Happiest of Happy Holidays!

Oh boy! This has been a wild ride and it’s only just begun. It has been AMAZING to see the response of our community as we head into the colder season. Birthday parties, special events, and ongoing workshops are booking up so quickly! This being our first season, we had no idea what to expect, and have been completely blown away!

So now we know. Cold weather means more workshops, more parties, more fun! Yahoooo! Here are some of the other updates we have in store for you this holiday season:

KIDS’ MINI-CAMPS

Our School Closure Mini-Camps have been selling out over the last few weeks, and we are looking at creative ways to offer more of these in the future. While we generally go by the PPS and Beaverton school calendars, we’re happy to set up school closure camps for kids who aren’t in those systems! Mini-Camps are available for a maximum of 6 kids and are generally in 3-hr or 5-hr increments. Let us know if you are interested in setting something up for a group of kiddos while school is not in session!

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HOLIDAY GIFTS + STOCKING STUFFERS

Keep Frigg’s in mind when looking for some amazing holiday gifts! We’re stocked up on affordable options for stocking stuffers (bubble bath dough, whipped soaps, etc) as well as holiday-themed towels, plates, and body care. Stop on by!

PRIVATE EVENT SPACE RENTALS

We've also had a rise in inquiries to use the space for workshops outside of those offered by Make + Take Studio. There is nothing better than opening the doors to other small businesses who are excited about sharing their craft or expertise with the community. In the coming weeks, we’ll have jewelry-making, vegan cooking, art therapy, cake decorating, and gift-making events! We’d love to continue to grow in this realm, so if you are looking for a flexible space to host your next workshop or event, please reach out! Shoot an email to hello@maketakestudio.com and we can take it from there.

CHILDREN’S BUSINESS FAIR PORTLAND

We’re kicking into high gear in 2019 to get the word out about the first ever Children’s Business Fair Portland, happening April 6, 2019 at Tucker-Maxon School. This event is in partnership with Acton Business School, and will feature kids 8-14 who make something and would like to sell their product at a real-life business event. We’d love to bring your kiddo on-board! Applications are now open. Participation is $15 and kids get to keep their profits!

HOLIDAY HOURS

We’ll be closed for retail from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, as we celebrate the season with our family and friends. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!

Children's Business Fair Portland

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We’re delighted to partner with Acton Business Academy to launch Portland’s first-ever Children’s Business Fair! The event will take place on April 6, 2019 at Tucker-Maxon School, and it will bring together entrepreneurial kids from around the Portland metro area.

If you know a kiddo who has a craft, business idea, or something pretty awesome to share with shoppers, encourage them to apply to be vendors at the fair! There is a $15 vendor fee (refunded if the application is not approved for a vendor spot); kids get to keep all profits made at the fair!

With all of the mini-entrepreneurs who have worked their way through the Make + Take Studio over the course of this past year, we know the Portland maker community is brimming with young minds who are ready to launch their own start-ups! This is the space to give it a try and share their vision with the city.

More information and applications are available at the CBF PDX website or on the brand-new Facebook page.

Introducing Make + Take Studio at Frigg's Mercantile!

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Frigg’s Mercantile opened in April of 2018, with the concept of being a retail shop with occasional events. Since opening, there has been an unexpected - yet awesome - demand for workshops and private events. As such, we’ve decided to alter things around here just a bit, and we wanted to let you know about the changes being made.

Our events have always had a make-and-take aspect to them; nobody leaves a Frigg’s event empty-handed! Because of this, our studio offerings started casually getting referred to as Make-and-Take events, and eventually the name stuck.

To clarify to folks looking to book events, we’re introducing Make + Take Studio, an official second branch of the Frigg’s Mercantile empire. The name Frigg’s Mercantile simply didn’t make sense for birthday parties, baby showers, and other private bookings.

As event requests started truly ramping up (it’s been wild!!), we decided to make the switch sooner rather than later. You’ll also notice that the site banner and URL are now Make + Take Studio, though the Frigg’s brand is still represented on the website (and friggsmercantile.com all resolves to this same place). It made sense to focus on the studio portion of the business as most folks on our website use it for event inquiries. Additionally, because our Instagram feed has always primarily focused on studio events, we renamed it to @maketakestudio, and we started a new, fresh @friggsmercantile account to focus on products and goods available in the retail portion of our space. We’d love for you to follow us there, as well!

