Just the Goods Newsletter – Spring 2017

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying signs of spring wherever you are, and that you’re finding fun in scheduling summer plans!

As you might already know, I like to send newsletters three or four times per year when I have something new and/or notable to share.

The first piece of news is that – in a few short days – Just the Goods will be 8 years old, and I can hardly believe it! From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for being part of this thrilling journey, which is forever taking new and exciting turns. Evolving from a hobby, to a part-time endeavour, to a full-fledged creation with its very own life force, I can’t help being caught aback given that I’ve generally made decisions about JTG quite spontaneously. I’m not entirely sure what direction Just the Goods will take in the future, but being someone who has never lasted longer than 14 months in any job I’ve ever held (*lol*) it strikes me that – for the first time – it’s important to start making plans. It is no longer possible for one person to keep up with all of the orders received each hour of each day, but I want to retain my commitment to handmaking on a human scale, so it’s time to start thinking about how to ensure this without slowing production/shipping time. Thank you for presenting me with this fascinating challenge – I am eager to take it on as Just the Goods moves towards the next 8 years, and beyond.

Apart from this big news, today’s message will be brief in that I mostly want to let you know I’ll be taking a week away at the end of May to recharge my batteries, and to give you an update on recent fundraising efforts and a new collaboration. Please find details below =-)

Warmly,
Milena

Upcoming Temporary Closure

Although I’ve managed to sneak a few days off since the end of February, 12+ hour days are making me sleeeeeepy *lol*. In order to recharge my batteries a little, Just the Goods will be closed May 26 – June 1. Orders placed by May 19 will be shipped by May 26. Orders placed May 20 – June 2 will begin shipping June 7 – 9, with additional batches shipping the following week as quickly as I can manage. I won’t be online during this absence but look forward to replying to any messages when I return. Thanks!

Fundraising for Standing Rock a Success!

Liz of The Granola Goat and I would like to thank you for making our collaborative fundraising effort to support the Water Protectors at Sacred Stone Camp a success – with your interest in Forest Spirit, we were able to raise a total of $534 USD (~$729 CAD). The encampment was terminated in February, but the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock continues fighting for all the water, earth, air, and all living things and is calling for global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism through long-term movement building. I absolutely agree that this is a fight for the long haul, and I’m so grateful to all of you that we could make this modest contribution together as part of the many other actions I imagine many of us are undertaking at other levels. That being said, if you can give more, please do by visiting sacredstonecamp.org, or contributing to other Indigenous led resistance movements in your area.

The image below is of a print by Nicolas Lampert, which is available for sale at Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, a decentralized network of 30 artists committed to social, environmental, and political engagement. It’s pretty awesome and I thought I’d share it with you ❤

 

Liz and I are looking forward to collaborating on future fundraising projects, and are already concocting something we hope to release in June. Please keep in touch with us via social media to find out more.

Say Hello to Fat Lye Soap Co.!

I love collaborating with other handmakers by offering their awesome work at justthegoods.net. Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know Jennifer Chung of Fat Lye Soap Co., based in Winnipeg and we finally took our Instagram friendship to the next level and hung out in real life. That was super fun on its own, but imagine my smile when I opened a great big box of beautiful handmade soap that I can now share with you. Fat Lye Soap Co., features a range of nourishing plant-based oils and beautiful botanical additives to create a soft, spa-like lather. Every detail is carefully considered, including eco-friendy packaging made from plantable seed paper! Just the Goods is currently offering 4 unique varieties, with a few more on the way. Check it out here.

New Product: Litha/Summer Solstice Ritual Bath and Lotion Set

​In February I co-launched a springtime themed bath salt and lotion set with Canadian online retailer, Tiroir-Noir, designed to welcome the lighter half of the year by gathering our energies and bringing forth new passion and ideas into the world. The soak features dried strawberry, dried jasmine buds, chamomile essential oil and a drop of sunflower seed oil to bring in the light. The lotion features gentle honeysuckle attar. But, as the wheel of the year turns we’re moving toward summer and I’m excited about the plans I’ve been developing for Litha/Summer Solstice! The Ostara set will be available for only a few more days and I’ll be launching the Litha set soon! Stay tuned to Instagram and Facebook for details =-)

 

Keep in Touch!

