Posted by OakCourt on Jan 12, 2012 in Miscellaneous News
, New Products
We were saddened recently to hear that fellow supplier Snowdrift Farm has closed their doors. They will be missed! Best wishes to Bill Wallace and to the entire Snowdrift Farms staff in their future endeavors.
For some time, we have been looking for a source for a perfumer’s alcohol/perfume base along the lines of what Snowdrift had been carrying. Upon hearing of their closure, we ramped up our plans to add that to our product line, as we are hearing that many crafters are looking for a new supplier for it.
I’m pleased to say that we have found a reliable source of an excellent quality base, and we will be adding that to our product line in the very near future. We have shipped samples to several artisans who used Snowdrift’s alcohols in their products, and they are currently testing it to see how it compares to theirs. Based on the opinions of several local customers who have tested it, we are going to order it in the next few weeks and begin selling it. One tried it as a replacement for cyclomethicone in her current purse misters, reporting that it worked well even with fragrances that did not want to blend with the cyclomethicone, and the other used it to make perfume using lavender and sweet orange essential oils, and was happy with her results as well. The blend has glycerine and a very small amount (less than 1%) of propylene glycol to help emulsify the fragrance into the alcohol, so it’s 99% natural.
We’re very excited about this new product, and plan to offer other companion products for use in making perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, etc. (for example, purse-sized misters!). At the moment, we are trying to determine how much to order for our initial allotment – we’re not sure how much demand there actually is for this item. So if you would be interested in purchasing some when we get it, please e-mail us (no obligation!) so we can make sure nobody will be disappointed by having to wait while we order more.
So…. what do you think of the name “Perfume Magic™”? I find it magical that you can simply add fragrance oil or essential oil to it and have a lovely concentrated perfume… or dilute it with distilled water to make colognes, aftershaves, etc. Or should we just stick with the straightforward Perfumer’s Alcohol?
Posted by OakCourt on Oct 1, 2011 in Miscellaneous News
, New Products
I have some VERY exciting news to share with you all!
In the very near future – most likely within the next few weeks – we will be switching to a different, even BETTER version of our AromaArt® Air Freshener material for our pre-cut shapes and sheets. Our former supplier was no longer capable of producing our desired level of quality, and was going to raise the price even though the quality of the paper had been going steadily downhill each time we purchased it. Sadly, they were not receptive to our requests to improve their quality control, and pretty much told us we would just have to “deal with it”.
That wasn’t a satisfactory answer, so we did an exhaustive search for another supplier willing and able to produce a high quality product at a competitive price. We immediately rejected the ones that would have required raising the prices substantially, and those not willing to guarantee consistency in the surface texture, thickness, and color from one order to the next. We finally found a company that is committed to shipping only the highest quality product, while keeping prices reasonable. The minimum order quantity was larger than we could have possibly dreamed of needing when we started this business, but we are committed to this product – so we took the plunge and ordered a TRUCKLOAD. (And no, I’m not exaggerating! LOL)
Why is this such exciting news? Here are some of the reasons:
1) It’s smoother… no lumps, bumps or wrinkles that are challenging for those of you who like to heat transfer and rubber stamp on your air fresheners. It also means that you can SCREEN PRINT on the air fresheners to do custom logos and lettering! We tested it with a Yudu CardShop machine – and while we don’t recommend that particular machine, the printing process worked like a charm. It took only a few seconds per air freshener to actually do the printing, and the screenprinting ink stood up to several different FO’s we tested on it. Rubber stamps make clean, crisp imprints on the new material that are easy to reproduce consistently. It’s also much easier to color on the smoother surface with markers, colored pencils and crayons.
