Do You Play Well With Others?

I take a lot of pride in my shop. I'm a very small business, but I stay steadily busy creating things for you. I credit that to creating a useful, quality product that fulfills a need without a lot of extra useless bells and whistles at an affordable price point. I never send out a product that I wouldn't be proud to use myself or give as a gift to a friend or family member, and I try to always provide excellent customer service. I want my customers to have an amazing purchasing experience from start to finish.

One thing I'm ridiculously proud of is that I have built the shop into what it is by myself over the last four years. I've never actually utilized any paid advertising, but I'm starting to in order to increase my exposure on Etsy and elsewhere. But as a consumer myself, I believe the most powerful source of growth for a business is word of mouth, from satisfied customers. And as a consumer myself, I like to be recognized and appreciated by those to whom I choose to give my hard-earned money.

That's why starting today, I'm launching my very own referral program for Hannah's Toybox. If you're a happy customer, I want you to share your experience with others so I can put a bit of my creativity into their lives! So here's how it's going to work: each time you refer a customer to me, please send me an email or a message on my Facebook page letting me know who it was you referred. You can provide them with the coupon code NEWCUSTOMER, which will allow them to take 5% off the purchase price of their first order. (Use of this code by repeat customers will be grounds for order cancellation.) When your referral makes a purchase, I'll send you a unique, one-time coupon code for $5 off your next order. You can use it whenever you want to - your $5 credit won't expire. There's no limit on the number of credits you can earn, and the coupons will be stackable: if you want to save them up and use them toward the purchase price of one single item, that's fine!

So go on, get out there and start Playing Well With Others! Share Hannah's Toybox and start earning those credits!


Reintroducing Hannah's Toybox

I haven't blogged in forever... and it's time I re-start! I've made a bit of a commitment to myself to grow my business, and blogging regularly is part of that commitment. Where to begin? How about a bit about me?

I'm Erin. I'm a mom to two beautiful girls, Hannah and Rebecca, and wife to an amazing and supportive husband. I love creating things, and I love things that are eco-friendly. I don't see the point of not being easy on the earth if I don't have to. We grow our own vegetables at my house and while we don't grow enough to sustain our family, our garden does supplement our meals. We play with Legos and Lincoln Logs because my kid loves putting stuff together and I love the process of building. I've been sewing since I was about 6 years old, which is almost 30 years now. I'm largely self-taught: my mother (a professional seamstress turned homemaker with a home economics degree) taught me the basics, but in college I really started honing my skills. I've never taken a formal class, though I'd love to learn pattern drafting or advanced techniques from a master.

I love to create, so I've tried my hand at creating most things. I'm very good at sewing, but I'm not excellent at much else. I make my own soap and I can knit a scarf and hat, but I don't have the patience for purling so all my hats have rolled brims. I often bake my own bread, but I'm not a very accomplished baker and it often turns out in funny shapes that I don't intend. I love making jewelry for gifts, but my wire wraps are often lopsided or uneven and I don't really have an inventive eye for design the way I feel a true jeweler ought to.

Anyhow, that's enough about me for now. I plan to blog quick bits about twice a week, so I hope I'll see you back here!


A holiday gift idea...

We've extended our Thanksgiving weekend sale! Through today, use coupon code THANKFUL10 and take 10% off everything in the shop! Ends 11/30/10 at midnight PST.

I don't know about you, but I take holiday gift giving very seriously. I love picking out the perfect item, wrapping it beautifully, presenting it to the recipient, and watching their expression as they open the package. If I'm lucky, I've picked out just the right thing that they love and will remember.

And then there are those people for whom I have no idea what to get (which seems to be about 90% of my list lately). They're the people who already have everything, or the people who shrug you off with a breezy, "You don't need to do anything for me, dear... YOU are a gift enough to me." (I'm looking at you, GRANDMA.) Often someone on your list falls into both of those categories and you're completely stumped.

For those people, I recommend the gift of handmade soap, and not just because we make it and sell it and this is our blog and we can promote it. (Although there is that slight advantage...) Hear me out! Handmade soap is a beautiful gift, because each bar is unique, thoughtful, and created with care instead of mass-produced in a factory. Everyone uses soap every day, so it isn't like it's a gift that will get pushed to the back of a cabinet somewhere, collecting dust. And because soap is a consumable, you don't have to worry that you'll be cluttering up someone else's home with more stuff that they don't necessarily need.

