Saturday, January 24, 2009

A few words about Prairieland Herbs, and the economy.

For the last....hmmm.....5-6 months or so, people in the shop have casually sidled up to us and said, with a hesitant look - "So, um....with the economy and are you doing?"

We have always given the same (truthful) answer. We are extremely lucky to have such fantastic and faithful customers, and are doing FINE, no, really!

Things look a bit grim in the big economic world - there's no doubting that. But you know what? We aren't exactly part of that, and never have been. We don't fit in most boxes. We are 2 women, working a small bit of land, making great bath and body products, teaching classes, and doing our best to enjoy life. Are we farmers? educators? shopkeepers? gardeners? crafters? "herbologists" (as our favorite mail carrier calls us)? artisans? international business mavens? Probably a little bit of of all of the above - except perhaps the last one. :)

I mean - our shop is in the middle of cornfields, on a gravel road. (!!!) We probably have broken every rule about "What not to do in business". And here we are - better than surviving. Thriving!

There IS some economic sense to this. First of all - the infamous Lipstick Effect. (no, I'm not kidding). This is a time-honored economic indicator, which basically goes as follows: When times get tough, people (women especially) treat themselves to something small and utterly luxurious. For many women, that means a divine new tube of lipstick in the (hopefully) perfect shade. Or something very similar...a divine handmade soap, for example?

Secondly - even Forbes has notice that people are still treating themselves to things like personal care products - despite the economic downturn. PLUS, they are turning more to natural remedies - instead of going to doctors. Yes, we agree 100% that that's happening - and would like to add the following observations:

1) When folks have less money, they care more about where it goes. Buying local, and/or from REAL ACTUAL PEOPLE, is a far more interesting and statisfying way to spend hard-earned dollars.

2) People are understanding that buying quality is better than buying quantity. It's more enjoyable and in the long run, more frugal.

So, this is what we are seeing, and experiencing ourselves. So we're interested to know - what do YOU think? Have you tightened your belt, or changed your spending habits?

We ARE going to have to raise our prices within the next month. We haven't raised prices for FOUR YEARS - just think about that, folks. Four years is a LONG time. The price of EVERYTHING has gone up in the last 4 years! And during those 4 years our business expanded at a rate that allowed us to buy raw materials in larger quantities, which helped offset rising prices. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to absorb price increases. But it is not due to economic woes, simply the natural process of economic inflation. We're not thrilled with it - but, that's how the world turns. So, you heard it here first (and we promise not to raise any prices without giving you plenty of notice to stock up at the"old" price).

But, our pledge to you is this: We will continue to provide you excellent customers service, and a fantastic, quality, handmade, homemade-with-genuine-love product, from real actual people. I hope that is worth a small price increase to all of you. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

YAY!! Congratulations go out to Annie from Oregon, who says she has never tried our shampoo bars, but quit using Lush ones after she realized they weren't really natural. (That can be a very slippery word in the hands of some businesses, can't it?) Annie, drop us an email at shop at prairielandherbs dot com, and let us know what shampoo bars you want, and where you'd like them sent! We hope you love them as much as we do!!!

We've had quiet week here on the farm...which is not an entirely bad thing. :) The weather was even decent - as in, NOT below zero, wheee!! However, temps are plummeting today, and the winds are howling. We're headed to a -1 low tonight. *sigh*

And YES I know the blog has been rather devoid of snow or farm photos lately, and I really am sorry about that! We try to give you a "slice of life" here on the farm. Well our current slice of life is EVERYTHING TECHNOGICAL IS BREAKING!! (Mercury retro....*sigh*). Our digital camera is on the fritz. We hope it will be fixed soon, and we'll get back to posting farm photos. thank you for your patience!In other news - Maggie is twittering!!! I do twitter about Prairieland Herbs stuff (new blog entries, contests, news, farm info), BUT, I also yak a bit about random life-stuff. Usually food, music, movies, food, knitting, food. So if that appeals to you - please follow me! (in case I linked that incorrectly, you can also just search for girlwithasword on twitter.)

