The Ideal Customer

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I was just doing an exercise that challenged me to hone in on my ideal customer because, as a business, and for any business, we can’t service everyone.  Depending on demographics, economic status and the basic needs of every single individual on this planet, we simply cannot serve everyone.  Not everyone likes soda pop (I’m one of them).  So I don’t care how much Coca-Cola tries to woo me with their ads, they aren’t going to get me.  Not everyone likes to work out in the latest fashionable work out gear (I’m another one of those people).  I prefer to just put on a t-shirt and shorts and that’ll suit me just fine.  So I am not going to be wooed by Nike or Under Armour.  Instead, these companies focus on their ideal customer and work on providing that customer with what he or she wants.

Likewise, in my own business, I’ve had to sit and think about what it is that I want to provide and who it is that I want to provide it to.  So with an ever-evolving list of my ideal customer’s qualities, I think I know pretty much who the bulk of my customers are.

Most of my customers are women between the ages of 30 and 60 who care about their family, care about what they put on their skin and care about the impact on the environment.  Our goal here at ArtiSun Bath & Skin Care is to try to create the best products with as little waste as possible.  Oftentimes, however, that is easier said than done, but we strive to think about the containers we use, the ingredients we use and how it will impact our world.

Our customers are both working women and stay at home moms who want to have as little steps to clean and beautify as possible.  Let’s face it: we’re all extremely busy from the moment we rise each day until our head hits the pillow each night and nobody wants to have to complete 7 steps for their morning facial routine or 7 more steps before they can go to bed at night.  As the saying goes:  K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Silly).

I was talking to someone the other day at an event I was at.  I had been invited to a prominent boutique for the town’s Girls’ Night Out evening.  One of the employees asked me why my soaps were so appealing to so many.  By the end of the night, she knew the answer.  As I told her, my first goal is to grab the buyer’s attention with eye appeal.  Our soaps are beautiful and a good deal of thought goes into planning out the aesthetic value for each soap before it is created.  Next, I want our soaps to tantalize the nose and I do that without being overbearing on scent.  A little goes a long way in that area and, over the years, I’ve heard so many tell me that they love that the fragrance of our soaps is not too heavy.  And finally, what keeps our customers returning is the way it makes their skin feel.  But we need those first two attractions (sight and smell) first in order to make the sale.  Once people shower with our soaps, they are sold: hook, line and sinker.

Our ideal customer wants to know she is cared about by us.  And that is probably one of the biggest non-tangible items we give to our customers.  We care about each and every one of you.  We want to help you to feel better about yourself and to feel the effects of using our products because when your skin feels good (and not itchy or dry), you feel good.  Your clothes feel good to wear.  And you look good.  And that makes you feel better inside and out.

It’s not just our soaps that have become a regular staple in so many homes.  I worked on the Face Puck daily moisturizer for almost a full year.  It morphed from being a hard “puck” (hence, the name) to a cream that, with a light amount on the face, goes a very long way.  Not only does our customer feel the magic on her face, she sees the results and also feels good about her purchase because only a little is needed for each application.

Our customers, like us, care about the health of their families.  I was just reading the side of a box of Goldfish Crackers (which my grandsons love) and I was wondering about the nutritional value of these.  I read the breakdown on the side of the box but what really caught my eye was their statement, “We are also parents….” and they went on to say that they care about what goes into their own children’s bodies.  That won me over like Prince Charming riding in on his white horse telling me I’d never have to want for another thing.

Our customers are people who work hard, play hard, are super busy and want to feel loved and cared for.  I want that too.  And because of that, we strive to provide the best customer service out there.  We get to know our customers, whether they are store owners trying to make a living by selling our products in their stores, or individual families, and mostly women, wives, mothers who just want to feel cared about.  Women who just want a moment of rescue where we can say to them, “I’ve got your back,” or “Let me take care of this for you,” or “Relax.  We are here to help.”  We ship out baskets to your loved ones that are put together with the utmost care and with thoughts of what the recipient would enjoy most.  We put a handwritten “thank you” at the top of each packing slip that goes into every new order and we usually add your name to that thank you because we have come to know you and care about you.

We’re not a big company, but unlike Proctor & Gamble or Johnson & Johnson who don’t even know who you are, we know.  We care.  We work hard everyday to make our products better for you and for your family with the best ingredients and at an affordable price.

