What’s your REAL name? Christy Rose.
Where were you born and raised? I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. When I was in junior high we moved to Lino Lakes, Minnesota.
Where are you now, and what led you there? Terre Haute, Indiana is the city I now call home. I moved to Indiana with my now husband back in 2001 to be closer to his family.
What's the origin of your shop's name? KBShimmer is named for my daughter Katy. Since she was a baby, we called her Katy Bug, hence the KB. I thought that Shimmer sounded nice with KB, my husband agreed, and so KBShimmer was born!
What types of creations do you sell in your Etsy shop? I create cold process soaps, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, lip balms, and more. I don’t use any bases - each item is created from scratch, from the oils and butters, to the colors and scents; each product is a creation from my mind put into play.
Hey, Christy, to prepare for this interview, I was reading about various soap-making methods; can you tell us a little more about your "cold process"? In the cold process method, oils and lye are mixed until they are emulsified. Scents, colorants, and any wanted additives are added, and then the soap is poured into the mold. In my case, I then allow my soap to heat up and gel (the chemical reaction between the soap and lye creates heat, which almost cooks the soap in the mold). Soaps are cut, then allowed to cure and harden for 4-6 weeks. Since the soap is not cooked before putting it in the molds, and because it is worked with in a liquid state, this allows for smooth textured soap and delicate color swirls, though the trade off is the longer waiting time to be able to use.
What’s your favorite scent? Hmm, that is a hard one for me. I have a lot of loves, but if I narrowed it down to one group, it would have to be citrus smells. Tart limes, sweet oranges, lemons - I love them all. I love to mix my citrus scents to create interesting combinations, lemon lavender, cranberry lime, and basics like lemon lime really make me happy.
What's your educational background, as it relates to your work? I have a degree in adult computer training and education. That degree gave me a good working knowledge of many software programs. While it does not help me directly with soap making, I do use those skills to create all my own banners, labels, packaging, and ads, along with editing photographs. This allows me to use more of my money toward needed supplies instead of paying others to do design work.
What’s your real-world job? Right now I am a licensed real estate agent working for a busy real firm assisting the top agent and owner with every aspect of real estate transactions. Being a Realtor has really helped me develop my social and networking skills. Those skills have spilled over into my bath and body business, helping me to connect with my customers.
Does creating stuff run in the family? Were you taught things on purpose or by osmosis from prior generations? My mother is a really creative person. She is a true inspiration to me. From the fun paintings on my wall as a child to the beautiful sewing work she does, my mother can work in almost any medium and create wonderful things. I don’t think that I was taught anything on purpose, really; my creative side runs in different mediums than my mother's, but the support she has offered for my work - and seeing how she succeeds - is a true inspiration to me.
How did you get started creating? In high school, I tried many different crafts: ceramics, painting, collage work. I would also read tons of books on subjects that interested me. My mother came back from vacation with a gift for me. She brought back handmade soap. I was intrigued and in love. I found a book, read up on soap making, and made two batches. I loved it! But, being in high school and then going off to college, funds and time were limited and supplies were hard to find in my area, so I let soap making slide. It is such a joy to now be back to making soap.
What's your muse, or what turns that little creative light inside you on? For me, I find that smelling a scent gets my creative juices flowing. I start thinking of colors and designs. Swirls, layers, simple, complex, how do I want my products to look? For soaps, I start pulling out micas, clays, and colorants, planning my swirls colors to fully complement the scent I am working with.
Do you belong to any Street Teams other than the INCrowdteam? If so, which ones and why? I belong to two other teams: the SAFE (Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy) Team and the CIC (Crafting in Color) Team. The SAFE Team is a group of soapmakers committed to excellence and best manufacturing practices on Etsy. For me, this team offers me a chance to connect with and support other bath and body artisans on Etsy. The CIC Team features artisans working with bright & colorful handmade items. With my love of color, I felt this was a great fit for promoting my brighter products.
What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy? I love the freedom selling at Etsy gives me. I can list as many or as few items as I want. One-of-a-kind products are not a problem, and Etsy is so easy to work with, not to mention the many loyal customers that Etsy has; it was not a hard choice to join Etsy to sell my products. When the flooding of June 2008 hit, I had to put a hold on plans to launch my business. If I had a brick and mortar store, I would have been out thousands of dollars in lost time. With Etsy, I had the freedom to list when I wanted to, and do it at my own pace. Though my plans to open in June got pushed back, come November when I was really ready, I was able to jump in full force. Only a site like Etsy allows that kind of freedom.
Recommend your five favorite shops on Etsy.
Show us three of your own favorite pieces, from your shop and work.
Kaleido-Soap Six-Color Shea and Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap
Beautiful swirls are something that soapers strive for; the more colors you work with, the harder it is, especially because you want swirls throughout the bar, and not just on top. I received mica colors in rainbow colors, and I thought this was the perfect chance to challenge myself and swirl my soap with all 6 colors. With a fun tropical scent, this soap is my favorite!
Kaleido-Bomb Bath Bomb
With a six-color soap already flying off the curing racks, I knew I wanted to push myself again and create a matching bath bomb. Created with the same scent, this is the hardest and most time consuming bomb to make. 6 batches of mix are made, and then combined in a special way to get the desired effect (while not creating a gray mess from over-mixing!).
Margarita Lime Sugar Body Polish
My sugar scrubs are a part of my own daily routine, and with my love if citrus, I created this tart lime scrub for my personal use, and thought that I had to share. These scrubs are designed to not be greasy, but, with the addition of water, to form a lotion that moisturizes your skin, while sugar and jojoba beads exfoliate your skin. They are heaven in a jar.
Do you sell on consignment? If so, where? Not at this point, but I will be at the Brownsburg Festival of the Arts in July and the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival in September.
Do you blog? If so, where can we find your blog? My blog is kbshimmer.blogspot.com. I have high hopes to be a better blogger; I have been working so hard on new product, I don’t take the proper time to blog about it!
Do you Tweet? What’s your Twitter username so we can all follow you? KBShimmer.
Are you on Facebook? What’s your FB i.d. so we can all friend you? Christy Johnson Rose is my name on Facebook.
Anything else to brag on? I have recently been selected to be in Etsy's Best Father's Day Gifts voter contest, my Bad Boy soap is featured. (Voting ends June 1; the winners will be featured in gift guides and in an article.) I have also had my swirling tutorial featured in the Saponifier Magazine.
Last question… what’s the best piece of advice you’d give a new Etsy seller (like me)? My best advice for new sellers is to join a team. Through teams you meet people, share tips and information, get support, and develop relationships that will help you celebrate the good times, and pick you up during the bad times. Without the support of my teams, I would not have the 300+ sales I have today!
Thanks, Christy, for being a great first interview! Special thanks also to Carolynn, a.k.a. nilochlainn for her gentle and kind guidance as I attempt to make her and all of the INCrowdteam proud here.