Okay - down to biz. This week's FRIDAY FREEBIE is a handmade lotion bar - your choice of scent! I simply love these. They are made from fair trade coconut oil, rice bran oil, and locally produced beeswax - so they're moisturizing and oh-so-delightful. They're perfect for travel, or keeping in a gym bag. Just swipe on, and you're done! They're perfect for all over moisturizing, but I particularly love them for my legs.

If you'd like to win a lotion bar - you must leave a comment on today's blog post.

1) One entry per person.
2) You must have a registered ID to post - if your post shows up under "anonymous", we don't know who you are, and therefore you can't win.
3) You have until the next Thursday at midnight, CST, to enter your comment.
4) Winner will be announced the following Friday - you must check back to see if it's you!
5) International folks are welcome. We ship Prairieland Herbs items all over the world, so we'll ship our "Friday freebie" anywhere too!
6) Each eligible post will be assigned a number, and we'll use a free online random number generator to determine the winner.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A friend forwarded this to us, and I thought it was pretty cute. HOWEVER, I will say this - we Iowans are not as tough as our neighbors to the north - Minnesotans, Canadians, Alaskans etc. :)


65 above zero:
Floridians turn on the heat.
People in Iowa plant gardens.

60 above zero:
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Iowa sunbathe.

50 above zero:
Italian & English cars won't start.
People in Iowa drive with the windows

40 above zero:
Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves,
wool hats.
People in Iowa throw on a flannel shirt.

35 above zero:
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Iowa have the last cookout
before it gets cold.

20 above Zero:
People in Miami all die.
Iowans close the windows.

Californians fly away to Mexico .
People in Iowa get out their winter coats.

10 below zero:
Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Iowa are selling
cookies door to door.

20 below zero:
Washington DC runs out of hot air.
People in Iowa let the dogs sleep indoors.

30 below zero:
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Iowans get upset because they can't start the Snow-mobile.

40 below zero:
ALL atomic motion stops.
People in Iowa start saying...'Cold enough fer ya?'

50 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
Iowa public schools will open 2 hours late.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a great idea! World Smudge Day! Smudging is a great way to clear away old energies, and bring in the new.

On this historic day, we'll be participating - smudging our shop and homes. 2009 is a new year, filled with optimism and hope. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

One of the coolest things about doing what we do is getting to know other folks who do similar things (i.e. play with herbs for a living). And play with and enjoy the things they make! So today I wanted to share 2 recent faves with you all.First off is The Essential Herbal's SUPER FUN beadmaking book and kit. HERBAL BEADS? Yes, indeed. It is so much fun to make your own beads out of fragrant herbal materials. They are earthy, beautiful, and fragrant. I suggest you get several different varieties of the powder mixt to try, because once you start playing with these, it's hard to stop. It's a fun project to do with a couple of friends or with some crafty kiddos. Tina's books are all well-written and totally top-notch, and this one is no exception.

Second - this amazing new perfume, Eden, from Aroma Artisan. I got this before Christmas, and cannot believe I haven't blogged about it yet. IT IS SO WONDERFUL! Making natural perfumes is such an incredible art - I do not have the skills for it myself (oh how I wish I did...), but I have incredible respect for those who do.

So, I don't really have words to describe this perfume, so I won't embarass myself by trying. Instead I will let the perfume artisan's words (and the ingredients list) speak for itself:

"Eden perfume oil focuses around 4 primary essential oils: Jasmine sambac absolute, rich sandalwood, fresh ginger and smoky guaiacwood.

This perfume has a lavish array of wonderful essential oils: jasmine sambac absolute, sandalwood, paraguay guaiacwood, indonesian fresh ginger, spanish myrrh, madagascar vanilla absolute, spanish saffron, folded italian lemon, french cocoa absolute, albanian orris root co2 select, french cepes absolute, in a base of fractionated coconut oi, jojoba oil and (vitamin e)."

In short, this is an amazing array of delightfully blended natural essential oils, absolutes, and resins. She even has very reasonably priced samples available for sale on her etsy store, so run, don't walk, to Aroma Artisan's Etsy store and try some. You won't be disappointed, I promise!