Updates

Sometimes you get lucky!

As mentioned in a previous post, the natural deodorant pursuit has been a long, educational one. Just when I think I’ve gotten it figured out, a client brings up a new challenge or in this case, a shortage of paperboard tubes in the size I have been using forced me to readdress my packaging.  Fortunately, I was able to find another version in the same quality which fits my existing labels (although I have to handcut a perforated line in them) and secures the tops more easily.  This solves a BUNCH of issues I’d been ignoring: 1) shoppers sometimes open the sealed deodorant tubes, tearing the custom washi tape, and the larger perforated label is much stronger 2) the pricepoint is reduced to $10, making it more accessible to folks who want to start using a natural deodorant, and reduce their impact on the environment at the same time 3) I can make more product in the batch sizes I’d recently reformulated, although that is balanced out with increased labor and packaging.  So, ultimately the profit is the same per unit, the labor is more, but I expect more quantity of sales.  If I can keep using these and purchase an even larger quantity of packaging, I can afford the increase in labor.  Yes, I know.  I’m a one-woman show – but I got bills to pay like everyone else and once I can secure my own living wage, I’m inching closer to creating meaningful work for someone else.  I am crossing my fingers that this is a step towards more growth and my luck continues!

Fresh & Fair Trail Magic

As a one-woman show, balancing production with administrative work can be a challenge – especially through the holidays.  After that storm has passed, I get to turn my energy back inwards and revisit some of my reasons for consolidating my longtime hobby with my professional career in the outdoor industry (coaching and retail) as a full time business.  Everything is strategic.  I usually plan the itinerary for my backpacking trips based on calorie expenditure per thousand feet of elevation, and relative warmth. Knowing the frequency of potable water sources also helps many hikers plan their route and packlist. Similarly, I try to isolate a gap in skincare routines that I might solve with more sustainable ingredients, packaging or even my special branding navigation system.  I am pursuing this labor of love as an artisan with an entrepreneur’s spirit; and that’s where the Triple Bottom Line fits in.

These 3 metrics of sustainability include People, Planet and Profit – and they must balance, prioritized equally.  If there is no environmental problem to solve or one is created (example: single-use plastic); I move along despite the capacity to increase profit.  If a raw material is sourced without fair pay, permissions, or in excess of crop tolerance; I find a substitute distributor, grow my own or find an equivalent material.  Although it is a huge struggle for small businesses, I try to order in bulk to keep my materials costs low and calculate my retail prices to be accessible for the people.  In the spirit of removing barriers, I sponsor ambassadors and various programs that support inclusion and diversity in the outdoors, donate a portion of my product to folks who contribution time to public trails with maintenance, education and leadership.  Lastly, I personally volunteer 5-10 hours each week to repair drainage, restore trail corridors, assist with trail planning/land manager relations, remove invasive plants, plant native ones and provide some training opportunities to stewardship. As some elements of my professional training have past, others have just begun.

 

Here’s my short list of Trail Magic resources.

NEW FORMULATION! Deodorant goes from 8 to 12 hour efficiency

Picking out the best deodorant available can be confusing, but it shouldn’t be.  The number one question I get from customers, is “But does it actually work?” Which is totally a loaded question.  As far as deodorizing, yes, most certainly it works.  If used correctly – AND the clothing and skin is clean from the start.

gentle unscented vegan deodorant paperboard tube Everyday spruce grapefruit natural deodorant

 

But, everybody’s body chemistry varies, even from day to day.  Indeed, the type of sweat you produce for different activities may call for a different approach.  AND, a lot of folks have gotten accustomed to the “antiperspirant” qualities in many commercial deodorant brands which classify the product as a drug.  Antiperspirants claim to changes the body’s natural systems – and I don’t want to do that nor make such claims.  Further, some antiperspirants create more problems than they solve, and I seek to create something that is safe for the environment and people. If you’re running a marathon and sweating profusely, chances are high that the sweat mostly consists of water, situated for cooling and is classified as an eccrine type of sweat.  If you’re speaking in front of a large audience, asking for a raise or just stressed out about something at the moment, it is likely that your body is producing a different chemical caused by an oily substance containing a greater amount of apocrine sweat.  Because of these differences in secretions, and how oil repels water, I have come up with essential oil blends that can withstand the demands of either type of sweat, or a little of both.  If a blend is matched with the correct type of sweat, it achieves the deodorizing effect sought.  The longer lasting formulas are marked with an asterisk*, below:

three styles natural deodorant paperboard tubes

Green Circle/Gentle Care – Wise Lemongrass and the Naked Hippie* (Unscented) is formulated for copious, water-based eccrine sweat.

Blue Circle/Everyday Care – Trail Blazer and Awaken Adventure* are formulated for some eccrine and some apocrine sweat.

Black Diamond/Advanced Care – Righteous Rebel is formulated for the funky, stressed out and oily apocrine sweat.

 

These also provide some benefit of adding absorption along with the deodorizing properties.  After extensive testing, I have come up with a formula based on the success of my original formula and essential oil blends for varying types of sweat, but adds the longer-lasting deodorizing control of non-nano particle zinc.  What is that nano business, you ask?  It simply means that the particles in the powder are not so small that they clog your pores to prevent you from sweating or building up bacteria right next to your lymph nodes.  Without making any drug claims, I’ll let you search the world wide web to determine why those lymph nodes need to be clear of toxins and blockage.  It can also be determined that zinc operates similarly to silver in deodorizing and sun protection products, so one could feasibly use their deodorant for some sun protection thereby reducing the number of products to carry when traveling or venturing into the backcountry.

As with many of my products, I offer at least 3 aroma blends to suit the type of activity/sweat.

