Feb2017

Lip balm update (and ridiculous things I do with toys.)

There’s only so many ways I can show a product in a dish. Fortunately I have a truly ridiculous number of toys to help.

What’s in the cauldron? Freshly infused coffee oil. Lip balms are a go! The last thing we were waiting on were the sealers, which arrived this afternoon. So I can begin lip balm production today and tomorrow and we should begin shipping on Wednesday.

If you didn’t get a pre-order in, and want in on this first batch, go get some now!

Both balm and scrub orders will be going out.  The last thing we were waiting on was the sealers so all is good to go now.

 

Feb2017

Every good thing starts with a mistake.

So, a tale of mistakes.

I woke up yesterday to find the sweetest review for our scrubs on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

This was a lovely thing to wake up to. Thanks @makeupfiend.gr! 💜 Here's her original text: #Repost @makeupfiend.gr with @repostapp ・・・ @beautifulfreakcosmetics lip scrub haul!Okay folks, I haven't been this excited about a new product in a long time- and I've tried a lot of great products recently. Have had my eye on these for a while now, but when I try new cosmetics I prefer to buy a smaller size if possible, you know, just in case I hate it. In this case I definitely should have bought the larger format- these rock! These lip scrubs are radically different than any others I've tried. The flavours are original, authentic (no artificial crap- these are handmade, small batch, all natural, cruelty free, vegan products). @chefmaya1234 and I have already gone through about 1/4 of each tube! And get this- different flavours offer different levels of exfoliation- so you never have to end up using something too abrasive for your lips when they're in decent condition or something that just isn't gritty enough to scrub away that chapped winter or sun scorched skin. An entirely different concept in lip scrubs. They're named after goth/post punk songs (as they should be, it's a goth cosmetics company after all) and the names all fit the flavours- like their Special Edition release Mint Car (any Cure fans out there?)- I'm sure you can guess the flavour, but full descriptions and ingredients are listed on their site. My lips are so much smoother now, after only a few days, and even matte liquid lipsticks are applying flawlessly. I'm definitely ordering more-this time in the larger pots- and preordering their matching lip balms before they sell out. These should honestly be a part of everyone's beauty and skincare regime- they're now a permanent part of mine. And today only they're offering 10% off of all orders! I'm treating myself for Valentine's Day. Check out their feed for the code, website in bio.

A post shared by Beautiful Freak Cosmetics (@beautifulfreakcosmetics) on

I shared it all over, of course because that’s what you do. That wasn’t the mistake. I specifically shared it with Skelotim, as well. To be clear, Tim is who the LE Skelotim flavor is named after.  I’d sent him a batch of scrubs from the initial run, but hadn’t heard back from him. THAT wasn’t a mistake either.

However, Tim messaged me to tell me that the scrubs I’d sent him had melted completely in shipping, and that he’d never even gotten a chance to try them.  It was obvious that he felt terrible telling me this — he didn’t want to sound like a jerk, or ungrateful that I’d sent them but he was disappointed that the whole thing had gone so wrong.  For the record, he’s not a jerk, and he’s not ungrateful. His criticism was totally reasonable and legit.  But mistakes are how we learn. If we never made any, we’d never learn anything, right?  So here’s how we get from the scrubs Tim got to that review:

Before anything, really, I’d taken an informal poll, asking if people would prefer tubes or tubs for the scrubs. Overwhelmingly, they said tubes.  In the end, I offered both, but people really wanted the tubes.  The problem with them became clear pretty early on, though.  Though tubes are great for lip balm (which is mostly wax and has a higher melting point), they’re not so great for scrubs, which are mostly coconut oil, as (sing it with me now!) coconut oil will liquify if it gets too warm.  Though it’s winter in the US right now, Tim is in southern California, and so “winter” is sort of a relative thing there.

Some of the very first batch of scrubs that went out (his was in that set) had problems (it had the same issue going to Australia, though thankfully only with one flavor, as far as I know, because it’s summer there now.) with melting in transit.  When I got the initial feedback from the first run of tubes, I realized that clearly something needed to be fixed.  So I changed tube design/manufacturers, stopped offering tubes on anything except the multipack (and just did tubs for single flavors).  But when I hadn’t heard back from Tim about his scrubs I had a feeling that the same thing had happened to him as happened to the Australian order.

Of course, I feel down about it since you know, I wanted it to go perfectly. It’s always kind of awkward when you send someone something and it completely falls apart (especially when you know, you really want them to like it.) Because seriously, who wants THAT to be the thing that happens?   Well, ok, it’s a thing that happened — I can only learn from it and fix it.  Determined to solve the problem,  I thought “wait. What about that little sealant layer they use on the top of jars of (well, anything.)  ”  So I did a little digging and I have sealant layers on their way here now.  As soon as they arrive I’ll test them.  According to the manufacturer, they should hold up perfectly for this application (they don’t do so well with alcohol based things, but there’s no alcohol in the scrubs.)  I got 2 sizes – one for the tubes and one for the jars.  This SHOULD finally solve the problem once and for all, even though most of it was solved with the new tubes anyway.  As happens, the tubes in the review above were the new ones, which apparently worked fine in transit, though those went to Canada, so it’s much colder there than southern California, obviously.

