Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wicked Faire 2013

It's Official!  I will be vending at the 2013 Wicked Faire: The Revenge Of The Renaissance Faire.  It will be held on Feb. 15-17 in Somerset, NJ in TWO hotels – now with a unique, interactive Time Traveler’s Resort & Museum – a delight for Steampunks AND for every Rennie, Geek, Goth, Pagan, or otherwise unique individual!.  You can find info about the event as well as tickets and places to stay on their website and Facebook.  Here's a shot of me from this year's Steampunk Worlds Fair - I'm hoping I won't need the giant parasol in February...

I will be vending with my friend Linda of Antonette's Masks.  She handcrafts beautiful and intricate masquerade style masks.  Just have a look at the photos of her fine work on her facebook page!

See you in February!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Lip Balm flavors coming soon!

Facebook, Twitter (@AkimaBotanicals), & my blog followers are the first to know! I'll be adding 3 new lip balms to my Etsy shop very soon: Orange Cinnamon, Peach Cobbler, and Chocolate Strawberry! Http://

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Special blog coupon code!

Looking for stocking stuffers & gifts under $15? Visit and use coupon code BlogAB for 15% off your order! Expires 12/25/12

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving...Ready to Shop?

I hope everyone is having a lovely & drama free Thanksgiving with their friends & families.  But we all know what's right around the corner, right? BLACK FRIDAY, SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, AND CYBER MONDAY!

Visit Akima Botanicals on Etsy and use coupon code BLACKSMALLCYBER for 15% off your entire order.

Saturday I will be vending at the Artmore Holiday Gift Fair in Ardmore, PA alongside almost 80 other artists and crafters.  You'll be shopping for a great cause, supporting a non-profit dance company and Hurricane Sandy relief.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The End of Market Season

Whether you are a shopper or vendor of farmer's markets, you know the season is coming to a close very soon.  My local weekly market, the Lansdowne Farmers Market, closes for the season on Sat. 10/27.  While I love vending at markets and seeing all the regulars, it's a bit of a relief to be finsihed.  Being caught up with weekly inventory demands, loading and unloading the car, taking up a large chunk of garage space... all while maintaining a full time day job takes a toll after a while.  It will be nice to have a break.  The LFM does host several special winter markets, the first being 11/17 (I will be vending!)  There are some other markets, holiday gift fairs, and festivals for which I am awaiting vending approval.   I also hope to teach some classes on making bath & body gifts during the holidays.  I intend on staying fully active during the "off-season" in vending and working hard on my business. 

My fall/winter business plans are:
~Refine my hot process soap recepies - and make lots more soap!
~Create new perfumes in specially themed lines
~More internet promotion, marketing, networking & eCommerce
~Marketing to local retail shops, and networking with local business owners
~Tweak & finish
~Research and possibly venture into making incense cones, bath bombs, bath salts, massage & aromatherapy oils
~Blog more frequently

What are your "off-season" plans?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cemetery Perfume Oil & Spray

Our Cemetery scent is now available as a perfume oil on Etsy.  It was previously only offered as a room spray and body spritz. Just in time for Halloween! 

Cemetery is simple and too the point: Moist earth, freshly manicured plots, and the smell of roses freshly laid on the graves. It is a bittersweet scent reminding us of the peaceful resting place of our loved ones.

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Harmony Vegan Chinese Restaurant, Philadelphia

I found New Harmony Chinese Restaurant in 2008 or 2009 when I worked in Center City Philadelphia.  Being just blocks from Chinatown I often walked through, and one day I just stumbled upon what would soon be one of my favorite places for eats in Philadelphia.  Located on 9th St. between Arch & Race, everything on their impressive menu is vegan & kosher (see the certified letter from Rabbi Roth in the back of the menu).  Even the air & water is filtered for purity.  Here are pictures of their Sweet & Sour Tofu and Lemon "Chicken", respectively:

Lately I've been ordering the Sesame Beef with a special "mayo" sauce... it blows my mind.  Make sure you try the veggie pancakes - they have the same "mayo" sauce.  Fried yes, but vegan which makes it ok, ha ;P.  Freshly brewed tea comes with every menu, as does a greeting & smile from owner Ming - our buddy.  New Harmony has a devoted following of those vegan and meat-eating alike.  No matter what you eat, you can't deny how delicious their food is.  Oh yea, and all you can eat Dim Sum buffet on Sundays!  Save room for dessert!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Celtic Classic: Highland Games & Festival

This weekend (9/28-30) the Celtic Classic will be hosted by the Celtic Cultural Alliance (CCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Celtic heritage through education, musical presentations, and traditional competitions in athletics, piping and dance.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the festival.