So thank you, ideal customer.  Thank you for traveling with us on this journey together.  We love you.

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Did You Spritz Today?

I just spritzed ArtiSun Bath & Skin Care’s magnesium oil onto my belly area and let it air dry for a few minutes before gently patting away any excess drops.  I do this daily because magnesium is one of our  most beneficial minerals yet most of us are deficient in magnesium and that can cause all kinds of issues.

According to a report done by the University of Maryland Medical Center, every organ in our body needs magnesium.  And this is especially true for our heart, kidneys and our muscles.  Yet most of us do not get enough magnesium based on our diet.

Low levels of magnesium can contribute to any one or more of the following:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Muscle spasm and weakness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Insomnia
  • Poor nail growth
  • Seizures

Who wants that?

Uses*

Getting enough magnesium may enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatment for the following conditions:

Asthma

Several studies show that intravenous (IV) magnesium and magnesium inhaled through a nebulizer can help treat acute attacks of asthma in adults and children, 6 to 18 years of age. But there is no evidence that taking oral magnesium helps control asthma symptoms. Low levels of magnesium may increase the risk of developing asthma. A population-based clinical study of more than 2,500 children, 11 to 19 years of age, found that low dietary magnesium intake may be associated with the risk of asthma. The same was found in a group of more than 2,600 adults, 18 to 70 years of age.

Depression

Inadequate magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels, and antidepressants have been shown to raise brain magnesium. One study found that magnesium was as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in treating depression among people with diabetes.

Diabetes

People who have type 2 diabetes often have low blood levels of magnesium. A large clinical study of more than 2,000 people found that getting more magnesium in the diet may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes or prediabetes.

Fibromyalgia

A preliminary clinical study of 24 people with fibromyalgia found that a proprietary tablet containing both malic acid and magnesium improved pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia when taken for at least 2 months. Other studies suggest the combination of calcium and magnesium may be helpful for some people with fibromyalgia. More studies are needed. Other studies suggest that magnesium supplementation helped improve muscle strength in children with cystic fibrosis.

Noise-related hearing loss

One study suggests that taking magnesium may prevent temporary or permanent hearing loss due to very loud noise.

Arrhythmia and heart failure

Magnesium is essential to heart health. Studies suggest a possible association between a modestly lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in men and increased magnesium intake. In one study of women, higher dietary intake of magnesium was associated with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Magnesium helps maintain a normal heart rhythm and doctors sometimes administer it intravenously (IV) in the hospital to reduce the chance of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). People with congestive heart failure (CHF) are often at risk for developing cardiac arrhythmia. For this reason, doctors may decide that magnesium should be a part of the treatment of CHF. One well-designed study found that taking magnesium orotate for a year reduced symptoms and improved survival rates in people with CHF when compared to placebo. Magnesium and calcium work together at very precise ratios to ensure your heart functions properly. Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you have a history of cardiac issues.

Results of studies using magnesium to treat heart attack survivors have been mixed. Some studies reported lower death rates, as well as fewer arrhythmias and improved blood pressure when magnesium is used as part of the treatment following a heart attack. But one study found that magnesium slightly increased the risks of sudden death, the chance of another heart attack, or the need for bypass surgery in the year after a heart attack. If you have had a heart attack, your doctor will decide if magnesium supplementation is right for you.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Eating low-fat dairy products and lots of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis is associated with lower blood pressure. All of these foods are rich in magnesium, as well as calcium and potassium. A large clinical study of more than 8,500 women found that a higher intake of dietary magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure in women. A few studies also suggest that magnesium supplements may help lower blood pressure, although not all studies agree.

Migraine headache

A few studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help prevent migraine headaches. In addition, research suggests that magnesium supplements may shorten the duration of a migraine and reduce the amount of medication needed. People who have migraine headaches tend to have lower levels of magnesium compared to those with tension headaches or no headaches at all.

Some experts recommend combining magnesium with vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and the herb feverfew when you have a headache.

However, some studies suggest that magnesium sulfate may be less effective than prescription medications for preventing migraines in those who have 3 or more headaches per month. The only exception to this may be women who get migraine headaches around the time of their period.

