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Blog #8 | How To Read the Ingredients List

When I made my first batch of shaving soap, I didn’t do it because I wanted to sell it. I didn’t even do it because I wanted to shave with it. I did it because I wanted to understand the ingredients in shaving soap. This is perhaps one of the best skills to have in this hobby; even if it’s just peripheral knowledge you lean on. You’re not going to leave this article knowing every ingredient in the cosmetic dictionary, but hopefully you’ll leave this article understanding the basics of shaving soap chemistry and what categories of things you should look for on a label. First, a brief explanation of what soap is. A soap is a “salt of a...

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Blog #7 | What Should You Make of Me

I recently saw an intriguing post on one of the shaving forums. It asked something to the effect of “How do you approach new artisans?” The idea was that there are a ton of shaving artisans out there, and that phenomenon contributes to a unique supply saturation that isn’t always seen in other industries. As a consumer, you have a lot of great shaving soap to choose from, so how or why would you support new brands? People chimed in with all kinds of pointed answers about how they make a purchasing decision or what their opinions are of a given brand and why. Most of us who start up a small soap making business generally lurk behind the veil...

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Blog #6 | On the Topic of Sexual Harassment

Let me start this off by saying this is not at all a political post. I think it’s ok for businesses to take a stance for or against certain issues, but they should take a stance for what is right, not to express political beliefs. You won’t leave this page knowing what my politics are. Businesses usually press forward in the face of hot button issues of the day. Despite what’s going on in the world, fast food drive thru lanes remain open, commercials on TV persist, and junk mail still arrives; all as if nothing else is happening. This is understandable. Businesses exist to sell a product or service. Removing themselves from that that messaging to react to something...

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Blog #5 | A Month In Review

I opened the West of Olympia online store about a month ago, so I thought I’d take a minute and let you all know what’s been going on. A lot of people seem to read these (which is super cool!), so I’d love to just make this blog post less formal and a little more conversational.

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Blog #4 | What the Name and Logo is About

When I started West of Olympia, I certainly gave some thought to what types of customer feedback and concerns I might get in the course of business. I thought carefully about things like international shipping, the types of ingredients I wanted to use, pricing, and so on. To this point, however, the most consistent point of customer dissent and confusion has to do with the name. I’m not complaining! If that’s the biggest pain point, I think I’m doing alright. That being said, let me explain the name and idea behind the brand a bit. The story behind the name isn’t particularly inspiring or intelligent. It’s an adaptation of a username I’ve carried for years: OlympiaWest. I have a connection...

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