#1

Merchant
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
(This post was last modified: 01-27-2018, 03:20 AM by Stone Cottage Shaving.)
Since we have this new setup for vendors here, I would like to take advantage of it and post a thread in which you can post any questions regarding your interest in my products and my services! I welcome you to "jump in" and post whenever something comes up! I'll do my best to get back to you and provide the best answer possible! Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you!

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David
Stone Cottage Shaving|Stone Cottage Soapworks Inc.|Menyarn
https://stonecottageshaving.com
https://stonecottagesoapworks.com
https://menyarn.com
#2
Hi David, I ran through an order for some samples this evening. Some time ago I went through a tub of your older formula of Hesperide, and I have been finding myself going with a beard about 8-10 months of the year, where shaving creams seem to be a bit easier to work with. All the creams I've been trying out this winter in particular have gotten me thinking a lot about shaving cream formulation, and I was curious about your thought process as you developed your own cream:

- What sort of shaving creams "inspired" your formulation (older one and/or newer)?

- What does your R & D look like for the shaving cream? I shudder to think of the time investment, what with a rot process to jam up the pipeline!

- Have you ever done custom or group buy orders for the cream?

Thanks so much!
#3

Merchant
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
(This post was last modified: 01-06-2018, 02:07 AM by Stone Cottage Shaving.)
(01-01-2018, 06:22 AM)explodyii Wrote: Hi David, I ran through an order for some samples this evening.  Some time ago I went through a tub of your older formula of Hesperide, and I have been finding myself going with a beard about 8-10 months of the year, where shaving creams seem to be a bit easier to work with.  All the creams I've been trying out this winter in particular have gotten me thinking a lot about shaving cream formulation, and I was curious about your thought process as you developed your own cream:

- What sort of shaving creams "inspired" your formulation (older one and/or newer)?  

- What does your R & D look like for the shaving cream?  I shudder to think of the time investment, what with a rot process to jam up the pipeline!

- Have you ever done custom or group buy orders for the cream?

Thanks so much!


When I began researching soapmaking in 1998, I spent lots of time looking for the best information on the soapmaking process and formulating soap that was available before I even made my first batch!  I got to know each ingredient and what it had to offer the formula as well as the best usage rates and the best sources for all of these ingredients.  My first attempt at handcrafted soap came out perfect but I still kept experimenting with variations of the different ingredients which gave me greater options for a larger variety of different soaps.  My method of formulating which I originally created with that first soap, is one I still use today and is based on that very first formula!
 
My approach to shaving cream and later shaving soap was the same.  I am fortunate that I have been able to travel abroad and have made many trips to England over the years.  Very early on I found the British shaving creams such as Geo. F. Trumper, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Truefitt & Hill and all the other British Shaving Creams were readily available there and I brought several home with me on these trips.  Having been familiar with these products, most of which have the exact same ingredients list, it was natural for me to want to emulate these products when I decided to offer shaving cream as well in Stone Cottage Soapworks.

Again I began doing research, buying old soap making and cosmetic chemistry books since this is an old style product dating back to the 1920's and 30's.  I began a document in August of 2004 of my observations, information that I had collected and the advice I had received about this type of product.  I am fortunate to know several cosmetic chemists and even more fortunate that I was able to contact them for their advice and their observations!  This document grew and grew over the years as did my knowledge and experimentation in creating this type of product.  During this time, I opened my first retail store in Frenchtown, New Jersey and created my first website.  Because of this activity, this project had to go on the back burner for a while until I had the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to it.

After being open for 6 ½ years in Frenchtown, we decided to find a new location for my business and purchased a building and totally renovated it which took well over a year to complete.  We opened the Artisan Emporium over 3 ½ years ago and soon into it I began to continue serious research and development on this product again.  I continued to collect information, articles, books, ingredient listings and anything that pertains to the “British style” creams.  I also learned that these kinds of shaving creams were made by companies here in the United States and sold here during that time period and that the invention of aerosol containers was the beginning of their decline here in the U.S.

I kept looking everywhere including places like the U.S. and other countries patent sites and was lucky to find many examples of these types of formulations there.  I also frequented several message boards about cosmetics and soapmaking.  The soapmaking boards were not that helpful as there was no one there with experience or information about this type of product.  The same for “cream soap” message boards which didn’t work with formulations (based on 100%) and did not have the proper background and knowledge to be creating a product of the Men’s shaving market.  I also looked at cosmetic chemistry and soap making books but most of the time I was on my own and had to figure these things out myself!  Old books did help me!  I have quite a collection of these older books which were written around the time these shaving creams were first popular.  As I began to research and experiment I always had the list “Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Fragrance, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide” in my head and in my notes and worked and worked until I developed a formula that I liked that was as close to that list of ingredients as possible!  Each of those ingredients helps create a product that offers good lather, slip and glide and a nice afterfeel which is why they have been used by these companies for so many years!  I took notes on every batch I made and I made labels for all the samples I made using these formulas as well to make sure I had complete control of this process and left no stone unturned!  I finally created a formula that seemed to work well but I knew that in the future I would be making slight adjustments to fine-tune its performance.