Speaking of the retail portion, we’ll be reducing some aspects of it while growing others. With so many events happening, we’re cranking out soaps, bath bombs, whipped butters, and candles at an alarming rate, and will soon offer them for purchase. We’ve got a slew of vendor events coming up, and will be featuring Frigg’s-labeled goodies! On the flip side, we will be reducing some of our cheesemaking inventory, and will feature some pretty fantastic sales in the process this holiday season.

We’ve also had to reduce retail hours by necessity. With events comes evening and weekend hours, and there has been a huge interest in booking Make + Take Studio/Frigg’s events off-site. We simply can’t keep the shop open consistent hours with so many off-site happenings, as each week brings a new adventure. As such, we’re letting folks know that we are mostly open 11-5 Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, and Sat, but that it’s ALWAYS a good idea to call or text ahead of time to be sure we’re there. Saturdays are particularly dicey, as those are heavily booked days, both in the Make + Take Studio and off-site.

Lastly, we’d like to say THANK YOU for your patience through this transition. As mention, the success of our events was not entirely expected, but it’s been wonderful. We’re dedicating more resources to that aspect of our business and needed to change our game plan a little. We’re fortunate to be a young company that can adapt without too much difficulty, though we recognize it might be a little confusing at first. Thanks for toughing it out and please reach out with any question you may have. Email addresses hello@friggsmercantile.com or hello@maketakestudio.com both head to the same place, so pick your poison and say hello!

New site, new season

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We are thrilled to have our new website up and running! One of the difficulties was that we were having a hard time editing and updating events with the old format. The popularity of our events, and the need to be able to repeat them, prompted a swift website change. So... ta-da! This current rendition was born.

A few updates around these parts:

- The Summer Kid Makers Mini-Camp series will have its last rendition on Wednesday, August 22. From that point forward, our 3-hr drop-in camps will morph into a 5-hr drop-in camp available on school closure days and school breaks. Same concept, longer day, and only slightly higher price ($45). We anticipate these will sell out so book your Mini-Camp asap if you are a planner-type!

- We've had a fair number of people ask about private parties. We list our standard packages with prices on our website, but we're always happy to arrange for special events for smaller groups, depending on availability! If you have a group of people you'd like to get together for a fun evening making cheese, or soap, or whatever you please, get in touch and we'll sort it out. It would make for an awesome Ladies' Night!

- We are working on putting together our calendar of fall and winter festivities. Think spooky Halloween candles and homemade gifts! What is something you'd like to be able to give your people this season? Soapmaking is a great skill to learn because homemade soap makes a fantastic present. But don't forget: you need to let your soap cure for a minimum of four weeks before it can be used, so you'll need to start learning your skillz in October and November!

- We're also gearing up for a big event on Small Business Saturday! Cannot wait to share the details, but for now, we'll leave it mysterious... :)

Shampoo Bars Madness

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Getting Eco-Friendly with Shampoo Bars!

A few weeks ago, George Take posted a video on Facebook about shampoo bars.** Within hours, the video was shared across soap-making groups, cosmetics fabricants, and non-industry folks. Why? Because shampoo bars are an awesome, zero waste solution that is longer-lasting than bottled shampoo. Plus, it is more gentle on your hair and travels better, to boot!

Being already in the handcrafted bath and beauty circles, I went on a mission to find a shampoo bar recipe that worked. When it comes to soap making, recipes and YouTube videos abound. Great services such as Soap Queen/Brambleberry freely offer up tested recipe options for soaps and related products such as lotions, balms, and so on. But shampoo bars were different. First, it was a struggle to find recipes that had ingredients available in the U.S.! Second, a lot of the key ingredients were out of stock given the shampoo bar craze happening across the country (world?).

Eventually, I purchased a recipe (!!!) that sourced specialty ingredients I could get through online retailers. The recipe is proprietary and can't be shared here, but it incorporates similar ingredients I had found elsewhere: a combination of oils, a conditioning emulsifier, sodium coco sulfate (the "noodles"), a distillate of some sort, and a silk or wheat protein. Other additives, such as fragrance or colorants, are a matter of personal preference.