Events and activities include a Haggis Eating Competition, Tartan Parade, Pipe Band Competition, Whiskey Tastings, Fiddle Competition, traditional Highland Games, Irish Dancing performances, Celtic bands, Border Collie herding demonstrations, kids crafts, vendors, and lots off food & drink.  The Celtic Classic has since blossomed into one of the largest Highland Games and Festival in North America. Annually, over 250,000 visitors come to Historic Bethlehem to join in this celebration of all things Celtic.

My Irish-and-Proud sister, cousin, and I will be attending in full force, representing for our Shanahan and Dwyer ancestry:

We are so very excited to be attending, here is the schedule for each day.  I fully plan on buying from the local vendors, eating and drinking traditional Irish fare, dancing my bum off, and participating in what Highland games I can (look out!)  Last year we attended the International Celtic Festival at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills of New York.  It was a good time, but unlike years past they did not have any highland games and a few other events.

Outright & StitchLabs - Online Business Management

Without these two websites my business would simply not run.  I'd either have to purchase some expensive accounting/inventory tracking software like Quickbooks or ::gasp:: track everything on paper.

Outright - Online Bookkeeping
I use Outright to track all of my basic accounting needs:
 ~Income - Sales, shipping, sales tax
 ~Expenses - Cost of Goods sold, vending fees, mileage, legal fees, insurance
You can view reports (Profit & Loss, Best/Worst months & customers, and more), get estimated tax info, and see very easily if, and how much, you are in the red or black.  You can integrate Outright to Etsy, eBay, your bank account, and PayPal account (these are the ones I use the most, and I think there are more available).  This is a great feature because I can view exactly how much money I have available in all my accounts all in one place.  Best of all, Outright is FREE!

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~  

StitchLabs - Online Order & Inventory Management

I use StitchLabs primarily for inventory tracking.  For me it is FREE, and most other small business owners can use the free version as well.  There is a point where you need to upgrade to a paid account based on the size of your business (see the website for details).  It has the ability to track sales by default, and I do use it to see best/worst sellers, sales quantities, etc.  However, I do not use Stitch for things like Profit & Loss reports.  Stitch is great because it integrates your items with Etsy, instantly adjusting inventory for each sale and recording the sale & customer information. If a sale does not integrate, you can add sales, or Orders as they call them, manually.  This is great for my farmers markets.  You can add inventory easily also.  You can also add different pricing to our inventory items, like retail, wholesale, cost and distribution.  You can also use stitch to track your COGS, or Cost of Goods Sold items (for me this is containers, labels, essential oils, etc.)  Keep in mind though, COGS tracking is ALL manual - when you add inventory it does not automatically subtract COGS items.  For example, if I make 10 Yoga Mat Sprays, Stitch will not subtract the 4oz container, label, or essential oil ingredients I used to make them.  I'd have to do that ALL manually.  So far, I've tried to do this and have given up.  I'm hoping in the future that Stitch will add a feature to track and automatically adjust COGS items as new inventory is added.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

HipCityVeg's Crispy Hipcity Ranch, Philadelphia

I'm one of those annoying people that always posts pictures of what I am eating on Facebook.  Well guess what?  I will now post them here!   Expect to see vegetarian & vegan recipes, grocery items, cocktails, desserts, and wonderful restaurant choices. 

Let's start with my latest obsession: HipCityVeg, located at 127 S. 18th St. (at Walnut) Philadelphia, PA 19103.  Everything they make is 100% plant based, right down to the straws & compostable wrapping. Here you will find my absolute favorite menu item, the Crispy HipCity Ranch!

It is a "chik'n" sandwich with lettuce, pickles, tomoato, onion, a fresh & fluffy bun, and a peppercorn ranch dressing.  Did I mention it's huge?  I used to get their sweet potato fries with this, but I just couldn't finish it all.  I've instead taken to ordering a Green Lemonade (freshly made lemonade with added kale juice...don't worry, you don't taste the kale) 

For all you skeptics out there, this sandwich proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that vegan can equal delicous!

Monday, September 17, 2012

AVA Wellness to carry Akima Botanicals product

It's official, and I couldn't be more excited!  Akima Botanicals products will be available for sale at AVA Wellness, opening very soon at 350 South 15th St. (just before Pine), Philadelphia, PA 19102

This is a total body care spa.  Taken from their website: "At AVA we combine a holistic approach to skin care, that includes prevention and maintenance, with friendly, highly trained staff.
AVA believes in using wholesome products that are Organic and Natural, we support our local entrepreneurs, so please come by and see our locally handmade body products by Akima Botanicals."
Owner Vernell Alexander has been my massage therapist for months, and gives the most relaxing, healing massages I've ever experienced.  I will post updates as I receive them. 
You're in for a real treat, Philly!