As with any product of this type, what worked well for sample batches has to work well for production batches!  Procedure is extremely important and following these procedures to the fullest will give you a more perfect product.  Experimentation with production sized batches is crucial and taking notes on every sample batch is essential!  No wonder my document that I mentioned that I had created in 2004 now has 469 pages in it!

Selecting packaging and have top labels designed and made were involved in the next step as were selecting fragrances that would be appropriate for this type of product.  Since I already had handcrafted soaps made from different scents I had created and I had feedback on them I chose many of them to use in production for the shaving cream.  They all went into production, were photographed and placed on the website and in my retail store and next I waited for feedback.  This, unfortunately, turned out to be a longer process than I expected.  I received many mentions on shaving messages boards but it took a long time before I found ones that were fair, thoughtfully written by knowledgeable people and contained honest and well-presented observations.  Recently, I had a customer who came into my store to purchase my shaving creams having read about them online on message boards he goes to as an observer not a member.  With his purchase I gave him a sample of the new cream formulation to try.  He said he would try it and would give me some feedback.  He tried the sample I gave him 8 times before he felt he knew and understood the product and used others in between each of the 8 times to help him to compare.  His review was just amazing!  There was no gushing or bashing in this review but just realistic observations about each element of the cream and its performance.  He did like the cream and its performance, which I was glad to hear, but he approached the whole and quite long review with such dignity and gave such a thoughtful analyzation of the product I was dumbfounded!

I am happy with the new formulation and have been enjoying the “Bali Isle” scent that I created.  Although it is a simple combination and each element can be detected, they join together to create a unique scent that I quite like!  I made some handcrafted soap with the same "Bali Isle" scent which should be ready to sell in a few weeks!  I look forward to trying new scents which I may do for a limited time unless, of course, they turn out to be a real hit then I will keep making them!  I don’t foresee doing a group buy as I price my products in a lower and more affordable range than many of the products out there but I have done a little bit of custom scents for people who like two or three of the scents I sell mixed together so that may be an option.  I have quite a few new scent ideas I would like to try and am in the process of writing scent formulas for these ideas.  Writing scent formulas using Essential oils and fragrance oils together is an unusual hobby of mine.  If I get an idea, I write it down!  I just checked my 336 page document and I have 6655 fragrances written and notes for a few dozen more written down for me to turn into fragrance formulas!

As you can see, I am into “process” and “creativity” and that is what feeds my drive to continue doing this and try to be as successful as possible!

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David
Stone Cottage Shaving|Stone Cottage Soapworks Inc.|Menyarn
https://stonecottageshaving.com
https://stonecottagesoapworks.com
https://menyarn.com
#4
Wow, lots of wonderful information here!

It sounds like you more or less reverse engineered based on ingredient lists and older formulae. Very cool! The level of documentation you do is surely impressive, and I have to imagine that when developing scents and products it pays off BIG!

Thank you so much for the thorough information!

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#5

Super Moderator
Hi David, I think having a running Q&A Thread is a great idea - a place where we can go to ask the questions we sometimes have without interrupting the flow of other topic specific threads. I can also ask dumb questions that you've probably answered before Big Grin

I was wondering how you would describe the scent strength of your shaving creams? Can you rate it on a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being strongest and you can't use #7.

Thanks,

Marko

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#6

Merchant
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
(This post was last modified: 01-15-2018, 04:40 AM by Stone Cottage Shaving.)
(01-14-2018, 06:52 PM)Marko Wrote: Hi David, I think having a running Q&A Thread is a great idea - a place where we can go to ask the questions we sometimes have without interrupting the flow of other topic specific threads.  I can also ask dumb questions that you've probably answered before Big Grin

I was wondering how you would describe the scent strength of your shaving creams?  Can you rate it on a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being strongest and you can't use #7.  

Thanks,

Marko

Marko,

"you can't use #7"?  Not sure what that means, kindly explain...

Scent level is often a subject with varying opinions.  There are those who like extremely strong scents and have high expectations for them and other who prefer a more moderate or lighter scent so any manufacturer out there is never going to please everyone!  My new formulation has a lighter consistency and as such enables you to smell the scent more easily.  Often those who are purchasing a 0.4 oz. sample expect it to beat them over the head with scent and aren't taking into consideration the size of the sample and the fact that the container it is in has little or no head-space in which the scent can "waft".  A 4, 5.3 or 6 ounce container is going to have the head-space inside, an exposed surface area and as such the scent is going to waft easily off the surface of that full sized container of shaving cream much more so than a little sample!  I often tell those who buy my products or my samples that one way of experiencing the scent of this product is to take a tiny bit of it on the tip of your finger and rub it into the back of your other hand in a circle.  The you can easily sense the scent and follow it over a period of time.  I like to be careful of the scent levels and take both types of customers into consideration when selecting a scent and a scent level.  

