Here are the Qs:
- Can I get one subscription box without signing up for a subscription?
- My soap is melting! What's happening?!?
- Where's my stuff?
- I love your products! I'm looking for donations for [xyz charity]. Could you donate something for an auction we're having?
- Why do you swear so much? Don't you think you're alienating some of your potential customers by using such offensive language?
- Have you ever developed an alternate, very badass personality and then kissed the back of your hand and then poured lye on it like in Fight Club?
- Can you help me with my business? / You have inspired me and I want to create a business just like yours! I'm not copying you, am I?
- You know, lye is really dangerous. I hope you're wearing safety gear.
- Have you ever gotten a lye burn?
- Do you make / Have you made soap with human fat like in Fight Club?
- I heard soap is made from ground up bones and stuff like that... is that an urban legend or do you do that?
- Are you a vegan or vegetarian?
- I got this order in packing peanuts / bubble wrap / foam wrap. Aren't those bad for the environment?
- I got this order in a burlap bag. Again. Isn't this excessive?
- You shrink-wrap your Bacon Soap and Unicorn Poop Soap bars in plastic. WTF?
- Why are you always posting about how happy you are? Don't you have bad days?
- How did you learn to make soap? / Can you teach me to make soap?
- You used to have this one soap and now you don't have it anymore. How can I get it?
Q: My soap is melting! What's happening?!?
A: This can be one of the most frustrating and horrifying experiences. You get this amazing soap, you adore this amazing soap, you treasure this amazing soap, and ... then this amazing soap starts melting into a mush. :-(
Handmade soap doesn't contain hardeners like commercial soaps, so they need to be treated a little differently. Even among other handmade soaps, our soaps are softer and therefore even more prone to mushing. It's because we use four different kinds of oils, and three of these oils are "soft" oils (liquid at room temperature). The oil we use the most of, avocado oil, is extra moisturizing, but is also hella melty. We had to make the hard (soft?) decision to stick with a softer bar, in exchange for using extremely moisturizing oils.
What does this mean? It means your soap needs to breathe. If you set it down on a flat surface or anywhere solid, air will not flow around the soap and it will goop into the surface. Blech.
If you get a soap dish that allows air flow around your soap, your soap will last for weeks and weeks. Ours last for months in the shower, because we have one of those handy caddy things.
We do happen to sell soap trays that allow for optimal air flow around soaps here. We also include one with every new single soap subscription plan absolutely free. So if you love your handmade soap and want it to live forever, get your soap tray and enjoy its long life. :)
Q: Can I get one subscription box without signing up for a subscription?
A: No, sorry. The only way we can provide the kind of awesome products you find in your subscription box is by buying in bulk and never customizing anything. This means no one-offs.
You can sign up for a subscription box here: http://www.outlawsoaps.com/product/the-clean-getaway-subscription-box/
Q: Where's my stuff?
A: We try to ship everything in the quickest possible time (usually the day after it is ordered). Sometimes we can't get to it for a few days. If you ordered something more than a week ago and haven't gotten it (and it's not backordered), email me and I'll look into it.
Q: I love your products! I'm looking for donations for [xyz charity]. Could you donate something for an auction we're having?
A: First, thank you for giving your time to something you feel passionate about. That's awesome. You're making the world better.
Second, we're still in the first couple years of business and we aren't profitable yet. Eventually, yes we would LOVE to donate to various charity auctions. But we really want to get to the place in our business where we can afford to do that without compromising our ability to survive.
Q: Why do you swear so much? Don't you think you're alienating some of your potential customers by using such offensive language?
A: Using words is what I do. Some of those words are words that certain people find offensive. The kind of people who can't handle a little "fuck" thrown into a product description or two aren't probably going to enjoy our products much anyways.
Because this actually has been a quite frequently asked question, I have toned down the swearing so it's not on packaging or not USUALLY on our social media, so people under the age of 18 aren't likely to see it. It isn't my intention to offend anyone, I'm just using the best words for the job.
Q: Have you ever developed an alternate, very badass personality and then kissed the back of your hand and then poured lye on it like in Fight Club?
A: No. Not only would that hurt like a motherfucker (and I'm pain averse), it would be a waste of lye. Lye is not easy to come by these days. Also, I'm badass in my real personality. Only wussies need alter egos for that stuff.
Q: Can you help me with my business? / You have inspired me and I want to create a business just like yours! I'm not copying you, am I?
A: Oof... Here's the thing... I want you to succeed. I really, really do. I try to help people self-actualize whenever I can. I answer questions, I post blog posts, and I record videos. Just recently, I got back from the Central Soapers Workshop where I gave a workshop on branding and sales.
I am open with my knowledge.
I don't ask much in return, but the only thing I do ask is that you not compete with me. If you start a business and make outlaw-themed soaps and lotions, I'm going to be weird about it. I'm going to feel sad about it. I'm going to feel like helping people is actually hurting myself. I'm going to become guarded and jaded about sharing knowledge in the future.
You may say that our business model and branding really resonates with you since you love western stuff and camping. You may also say that you would have gone that direction with your business anyways, even without my help. That may be true, and that's the price you pay for getting free advice from me.
