the entire 2 hour hearing here. Bramble Berry’s written statement is here.
Soap Weekend Intensive 2012 – It takes over a year of planning to get ready for SWI. Check out the 3 days of posts here, here, and here. This year, we had participants from all over the United States. For 2013, we’ve got something even better planned to reach out to more of you so stay tuned for that announcement.
Legislation Introduced - Proposed legislation (HR 4395 – Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012) restructuring how the FDA deals with cosmetics was introduced in 2012. We were delighted when Jay Inslee, running for Governor for the State of Washington, stopped by to give us his take (he served on the committee of jurisdiction in his time in the House) and tour our warehouses. The bill, HR 4395, did not make it out of committee and did not move in the 2012 session of Congress.
Charity Fun – We had so much fun in the name of charity this year. We hosted a clothing drive, participated in a bowl-a-thon (where we won for most enthusiastic team), represented as the BrambleBrains to support literacy, sponsoring the winning Youth Softball Team, the annual Salvation Army Shopping trip, soaping parties for Hurricane Sandy victims and more. We also had a softball team this year, the Soapy Sluggers, that had a lot of fun learning how to play ball and win (and lose) with grace.
Teach Soap Makeover - TeachSoap.com, the free instructional site that I started at the same time I started Bramble Berry, has so many great recipes and resources (including a forum) but it was drowning in outdated design. We completely redesigned the site this year for a fresh, clean look. All the same great information is there but with a perky new design and a much more robust search option.
D.C. Trip – Bramble Berry engaged with lawmakers and staffers in person in Washington D.C. this year as we continued to monitor potential legislation and spread the word about small business.
Social Media Fun - Our Facebook page saw a lot of action this year with the addition of #MakeItMondays and Facebook Photo of the Week. We’ve enjoyed engaging with our friends, customers and fans on G+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, SoapQueen.TV, Snip.It ,StumbleUpon, and Tumblr
Supplier of the Year - Thank you, thank you, thank you for naming Bramble Berry the best place to buy soapmaking supplies on the internet. We were extremely grateful to win this award from the Saponifier for 2012 and will strive to meet and beat expectations in 2013.
Health Nuttiness Officially Wins – We led over 60 people on a Crazy Sexy Detox cleanse at the beginning of 2012 that kicked off over 100 pounds of weight loss in our office (click here here, here and here for all kinds of delicious recipes from the Detox), from Norman our COO losing a small childs’ worth of weight to multiple healthy lifestyles being adopted (and kept; Becky and Kristen, I’m looking at you both!), greens and non-processed foods are here to stay at Team Bramble Berry.
On a personal note, Chris ran a marathon this year and applied for the CNN Triathlon Team (watch his application video here) but even with that accomplishment, the biggest news for our family was that we are expanding the family! New Bramble Baby due in May 2013. We’ll announce the gender of the new baby in less than two weeks.
Here’s to a more healthy, a more happy and an even more joy-filled 2013 for you and for the entire Bramble Berry team.