Osteoporosis

Not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and other micronutrients may play a role in the development of osteoporosis. To prevent osteoporosis, it is important to:

  • Get enough calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Do weight bearing exercises throughout life

Preeclampsia and eclampsia

Preeclampsia is characterized by a sharp rise in blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia may develop seizures, which is then called eclampsia. Magnesium, given in the hospital by IV, is the treatment of choice to prevent or treat seizures associated with eclampsia or to prevent complications from preeclampsia. Some physicians also use magnesium sulfate to manage pre-term labor.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Scientific studies suggest that magnesium supplements may help relieve symptoms associated with PMS, particularly:

  • Bloating
  • Insomnia
  • Leg swelling
  • Weight gain
  • Breast tenderness

One study suggests that a combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 may work better than either one alone.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

A study including only 10 people found that magnesium improved insomnia related to RLS, a disorder characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs, which are worse during periods of inactivity, rest, or while sitting or lying down.

Colorectal cancer

Preliminary studies suggest that higher intakes of dietary magnesium are associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors. While this is a new area of research, scientists say consuming magnesium-rich foods may be another avenue to explore in the search for cancer prevention strategies.

 

*This information was also taken from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s report.  You can read the entire report here.

I choose to take my magnesium transdermally because often, taking it orally in supplement form, can irritate the digestive tract and cause diarrhea.

ArtiSun Bath & Skin Care now offers magnesium oil in a convenient spritzer bottle that holds about 2.5 ounces and lasts a long time.  I spritz my belly area once a day and pump the spritzer about 5 times and spray back and forth across my belly.  You can find it here in our Apothecary section.

magnesiumoil

The Many Benefits of Magnesium and Why You Need it!

NOTE:  On January 15, we will be releasing our magnesium oil on our site for purchase if you are interested.  Meanwhile, read why you need this wonderful mineral:

Did you ever wonder why you feel so good after taking a cool dip in the ocean? Sure, that cold water is exhilarating. Sure, the sound of the waves is soothing. But did you know that ocean water contains high levels of magnesium: something that most of us are extremely deficient in. Our bodies crave this magnificent mineral and here’s why: Good magnesium levels improve our bone strength and help reduce bone density loss (a/k/a osteoporosis), improve our muscle and nerve performance, help us to sleep, improve our immune system. It also helps to prevent inflammation in the body, helps regulate high blood pressure, energizes us, helps manage diabetes, helps to reduce the frequency of migraines, depression and anxiety!

So how can we get more of this? Well, we can swim in the ocean everyday, but if this is not feasible (and it’s just not for most of us), one of the best ways to get a good dose of magnesium is through the skin. You can soak in Epsom salt baths and, according to a 2004 study by the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, “researchers concluded that prolonged soaking in an Epsom salt bath raises magnesium levels without any adverse effects. The ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths to raise magnesium status, according to the study, is approximately 500 grams, or 2 cups, of Epsom salt dissolved in 15 gallons of water — the amount that can fit in a standard-sized bathtub. Ideal amount of time spent soaking is 12 minutes, two to three times per week.”

But if we don’t want to soak in the tub 2-3 times a week, what can we do? Oral ingestion is a way to do this but it’s important to note that magnesium, when taken orally, should also be taken with food. Taking magnesium orally can cause some diarrhea. Additionally, according to an article by Dr. Mercola (I will provide the link to this entire article at the bottom), “It may seem like you could remedy the risks of low magnesium simply by taking a supplement, but it’s not quite that simple. When you’re taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1.11Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.

If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular. ‘What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,’ Dr. Dean explains.

When balancing calcium and magnesium, also keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D need to be considered. These four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance between these nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity. Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you’re K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places, like your soft tissue.

Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification that may damage your heart.”

If you want to take magnesium orally, do it right and re-read the three paragraphs above. Otherwise, you can make your own magnesium oil and receive it daily transdermally and here’s how:

Purchase magnesium chloride ONLY. There are many other forms of magnesium. This is the best type to use to make your oil. It’s very easy to make. In a pain, heat a cup of distilled water and, when the water is just close to boiling, remove from the heat and add 3/4 cup magnesium chloride and stir until dissolved. I usually have some residual magnesium floating around and I strain the solution through a coffee filter. Put into a spray bottle and spritz a fatty area of your body (I spritz my stomach) once a day. I usually spritz back and forth and do about 4-5 spritzes.

NOTE: Magnesium oil does sting a bit. It’s ok! It’s worth it!

Here is an extremely informative article on magnesium:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=facebookmercola_ranart&utm_campaign=20161116_magnesium-deficiency

Use the Soaps, Peeps!