 

Still not sure what is causing your super funk?  Take off that shirt and compare the smell of it to your armpits directly.   There’s a good chance that some of your clothes may have already built up a level of bacteria in them.  Hello, bike jerseys, gym bags and yellow armpit stains! Addressing this issue first and foremost will increase your odds at establishing a bacteria balance.  To that end, I have created an unscented Stain Stick that optimizes the lifting power of coconut oil and combines it with super lathery soap nut extract and extra deodorizing baking soda to give you a fresh start with your favorite athletic gear, undershirts and general stains.  There is also a lavender, lemon and sandalwood essential oil scented Stain Stick which I find particularly nice for bike gloves, socks, undershirts and clothes from trail days.  All you have to do is dampen the section of affected fabric, rub the stick on it until it lathers and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before washing with your regular laundry.  You can also safely add this to an overnight soak with hydrogen peroxide for an oxygen “bleach”, for restoring bright white sheets and towels.  Because it is so effective at lifting, the Stain Sticks are not recommended to use on silk or wool products.  Lastly, since they are mostly comprised of coconut oil, they would pull too much oil from your skin – use only on clothing!

Coming soon to a trade show near you?

Well, at least there’s one and it’s new to me.  It’s a start, though!  With a growing foundation partnering with regional brick and mortar retail locations to sell my product, I wanted to reach to the fringe of my network.  Although I’ve worked in the outdoor and wellness retail world and attended trade shows on behalf of other businesses, I am honored to represent my own brand at one finally!  It is my intention to stay within the athletic and outdoor adventure world, Philadelphia is far enough mileage-wise that I expect to see some new faces.  As a new exhibitor showcasing a unique – and relevant – style of product outside their typical bikes and bike parts lineup, they interviewed me on their website, to introduce my business to their attendees.  Those were some good questions!

 

Hughes Muse

Are the Outdoors endangered because we are not inclusive enough?

For 2018, Apothecary Muse seeks to sponsor Ambassadors who identify as and empower underrepresented classes (race, gender, economic class, ability and more), in the outdoors.  For many years working in the outdoor industry, I’ve experienced some and observed more exclusion and the opportunity loss is real. Just like in nature, we need the bees to pollinate the flowers for our food and the food for the soil to grow trees to provide oxygen and oxygen for us to breathe. Just like our ecosystem, we need diversity in our everyday lives to survive.  I am of the opinion that the outdoors and its qualities also have a delicate balance needing representation, and it is a good practice to include exposure and education with it to the general public if we expect it to stick around for future generations. If we continue only marketing to the status quo, we will continue to have limited results.  It is through diversity that we can become a stronger and sustainable force, lift up each other and the importance of outdoors, open space access and environmental concerns.  I’d like to make a difference with the only thing I have of value, my business.  It may be a small drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.

 

sustainable triple bottom line people planet profit

I understand not all may agree with my broad effort to include minorities with this sponsorship, but I hope it is understood that I seek to ADD to the equation by creating this opportunity and not take away from it.  I am sacrificing potential profit by emphasizing diversity with this opportunity, which would simply not exist if diverse representation weren’t needed.  I understand also, that my experiences will vary from others’ lived experiences and do not seek to speak on another person’s behalf.  I will however, listen and do what I can to ensure an unspoken stakeholder has a place at the table of outdoor advocacy. Folks who do not identify as minorities may also apply and will be considered based on external factors such as their involvement with actions and programs that support diversity and inclusion.

 

Interested?  Find out more about the Apothecary Muse Ambassador Program and Apply here.

March Adventure Challenge

JOIN IN!

What are we doing? 

Using people power, we are working together to share outdoor experiences with others, improve photography skills, enhance environmental awareness and grow our community along the way.

Kinds of images

Use the DAILY THEMES below for inspiration when you are outside and share on Instagram. Your images can be anything outdoors, sports, nature or travel related, taken at ANY point by YOU in March 2018.  Try to tell a story with your image, not just words. Bonus: avoid post-editing, cropping or filtering

Are there rules?

Nah, how about suggestions instead? Have fun! There are no prizes other than enjoying the fresh air, making new friends and learning some new skills. One request: please do not use branding or sales information for the sake of hashtag integrity. Don’t forget! Use hashtag #marchadventurechallenge for your INSTAGRAM posts. Follow @apothecarymuse for tips, ideas and to see what other folks are posting.

Download INSTAGRAM here: follow @apothecarymuse

You can click here or the image below for a printable calendar which you can take with you on your adventures or post on your wall.  It includes lunar cycles and some important dates for quick reference.  You can click here for just the list or the second image below:

Download MarchAdventureChallenge_Calendar2018

Download MarchAdventureChallenge_LIST_2018

#MarchAdventureChallenge – 2018

List:

1 Horizon

2 Miniature or Micro Landscape

3 Lifecycle: Plant, Trees, and/or Fungi

4 Reference scale (temp. installation)

5 Diversity in Outdoors (people)

6 Distant Landscape or Lookout

7 Favorite Tool for Outdoors

8 Climate Extremes

9 Natural Frame

10 Action Shot (still or Boomerang)

11 Sunrise (Daylight Savings)

12 Parts of a plant (arrange a collage)

13 Secret or Hidden location

14 Color

15 Wild edible (unharvested)

16 Water or reflection

17 Wildlife

18 Sunshine

19 Stewardship

20 Something new learned today (Spring Begins)

21 Goals

22 First time

23 Favorite Sport or Activity

24 Your “3rd Place” (outside work and home)

25 Bringing the inside, outside (books, knitting, etc.)

26 Old, abandoned  or historical

27 Shadows

28 Picnic

29 Next generation

30 Weather

31 Dusk/Sunset Silhouette

 

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