Don’t forget, the best way to keep in touch for the latest Just the Goods news – especially deadline reminders relating to temporary lab closures – is via social media. Find me on Instagram @just.the.goods or on Facebook @justthegoods =-)

 

Final Note

You are receiving this newsletter because — as per the conditions outlined by the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation that came into effect July 1, 2014 — you’ve been in touch with Just the Goods in the past either by making a purchase or requesting wholesale information within the last two years, or you have chosen to remain subscribed to this quarterly newsletter rather than choosing to click the unsubscribe link at the base of each of each one. With that said, if you would prefer to no longer receive communications from Just the Goods, please let me know and I will remove your email address immediately. And of course, you may also unsubscribe using the link below =-).

As always, thank you for your ongoing support! It is an absolute pleasure to handcraft natural skin and body care products, providing a healthier, small-scale alternative to the corporate “beauty industry”. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you!

With all my best,
Milena

Just the Goods (Winnipeg, MB)
handmade natural + affordable skincare for everyone
http://www.justthegoods.net

Handmade on a human scale

Hi everyone! Thank you so very much for all the orders that continue to flow in every hour of every day — I’m truly grateful for your enthusiastic interest!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I must admit, however, that this enthusiastic interest has become a lil’ bit overwhelming 😉

Just the Goods was formed almost 8 years ago as a part-time side-project to share the results of my personal research into safer plant-based and cruelty-free skin care. When I decided to launch beyond my circle of friends, I intentionally established public wholesale rates because I wanted to provide an affordable alternative to what I still perceive as unreasonable luxury branding in the world of natural skin care and cosmetics. I did the math and realized that yes, I could still make a modest living, and thus began my one-person eco-feminist anti-capitalist operation. Late 2013, I realized Just the Goods was becoming more popular than anticipated, so I decided to follow that excitement and make it my full time occupation. Since then JTG has continued to grow, particularly now that I am able to offer US clients more affordable shipping via USPS instead of international shipping via Canada Post.

Over the course of the past 3-4 months, orders have increased at a rather staggering rate. If I work 80 – 90 hours per week, I’m able to handmake enough product to ship anywhere from 150 – 200 orders on a weekly rotation, and I’ve been doing that quite consistently since September, but my body is really starting to protest. And, having reached the 200+ orders per week mark, I know I need to make some changes.

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Yes, I have explored hiring someone to work with me, but I’ve discovered that the time it takes to find, train, and coordinate with someone is actually time I don’t have. So, for now, I think the best option is to continue working alone, but to reinforce that Just the Goods is a one-person — I dare say “artesinal” — project committed to staying small and operating on a human scale. This means that I will continue to work as quickly as I can, but that I will also acknowledge my need to sleep, eat, and spend personal time with people I care about for the sake of my physical and emotional health, both of which are currently in decline.

If I decide that I have no option but to hire someone, please know that I will be obliged to raise prices, which is something I’ve worked *very hard* to avoid over the past 8 years, especially when the Canadian Dollar dropped in relation to the US Dollar. In the interim, I’ll be taking these steps:

  • Most orders will continue to be shipped within 5 – 7 business days, but some may take as long as 2 weeks to ship… hopefully not, but it could happen, so please accept my apologies in advance
  • I will not be able to resume local pick up services
  • I will not be able to undertake any custom orders, which includes modifying existing formulas
  • I will no longer be able to manually calculate alternative shipping rates as the rates on the website are very accurate and the best available for the service speeds they offer
  • I will sadly not be able to reply to all email messages (especially not those requesting free samples and/or coupon codes)
  • My response time to other messages will inevitably become much slower than it has in the past
  • I may start to remove some products/format variants from my catalogue of 150+ products

Since I currently work 7 days per week, every week, I’m going to do my best to take Thursdays off for sleep, exercise, friends, etc., as I’ve realized that the only way I can legitimately facilitate self-care for others is to ensure I take care of myself, too.