2) It’s thinner… only about 2/3 as thick as the current material. That makes it lighter weight, meaning less expensive to ship and easier to cut. 8″ x 12″ sheets can now be cut in several popular home diecutting machines that won’t cut the old material because it’s too thick! We tested it in a Big Shot and several other machines retailing for under $200 at a trade show this summer, and it cut beautifully. Being thinner also means that it can be EMBOSSED using machines like Spellbinders’ Wizard and other similar machines that have the capability to emboss using brass stencils or embossing jackets. And even though it’s thinner, it will hold just as much fragrance as the current material! I had a blast testing it at a trade show I attended this summer, and several of the designers who were demonstrating the machines were excited about the cute air fresheners they made with it in a matter of seconds. One left a basic shape white, ran it through with an allover texture plate with funky 60′s retro circles of all sizes, and came up with a very cute two-sided air freshener with raised circles on one side, and sunken impressions of the circles on the other side. Another embossed a cowboy boot with a scroll pattern that made it look like western stitching on the boot, and used an ink pad to highlight the raised portions with tan ink. The result looked like a distressed, well-worn cowboy boot, and it took her just over a minute to emboss and ink it.
3) It’s whiter… meaning those of you who heat transfer and rubber stamp on it will really see the difference in the colors when you apply them. They really pop against the snow-white background! And as long as you select fragrance oils carefully, shapes like snowflakes and snowmen will stay considerably whiter than with the old material.
4) It’s still very affordable… we were not able to completely avoid a small price increase, but it will be more than offset by the huge difference in quality! We have not raised prices on the air freshener products in at least four years, choosing to absorb several price increases from our suppliers and shipping providers. The increase will only be about 10% on most items, which is less than the 4%-5% per year that would be expected from normal inflation.
5) It’s very consistent in quality… every single sheet is exactly the same thickness, color, and surface texture as the next one. The current material varied widely from one pallet to the next, and even from one sheet to the next. So you can be confident that every time you order, the product will look and perform exactly the same.
Are there any downsides to the new paper? I really don’t think so. We asked a number of trusted customers and friends, who do a variety of different things with the shapes, to test their decorating methods using the new material. The general consensus was that it performs just as well, if not better, than the current material – and they were all very excited about the new possibilities for decorating that were not available with our current material, like the screenprinting and embossing.
The ones who paint their shapes did notice that it took longer for the fragrance oil to soak in. The paint tends to stay as a layer on TOP of the paper, rather than soaking into it, so the fragrance has to penetrate that paint layer first. They reported that thinning the paint with water seemed to help, and that they simply had to plan for additional time for the scent to penetrate the paint and be absorbed by the shape. One tester also commented that the paint colors seemed brighter and truer with the new material, which she liked very much.
And the ones who do heat transfers reported no difference when applying the transfers with a heat press. Those using a home iron commented that they had to change their technique – instead of moving the iron all over the transfer constantly, they needed to hold the iron perfectly still so the transfer didn’t slide on the smoother surface. They had to experiment with their individual irons on the first one to find the “perfect” amount of time for the transfer to adhere completely, and had to lift the iron and reposition the steam holes so those areas were heated for the second portion of the transfer time. One stated that she used a “dry iron” (no steam holes, available online for about $30), and that it worked fine once she established the time needed to adhere properly. She also commented that if she was going to make more than a couple, she would definitely invest in an inexpensive heat press.
I’ve mentioned the upcoming change to a few customers I’ve spoken with recently when they called to place an order, and many of them have asked how we were going to handle the switchover. We have plenty of shapes cut from the new material already in-house, and we are working now to inspect and count all of the remaining inventory of shapes in the old material. Once we’ve done that, we will set up two separate pages for the pre-cut shapes. One will be for the old material, and those will be sold at a discounted price while supplies last. There are only a few that are almost sold out. The new ones will be on a separate page, with new item codes, and the new pricing will be shown on those pages. We are almost out of 8″ x 12″ sheets of the old material, and if any remain when we switch the shapes over, they will be shown on the same page with the sheets from the new material. For the short term, until we are completely out of the old material, you will be able to choose between the two. And we will do our best to make sure the cart inventory quantities are correct, but keep in mind that we are human. (g)
When you place an order, if you’d like a sample of the new material, just mention that when you checkout. There’s a spot to click to add notes or comments to your order, and if you give us a couple of choices of shapes, we’ll try to make sure to put one of those in your order. If you are not ordering soon, you can request a sample by sending us a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a list of a few shapes you are interested in (limit one per address).
I hope you’ll be as excited about the new material as we are! I’m looking forward to hearing from those of you who are among the first to try it, because I know you’ll come up with some great new things to do with it.
