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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tis the time of year...for my computer to die

In the spirit of perfect timing, my poor computer has decided to self destruct and kill it's own hard drive. I'm reminded of the scene in The Young Ones where Neil tries to tell the kettle, who just had a break down (ie, it exploded) that if he was feeling the pressure, he could have talked about it, instead of killing itself :P

I took it to the repair place yesterday so hopefully by Friday, I'll be back to normal and off this little laptop! Thankfully, all of the data was backed up (phew), almost a terabyte of it. Woah Nelly!

I'm not expecting the computer problems to interfere too much with orders but please bare with me if my replies take a little longer than usual as I am still working a full time day job as well.

Sailor Mouth Soaps isn't taking a Christmas break this year so regardless of when you place your order, I'll make it from scratch and post to you asap <3 That isn't to say it will definately arrive in time for Christmas, depending on where you are in Australia, any orders placed after today might be best shipped by express post. If you'd like that option, just flick me an email before you order and I'll sort it out for you. Please refer to my previous blog post with the Australia Post transit guidelines for an estimation on shipping times.

This will probably be my last post until after Christmas so I just wanted to thank all of my customers, from the bottom of my heart, for your support this year. THANK YOU! I very much appreciate you liking what I do and I hope to see you all again in 2012.

Be safe, be awesome, use great soap and tell Santa hi from me <3

xx

Aliya

Friday, December 09, 2011

Holiday update

Hi everyone! Long time no speak <3 I'll keep this update brief as we're all busy as bees this time of year.

Australia Post seem to be very hesitant to confirm shipping time estimates at the moment. Usually they give you set cut offs for mail to arrive before Christmas but they are being a bit cagey about it this year. Maybe it has something to do with the 70 million Christmas cards that get sent around Australia? I almost fell off my chair when I read that, wow. Add in all of the gifts being sent to friends, family and from businesses like my own, that's a hell of a lot of mail.

The best estimates I've been able to get from them are:-

Australia - QLD and all other States: 3 to 7 days transit except WA which is 5 to 10 (by road I imagine)

International - all mail posted from Australia by the 12th December *should* arrive prior to Christmas (but how your country processes and delivers your parcel to you is out of their control)

So what does that mean for you? Well, if you're in Australia, please place all orders for Christmas gifts prior to the 13th December and allow me a few days to make your order. Remember I do work full time and I pride myself on making each order fresh; I don't have a warehouse, everything is truly handmade by me!

International customers, I wouldn't leave it more than a day or two before placing an order just to be on the safe side.

I'm working 14 to 16 hr days to keep up with demand so if you need a very large order (say more than 8 items) or by a certain date, just flick me an email first so we can discuss. I do everything within my power to meet your needs! I <3 my customers.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

xx

Aliya

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas ramblings & a fun new competition!

Eeeeeek. Somehow another month has passed since my last blog post *hand slap*. Ahhh the trials and tribulations of managing a small business around a full time job. Yep, you heard correctly, I'm now working full time. It's been virtually full time for the last few months but now it's official, at least for the holidays. Who knows what next year will bring?

So what does this mean for you, my lovely customers? Well, potentially greater lead times as we get closer to Christmas. The number and size of orders has already begun to increase (thank you!) so basically whenever I'm not at my day job, I'm working on orders! That could also mean less time on the computer doing blog posts, updating Facebook and Twitter etc but rest assured, behind the scenes, I'm a busy little Elf :P

Sadly most of the exciting ideas I've had floating around in my head and taking up multiple notebooks are going to have to wait until the new year. I don't want to rush them out just so they are "done". I like to take my time before a release, do thorough testing etc. You'll never catch me just throwing something together, snapping a picture and putting it up for sale. That's probably why the Ooops & Discontinued packs are so popular - there's always a good variety :P Keep an eye out for new Solid Perfumes and Soy Wax Melts (incl. new sizes) as I'm almost 100% sure I'll be able to get those out in time for the holidays.

