Saturday, 4 October 2008

Hand Crafted Products - Products With Soul

Who I Was…

You know, I’ve been a beauty & complementary therapist for ‘eek’ number of years. In this time I’ve seen, used and indeed loved an enormous range of salon products. Some very high-end, expensive products with numerous claims and some not so high-end but still very lovely. For a good deal of my professional career, I think I wandered off down a pathway that was very much dictated by the clever marketing ploys of huge product houses. Pretty much the same techniques used to lure customers into thinking they need this product or that product to achieve this result or that.

Of course, although professional products are designed in part for treatment application they are also retail driven. Basically, we therapists are given information that ‘fits’ our needs (what we use, how we use, why we use) as well as extra information to ‘fit’ our clients’ needs (what they need, what they might need and why they need it). Nothing wrong with this? Not at all, if needs are being met. Indeed, there are some wonderful products around.

The Spell…

Anyway, something happened to me a few years ago that brought about a huge change in the way I ‘do business’, so to speak. I actually began to question my own knowledge. I’m not talking about the textbook knowledge (such as the anatomy & physiology of the body), more the knowledge I had about the products that I had been using (quite successfully, I might add) on my clients. I, like most beauty therapists, had been imparting information to my clients based on the information I had been given by years of being under a huge marketing spell.

Whilst I always truly believed I was working with - and indeed advising my clients to use - products containing ‘natural’ ingredients and that I was giving my clients the best, I began to look at the labels a little more closely. The more I did, the more I felt compelled to try to recreate these products without all these complicated formulas. After all, everything was there in nature already so why, oh why were all these other materials being used? Did it have to be this complicated?

Nature’s Well-stocked Beauty Solutions…

After months of researching most of these ingredients, I realized that many of these materials could actually be contributing to long-term poor skin and, indeed, body health, even though the short-term effects may actually be very positive. Also, by looking more at the natural materials provided by nature, the very same effects can be achieved with the added benefits of working in harmony with our skin and body for better long-term health.

The Spell Broken…

Needless to say I started to collect some natural raw materials, learned about the best varieties to use in different applications, merged this within my ‘textbook’ knowledge and began creating my own creams, lotions and potions. These I began to use in my treatments (and on willing victims… meaning family and friends!) with very impressive results indeed. A new hobby was born and, indeed, I feel the spell has been broken.


However, the journey to this point, I have to say, was a series of trials and a goodly number of errors. The thought, deliberation, time and energy that go into these products take heart and soul. But indeed, that’s what you get out of them when you use products like these. They look different, feel different and have something very special about them…. these are most definitely products with soul.

I am slowly but surely converting all the products used in my treatments over to natural, handcrafted products and my clients love it. They are as enthused as I am and always look forward to sampling a new creation. However, I need to point out here that I do not sell any of my products. For me it’s just personal gratification and helps me to better understand how the materials work. It also allows me to be completely free of sales gimmicks – I am no longer buying into them.

Reflecting On A Previous Life…

I went to a trade show recently (the first in a while) and I was totally struck by how unmoved I was by it. Normally, these events are a bit like being let loose in your favourite shop during a sale. However, as well-presented and well-marketed as many of the products were, it all felt flat and lifeless. Most of the products on exhibit felt, to me, soulless.

I feel as though I have been somewhat misled in my previous professional life. An example of this is that, up until quite recently, soap (as in the bar variety) was a no-go area. However, in June ’07, I decided to set up a website - - to share my information by providing resources regarding natural raw materials.

People Who Give Heart & Soul…

Fresholi quickly attracted many like-minded, wonderful people. Some are expert crafters and some are just starting out. Through learning more about soap crafting I soon realized how wrong I was on that score too. You see, handcrafted soap is a little bit like a hard drug - you are addicted with the first use. The richness of the oils, botanical and other natural skin goodies packed into these little bars are just divine (I now even dabble in the odd bit of soap making myself – another highly addictive activity).

We have built, and continue to build, a wonderful community where we share the benefits of our skills and knowledge. We are building galleries, collecting recipes & tutorials that these talented people have generously provided and continue to provide.

Raw, Natural Skill On Tap…

I said earlier that I don’t sell the products I make. I don’t have to. Everything I could want for my treatments and customers (and indeed myself) is right there. The Fresholi community can meet just about every need, from rich hand creams to exfoliating soaps. All are handcrafted and all come complete with heart and soul – perfect.

Imperfectly Perfect – Simple Yet Magnificent!

Handcrafted, natural products look magnificent with all the perfect imperfections that make them so special and unique. Formulas are simple yet have a natural complexity through the synergy of these natural materials working in harmony.

So here I am today. Completely converted, the spell broken. Please feel free to see for yourself some of the wonderful products produced by the Fresholi Community in the Members Galleries.

You could also see the Members Links page. Or, if you have something specific you have in mind, the Customers Request board in the forum is open to guests so do feel free to post your request there.

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