Posted by OakCourt on Jan 25, 2011 in Miscellaneous News
, New Products
They arrived late yesterday afternoon…. we don’t even have the boxes open yet, but I’ve put the inventory into the shopping cart. A number of you have been waiting for them – and they can be purchased now.
Hi everyone! Happy New Year!
2011 is already shaping up to be a VERY exciting one for us here at Oak Court Creations. We have some new items already in the cart for your shopping pleasure , a few more that will be coming in shortly (in the next week or two), and more planned for the 1st Quarter that have already been budgeted for and ordered.
1) Restocking of all of the varieties of SFIC Melt-and-Pour Soap Base, and the addition of two more varieties – regular clear and regular white. This has proven to be a great product line for us, and the word is getting around that we now have ALL of the varieties SFIC offers – there are SEVENTEEN! One of our goals for 2011 is to bring in at least one or two custom kinds of base – they’ll make anything we want, but we have to buy 1000 lbs., so it’s definitely not something we can order on a whim. LOL If you have any ideas as to what kinds of custom soap base you’d be interested in, please e-mail them to us at suggestions(at)oakcourtcreations.com (take out the (at) and replace it with the @ sign).
2) Even MORE new Air Freshener Shapes! Click on the pictures to go to the shopping cart, where you can zoom in on the images and purchase them. The first five are available immediately – the fire hydrant will be here in mid-January (see below).
3) In response to requests, we updated the variety pack of air freshener shapes to reflect the new shapes – we now have *** 72 *** of them! Wow… it seems like just yesterday that we introduced the first six shapes. You can now get one of each of the 72 shapes for one low price, so you can see, feel and touch them to help you decide which ones you want more of.
1) One more new air freshener shape – the fire hydrant. It was supposed to be here with the other five shown above, but a minor problem with the die delayed the cutting process, and they should be here mid-January. These adorable little hydrants will be perfect for both dog-related customers AND firemen! I can easily see using these for fundraising activities, and the simple shape allows for lots of room to personalize them if desired.
2) Neem Oil – after a number of requests, we’ve found a reliable and reasonably priced source for Neem. This oil is wonderful when used in soaps and lotions, and many swear by it for relief of skin conditions (although advertising the soap or lotion as being for that purpose isn’t allowed by the FDA). The only drawback is that it’s rather…. well….. “fragrant” (some would come right out and say it’s stinky!). But the scent CAN be overcome by using a strong fragrance oil or essential oil blend – we know, as we’ve done it!
CLICK ON THE ACORN at the top of this post if you’d like to leave us a comment – we love to hear from you!
Posted by OakCourt on Oct 5, 2010 in New Products
Over the past few weeks, we’ve added LOTS of new air freshener shapes to the shopping cart. All of these are available for immediate shipment!
We have several more that will be coming soon – they’re in the production stage now. These include the dress, ladybug, fire hydrant, lighthouse, scalloped-edge square, and scalloped-edge circle. We’ll let you know via this blog as soon as they are available.
Here are some image links to the shapes added recently – click for a better look:
CLICK ON THE ACORN at the top of this post if you'd like to leave us a comment! Thanks.
Posted by OakCourt on Sep 5, 2010 in New Products
Happy Labor Day! There’s no resting around here… LOL Even though it’s a holiday weekend, I can’t resist trying to get caught up with some things that need doing around here.
The new air freshener shapes are hitting the shopping cart slowly but surely….. the first ones up are the seasonal ones for fall, since it’s almost here! I added the Candy Corn, Football Helmet and Acorn shapes this afternoon, and will be adding more over the next few days.
My scanner died not long ago, and I splurged on a fancy one. Now, of course, I had to figure out all of the settings and tweaks again, and it took me all afternoon to create a pre-set to scan the new air freshener shapes properly, with the right contrast, brighness, color balancing, and so forth. I couldn’t get them to look like the scans we’ve had in the cart over the past few years! So I decided that the new shapes would have a different color background, and I would do what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – clean up the pics, make all the thumbnails the same size and shape, and generally make the new scans even better than the old ones.
Naturally, though, it’s made me want to re-scan all of our existing shapes to make the pictures uniform. Nothing like creating myself extra work on what’s supposed to be a holiday weekend off! (vbg) Then I’ll need to change the variety pack that has one of every shape in it, and add products for the new shapes in “slightly imperfects”, and…. well, you get the idea!