I recently started selling my products at a Farmer’s Market; I love chatting with new people, seeing loyal customers, and meeting the other vendors.  I’ve been frustrated by something lately, though, and it’s the realization that some people buy handmade soaps just to scent their linen closet.  Or their lingerie drawer.  Or their bathroom.

I talked with a woman today and I went on about the benefits of handmade soap, how luxurious they are and how beneficial they are to the skin.  She mentioned that she had been buying handmade soaps for years.  I said, “So you know what I’m talking about!  They feel so good to shower with don’t they?”  “I don’t know,” she said.  “I don’t use them for that.  When they lose their scent, I throw them away.”  This is where, if this were a TV show, you’d hear the sound of a record player needle wildly careening across a vinyl record and grinding to a screeching, scratching halt.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this, nor will it be the last time.  But I beg you, I urge you, I implore you, I beseech you:  take a bar of handmade soap into your shower and use it.  It lathers, it bubbles, it lasts a very long time.  It smells great and it feels incredible on the skin.  It is an indulgence that your skin may have never had.  And it’s an affordable indulgence that sets your skin back on the path to good, clean health.

Handmade soaps retain their natural glycerin, they don’t remove your skin’s natural layer of protection and they don’t interfere with your skin’s sebum production.  They aren’t loaded with nasty chemicals and they are not detergents (most commercial soaps are just that).

Next time you’re at the Farmer’s Market or you’re at Whole Foods or you see some handmade soaps in a shop, pick it up, read the label.  Then compare with ingredients in a commercial soap.  You’ll be amazed.

farmersmarket

 

 

 

Love

Sometimes, even in a business blog, we write about love because love seeps into our business life more often than we’d like to admit.  My dad was a champion for me and for what I wanted out of life and what I wanted to do.  He listened to my questions from the time I was a little girl and he gave good advice.   And my dad loved to dance.

I had my grandson with me for a visit yesterday and it flowed into an overnight and then pooled into today so I asked his best buddy’s mom if I could have the pleasure of having Liam’s buddy Hunter and Hunter’s little brother, Ryder, over to play with Liam today.  We had such a great day, the four of us.  I took the boys to a play place where there’s all kinds of fabulous indoor playground equipment … there is also outdoor equipment but on a 90 degree day, I was not going outside.  There’s trampolines and a basketball court for kids indoors as well.  We were there for about an hour and a half and then I took them to McDonald’s Play Place where they had lunch (even grandmas are excused from providing healthy meals every now and then) and they played.  Then we drove back home.  During our drive times, we listened to music from my iPhone.  One of the songs I selected today was “I Got a Feeling” by the Black Peas.  Hunter was quite excited and shouted, “I know this song!  I know this song!”  So I turned up the sound and we bopped and sang as we drove.

My dad loved to dance and he did it very well.  In the 70s, he and I took disco dance lessons together and we’d go out and practice our steps on the weekends.  My mom just shook her head and shooed us out the door.

A few years later, when I lived in Syracuse, NY and my husband and I were raising two young children, my dad and his future wife came for a visit (my parents had divorced a few years earlier).  Before they’d hardly made it through the door, my dad wanted to dance.  My kids were about 5 and 3 at the time and they flung themselves onto the couch with glee because they knew there was going to be a show.

Feeling mischievous, I put on Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop,” almost as a challenge to my dad’s modern day dance skills.  He did not disappoint.  He grabbed my hand and we cut up the rug as he whooped and hollered and twirled and spun me this way and that.  I was breathless by the time the song finished and his future wife and my children were laughing at the scene.

Fast forward about 25 years when I returned home to New York to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.  My sister, brother, and I were going to take dad and his then wife, Jean, out to a fabulous restaurant for dinner.  I was to pick up dad and Jean and meet everyone at the restaurant.