My current offerings have a moderate to moderately strong scent levels in my opinion and experience and I have become quite careful in my selections as of late and am widening my horizons in my offerings.  Scent is one area of which I have a great interest and I have a "hobby" of creating scent formulas when I have an idea come to me.  I have put together a document which currently has 6,655 completed formulas of mine with many more ideas sketched out to be written up later... so as you can see it is an important area to me.  I try to work within the usual fragrance areas and some of my offerings not only reflect those area but actually use their names!  Hespéride and Fougère are actually fragrance categories and I, at one point, had a soap named Chypre as well!  I have added some more outdoorsy types of scents recently like "Oriental Wood" and "Bayberry" and am looking into all of the fragrance areas to see what else I can experiment with and offer at some point.  I'm doing my best to try and offer some expected and some unexpected fragrances and find the proper balance and also find customers who like to think outside the box and try something new!

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David
Stone Cottage Shaving|Stone Cottage Soapworks Inc.|Menyarn
https://stonecottageshaving.com
https://stonecottagesoapworks.com
https://menyarn.com
#7

Super Moderator
Thank you for your thorough response David, I think thats very helpful. I know what you mean about variations in customer's tastes for scent. I like a generally stronger scent and if a soap from a capable artisan ever falls short for me these days, its usually on scent strength. I think it also depends on what the scent is, for example Phoenix & Beau Pall Mall is a very nice and subtle scent, if it were much stronger I think it would, for me, become unpleasant. Now on the other hand, I like strength in a Bay Rum and artisans such as Krampert's Finest or Captains Choice (artisan?) have that dialled in while, again in my opinion, the OSP Bay Rum I have is so mild as to be indistinguishable from the OSP Sandalwood. I'm sure I've inadvertently mixed up the lids/labels of those two soaps but it doesn't matter.

One follow up question - do you ship to Canada or internationally? I could find no mention of that on your website.

As for the rate it from 1 to 10 but you can't use 7, I was listening to a podcast on a topic that eludes me at the moment, however, the guest author was of the view that if you asked somebody to rate something on a scale of 1 to 10, be it a book or a dish at a restaurant that you should require them to not use the number 7 because its the wishy-washy response that tells you very little. The person doesn't really like it but also doesn't want to trash it so they go with the non-committal 7, however if you force them to use 8 -10 or 6-1 then you get a pretty clear picture of how they really feel about it. Assuming they're being candid with you. You stayed right away from the number scale. Have you considered a career in politics? Big Grin

Thanks,
Mark

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#8

Super Moderator
Las Vegas, NV, USA
(01-15-2018, 12:04 AM)Stone Cottage Shaving Wrote: My current offerings have a moderate to moderately strong scent levels in my opinion and experience and I have become quite careful in my selections as of late and am widening my horizons in my offerings.
David, first of all, thanks for your earlier response, in which you detail your very interesting journey. It sounds like you have kept some amazing notes about the process of making soap, and also of creating scents.

I recently ordered a sample kit of the creams. I got two with the new formula and three with the old. I did this on purpose, as I wanted to be able to compare the two.

So far, I have not had enough shaves to write anything comprehensive. All I can say is that I like what I have experienced. To Marko I would say that I find the scent strength in general to be perhaps between 4–6 on the scale of 1–10 (depending on the individual scent).

Now, if that sounds a little weak, I would say hold on. These are some very nice, classy scents. So far, I have really enjoyed that these are quality scents that make a clear statement without being overpowering. Also, I am using sample sizes here, and that probably has a bit of an effect on my perception. If I had full-size containers, I perhaps would be more liberal with my use of product, which might then amplify the scent experience somewhat.

In any case, I have enjoyed both formulas so far, and found a couple of very pleasing scents that I go back to experience even between shaves. I think I’ll soon place another order for more samples, as some new interesting scents have been added since my last order.

Since this is a question and answer thread, David, can you tell us something about your hard soaps? Lately, I seem to be sampling and using more and more creams, and I do enjoy them, but there is also something oddly satisfying about loading a brush from a hard soap puck. Are your soaps of a fairly hard consistency, or more like “croaps,” and are you planning any developments or scent additions in that field?

Again, thanks for starting this thread.
Whenever I go to shave, I assume there’s someone else on the planet shaving, so I say “I’m gonna go shave, too.”
– Mitch Hedberg
#9

Merchant
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
(01-15-2018, 01:31 AM)Marko Wrote: One follow up question - do you ship to Canada or internationally?  I could find no mention of that on your website.