In Facebook news, you might remember me saying that once I hit 4500 likers, I'll be doing a giveaway for a voucher to use in the webstore. Well, we've just hit 4200 so we're getting close! I've added an "invite your friends" app so you can easily share my page with your friends. You will find it on the left hand side of the fan page.

Onto competition time! This time I wanted to do something really fun and a bit different to the usual "leave a comment" business. What you need to do is take a photo of yourself holding or using your favorite Sailor Mouth Soap product and post it to the wall of my fan page. Other fans will then vote for their favorite photo by liking it. The photo with the most likes wins! The winner will receive a $20 voucher to use in the webstore - squee! Please keep the photos Facebook friendly. As much as I'd like to see you in the shower (:P) I don't want my page shut down due to inappropriate content so behave :D The competition is open for worldwide customers as well (yay!) and begins today, ending on Wednesday the 30th November at 9pm EST.

As a special little treat for those that have either run out of their favorite Sailor Mouth Soap goodies or have been window shoppers until now, you can use code FREESHIPAUST on orders over $40 AUD for free Australian shipping! You must enter this code at checkout or you'll be charged shipping automatically. If you're camera shy and don't want to enter the competition, it's still a great opportunity to buy cute gifties for Arthur, Martha, that man at the bus stop and yourself, minus the shipping fees :P This coupon code is valid from right this very second to Sunday the 20th November 11:59pm EST.
*update - competition is now closed.

Cheerio!

xx

Friday, October 14, 2011

Christmas Gift Giving

I'm not one for large crowds, period. Add shoppers Christmas fever into the mix and I'll run away screaming for the hills!

Being an online shopper myself, I intend to do a large amount of my gift buying online to save time, money (and sanity).

Since I like to buy local wherever possible, my first point of call is usually BrisStyle. I'm a member of this group which is for Etsy sellers in Brisbane and the surrounding areas. They put out regular gift guides that make it super easy to find something special for your friends and family. Buying from mico-businesses makes me happy, being one myself I understand how exciting it is to see an order come through!

I'm also a sucker for adorable home wares & jewellery. Check out these super cute finds!

Mini food storage containers

Caravan door stop




Tea/Coffee Tin




Mini Apple Shelf




Mama Pug Ceramic Figurine

X-Ray Bunny Brooch


Here's the links to the full shopfronts:

Lark

Candy Stripe Cloud

A Skulk of Foxes

Happy shopping!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Halloween 2011

Even though we don't celebrate Halloween in Australia *cries* I can't resist whipping up some ghoulish soapy treats.

Here's a sneak peak!

Severed Fingers Soap

Zombie Eyeball Soap Set

Eyeball Cupcake Soaps

Chompers - Zombie Teeth Soap

Spider Skull Soap

There's more in store, you can find the whole spooky collection here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

1000 sales on Etsy - woah!

I've just logged into my Etsy store and holey moley, I've reached 1000 sales! That's a pretty awesome goal to hit after only 18 months in business - thank you so much to all of my loyal customers <3

Even though I wasn't planning to do a sale this month, I've become overwhelmed with heart-swelly goodness, so all orders placed today in my BigCartel store using code 1000 can take advantage of 10% off all products in the Halloween Spooky Soaps category.

Thank you again for your support, seriously, thank you!



Friday, September 09, 2011

Online shopping

Goooood morning!

Well, I'm finally back in Australia after long delays with our flights. By the time we finally got home last night, I was far too knackered to hop on the computer and re-open the stores so I was up from 6am working this morning to get everything taken care of. I'm still working through updating listings so please bare with me for just a little longer <3

I just wanted to explain some changes I'm making to my online stores as it probably looks a little confusing from my customers perspective.