As soon as the new sealers arrive, of course, I’ll send Tim a new set of scrubs.  I am lucky I had saved a tube of Skelotim in my freezer. 🙂

For everyone else who has an outstanding order – all supplies are currently in transit.  As soon as everything arrives, I’ll cook things up and get them out of here. Shipping looks like it will be next week, roughly Monday-Wednesday.  So if you wanted something to go out in this next shipping run, make sure to get your order in before then,

Also, thank you to Tim for being patient and kind.  It’s a learning process, after all.  <3

Feb2017

Valentine’s Day Sale

Valentine’s Day is perfect for pampering, whether you do it together or as an indulgent moment of your own, whether you celebrate romance or decide to enjoy a well-deserved break. Don’t let expectations stress you, instead be your own best friend — together or on your own — and do things you love.

We want to help you enjoy those moments of relaxation and offer a Valentine’s Day discount: -10% off all orders today. The discount applies to everything in your shopping cart, except shipping since we can hardly force the Post Office to be romantic. This is a perfect moment to hoard multipacks for the future!

You can get the discount by applying the code JustOneKiss when shopping in the Beautiful Freak store.

Happy Valentine’s Day, may it begin a year of delight and indulgence!

Feb2017

The case of the missing product listings…

That probably sounds more mysterious than necessary, but it is true.

Sometime over the weekend, I noticed that the shop page here on the site wasn’t displaying all the products.  I still have no idea why not, but with the assistance of our lovely site manager, it seems to be fixed now.  So if you were looking for lip balm preorder flavors that you couldn’t see? You can see them now.

Speaking of lip balm pre-orders. we’re just waiting on about 3 more of those before they go into production, so place your pre-order now.  We’re really looking forward to making these!

Of course, our wonderful and wacky scrubs are available too.  Given how cold it’s been in so many places this week, those scrubs sure will come in handy.

Feb2017

So, let’s talk about shipping!

Wow, that sounds boring.

But the thing that causes the greatest number of questions? Exactly that. Mostly of the “wow, is it really that much?” variety. There’s several problems when it comes to shipping, most of which I’ve managed to resolve today, but the fixes are imperfect. I’m going to break down the various issues here and explain how I’ve patched together a solution.

1. Priority Mail. – Domestic.

Right now, the stuff we make is best shipped via priority mail. The reason why is simple – temperature.  Coconut oil will liquify if it gets too warm. As tight as the caps may be, and as well as I try to vacuum seal the baggies I put everything in to avoid any leakage, once our scrubs are shipped, we have no idea how they’re stored in transit. So the shorter the time between leaving here and arriving wherever you are is the best bet.  However, the USPS’s smallest size in a padded flat-rate mailer is 9″x12″, which is way larger than what we actually need(if you’ve gotten an order from us, you already know this.)   They don’t have an option for a 6×9, which would be ideal.  If I use a 6×9 anyway and label it as a package (choose your own box) the shipping rate is *higher* than if I just use their flat rate 9×12.  The actual rate for shipping such a thing is a bit over 7 dollars.  This does not include all the packaging inside the envelope or obviously the time it takes to get all this stuff together.

2. First Class (regular) mail.

The reason this wasn’t an option is that the USPS no longer allows you to print first class postage from their website. They only let you print priority and express mail labels.  Shopify, who is the company we use for our shopping cart, only allows “carrier based pricing” in a MUCH (much) more expensive plan than we have. (this seems like sort of shooting themselves in the foot on this, but whatever.)  Stamps.com will let you do it, but it’s subscription based – you need to pay them 16 bucks a month *just to be able to do it*.  That’s why until now, I couldn’t do it.  However, Paypal is now allowing you to do this on the merchant end. So, basically, if you want something shipped with first class mail, pay for it using paypal, and  we can now do that!

Result:  Shipping on domestic orders is now $8 for priority (it’s about $7.20, and the 80 cents is for the internal packaging and handling) and $4 for first class mail (it’s about $2,70 for shipping, but it’s got more paperwork and stuff to do on my end, plus I have to add in the mailer, since those don’t come for free from the post office.)   More options, significant savings for everyone.

3.  Priority Mail – International

This option is still the best way for things to go from point A to point B, but people don’t really know how expensive it is.  Shipping priority international *really is* that expensive. In fact, it’s more expensive than we were charging for it.  Here’s two examples:  One lip scrub set sent to Canada?  $23.95.  That’s *just the shipping*.  The same lip scrub set sent to Australia?  $33.95. Again, that’s *just the shipping*.  So the $20 flat rate we were charging was actually less than what it was costing us.  So as crazy as it sounds, the reality is more crazy.

4. First Class (regular) mail.

The same issues as above apply, but the real problem is that determining a rate for each individual country is a problem.  So I’ve basically created a rough average of $15. (most places we ship to seem to hit at $13 and change for the shipping itself, and the rest would cover the rest of the packaging.)

Result: I’ve created a first class international option for $15 based on the products we currently have (it’s weight based so it will take adjusting later when we have different stuff.) However, depending on the order, it may need minor adjustments (to big orders for example.)  but even at the lowest point, international shipping costs over $13 no matter what option  we use.  Ive also raised the cost of the Priority international shipping to $25.  It averages out, *mostly* over the various places we send things to.  But seriously it’s all shipping. It’s not us.

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In other news, if you want fancy flavored lip balms, now is a good time! We’re still taking pre orders on those, in the same flavors as our scrubs.  Bonus, they’re not as fragile as our scrubs and so tubes are great!  You can get them right here:  https://beautiful-freak-cosmetics.myshopify.com/collections/all

Have  a great weekend, everyone!