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Life Update - I'm Getting Married

Well, folks. I'm getting married. My mind is sorta still in shock and I'm beyond excited so I thought I would write this little post to fill you all in (if you like this sort of thing. If not, skip it, it won't hurt my feelings!)

Who is the lucky guy?
His name is Caleb (I call him Cat). You may have seen him in some older videos. He's been around for about 3 years now and I um....well, quite frankly I'm head over heels in love with him. Imagine a nice combination of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice with a few hints of Bagheera from the Jungle Books and sprinkling of Jim Carrey's humor and you've pretty much got Caleb.

How did I meet him?
Funny story, I actually met him at a homeschool dance I wasn't even supposed to be at. One of my girlfriend's invited me to go with her and I did. The moment I clamped eyes on him, I told Karoline "I...am dancing with that one." Turns out, Caleb wanted to dance with me too, He walked up to me, didn't say a word (didn't even ask "Would you dance with me?"), took my hand, and lead me to the floor. The rest is history.

How did he propose and when?
He and I have always enjoyed parks and our favorite has a little secluded alcove under a weeping willow tree and next to the pond. So, on March 19th, 2016, as the sun was setting and butterflies flitted about in the field surrounding us, he pulled out a little ring and said "Katherine White, will you marry me?" I laughed, cried, kissed his cheek and said "Yes, yes, of course!!"

Can we see the ring?
Of course you can! The ring is called a Claddagh ring and is a traditional engagement ring for people of Irish heritage. You wear the heart facing out when you're engaged and in, towards you, when you're married. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty.

I don't wear a lot of jewelry usually and I'm a big fan of the simplistic, less expensive pieces. For me, it isn't about the rock or what was paid for it, it's about uh...if I actually like it (haha) and meaning behind the ring itself. He knows that I've always loved the Claddagh symbol, my Irish heritage, and the importance of symbolism.

When's the wedding?
Caleb and I have been together for quite awhile and have had a lot of time to think about this decision so our engagement is going to be relatively short. His job is flexible, so is mine, so we decided to get married on May 21st of this year.

Where is the wedding going to be?
I wanted an outside wedding and so did Caleb but we also wanted it to be very woodsy and secluded. My parents live on 11 acres of land with trees surrounding the entire property so with their permission, we're going to be married on the porch of Butterfly Cottage.

Am I moving from Butterfly Cottage?
I am. I've only lived there for six months so parting from my dear little cottage is not going to be easy. But my parents are going to use the space for guest living quarters and an office for my father. Also, my brother will still be living there. 

Where am I moving to?
Caleb and I need to be more central to the DFW area so we'll be living about an hour east from where I currently live. We'll be renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment and one of those rooms will be exclusively for my business!

What about Royalty Soaps?
Royalty Soaps will be doing nothing but expanding, getting even more organized, and growing bigger! I will have an entire bedroom and bathroom dedicated to filming, creating, designing, etc. Caleb really wanted me to continue doing what I love and is helping me achieve my goals and dreams for YouTube and Etsy. :D Hopefully I will be doing wholesale orders too!!

What about Wit and Whimsy?
Now that Karoline and I will be living closer there will only be more Wit and Whimsy videos! Also, I will be posting anything honeymoon/wedding related on that channel so if you aren't interested in more personal videos, I suggest you head on over that way and check us out! Also, I do have 3 videos that need editing for the channel so you can expect it to be pretty busy!

What's your wedding theme?
It's a nice little mishmash of book-inspired decor, garden party vibes, and a really intimate connection with our guests. We wanted the entire day to really express who we are as a couple and what we value. My father is not only walking me down the aisle but also performing our ceremony and my best friend Karoline will be my maid of honor. It will be a really quick ceremony too! Only about 30 minutes long and then on to the cake and coffee reception (plus my mom's world famous sugar cookies made with her super secret recipe!)

What do you plan on filming?
We aren't having a professional videographer come film our wedding but I do plan on vlogging bits of that day, like getting ready with Karoline, all our decor, the cake, etc. She will probably do this the most since I will be busy being a bride ;) but we do plan to have some footage of that and also of our eclectic cottage honeymoon in central Texas. Plus, there's all the decor set up, the cookie making, etc. All of these will be up on Wit and Whimsy eventually.

How can I be apart of your wedding day?
Caleb and I really contemplated this because it's super important to me. So here's what we came up with.

Our wedding hastag is #CatterflyinWeddingland and what we would love you to do to celebrate with us is just this. On May 21st, do something that makes you happy. If that means reading a book in a cozy place, great. Going out adventuring somewhere new, fantastic. Spending time with your family, awesome. Just do something wholesome that makes you happy because that's what Royalty Soaps and Caleb and I really want to convey through my videos and how we are going to live our lives together. Use our wedding as an excuse for you to get some much needed pamper time in! Mark it on your calendar! Then, take a photo and tag us using our wedding hashtag. This would mean so much to us!!

What the heck does Catterfly mean?
It's a weird smash of our nicknames. I call him the Cat, because he's cuddly, introverted, quiet, and a little snarky while he calls me the Butterfly, because apparently I'm beautiful and like to interact with others. ;) Put them together and you get Catterfly.

Where are you registered?
I've been getting a lot of emails and Facebook messages about this so I thought I'd just put the link here and on Instagram as I can't reply to every single inquiry but I'm absolutely touched to the core and didn't want anyone to feel ignored.We have a Honeyfund and you can access our page here. We're still adding things along the way but a good bit of the "needs" are already on there.