AB Website is LIVE!

I'm excited to announce that is live, though still under construction.  Some products can be purchased there now, but you can always purchase from my Etsy shop in the meantime. I use PayPal checkout since it's so user friendly, while still free and easy to sign up.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Vending / New Containers

I will be at the Lansdowne Farmers Market this Saturday, 9/22, and 9/29 for the special Dog Days market. Next Saturday 9/15 I will be at the Kirby's Mill Flea Market in my hometown of Medford, NJ.

I'm busy, busy, busy at work making product in their new containers, with their new color coded labels:

Yoga Mat Spray: Purple 4oz bottle with purple bordered label
Natural Bug Spray: Amber 4oz. bottle with red-brown bordered label
Body Scrubs: Clear 5oz or 10oz. jar with blue bordered label
Body Whip: Clear 4oz or 8 oz. jar with mauve bordered label

I luv branding!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Animal Friends of Lansdowne Fundraiser & Silent Auction

Animal Friends of Lansdowne Fundraiser: Dog Days of Summer Silent Auction

This Sunday 8/19, 2-5pm at 2312 Garrett Bar (located at the same address, Drexel Hill, PA)  $20 advance tickets, $25 at the door.  There will be a silent auction with some incredible items, including celebrity owned items, Phillies memorabilia, and an Akima Botanicals gift basket valued at $75!  Come out for a free buffet, cash bar, and lots of fun for a great organization that helps local animals in need!  Visit their website for tickets, silent auction items, and more:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Featured in an Etsy Treasury

My Let Them Eat Cake lip balm was featured in an Etsy treasury by the same name. Thanks to Etsian Sara Hellström, the treasury's curator!   SEE IT HERE

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Sugar Scrubs on Etsy

Two new sugar scrubs are now available in my Etsy Shop:

Relax Sugar Scrub
Enjoy a little escape from the day with our new Relax Sugar Scrub. Aromatheraputic lavender & lemongrass essential oils work to calm your mind, while avocado, sweet almond, and grapeseed oils work to moisturize and heal all skin types. Carefully selected raw Turbinado sugar has alpha-hydroxy and humectant properties to rejuvenate cells and actually draw moisture to the skin. Dried lavender flowers are added to enhance the scent while acting as a gentle yet luxurious exfoliant. A perfectly sized wooden scoop is included. This scrub will leave your skin smooth and glowing!

Date Night Sugar Scrub
Whether you're getting ready for a big night out, or just staying at home with your hunny, our new Date Night Sugar Scrub will get you in the mood with sensual ylang ylang, bergamot, and other enticing essential oils. (Secret ingredient: Ginger root essential oil, just a tad... it's an aphrodisiac!) Avocado, sweet almond, and grapeseed oils help to moisturize and heal all skin types. Carefully selected raw Turbinado sugar has alpha-hydroxy and humectant properties to rejuvenate cells and actually draw moisture to the skin. A perfectly sized wooden scoop is included. This scrub will leave your skin smooth, glowing, and ready for romance.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

International Shipping now available!

Starting today, I am truly excited to offer international shipping in my Etsy Shop,  Please keep in mind that there are some countries that restrict the import of bath and body type items (beauty products, toiletries, cosmetics).  Mexico, Norway, and Italy are an example of some.  You can verify if you country allows such items to be imported here:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Banner Arrives

I ordered a large 6 x 2' banner to hang up at the back of my tent while vending. I used Vistaprint, and was happy that I could customize it. They give you a template to use on various photo editing software (I used Photoshop). After some add-ons (thicker vinyl for outdoor use, etc.) the total with shipping was about $41. As was advertised, it took exactly 2 weeks to arrive. I'm pretty happy with it, except that it doesn't come with grommets already installed. I had looked all over Vistaprint to find out if it did or not. Though you can order plastic attachments for an added fee that eliminate the need for grommets, I figured if it didn't come with them I could easily add them. I'll stop by Michael's later to pick some up; I think the ones I have in my sewing bin are way too small. This was the image I submitted. The actual banner came out with the background color being a pale, muted pastel green, but I actually like it better!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Fragrances on Etsy

Lavender Woods & Lady Like
These fragrances have been available since day one, but I noticed a little mistake: they weren't added into my Etsy shop!  So here they are, available in a Room Spray/Body Spritz and Perfume Oil

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Body Whip ~ It's here!