I was so excited for dad’s birthday and it had been several years since we’d danced together so I had a plan.  I brought a boom box with me that held my iPhone and through that I could play music.  I’d only recently downloaded the song, “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Peas and the words seemed great for dad’s 80th birthday:  “I got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night; tonight’s gonna be a good good night…”

When I came in, dad motioned for me to sit down. Jean asked me what the box was for.  I said that I thought I’d play a song for dad’s birthday before we went out for dinner.  And if he wanted to dance, if he was up for it, I’d oblige.  I plugged in the boom box and set my iPhone in the little adapter and pushed the button.  I smiled as the song began.  I waited.  Dad smiled and nodded his head to the beat of the music but nothing happened.  He didn’t spring from his chair like I thought he would.  He didn’t hold out his hand and say, “C’mon, kid!”  He sat in his chair and, legs crossed, he bounced his foot to the beat of the music.  The song ended and my heart was in my throat.  Something wasn’t right.  But then I cleared my head and heard a voice inside of me said, “No, it’s all right.  Really.  It is.  It’s all right.  It’s just that there’s no real room in this living room.  It’s all right.”

Jean didn’t join us for dinner that night because she had somehow bitten into a sandwich earlier in the day and her tooth fell out.  She said she wouldn’t be seen dead like that let alone in a fancy restaurant.  So dad put on his coat and said, “C’mon, Sue.  Let’s go!”

When dad and I got to the restaurant, no one was there yet; we’d gotten there a bit early.  Dad said he wanted to sit at the bar and wait for the others; sitting at the bar was not the norm for my dad.  He asked for a glass of wine.  I ordered and turned on my stool and smiled at dad.  The bartender brought our drinks and we toasted.  Dad swallowed more than once before he told me he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  Tears welled up in his eyes and it was hard for him to talk.  I put my hand on his and I said, “Dad, we’ll get through this.”

We did get through it.  Dad was a trooper through his illness and, quite honestly, it was rare that we even knew he had Parkinson’s Disease.  He ended up dying from something totally unrelated to Parkinson’s two years later.

When I eulogized dad, I talked about his advice and his love.  I remembered dad saying to me, “I don’t know where you get this business sense from.  It sure doesn’t come from me.”  I replied, “Sure it does.  It comes a little from you and a little from mom.  You both have taught me how to manage so many things in life, how to be a good leader, how to be kind and fair.”  “Really?” he’d said.  “Yes.  Really.”

In my eulogy, I also talked about the dance that dad and I took part in throughout my life.  And how sometimes one of us would sit out a dance.  Sometimes we would both sit out the dance because there were times when he was stubborn and I was madder than hell at him.  Eventually, one of us would extend our hand to the other and the dance would begin again.

Business isn’t just about getting ahead.  Life isn’t just about “making it.”  It’s about loving those who fill our lives and who help us to get ahead.  Because we can’t get ahead in our businesses or in our lives without others.  Life is about dancing with others and knowing when to dip, when to twirl, when to sashay, and when to sit a dance out.  Life, business, love..it’s all intertwined.

dad

 

 

Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil and Coconut Water

We love coconut milk here at ArtiSun Bath & Skin.  Not just to drink, mind you – it’s great on our skin.  We put it in a few of our soaps because coconut milk has an emollience in it that leaves the skin feeling (key the Mike Meyers character Linda Richman) “like buttah.”

Coconut Milk is loaded with Vitamin C and is high in copper, making it fabulous as an anti-aging ingredient, skin-softener and emollient.  Studies have shown it helps with age spots as well!  Zoinks!

For those of you who are strictly vegan but want the benefits of goat’s milk without the goat, coconut milk is a great choice when choosing your soap.  Our Golden Lemongrass and Forbidden Orange soaps boast generous amounts of coconut milk.  These two soaps are in our top-selling category and I firmly believe that the coconut milk is one of the biggest reasons.

Coconut oil is a great addition to soaps and ours are all made with 30% coconut oil.  It makes for a harder, more bubbly bar of soap.  Coconut oil is a funny character, though – like the 3 bears, you want your ratio just right.  Too much and the soap becomes very drying.  Too little, you don’t notice much benefit.  Just enough and it makes a fabulously creamy, cleansing, moisturizing, bubbly bar of soap!  It’s all about taking things in moderation, as they say.

Coconut water… we actually haven’t used coconut water in our soaps.  The coconut milk and the coconut oil suit us just fine.  But the humans who make the soaps?  We like to drink coconut water – or at least one of us does.  And it’s an awesome beverage that’s high in potassium, low in calories and carbohydrates, cholesterol-free and super hydrating.  It’s a great beverage to have just before working out and again right after working out.  Honesty, you’ll feel great.

So there’s our lesson on most things coconut-y.  And here’s a photo of our lovely Golden Lemongrass soap sporting some colors to please the eye.

lemongrass

Golden Lemongrass with Luxurious Coconut Milk