So yeah. I'm getting married and quite frankly, my excitement is beyond what I can control. I was practically bouncing when I filmed the announcement video. I hope to bring nothing but new excellence to Royalty Soaps and my personal life with this giant change and I can't wait to update you all along the way! :D

So You Want to Start a Soap Business?

So, you've decided to take the plunge and start a soap business, eh? First of all, let me congratulate you on joining this awesome group of weirdos we call "professional soap artists"! It's a wonderful place to be! Before you start ordering fragrance oils and exotic butters like crazy, let me share a few tips with you to help smooth this bumpy road of growing a business. As a disclaimer, I don't think of myself as being very versed in the way corporate America is run, nor how to create a giant company with 50+ employees. If your dream is to conquer the world with bubbles and build an empire, this post probably isn't for you. But, if you're starting small, planning to sell out of your home, and need just a few pointers, try reading this wee post and see if you're ready to begin!

1. Experience
I advise soap makers to create soap for about a year before considering taking the leap into the business side of it. You really do need quite a bit of time to really get the hang of the craft before you're confident enough to sell what you make. After all, soap making is an art, and like any form of art, requires skill that can only be acquired through experience. In that first year, get comfortable with different methods of soap making, try new recipes, take notes about how fragrances and temperatures acted, observe the fluctuations of temperature while the raw soap is in the mold, etc.

2. Passion
If you think selling soap is your destiny, you better bloody love it and I mean LOVE it. This is an art, a passion, but it's about to become your job. You will have customers, real live people, that rely on you to process orders, update your inventory, keep them informed, and post regularly on social media. Your batches, be them big or small, will cost you, and often the the price of one batch can't be taken lightly, even for bigger businesses. There will be so many things you, as a business owner, will be required to do that do not involve actually putting lye water into oils and stirring, so you better really like that part, otherwise the rest of it will seem an overwhelming mess.

3. Marketplace
Once you've decided to sell your soap, you're going to need to sell it somewhere. There are loads of options from Facebook Webstores, to Etsy, to Store Envy, to local farmer's markets, to your own website, to boutiques across the world, etc. When picking where to sell, consider your personal location, whether or not you are willing to ship, both internationally or just in your country, the extras you would need to purchase/make if you take your product to fairs and markets, if you like to interact with real humans ;), and the time it takes to set up a webstore. Selling at craft shows and selling online are two completely different fields, and who knows, you may want to do both!

4. Recipe
I advise that you create a basic recipe you like and have used multiple times for the first 15+ soaps you create for your customers. Make sure the recipe is versatile and easy to use because at this point in your soap journey, you probably won't have loads of extra cash lying about if your bath flops three times in a row. Also, by having an easy to work with recipe, it's easy to add fun things like calendula, lavender, clays, milks, sugar, salt, etc. and see the effect it will have on your colors and finished bar.

5. Moral Support
Having an encouraging group of people who cheer you on is an absolute necessity. These cool kids don't necessarily have to be related to you (because let's face it, your relatives have already figured out you're nutters by now) but they should be like-minded and ready to give you a pep talk when you're on the floor in tears because you dumped a whole jar of mica out. Join a couple of Facebook groups too!
6. Packaging
Professional and pretty packaging is an essential right from the very beginning. Your soap may be gorgeous, but if your packaging is sloppy, it ruins the effect. Handmade bath and beauty products are often given as gifts and you want your soaps to live up to that standard. Think about what you would like to receive and ALWAYS include ingredients! 

7. Branding
This is another biggie from the very get go! Get yourself a logo, for goodness sake. Pick out a name that expresses YOU. Design some labels that really catch a person's eye. Print them on label paper that won't run or bleed if wet. Include all of your business information. Do I need to do a set of branding posts? I feel like I do. ;) This is an essential because (especially online) your customers and loyal followers will need something to quickly identify you with!

8. Organize
Essential. An absolute essential. Write down everything you have ever bought for your business. EVERYTHING. Gas you spent driving to the store, those big fat paper clips to hold the sides of your silicone liners to the mold, discounts given by your suppliers, I mean everything. You'll thank me later and it will save you so much time and money in the end. I highly recommend Soap Maker 3 and if you're more dedicated than I am, you'll utilize the poo out of that sucker. It makes your job as soap secretary a piece of cake!

9. Space
This is also a big one. When you sell soap, you have to keep it somewhere. Make sure this place is very DRY and somewhere out of reach. Pets and children (though I adore both) can really be a nuisance when it comes to oils, micas, or even soap bars so if you have to get a locking cabinet to keep their little paws out, I highly recommend you do so. Also, remember that having a lot of inventory will help you sell. This is something to consider before you even start. Do you have room for this profession? Hopefully, you outgrow your space and have to move somewhere even bigger :D but here at the beginning, make sure you at least have enough for the amount of supplies you'll be acquiring. 

10. Fun
Yeah, it's corny, but by gum if it isn't an essential. Remember, you're doing this because you love it, so keep on loving it! Laugh off the glitter spill, learn from the flopped batches, share and show off your creations to your friends and supporters, and just have fun. Soap is fun.

I hope some (if not all) of these tips assist you in starting your own soap business! If you'd like to see more business help posts, just let this gal know and I'm on it like a duck on a June bug!

xoxo, Katie

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