Recipe in hand, I started testing the bars and asking others to provide feedback. With some variation, it's been mostly positive. As with all things human, there is no one product that is going to work for every single person. But to get the best results out of your shampoo bars, it's important to note a few things:

  1. Commercial shampoos tend to strip hair of their natural oils, thereby convincing the body it needs to (over)produce more oils. This is also why we "need" conditioners; essentially, the shampoo strips the oils so that we can replace them with a conditioning product. Such a strange system! Lots of folks from the "No Poo" movement can attest to the need to regulate oil production so that the body stops overproducing oils. The same phenomenon occurs when switching to natural (or no) deodorant from commercial anti-perspirants. While shampoo bars are NOT the same as going shampoo-free, they do require a bit of time for adjustment so the body can regulate. From the feedback received so far, it seems those who are not frequent shampoo-ers in the first place get the best initial results. For those who frequently use commercial shampoo, it may take 1-2 weeks for your head to adjust. Also, because most of the body's natural oils remain on the head after using the shampoo bar, it's best to try your first few rounds without follow-up conditioner. Otherwise, it will certainly feel too oily, overall.
  2. The first round of production seems to have been a little more crumbly than follow-up batches, but either way, the initial wash with any shampoo bar is going to see a few noodles bite the dust. Several tester bars in, and it seems that this problem goes away after 1-2 uses. We may start making these bars in tablet shapes, or discs (like Lush and other retailers do) to avoid the problem, but even then, there will still be a few loose noodles!  That said, after the second wash, I have never had this be a problem.
  3. To use: gently rub the shampoo bar in your hands, first. You should get a creamy bubbly lather that you can than build on in your hair. It more than triples for me using this method. I initially thought I would need conditioner to be able to brush my hair afterward, but was able to comb through without trouble the first time and have been doing so ever since. However, very thick hair or very long hair may struggle more with this.
  4. Use this on your kids! It's much more gentle than commercial shampoo, it's fun to see it foam up, and it only requires one rinse.
  5. Most bars of the size we are currently working with last for over 30 shampoos.
  6. We're hoping to host a workshop where we can help people learn to make their own! To do so, we'd need to find a non-proprietary recipe, or incorporate a way for attendees to purchase the recipe at a discounted rate. This would make shampoo bar classes come out to about $30/person. If that's something that interests you, please reach out to hello@friggsmercantile or comment below!

There are a few ways to modify this recipe so that it can address specific issues. For example, the core oil in this recipe is coconut oil, but it can be combined with shea butter or argan oil for a more conditioning effect. Those with sensitive scalps may benefit from the addition of activated charcoal or colloidal oatmeal to the bars.

So next up: we're going to work on some more experimenting! To do so, we'd also love to sell some of the bars we already have. We're starting out with an initial price of $6/bar, knowing we are still refining (our initial price for product testers was $3/bar - at cost to us. Bars are ~1.5oz and a 1.9oz bar at Lush is $12). From there, we'd love to continue to expand the options to include specific scents or modifications. We're also happy to custom-make a specific scent/color for a minimum of four bars purchased, discounted to $22.

**This post discusses the shampoo bars as seen in the video, "noodle"-based bars. There are alternative bars that are closer to bar soap, which is a discussion for another day!

Announcing Kid Makers: Crafty Business Camp!

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Crafty Business Camp

We are delighted to announce that Frigg's Mercantile will host our first-ever Crafty Business Camp the week of August 6-10! This camp will give crafty kiddos the opportunity to choose and master a selected handmade product (soap, lotion, candles, etc), design a brand and website, create labels and displays, and ultimately bring their product to the public at the Kid Makers' Market on August 11, 9-10am! Families, friends, and neighbors of campers are encouraged to come shop the handmade market; coffee and hot chocolate will be provided.

Camp sessions will be held Monday-Friday, 10am - 1pm, with a different focus each day.

Kid Makers: Crafty Business Camp Overview

Day 1 - Monday - Learn (or review) how to make lotions, soaps, candles, and lip balms (will extend into Tuesday). Other project opportunities may be available per camper request. Day 2 - Tuesday - Campers select target product from those learned,  determine their personal touch, and begin preparation for production day. Day 3 - Wednesday - Mass production! Campers will make a variety of their selected product and establish a product line. Day 4 - Campers determine a product name, create a logo, print business cards, and make a mini-website (please bring laptop if available!). Day 5 - Labels, pricing, and set up! Campers will complete any tasks still needing their attention, set up their displays, and get ready for market!

Participation is $265 for the week and includes the Saturday market vendor fee (haha!). This event will be open to the public and will give campers a real-life experience of selling their products. Kids keep all profits!

The Crafty Business Camp is limited to eight participants and is best for kids aged 9 and up. Register here or reach out with any questions you may have by emailing hello@friggsmercantile.com or calling 503.974.7414.

Ready for Summer - Workshops, Camps, and More!