If I help you with your business, consider it a non-compete contract with Outlaw Soaps.
This means you won't sell products that smell or look similar to ours, no matter where you are geographically located. You won't take products with our name or replicate business concepts we use.
If someone is asking you for a thing and you know we make it, we'd appreciate it if you would direct them to us. But at the very least, please don't compete with us.
Q: You know, lye is really dangerous. I hope you're wearing safety gear.
A: That's not a question, but we'll let that slide. YES. Lye is very caustic. It is like fire or electricity or gravity or humans in that it is a predictable force, even for as dangerous as it is. If I get it on my skin, I rinse it off. I always, always, always wear safety gear, even when the chance for burn is very slim. I may act like a reckless goofball, but I am very fucking serious about safety.
Q: Have you ever gotten a lye burn?
A: Definitely. Many times. In fact, I think I get some sort of lye irritation every time I make a batch of soap. I'm very careful, but sometimes my arm brushes against some raw soap or I get some in my hair without realizing it, and then my hair brushes my forehead and suddenly I'm spraying myself in the eyes with vinegar. It's always a "GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF ME!" moment. You never stand around wondering if it's a lye burn.
Q: Do you make / Have you made soap with human fat like in Fight Club?
A: I haven't. Would I? Sure. If I could find a legal and ethical source for human fat, I would absolutely do it. All of our soaps are vegan currently, so if I did happen to get my hands on some good, legal, ethical human fat, I'd have to make a pretty clear statement about it on the website.
Q: I heard soap is made from ground up bones and stuff like that... is that an urban legend or do you do that? (an actual question)
A: I've written a post about how we make our cold process soap, but no, there are no bones involved. As far as I know, no bones are used in soap (I guess they could be used as an exfoliant if you ground them finely, but that seems pretty metal). I think what you're thinking of is fat... and soap can be made from any kind of fat. We prefer not to kill more animals than necessary, so we use vegetable oil (until I can answer Q2 "yes").
Q: Are you a vegan or vegetarian?
A: No. I try to eat mostly sustainably caught fish, but I am not a vegetarian. I love carnitas very, very much.
Q: I got this order in packing peanuts / bubble wrap / foam wrap. Aren't those bad for the environment?
A: Yes. And that's why we're shipping them to YOU. We order supplies from many different companies with many different packaging standards. When possible, we sock away these shipping supplies and send them out with our orders so we can save time going to the dumpster -- er,... so we can keep these out of the landfill for a while. If they're in good shape when you get them, please reuse!
Q: I got this order in a burlap bag. Isn't this excessive?
A: Sometimes we don't have leftover shipping supplies and so we ship things in burlap. Burlap is biodegradable, reusable, and hella cute. It's also not significantly more expensive than other packaging options.
Q: You shrink-wrap your Bacon Soap and Unicorn Poop Soap bars in plastic. WTF?
A: First, thank you for asking. I'm glad you care.
Second, it's actually a biodegradable biofilm made from plants and it is totally compostable. To test this, I have personally put some of the biofilm in with our compost and it is in fact decomposing with the rest of the plant material.
Q: Why are you always posting about how happy you are? Don't you have bad days?
A: I'm always posting about how happy I am because I'm very happy. Of course I have bad days! Of course I have anxiety! I've started a new business and it's freakin' my shit out!
So far, we're not even close to being profitable (though if you've read this far down, it's likely you at least like us, so you'll maybe buy some soap if you haven't already). I quit a super steady job doing mighty fine work for a fantastic company so that I could move to Oakland and start a soap company... it's a stressful thing.
But at the end of the day, I'm surrounded by people I love.
I go hiking. I smell amazing things. I have a flexible schedule. I love what I do. I am so grateful it is hard to quantify in words. And I want to share that with people.
One of the things I learned while working at Oprah is that one person can share so much joy around the world. It sounds hokey, but it's true. When I think of my friends like Missy, Rachel, Ellen... and so many others, the evidence is right there. Love is spread and gets bigger. There is more in this world to be grateful for than there are things to fear or hate.
Vocalizing things perpetuates them, so if I were to complain about things all the time or vocalize my worries, they would be more real in my life. Why would I want to make those things more real? Why not make the love and happiness more real?
Q: How did you learn to make handmade soap? / Can you teach me to make handmade soap?
A: We have watched hundreds of internet videos and read hundreds of recipes. There's the Soapmaking Forum, Saponifier Magazine, and the Indie Business Network. One of the first and best places I got started was this blog entry on how to start your own soap business. Most importantly, I have a great friend and wonderful mentor in Deb Wallace, the proprietess of Squid Balm. She has been my savior more times than I can count. She makes AMAZING soap, so if you want a really mild or allergy sensitive bar, lotion bar, shampoo bars, etc, go get it from Deb.
Q: You used to have this one soap and now you don't have it anymore. How can I get it?
A: We sometimes retire soaps that we don't think are working out for our customers. If you have fallen in love with one of these soaps, please join the wait list by going to the product page and clicking "join waitlist" where the "add to cart" button would be. We look through the soaps with the longest wait lists and make those again when more than 5 people join the waiting list. So yeah, we listen.
Have a question that wasn't covered here? Email me!