I've finally perfected my recipe for whipped body butter, or as I like to call it, Body Whip. It will be in my Etsy shop when the weather cools down (for shipping reasons), but will make its debut at the Lansdowne Farmers Market on 7/14.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

American as Apple Pie

With the 4th of July fast approaching, why not pick up one of my delicious Hot Apple Pie lip balms?
The scent of warm apples and cinnamon in a flakey, handmade crust will fill your senses as you apply this shea butter based balm.  Click on the picture to buy one at my Etsy store today!

Hot Apple Pie Lip Balm

A classic dessert, now in a convenient lip balm! Our Hot Apple Pie lip balm will induce memories of fall family get togethers, holiday fun from Spring to Winter, and good ole' fashion American deliciousness.

Sealed in shrink wrap for safety & sanitation with perforated top for easy opening.

Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii Fruit (Shea Butter), Beeswax, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Flavor, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Oil

.15 oz/ 4g

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Natural Bug Spray & Yoga Mat Spray

On this very hot Pennsylvania Summer Solstice, I present to you 2 of my newer products:

Natural Bug Spray  ~ Made with Essential Oils that repel flying insects, mosquitos, fleas, ticks, and even lice!  Great for yourself and your furry friend (just place it where they can't lick it.)  Spray from 8-10" away on skin or clothing... just remember to spot check to avoid stains. This is a must have for BBQs and 4th of July Fireworks!

Yoga Mat Spray ~ Made with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and disinfecting Essential Oils.  A lovely citrus scent with a hint of lavender to maintain a calm yet refreshed state of mind.

You can purchase these at the Lansdowne Farmers Market at my table every 2nd & 4th Saturday through November 17, or at my Etsy Shop.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fall/Winter 2012 Line

I am pleased to announce that I will be implementing seasonal lines for all of my products.  I will keep a select few products available all year long, those products will be listed soon.  Otherwise my products will change with the seasons they are associated with, for example the Spring Laundry perfume oil and room spray/body spritz will be available March-September, Farmer's daughter will be available April-October, etc.  This will leave room for more amazing scents & flavors to keep it fresh as the wheel of the year turns! 

Check out my Etsy shop for end of the season sales, I will also post those sales here... along with special coupon codes for my blog readers!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

TODAY! Lansdowne Farmers Market

It's the 2nd Saturday of the month, which means Akima Botanicals will be at the Lansdowne Farmers Market.  Come out and see me under the big black tent.  My very cool 6' vinyl sign is on order so until next time, let your nose find me!

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Products!!

Just announced on Facebook: Sugar Scrubs and Body Whip have been made and will be available on Etsy as soon as my jars are delivered! I'm also awaiting a lovely high end dead sea salt for Salt Scrubs.  They'll be in my Etsy shop within the next 2 weeks.

So far I have:
~Bergamot Yuzu Fruit Body Whip
~Lavender Lemongrass Sugar Scrub
~Orange Basil Sugar Scrub

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vending Experiences Thus Far

Steampunk Worlds Fair - May 18-20
-Tons of fun, pleasently surprised with sales volume, met some great new customers & fellow vendors, got an idea for table setup, learned not to forget the tent on 80 degree+ days.

Lansdowne Farmers Market - Opening day May 26
-Remembered the tent for the 89 degree day!, got more stylized with my table setup, learned I needed a nice big banner to attach to the back of my tent, very happy with sales volume, and met more great local customers and fellow vendors.

Photos will be added on myFacebook Page.
Check them out, and be sure to Like Akima Botanicals while you're there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

GREEN TIP: Keep those bedding bags!

If you've ever bought sheets, pillow cases, slipcovers, etc. you know the protective plastic bags they come in, the ones with the zipper top.  These are great to keep and have 101 uses (or more)!  I use them when I pack toiletries for travelling.  I also use them to store the oils I use for my bath and body product.  So remember, don't throw them away!
As you can see from the picture, I also like to keep small gift bags to use when travelling or vending.  They are just the right size for little things like toiletries, office supplies, notebooks, etc.  Reuse, reduce, recycle!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Staples Easy Rebates

Have you heard of Staples Easy Rebates??  I design and print my own labels & business cards, and I often use Avery brand labels.  While looking for some online, I came across Staples and their rebate system.  It is so eacy because you can search for rebates by brand, keyword, or product type.  Then just look for the product in store or online, buy, and get a rebate print out with your receipt.  You can enter the rebate online or mail it in.