Thank you for making Just the Goods possible, and thank you in advance for your understanding. Please know that it has taken me a very long time to not only share my experiences, but to recognize how important it is to make these and other changes. I don’t take these decisions lightly and I offer this behind-the-scenes look because I’m learning that acknowledging vulnerability is not only healthy and healing, but an important challenge to the normative self-exploitation of capitalism.

xo
Milena

End-of-Year Production and Temporary Lab Closure News

Hello!! In case you were wondering, Just the Goods will be closed from December 18 – January 2 this year, which makes December 9 the last day to order for shipment in 2016.

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Orders received by this date will be mailed December 14 (USA), December 15 (Canada/International), or may be picked up at the lab on December 17 between 12 – 4 pm during a lil ‘open house with vegan treats prepared by Organic Planet Worker Co-Op 😊

Orders placed December 10 – January 2 will be handmade as quickly as possible upon my return 😊 Thank you!! ❄♥

Changes — a post for clients in Winnipeg

Hello Winnipeg! This post is for you!

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In the past 24 hours, some things have changed. Some is bad news, and I’m sorry about that, but it has led to what I hope will be good news 😊

I am grateful for your online orders — it helps me make Just the Goods my full time occupation! However, in order to continue offering public wholesale prices, I need to allocate my energy as carefully as possible because overextending myself is not sustainable. As it turns out, the bicycle courier with whom I’ve been working since Natural Cycle Courier closed feels the same way.

😿 The bad news: I have had to cancel my participation at WEST Fall Market on November 5 *and* Ghost Rider Messenger informed me a few hours ago that it is no longer able to work with Just the Goods at current rates.

😺 The goods news: I will be offering free monthly pick ups at the lab on a trial basis until the end of the year 🙂

🌼Orders placed by Saturday, October 15 can be picked up at the lab on Saturday, October 22 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm

🌼 Orders placed October 16 – November 19 can be picked up at the lab on Saturday, November 26 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm

🌼Orders placed November 20 – December 10 can be picked up at the lab on Saturday, December 17.

🌟 Bonus: December 17 will be an open house event set up like a mini market with cider and vegan treats available for those in attendance 😊 More news about that is forthcoming!

🌟 + I will be attending Vegan Handmade Market on December 3 as a shopper, and I can absolutely bring orders with me for those who will also be there and want to meet up between 10:00 – 11:00 am. I’ll post news about that in November 😊

As Just the Goods, I’m committed to handmaking the healthiest possible skin, body, and hair care products, while also pricing them as affordably as possible. For details about I price, please visit: http://bit.do/JTGpricing. I can make quality products and I can make them affordable, but — at such intentionally low prices — I can not make them faster, nor can I maintain retail space / pay someone a living wage to answer the door for pick ups. And, since I’m reminded again and again why my original goal of offering affordable pricing for healtheir self care products is essential, my decisions always seek to align. With all that said, don’t forget: if you ever need Just the Goods products faster, you can always go to Generation Green at the Forks, which is open 7 days a week and carries the largest selection of JTG body basis apart from my website 😊 They’re wonderful and you’ll surely find other wonderful things you didn’t know you needed 😉

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding — I’m excited about continuing to handmake JTG for you! 💕

See you at Etsy Made in Canada Manitoba Edition on Saturday, September 24!

I’m delighted to announce that Just The Goods will be participating in this year’s Etsy Made in Canada – Manitoba Edition 2016 on Saturday, September 24 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at Neeginan Centre Inc. (181 Higgins Avenue, Winnipeg). Whoo!

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I’m planning to be at only two sales this year — and this is one of them — so it’ll be a great opportunity for us to meet in person!