As for the rate it from 1 to 10 but you can't use 7, I was listening to a podcast on a topic that eludes me at the moment, however, the guest author was of the view that if you asked somebody to rate something on a scale of 1 to 10, be it a book or a dish at a restaurant that you should require them to not use the number 7 because its the wishy-washy response that tells you very little.  The person doesn't really like it but also doesn't want to trash it so they go with the non-committal 7, however if you force them to use 8 -10 or 6-1 then you get a pretty clear picture of how they really feel about it.  Assuming they're being candid with you.  You stayed right away from the number scale.  Have you considered a career in politics? Big Grin

Thanks,
Mark


Marko, I currently only ship to the Continental United States.  I have looked into shipping outside of the US and got some basic information but I am not sure whether I will pursue it and set it up only to find out that the shipping fees are too high and no one will order for that reason.

I understand what you are saying but if you don't give a value to each of your 1-10 numbers then it is difficult to interpret.  10 could mean "just the right amount" or it could mean "extremely overscented"  so unless you do give values to the numbers we will not all be on the same page, so to speak!

Politics?  Thanks but "no comment"!  Smile

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David
Stone Cottage Shaving|Stone Cottage Soapworks Inc.|Menyarn
https://stonecottageshaving.com
https://stonecottagesoapworks.com
https://menyarn.com
#10

Merchant
Bloomsbury, NJ 08804
(01-15-2018, 07:03 AM)Matsilainen Wrote:
(01-15-2018, 12:04 AM)Stone Cottage Shaving Wrote: My current offerings have a moderate to moderately strong scent levels in my opinion and experience and I have become quite careful in my selections as of late and am widening my horizons in my offerings.
David, first of all, thanks for your earlier response, in which you detail your very interesting journey. It sounds like you have kept some amazing notes about the process of making soap, and also of creating scents.

I recently ordered a sample kit of the creams. I got two with the new formula and three with the old. I did this on purpose, as I wanted to be able to compare the two.

So far, I have not had enough shaves to write anything comprehensive. All I can say is that I like what I have experienced. To Marko I would say that I find the scent strength in general to be perhaps between 4–6 on the scale of 1–10 (depending on the individual scent).

Now, if that sounds a little weak, I would say hold on. These are some very nice, classy scents. So far, I have really enjoyed that these are quality scents that make a clear statement without being overpowering. Also, I am using sample sizes here, and that probably has a bit of an effect on my perception. If I had full-size containers, I perhaps would be more liberal with my use of product, which might then amplify the scent experience somewhat.

In any case, I have enjoyed both formulas so far, and found a couple of very pleasing scents that I go back to experience even between shaves. I think I’ll soon place another order for more samples, as some new interesting scents have been added since my last order.

Since this is a question and answer thread, David, can you tell us something about your hard soaps? Lately, I seem to be sampling and using more and more creams, and I do enjoy them, but there is also something oddly satisfying about loading a brush from a hard soap puck. Are your soaps of a fairly hard consistency, or more like “croaps,” and are you planning any developments or scent additions in that field?

Again, thanks for starting this thread.

Thanks for joining the thread!  I checked out your order and I believe you purchased 3 of the new scents and 2 of the original scents.  Regarding your version of the 1-10 scale - again we don't know what the numbers mean to you.  What range is in your comfort zone?  4-6? 7-9?  Is 1 totally scentless?  Is 10 totally overscented?  Unless you set up a value for each of the numbers then we don't know exactly how the scents are working for you.

Regarding the Stone Cottage Premium Shaving Soaps, they are made from a formula that comes from the Stone Cottage Premium Shaving Cream but they are indeed a hard soap.  However, they do give you quite a similar lather to a shaving cream because of the identical ingredients.  "Blooming" is not a good idea for this product and as with any other product experimentation is important to see exactly how much water is needed and how to lather the puck in the best way to get your required results.    Most of the scents are identical to the original shaving cream scents with the exception of "Sensual Sandalwood".  All of the new shaving cream scents are not offered in the shaving soaps and will be considered when the shaving soaps get more sales. Samples Packs of the Shaving Creams are offered for purchase on the websites but are not available for Shaving Soaps.  Because of the the techniques used to manufacture this special kind of shaving soap, it is not possible to make a thin shaving soap sample puck that will hold up during use.

Just to give you an example of the usage of out shaving soap, one guy has posted his usage of the Stone Cottage Shaving Soap on another message board and he was up to 69 shaves from that puck, last count and I'm going to use the shaving soap again today, myself! 

If you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to post them here!
David
Stone Cottage Shaving|Stone Cottage Soapworks Inc.|Menyarn
https://stonecottageshaving.com
https://stonecottagesoapworks.com
https://menyarn.com


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