Many times you can get multiples of your rebate product (check the fine print).  I bought 2 packs of round Kraft labels and got HALF OFF each (reg price $15.00 with $7.50 rebate).  What a bargain!  I entered my rebate information online and received my check promptly. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BUSINESS TIP: Cheap and Easy Shopping Bags

If you have relatively small products, use brown paper lunch bags as shopping bags when vending. They are very inexpensive & widely available. I bought round Kraft labels from Staples (with a rebate!) and designed & printed custom labels for them. The bags are reusable, recyclable, and sometimes made from recycled materials themselves.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Steampunk World's Fair

I will be vending this weekend at the Steampunk Worlds Fair!  I'll be sharing a table with my very talented friend Josie of Persephone's Jewels.  She creates gothic, neo-victorian, and steampunk jewelry & accessories that are just lovely! 

ANNOUNCEMENT!!  I will be selling 3 new lip balm flavors not available anywhere else: Chocolate Cherry, All Natural Cocoa Butter, and Chocolate Orange.  These are not yet available on Etsy, so grab them up quick!  I may also unveil a special Room Spray & Body Spritz...

Tickets for the fair are still available!  It is being held this Fri 5/18 - Sun 5/20 at The Radisson of Piscataway, 21 Kingsbridge Road, Piscataway NJ 08854 and The Embassy Suites of Piscataway, 121 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States 08854.  The hotels are separated basically by a parking lot, and are a two minute walk from each other. There will be major events in both hotels: both hotels are a “main” hotel this year!

Be sure to stop by and see me!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Farmers Market Season

I will be a biweekly vendor at the 2012 Lansdowne Farmers Market, which is held every Saturday at the Lansdowne Ave. Parking Lot from 9:00 - 1:00 May 26 through October 27, rain or shine!   I am so very excited to be a part of this very popular local market!  I will also be a part of a couple of special markets outside the usual May - October run. 

These are the dates I will be present at the market:
May 26 (Opening Day!)
June 9, 23
July 14, 28
August 11, 25
September 8, 22, 29
October 13, 27
                                            November 17

I look forward to meeting local customers and making lots of new friends that value local, small indie businesses and the quality product they have to offer their community.  Visit my Etsy shop (on the right sidebar) to view just some of the items I will be selling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Zoning & Permit Woes

I'm having quite the time in my attempts to get my business permit through my township.  I was denied on the assumed basis that my manufacturing processes would create excess "noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference; added traffic or solid waste greater than the use for residential purposes".  Clearly, and without investigating BEFORE denying my application, my local L&I does not know the meaning of all-natural and hand-crafted.  After explaining to the L&I director that my manufacturing processes produce none of the above, he stated that it was not up to him to decided if my manufacturing produces said excess or not.  It would be up to the zoning board to decided, and for me to get to that point I would have to fill out an application for a zoning variance, which includes a $700 non-refundable application fee with no guarantee of approval.  After posting about my frustrations on Etsy the thread has become 13 pages long: VIEW IT HERE 

I was lucky to catch the eye of a fellow Etsian and writer for The Daily Dot internet newspaper.  She was kind enough to email me for more info on the situation, and even contact my local L&I department.  She then published THIS ARTICLE on April 13.

I have since written letters to my district's councilman, the mayor, the committee chairperson for zoning and business, and my state representative, who has her office 1 mile from my home.  I've met all of them at local town hall meetings, and at the bar/restaurant where I work part time.  I heard back from the mayor yesterday that he would look into this and call me.  I'm hoping with fingers crossed that I may continue to do business in my town, and not be punished by trying to do the right thing.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome to the Akima Botanicals blog!

Welcome to the maiden voyage of the Akima Botanicals blog!!

What I sell:
~ Lip Balm
~ Perfume Oil
~ Room Spray & Body Spritz
~ Yoga Mat Spray
Stay Tuned for Hand Salve, Soap, Potpourri, and Body Butter 

What I believe:
Whenever possible Akima Botanicals uses eco-friendly, organic, fair trade, responsibly wild-harvested botanicals and/or other ingredients free from parabens, pthalates, artificals dyes and preservatives.  When fragrance oils are used, I carefully select only the most premium quality oils tested for purity and safety, also free from parabens, pthalates, and chemical preservatives.  Green manufacturing and operations are always practiced; I pledge to reuse, reduce, recycle, and sustain as much as possible.  No products or ingredients used are ever tested on animals!  Alcohol is also not used in any body products because it dries the skin.

What you can expect in my blog:
~New products
~Coupons and specials
~Where to buy
~Tidbits on my studies in holistic medicine
~Posts on all things natural, eco-friendly, and herbal
~Anecdotes on my adventures in self-starting, self-funding, & self-running my indie small business

You can also follow me on Facebook and visit my Etsy Shop.
Thanks for joining me on my journey!