As you might remember reading a few months ago, I opened up a new online store on Big Cartel here at www.sailormouthsoaps.com. This was partly so I had a little more control over the design of the store and the information I could put onto the site. The largest reason was because it's becoming very expensive to sell on Etsy due to listing fees & commissions from each sale, plus the constant site and content changes that aren't being properly rolled out & explained to sellers etc. I know a lot of my customers seem to prefer shopping on Etsy, whether it's due to habit or preference I'm not sure (I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!) so I obviously want to keep that store open. To do this, I'm beginning to list similar types of products under the same listing. For example, these oatmeal soaps are the same except for color and fragrance. Instead of listing them seperately, they are listed together and you simply tell me at checkout which you would prefer. Same deal with the lip balms and perfumes. You get the idea. One of the advantages Big Cartel has over Etsy is that you can have an unlimited number of products in stock without paying listing fees, meaning that my Big Cartel links are always live. The Etsy ones expire after each sale and I have to re-list them as soon as I can so they can be purchased again and you'll probably have to go searching around in my Etsy store to find that item since the link no longer works!

My Etsy store will eventually end up offering only my best sellers, while my my Big Cartel store will have the full range. You can of course order from both stores and I will refund & combine the shipping overcharges.

Hopefully that explains some of the obvious weirdness in my stores. If have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at sailormouthsoaps(at)gmail.com, on my Facebook or Twitter.

xx

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The final chapter

Our trip is almost at an end, it'll be sad to go but we're dying to see our fur-babies again <3

This will be a big update, here we go!

Brad went skiing again on Sunday but my bruises hadn't yet healed from the unforgiving ski boots, so I gave it a miss. Instead, I had breakfast in the park, feed the seagulls and indulged in a customised facial at Body Sanctum to help repair my dry & tortured cold weather skin. I treated myself to a fancy cleanser from La Clinica - it's really nice! Organic with no animal testing, gotta love that.


Brad took a few tumbles while skiing so the next day, we went back to Body Sanctum for a float as they can help with minor injuries *and* an hour float is equal to 4hrs sleep. Have you heard of floatation tanks before? They're AWESOME! I had one years ago and it was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I could hear myself blink, I heard my heart beating and the blood pumping in my veins in the pitch black darkness. Creepy cool. It's a bit like floating in space, sort of womb-like too (I imagine). The water was just the right temperature and you float, weightless in the highly salted water. This particular one, wasn't so good. The tanks weren't totally light or sound proof and although the water was meant to be skin temperature, I think it was lower. Either that or the room was too cold, I shivered almost non-stop. When the session was up, before the music and lights came on slowly to ease you out of it, the filter turned on right at my head. I freaked out! It's so loud under the water and I thought my hair was going to get sucked in. That's meant to happen once your out. The hot shower afterwards with beautiful Pure Fiji products made me feel better :)

 I don't want to bitch but I've worked in customer service in one form or another since I was 17 and there's a few things I've learned. Some key points are: remember customers faces, explain the processes, put them at ease, make friendly small talk and direct them to the facilities...that's all I have to say on the matter.

Anyhoo...

The next day, we went on a scenic cruise around Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw. It's a vintage steam ship built in 1911. Like I said, I never get sick of this lake!



Mulled wine. Yessssss!



This is the homestead Walter Peak. You can pay extra and get off here for a wander around the farm and play with the animals. Then there's a BBQ lunch or dinner. I couldn't stand  the idea of watching people squeal with excitement to pat & play with the animals and then eat them so we gave this a miss :(*






It's a surprisingly big boat, we found this downstairs. Is that the right term to use? Probably not :P


Port holes!




We had lots of fun <3 The cruise was an hour & a half, pretty good huh.

Yesterday we took a drive out to Wanaka. It's about 50mins by road out of Queenstown. Really windy, mountain roads - absolute hair-pin turns that would see you careening down the hillside if you took it too fast! But check out the view <3


We stopped at Puzzling World - check out the cool attractions. This photo was taken in the Great Maze. It really was a maze! What you have to do is find all of the tower markers in the right order and then find your way out. Finding the way out was the hardest part!


On the drive back into town, we found a place to stop on the mountain road and played in the snow! Honestly, I think this was the best part of the trip.



The snow was super deep in many places and we clearly weren't dressed for it, yet it was the most fun we've ever had!


Up to the knee!