I’ll attempt to bring as much as I can of my 150+ product catalogue, but since that’s awfully difficult to do, I readily welcome you to pre-order at http://www.justthegoods.net by September 18 using the coupon code

>> MadeinCanada2016 <<

Doing so will waive your shipping/local courier fee, and indicate to me that I should bring your order with me so you can pick it up at any time you wish during the official hours of the event. Super easy, and you’ll always get exactly what you want without having to worry about arriving in time. A great option, especially if you’re like me and prefer a late, leisurely breakfast 😉 *lol*

I’m looking forward to seeing you at this event! If it’s anything like last year’s inaugural event, this is going to be fantastic!!

ps. The graphic reads 11 – 4, but it’s definitely 10 – 4 🙂

Just the Goods now ships parcels to the US from the US!

It’s official! Just The Goods now ships from the USA! This plan has been in the works for over a year, but I now have someone committed to driving from Winnipeg (Manitoba) to Pembina (North Dakota) every week! 🚚

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I 💓 Canada Post, but after 7 years of operation, I know that my clients in the United States need easier and more affordable access to their handmade vegan safe cosmetics. I’ve worked as hard as possible to offer public wholesale product pricing and real shipping costs, but I realize that sometimes creates confusion, since parcel tracking couldn’t be included in the lowest shipping rates 📦 📫 But that had all changed! Every parcel to the US will include tracking, and delivery will take 1 – 4 days after mailing instead of 10.

I am still working out USD vs CAD and imperial units vs metric, while also figuring out what *really* fits into flat rate shipping boxes, but things are looking great, so far!

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient with slow and sometimes pricey parcels all the way from Canada! I’m thrilled to finally give you what you have wanted for *years* 💕

Important information regarding shipping

Hi! This is an important message re shipping for all clients in Winnipeg, Canada + all international locations (especially the USA)

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🌾 To all in Winnipeg: With a heavy heart, I have learned the news that Natural Cycle Courier is closing and will no longer be delivering parcels after June 30. I am working to find an alternate carrier, and have made temporary arrangements for local orders over the next few weeks. After June 30, current delivery charges will remain in effect, but may rise depending on what sort of rates I can negotiate with another carrier. I will keep you posted 😃

🍁 To all in Canada: As you know, Canada Post employees are going to be locked out of work beginning on July 2. This means they will not likely be able to continue their jobs until the current labour struggle they are facing has been resolved. I have added delivery by UPS to my website, and you’re welcome to choose that if you need a parcel delivered during this dispute. Or, if you choose delivery by Canada Post, I’ll hold your parcel until service has resumed. For more information about the efforts of Canada Post employees to keep Canada Post relevant, vibrant and public, please visit: http://www.publicservices.ca 😃Thanks!

🌍 To all others worldwide: As described above, Canada Post employees are working to hard to ensure that our national postal system remains public, while also making it a more relevant part to the 21st century economy. If you choose shipping by Canada Post while the workers are locked out and unable to do their jobs, I’ll hold your parcel until it is once again possible to ship. Alternatively, you may choose shipping via UPS — I’ve made a range of service options available, and all are detailed for your convenience 😃

Thank you to everyone for your patience during this time. I realize that it is not the most convenient circumstances for anyone, and I look forward to doing my very best to serve you now and into the future

Warmly,
Milena

I’m back in Winnipeg, orders are on schedule, and I ❤️ Canada Post!

Hi everyone! I’m back in Winnipeg and yesterday I shipped 70 out of approximately 200 orders based on which ones required in-stock items only 🙂 Today I’ve starting production on the items needed to complete all the remaining orders, and they will be shipped out on June 21st. Given the volume of handmaking, packing and shipping required over the next several days, I won’t be online very much, but I definitely wanted to provide you with an update — everything is exactly on schedule! Yay! 🙂
 
In other news, our friends at Canada Post have provided additional news about their upcoming strike. They are working hard to prevent our national public service from being privatized, and I’m grateful to them for their efforts. The current CEO of Canada Post is formerly affiliated with Pitney Bowes and his goal over the past several years has been made very clear: increase rates, cut service, refuse to replace staff that have retired, and rack up profits while creating the myth that Canada Post doesn’t work so it will be easy for a private company (i.e. Pitney Bowes) to scoop up *our* Canada Post at pennies on the dollar. This is devastating! Their strike is about maintaining a national service that functions well enough to serve everyone equally across Canada, no matter where they live. The last strike was back in 2011 and things really went sideways when employees were locked out. Let’s hope the new government is better at understanding why an affordable public postal service essential for us all *fingers crossed*
 
