Thank you, Arlene Chase (who lists her profession as "on line selling"), for letting us know all about this product - Make Spa Products at Home - downloadable for the low price of $27 (an additional candle making e-book is available). From the site..."Sure, you can find soap and spa product recipes for "free" on the Internet, but you'll NEVER find anything like this rich collection of hand-picked recipes and original ideas that has taken years of experience and dozens of hours to compile and edit." (I will disagree with this. I think the Dish is the single most important place on the 'net and recommend it to everyone!) When I read the list of what they're offering - how to be clean, how to label to comply with FDA regulations, how to handle ingredients - it sounds like a very promising e-book.
Okay, a few thoughts...I'm all for paying for a book. I'm all for supporting authors directly and I'm all for learning from people more expert than myself. But how do I know this is a good resource? I know the first books I took out of the library on the subject were filled with erroneous information about preservatives and shelf lives and so on, and had I continued making products that way, I'd have a lot of angry friends and family members who had moldy lotions or microbe filled shampoos.
I can't comment about this actual book - I can't see snippets of it, although the one water based recipe I saw on the blog didn't recommend preservatives, which worries me - but I don't appreciate the way it is being promoted, especially on my blog! I don't know much about business, but I do know a little about psychology and marketing. When you use dubious promotion techniques, you create a dubious brand identity. (Creating a brand identity and learning free promotional techniques are listed in the table of contents, and I'd like to suggest if this is one of the techniques, well, think again.)
Think of those products ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS TV OFFER! ACT NOW! Even products with good qualities - the Shamwow, the Magic Bullet, the Snugglee thingie - are slightly tainted by their promotional techniques (and don't get me started on the Slap Chop! Am I the only person who think the guy promoting this thing is about 15 minutes out of rehab and on really shaky ground with his sobriety? And the Graty? It sounds like a product I would get to name - The Thingie, The Slicey, The Sharpie Knife of Awesomeness!) The over the top promotion of these products get our attention, but we're still slightly embarrassed to buy or own one of these products. (Okay, not the Magic Bullet. It's awesome!)
An aside, I was the Sea Monkey Lady, an enthusiastic promoter of Sea Monkeys. I didn't work for the company; I just liked Sea Monkeys. (Did I mention I'm a geek?) I had a website, wrote a book, toured around talking about the joys of the genetically altered brine shrimp. They are wonderful pets - great for kids to teach them about responsibility and science, great for adults who are busy and need a pet that isn't high maintenance - but they carry the taint of the product found only in a comic book. (And yes, they really come to life when you add water! But X-Ray Specs don't work!) It's something the company who distributes them still can't overcome, and they've been in stores for 20 years!
So what the heck am I trying to say here? Consider your brand. You are selling more than a product - you're selling hopes and dreams, a lifestyle, an identity. As a very small business owner or crafter, you're selling yourself as well - your expertise, your commitment, your philosophy. It is very difficult to create a positive brand identity - why would you ruin it?
This could be the most awesome book in the history of books (although it would have to be ultra mega supremely awesome to beat Neuromancer, but I'll pretend for a moment it's possible...) but I'd still think twice before buying. I don't know if this Arlene Chase is connected with the author, but I know she has done more damage than good in my mind...
Thus endeth the rant...