But still loving it <3


Hahahah!




Laaame :P

<3


Oh HAI! I'm going numb but I don't care.


I was lucky enough to finish two books; something I never seem to have a chance to do anymore is read a good novel. I read plenty of non-fiction, in fact, non-fiction exclusively. Thanks to the holiday & a kindle, I was able to grab a few books rather cheap. I read Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand and Waltz of Shadows by Joe R Lansdale. See a theme? When I do get to read, I like it funny and full of gore. These didn't disappoint. You should read them.

We have to check out of the hotel tomorrow at 10am but our flight isn't until 3:30pm so we're going to have a leisurely buffet breakfast and go to the Kiwi Birdlife Park because birds rock my world. Then, once we're home and I let the puppies mob me for an hour or two, I'll re-open my online stores, YAY!

Buh bye.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Glenorchy, Heli Rafting & Forest Wanderings


Hi everyone!

We got up to a few things over the weekend. First was a drive out to Glenorchy, a tiny little town on the northern end of Lake Wakatipu (the lake is massive, 291km square & up to 420m deep!)

We stopped for brunch and as we've come to expect in many of the small towns we've visited, the only non-meat food available was chips. I used to like chips but now I'm not sure I can look a potato in the eye ever again.


This was an old boat shed by (what appeared to be) the one and only dock in the town.

You can't tell by the half-smile, but I totally dig nature walks <3


Check out these weird dead trees all lined up. 


The trees look amazing against the perfect sky. Bad weather had been forecast almost the entire holiday but aside from one rainy night, it hasn't affected us at all. Lucky huh! Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to get out and explore like we have.


This was taken on the dock. I wanted to get the old timber in the frame so I had to sit down to take this. Surprisingly comfy!


This is the local library! Can you believe it? Kindle's must be worth their weight in gold out here.


Brad went heli rafting the other day. What's heli rafting you ask? Well, basically, you fly up in a helicopter to the top of a mountain and then raft down. Crazy huh? I sat this one out, hah. They went down the Shotover River. Apparently it was lots of fun and he wishes it went for longer. It turns out there was lots of photo opportunities, shame we didn't realise this and he left the camera at home.

While he was doing this, I went out exploring and after checking out every tourist trap shop Queenstown has to offer, I ended up in the Queenstown Gardens. The gardens are shaped kinda like a thumb when you look on the map and are endlessly beautiful.



I wish the photos showed how intensely inviting the woods actually were. I wanted to run off and explore them but I wasn't silly enough to go alone so close to dark. Knowing me, I'd get lost!

So instead I found a way down to the water front path and stuck to the more populated areas. Sorry if you're getting sick of all of the photos of the lake. I can't get enough. It's so big and always looks different to me <3




That's it for now. My updates are a little behind, please bare with me while I catch up :D

Friday, September 02, 2011

Guess what? It's COLD! Who would've thought?

Just another quick update for today, we're about to head out for Brad to go Heli-Rafting! What's that you ask? Well, you take a helicopter up to the top of a mountain and then raft down. OMGs....

Anyhooo;

Down by the lake, there are lots of cute sculptures. These are our friend's little ones, hugging each other while hugging a giant Kiwi. Cuuuute.


How nice is the lake first thing in the morning? I love it.


We took a ride on the Skyline Gondola. It goes straight up the mountain...amazing views.


Up the top, it had been snowing! Looks like we just missed it, the picnic tables had fresh, powdery snow. It was about 0 degrees. 


Everything is so scenic, I love the mountains.


Lookit! SNOW!


This is the view from the top of the Gondola lookout.



On the way back down again, you get a feel for how high up you are. Eeek!


Strangely enough, heights don't bother me too much. That has to be one of the few things I'm not scared of :P 

Note the new jacket. I discovered the hard way that Brisbane cold is nothing compared to Queenstown cold. Bless my thriftyness, I found this jacket at Lifeline <3


Ducks by the lake! They are very friendly and tame, you can tell they're used to tourists. I <3 duckies.


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