Anyway, I hope you’ll check out the new shapes and watch over the next few days as I add even more of them. You can access them in the “new arrivals” or “what’s new” links on the home page of our site. The images below link to the shopping cart, where you can see a larger picture!
Just when you think things are rolling along smoothly…. LOL
We love SFIC to death around here. Their melt and pour soap bases are excellent quality, affordable, and they offer a large selection of different varieties. They’re pleasant people to deal with, and ship quickly. BUT, we really do wish they’d make up their minds on how they want to package the bases! (vbg)
When we first started offering their products, they shipped them as two-pound shrinkwrapped logs. Then they switched to one-pound shrinkwrapped blocks. The best change yet (in our opinion, anyway) was when they changed to two-pound resealable, microwaveable, reusable, recyclable plastic tubs with snap-on lids.
We found out recently that they are switching yet again, back to one-pound shrinkwrapped blocks. Apparently plastic resin has gone way up in price, so the price of the tubs has, too. They had a choice – increase their wholesale prices slightly, to cover the cost of the labor to shrinkwrap the blocks, or increase them significantly, to cover the higher price of the tubs. They chose to increase their prices as little as possible, a decision which we respect, because it means we won’t have to raise OUR prices very much, either. We will miss the plastic tubs, as they are very handy – but the shrinkwrapped blocks also mean smaller case sizes, which are easier to handle, and are also easier to ship. They take up less room in the box, and also eliminate any chance of the tubs being damaged if UPS drops a 100-lb. box on top of them. LOL
So we apologize for the inconvenience, but while they are changing over, when you order two pounds of base from us, it may come in the form of either one two-pound tub or two one-pound blocks. Once everything is changed over, we will update the website and change the pricing accordingly. We’ll post again here on the blog to let everyone know about the change – we sure don’t want anyone to order their “usual” number of tubs, only to get half as many pounds of soap base as they were expecting to!
Also, just a reminder…. in case you haven’t looked at all of the varieties lately, we now also have the Organic Oil White and Organic Oil Clear in stock. If you are looking to purchase full case quantities (50 lbs.) of cut-ups of any of their bases, please let us know. At this time, we don’t stock them, but would be happy to special order them for you. With our next order, we will be adding the regular White and Clear soap bases to our product line, in response to customer requests. Our goal for 2011 is to have some custom varieties made exclusively for us…. so we also would like to hear your suggestions for what kinds you’d like to see us offer.
Thanks, as always, for your business and support!
Posted by OakCourt on Apr 8, 2010 in New Products
I am so excited…. we got the first batch in of new air freshener shapes! Now I’ve got to get them all photographed and up on the website. (That’s the not-so-exciting part. LOL) We’ve actually had a couple of these for a few months because they were created in response to special requests, and we had to have more cut before having sufficient stock to put them in the cart.
Here are the new shapes that are not on the site yet – if you want any of these in 10-packs before they’re up on the site, just call us…. if you’re ordering a 100-pack, you can just include them in your list of what shapes you want and how many in the shopping cart.
Baseball Cap – and the season just started!
Square (rounded corners like our rectangle – can also be used as a diamond!)
Top Hat (think Uncle Sam, Leprechauns, Pilgrims, Prom, etc.)
We also have dies in house for a bunch more shapes that will be released in batches of three or four every few months. Budget restrictions prevented us from having them all cut at once, and anyway, where’s the fun in that?!? I also didn’t think there would be a whole lot of interest in, say, acorns in April. LOL Here are some of the ones that are coming for summer and fall:
Hat (Ladies’ Red-Hat type!)
Tree #2 (more rounded and Christmas-y than our current tree, which will be renamed Tree #1)
We take your shape suggestions very seriously, and many (if not most!) of the shapes listed above were developed in response to customer requests. Sometimes it takes a long time to make them a reality – those of you who’ve been waiting for the cat, the dog, and the horse’s head will know what I’m talking about! – but we don’t want to put out an inferior product, and I know you’ll think they were worth the wait!