In the meantime, while supporting our Posties and their amazing ideas for keeping Canada Post vibrant and vital, I’m working on contingency plans so people can continue to place and receive their orders. I will also be attending a public info session on Friday from 7 – 10 pm at Union Centre (275 Broadway, Winnipeg) (https://www.facebook.com/events/653192524834610/657054094448453/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1466003942574839)

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And, for info about Canada Post employee’s commitment to delivering pension and social assistance cheques throughout the strike, and their commitment to protecting any animals that are being transported, please read the following news release: http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/posties-pledge-to-deliver-pension-and-social-assistance-cheques-ensure-no-live-animals-are-trapped-in-the-mail-system-582950871.html
 
Thank you everyone for working with me, a small scale online handmaker 🙂 Just the Goods wouldn’t exist without you, nor would it exist without Canada Post. I have a fantastic relationship with my commercial account managers, depot manager, and the postal agents I see each week when they come to pick up bins filled with your orders. I know how committed they are to doing the very best job they possibly can, and I really wanted to share with you my support for them 🙂
 
Thanks again!!
Milena

A few thoughts about sunscreen

It’s finally warm enough to spend all day outdoors! Choosing a safe sunscreen is something to consider year ’round depending on your climate and daily activities, but it is especially important to think about as the amount of time spent under the sun changes with the seasons.

Just the Goods does *not* offer handmade sunscreen because I don’t have the resources necessary to commission clinical trials that confirm evidence of broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. As such, even though there are plenty of websites that claim to help calculate SPF based on the combo and ratio of ingredients used, it seems too risky for something so important.

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When asked about sunscreen, I prefer to share Environmental Working Group ‘s annual sunscreen round up. The 2015 list is still available online, but I encourage you to keep an eye on http://www.ewg.org/2016sunscreen as the new list will surely be available soon. Or, for an even easier approach, download EWG’s app, which you can use while shopping to access important information about mainstream/widely available brands.

For those insisting on experimenting with DIY formulas, I urge them to consider a few points:

  • Calculating SPF is not simply a matter of adding ingredients to increase protection because factors such as concentration/dilution ratios apply (i.e. 3 – 10 SPF from coconut oil, plus 28 – 50 SPF from raspberry seed oil does not equal 31 – 60 SPF … and, even if it did, that is a troubling speculative gap).
  • Many oils can cause skin to absorb light faster and thus burn faster so, whatever the SPF ratings of ingredients might be in their own right, those benefits are often negated by the very process of applying those oils to skin.
  • Domestic grade mixing equipment can not guarantee absolutely equal distribution of sun blocking ingredients throughout any given formula, which is crucial for providing uniform, consistent, and thus guaranteed protection.
  • Even ingredients with relatively safe ratings such as non-micronized zinc oxide need to be used within recognized guidelines. Wikipedia’s entry about sunscreen demonstrates the range in what is considered allowable according to the health and safety laws of different countries publishing such information.
  • Mineral based sun screens need to be applied more frequently. And yes, they will do leave a white haze on the skin.

In the past I offered non-micronized zinc oxide (I was selling off the material leftover when I decided to stop experimenting), but I’ve since decided that I do not feel okay with this.

As a handmaker operating an intentionally small-scale one-person project, I care deeply about making independent alternatives available on principle; however, I think there are some things that require a larger economy of scale, and given the testing required to guarantee sunscreen works for all, this is a case in point.

When people ask what I use personally, I say “it depends”. My first course of action is to reduce exposure by wearing sleeves and a hat, as well as choosing to stay in the shade. Otherwise, I refer to EWG’s app when shopping and buy what is available.

I’m still searching for a safe and cruelty-free sunscreen that is also vegan and if/when I do, I will definitely share the news 🙂

I hope these thoughts are helpful! Enjoy the sun + take care!