At Hannah's Toybox, we can customize a gift box of lovely handmade soaps just for you, to make the perfect gift for that hard-to-gift person on your holiday list. We offer special discounted pricing on gift boxes, and your gift will come beautifully wrapped in tissue and tied with a ribbon. If you like, you can add in extras from our shop like our luscious lip balm or a yummy bath tea. We can even ship directly to your recipient with a special note from you at no extra charge. Take a look today!



Get a head start on the holidays!

We've got some delicious new items up in the shop - our current favorite is the Sugar 'n' Spice handmade soap. It's so yummy! To celebrate the kickoff of the hoiday shopping season this weekend (Black Friday and Cyber Monday), we're offering 10% off your total order in the shop. Just use coupon code THANKFUL10 when you check out. The code is valid from 11/25/10 to 11/29/10.

Speaking of being thankful, we're extremely grateful for our happy, healthy mascot kiddo and namesake, Hannah. What are you thankful for?

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!


Holiday gift giving made easy

Don't forget to order your holiday table linens! Click here for a coupon for ten percent off and free shipping!

Not sure what to get for that special someone on your holiday gift list? Want to spoil yourself with a gift from "Santa" under your tree? We have just the thing! Things, rather - beautiful gift sets that make your holiday gift giving easy. We've added a number of lovely bath and body gift sets, such as this Oatmeal, Milk & Honey gift set:

There's a bar of our yummy Oatmeal, Milk & Honey handmade soap as well as the coordinating cozy Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Bath. There's also a bottle of delicious Cinnamon Sugar Body Lotion, and a Milk & Honey soy candle that smells oh-so-divine. All our bath and body gift sets come tucked into those sweet, fun stainless tubs, wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon. There's also an Apricot Freesia gift set, a Sunshine gift set, a Lavender Relaxation gift set, and a Gentle Me Body Bliss gift set.

We also have kitchen gift sets for the cook in your life!

Each kitchen gift set comes with two potholders, two dishtowels, and a matching full apron. All items are pre-shrunk, so nothing comes out of the wash all wonky. (We hate that!) These are the same great quality as our other kitchen linens - all aprons are fully lined with adjustable neck straps and front pockets. All potholders feature hand pockets for easy gripping and a heat-resistant core. Our blue modern stars is shown above, but they're also available in our earthy green swirls.


Hannah's Toybox vendor debut!

Don't forget to order your holiday table linens! Click here for a coupon for ten percent off and free shipping!

This past Tuesday we made our debut as a vendor! Hannah's Toybox was lucky enough to score a table at the San Mateo County Legal Secretaries' Association (SMCLSA) annual vendor dinner.

TK attended also, because who can resist the sweetest baby in the world?! We also wanted to show off our namesake. MIL helped out as well, and we are so thankful for her and appreciative of all her help.

MIL and Erin

TK did great and was only fussy once during the entire evening, when she got hungry and needed a bottle. She loved hanging out with Mama and helping to explain the benefits of handmade soap to the customers.

For those who don't know, handmade soap is not only beautiful, but it really is better for skin than commercial soap. That's because commercial cosmetics companies chemically remove glycerin from soap, a natural byproduct of the soapmaking process and a gentle humectant. They do this so they can resell the glycerin at a profit. Artisan soapers such as Hannah's Toybox don't have the ability (or desire) to remove such a beneficial component of soap. The moisturizing glycerin remains in the soap to soothe skin when cleansed.

Another reason handmade soap is so wonderful is because it is made in small batches by individuals, so artisan soapers such as us can control the ingredients that go into each batch. For example, here at Hannah's Toybox we make our soap in 12-bar batches, so we can splurge on high-quality ingredients such as goat's milk and calendula. These small batches and controlled ingredients also mean that if you desire a particular kind of soap or have a specific need, we can fulfill that need with a custom order. Just email us at hannahstoybox[at]gmail[dot]com and we'll work with you to get you exactly what you want.


But what about lettuce?

Don't forget to order your holiday table linens! Click here for a coupon for ten percent off and free shipping!

We're so excited about our new Go Green! line, we just had to come back and tell you more about it! We've added the second installment in our line, reusable wet produce bags. These bags are made from silicone-impregnated nylon, the same material that tents and rain gear are made from. Silicone-impregnated nylon is waterproof, strong, and very lightweight - each bag weighs a mere 5/8 ounces! Amazing.

These bags are great for your wet produce, like lettuce and carrots. Of course, you can use our original Go Green! produce bags for those items too, if you're not concerned about the moisture. Now you really don't have an excuse for bringing more plastic home from the grocery store.