I got a last-minute invitation to attend a trade show this past week, and things fell into place so I could get away for a day. YAY!
It was a very interesting show…. and it was really nice to be able to say hello to representatives from two of the fragrance houses we do business with and sniff some of their new offerings. (And yes, they are sending samples for me to test! LOL) Would you believe one of the perfumers saw my name badge and remembered having done some custom formulating for me when we were first getting started selling supplies – 7 or 8 years ago?? I was really impressed that he not only remembered our company, but also exactly what fragrances he had created for me.
I walked the show floor for about 5 hours, at which time I’d visited all of the booths that were on my “must-see” list marked in my show program. Much as I would have loved to browse a bit more and return to a couple of booths that looked interesting but were jammed with people when I approached them, by that point in time my bad back and bad ankle were protesting the abuse I’d been giving them, so it was time to call it a day.
I have a small rolling suitcase full of brochures, business cards, line cards, etc. to go through, and when we are ready, now have sources for a wide variety of items (many of which are warehoused locally in the Chicago area, so we can pick up orders and save on freight!). These include, but are not limited to, botanical extracts, pigments and micas, exotic oils and butters, silicone derivatives like cyclomethicone and dimethicone, and additives like exfoliants and herbs. Let’s just say I won’t have ANY problems at all spending our buying budget for the rest of the year….. LOL
I’m eager to hear from all of you as to what you’d like us to purchase first. Please add comments to this post and share your “wish list” with us! We always welcome your feedback, but especially in terms of what you want us to add to our product line.
Posted by OakCourt on Apr 3, 2010 in New Products
Some of you have e-mailed to ask when these items will be available. The best way for me to address this is probably on a product-by-product basis, so here goes:
IPM (Isopropyl Myristate) – This should be on the site in the next week or two. We just need to work out pricing and package sizes (we’ve already found a local source to restock it), and research a bit more to provide you with info on how to use it effectively.
99% Isopropyl Alcohol – This one is not going to happen. Not only was the container damaged in transit, but I was told that we cannot ship it by UPS in any significant quantity without hazmat charges, due to it’s flammability, so I am not going to pursue it.
Perfumer’s Base – This was also damaged beyond salvageability in transit. UPS tells me that we can ship in containers of 32 oz. or less, with multiple containers allowed in the same box, without a hazmat charge. Sheila did point me to the supplier for this item, so I will be contacting them to find out how much we have to purchase at a time and to get pricing. I want to bring this in ASAP, but much as I would love to have an unlimited buying budget, we don’t. (sigh)
Bath Bomb Molds – I was able to find a source to reorder these, so they should be up on the site in the next week or two.
Green Tea and Chamomile Extracts – Sheila shared the company name that they were purchased from, but no other specifics. Upon looking into it, I found that this company carries many different variations of each botanical extract, in different strengths and different solubilities (oil-soluble vs. water soluble). So it’s impossible to order the exact same one from them without the specific item number, which I haven’t been able to get from her. I will probably put these on our clearance page and try to find a reliable local source to carry them on a regular basis.
Exfoliating Beads – Sheila says she purchased these as a closeout, and they were 1) only available in blue and 2) are no longer available. Again, I’ll take the loss and put them on the clearance page, and do my best to find a source to carry them on a regular basis – I may have already found a source for jojoba spheres, which are an even better alternative!
Fragrance Oils – Sheila told me that they were all purchased as closeouts, and did not share vendor information for them, even though she assured me before I ordered that she would provide the info for anything that I wanted to purchase. These will probably end up on our clearance page.
Powdered Dead Sea Mud – The vendor info was on a label on the bucket, so we should be able to reorder! I need to contact them to get pricing and lead time, and then will get it on the website (probably 1-2 weeks).
That should be everything – sorry the news wasn’t better. I’m especially disappointed about the fragrance oils… the time to tell me that they were all closeouts and NOT available regularly should have been BEFORE I ordered them, not after the fact. (I asked before placing my order if vendor info would be provided so I could reorder, and was assured in writing that it would be). I e-mailed several weeks ago to ask her who she purchased them from as closeouts, since many fragrance houses will sell even “closeout” fragrances as a special-order item at a higher price, but never heard back from her. If I ever do, I will definitely pursue them!