Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Congratulations!

Mujeres Luchadoras Group

BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO THE MUJERES LUCHADORAS GROUP.  This was our first micro-finance loan to another social enterprise and we are delighted to see that our supporters and our customers can see the power of small purchases and small loans to help change lives.





This group is in its twelfth cycle of the Women's Committee Program. They are all hard working women who above all are fighters. They are also doing the poverty elimination survey so that they can grow and get ahead.

Lucila is improving her poverty situation according to the survey. This is thanks to her work in clothing. She is very good at what she does, which is why her situation is getting better.

Lucila is asking for this loan to buy fabrics and needles so she can continue selling clothes. She is grateful for this opportunity which will help her a lot.
We helped support her and others through a small micro-finance fund through KIVA. I'm delighted now to be able to re-lend that money to another women's project. This time in Mali.



You can find out more about it here: http://www.kiva.org/lend/799734


Congrats again from all at ScENT

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Soap Making Workshop with Growing Connections.

One of the great things about being a social enterprise is the networking and support that we can both give and receive to other social enterprises.

We were asked a few months ago if we would facilitate a workshop with a community group near Bangor called "Growing Connections".  This community generally meet over allotments but they often meet on the farm for different workshops of community occasions - such as the building of the outside composting toilet, the mud hut, or bee hive.

There are some great shots of this workshop thanks to Suzanne from Growing Connections NI.


  


The purpose of this workshop was to organic and natural ingredients to colour and fragrance soaps.  For this workshop Carla made all the soap samples viewed above with a variety of ingredients ranging from Tumeric, juniper-berries, nutmeg, peppermint, vanilla and many many other variations.  Each sample used an opaque base at the top of the sample with a clear base at its base.  

There was  a fair amount of work and preparation to this workshop but it was worth it.  We had a great time.

Thanks to all at Growing Connections NI and you can find out more about them on this link:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Summer help.

With Carla out of action we have been pursuing help from a few different sources.

I'm currently looking at offering a STEP into Work Placement with the Dept of Employment and Learning for the next six months.  I'm meeting someone shortly about what this may look like.

However, with the arrival of summer holidays and with a bored little 5 year old running around eager to help we decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to recruit him to help daddy and leave his poor mother alone.

Turns out that Eli did just as good a job as his Father (if not better).  He now admits that he doesn't know how to make soap but he is a good "packager" to sell the soaps.

Here's a few of the highlights:

video

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Wedding Favours

We have had a number of wedding favours over the last few years for friends and family and it has allowed us to garner quite a number of products which we now sell as favours.

So let me introduce you to a few of our weddings.

First up were Cameron and Katie with the Sheep which were featured on One Fab Day: They have also made their merry way to a wedding in France and a children's party in Spain.

Next was Dave and Shona with the Sheep and the Stones:
The wonderful Peach soaps have been shipped as wedding favours to Australia and Hawaii

Richard and Rachael ordered these for their wedding:

Sian and Luke went for a Cold Processed soap that represented "Fire"




Gareth and Courtney wanted these:
And finally, for now, we have Ben and Danielle:  Their theme was "Purple" but as the music lover's they are we resorted to some "Guns and Roses" (better photos to follow of this one).



 So, the question remains, what would you want for your wedding?



Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Making the Lab my own!

Carla would tell you that the evidence of me taking over the lab is all around and clear to see.

The disorder, the chaos and my innate ability to be untidy and leave things everywhere.  Don't worry, all is spick and span as it should be but I have a tendency to leave the wrong things in the wrong places and if Carla does get a pain free hour or two - then it drives her nuts to go into the lab and see her ordered little world turned to a mass of pots and and pans all half filled and misplaced.



Of course, I must also insist that the same is true for me.  Carla keeps moving things so I can't find them! They are always neat and tidy - tucked away in some hiding hole that no-one could ever know about and no-one over 3 foot might ever think of looking!

Still, as I've made the lab my own I thought I might show you some of the results.

video
Okay, so there may be a hole in the hair net and the fashion sense may hold much to be desired - but other than that I'd say I'm pretty pleased with the end results.

The soaps by the way that were made were Lavender & Lime soaps and our Bergamot & Cedarwood soaps.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

St. Georges Market

This year we took the decision to compliment our on-line business with a presence in St. Georges Market, Belfast.  With our lines finalised we needed to work out how to raise capital in order get our products branded and ready for retail.



There are so many things one could say about St. Georges.  Firstly, we are a long way off fulfilling our need to raise the capital.  Things have been slower to get rolling than we had perhaps expected yet strangely we are fairing better than many of our counterparts.  We could do a Saturday to compensate but we try as much as possible to keep that day for family time.

We've considered investing money on banners, branding, packaging for the stall etc., but as a casual trader we really just wanted to see if we could get the stall to work.  And, it has.  We are currently looking at expanding to sell at Victoria Square on a Sunday as well and plans are in place for their Christmas fayre too. 

If these opportunities provide the capital it would permit us the opportunity of having finished products ready for retail; that would allow us to consider expanding and possibly, just possibly, consider taking some money out of the business.  A much needed source of income for the expanding Falls family.  

Incidently St. Georges' Market has been shortlisted in the top 10 "good causes awards" and is currently open for voting.  You can give it a big thumbs up here: http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards


Miracle of Miracles

I know, I know.

I'm so terribly sorry.

It has been 7 months since I last blogged and so, so much has happened in that time that we barely know where to begin.

But lets start with the sound of tiny little feet pitter patting their way into our lives once again.

In February we found out that Carla was pregnant.  It was the most wonderful and amazing bitter sweet news we have had in a long time.  Amazing because we have always wanted a larger family but due to very difficult previous pregnancies we had just taken the decision to have no further children and give all the baby stuff we have to others.  

The surprising news means we will now need to do a major restock of items for baby number 3.  It also meant that Carla was almost immediately confined to bed where she will remain until the baby is born  at the end of October.  

It also brought back memories relatively rapidly that I would have to take responsibility for doing everything at home and at work - though last time work was consultancy based admin work for a group of manufacturing business' - this time work would require me to also take on my usual quota and those responsibilities Carla has always undertaken one of which would be MAKING SOAP!

In that time I've learnt how to make soaps, bombs, melts, lip-balms, oils, salts and butters.  I've taken soap demonstrations, I've facilitated workshops, made wedding favours and even taught the odd bit of soap-making.  

ScENT has, as a result, been taken over by a man!  To such an extent I've even booked my first Hen Party. I perish the thought!

Perhaps this in part explains a little of my absence on blogs.  Much of the time I would have spent on-line or doing admin has been swapped with the lab.  Something had to give somewhere.  

Still, I'm back now for a little while and will keep you updated with some of the other things we have been up to.