June, July, and August, Oh My!

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We're feeling the heat at Frigg's! As we draw closer and closer toward summer, we're planning all kinds of awesomeness, and thought it worth a blog post to update. We'll give you the low-down on some of the fun stuff we have scheduled for the upcoming weeks, and a few things that are still in the works. We're working hard to get this info into our website calendar, Facebook page, and online shop, but here's the scoop in its most basic form!

Also, we'd love to schedule a private party or event with you! These have been a great success and tons of fun! We can offer group events for you and your friends to make any of the following (or a combination): candles, cheese, kombucha, soap, bath bombs, lip balms, lotions, balms, deodorant, canning, pickles, natural cleaning supplies, nail polish, and fermented veggies. We typically rent out the entire space for private parties, and pricing varies depending on time of day, number of people, and selected project. Get in touch and we'll sort it out! Here is a little bit more information about our events and you can see specifics on our popular birthday packages here.

Here's a list of some of the events we have planned, with more in the works! Links coming soon for those who lack them. :)

Events and Workshops for Grown- Ups:

June 22 - Beard Balms for Dudes or People Who Love Dudes - 6-7:30pm - $20/person

July 6 - Cheesemaking for Beginners Happy Hour - 6-8pm - $25/person

July 7 - DIY Pet Shampoo - 11am - 1pm - $25/person

July 14 - Soapmaking Intensive - 11-1pm - $45/person

August 11 - Back-to-School Signmaking Workshop - 11-2pm - $50/person

August 25 - Summer Sip + Learn: Stretch Mozzarella and Sip Rose - $45/person

Mini-Maker Camps (for kids):

These are half-day, drop-off camps with the exception of the Sandcastle Camp and Business Series. Ages are 7+ unless otherwise noted. To register for a Frigg's Mini-Camp,  select your desired day from the drop down on this page. Limited to six participants per camp.

June 15 - 9:30-12:30 - $35 - Kid Makers: Soaps and Lip Balms

June 19-20 - 12:00 - 3:00 - DoCake Studios presents: Two-day Sandcastle Cake Decorating Camp $110 (total) - Ages 11+

June 25 - 1:00- 4:00 - $35/kid - Kid Makers: Bath bombs and Lip Balms

June 27 - 1:00 - 4:00 - $35/kid - Kid Makers: Candles and Lotions

July 9, 11, 13 - 9:30-12:30 - $35/kid - Kid Makers: Candles, soaps, bath bombs, lotions (TBD) selection

August 6-10, 1:00-4:00pm daily - $225 (total) - Mini Makers Business Series - Limited to 6 participants - More info coming soon! Learn to make your product, create your brand, design your label, and bring your product to market! In this five-day series, kids learn to make soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and lip balms, then choose their focus product. Once selected, they will create a business name, design a logo, explore advertising and labeling, and culminate with a makers’ market for their friends and families on their final day! 

A quick note on our online calendar: We are working on getting everything posted! We are in the incredibly fortunate situation of having high demand, so sometimes there is a lag between booking something and getting it on the calendar. We have had a number of people ask about how easy it might be to drop in and do an activity, and we're looking into ways of working that into the online calendar. Because there's always something new cropping up from one week to the next (in a good way!), it's sometimes hard to say FOR SURE when drop-in activities will be available. For example, we will be having mini-camps, parties, and grown-up workshops, as well as non-Frigg's groups in the shop/studio throughout the coming months, and saying, "Sure! Come in any time and make something!" doesn't seem like a good plan. We are considering the possibility of scheduling drop-in times, in which case: yes, drop in then! We'd love to see you! So look for scheduled drop-in hours in the coming weeks!

 

Birthday Parties at Frigg's

A Crafty Birthday Celebration

As soon as Frigg's opened, parents saw the opportunity for crafty birthday parties, and we're delighted to celebrate with enthusiastic kiddos! Parties in our studio are preeeeeettty awesome, and we'd love to let parents know more about our unique, guided birthday party offerings.

We're sharing here what a "standard" birthday package seems to look like. However, please know that we are always flexible and can work with you on all kinds of options. Most parties book on the weekend, but we are available for parties Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, as well.

Standard Birthday Package: $250

  • Party for up to ten children, aged 7+ (unless accompanied by a parent). We can accommodate more children for an additional fee, per child.
  • Kids complete two guided activities of their choosing from the following list: make-your-own lip balms, bath bombs, soaps, candles, or lotions. A third activity may be added for an additional fee, however it is recommended to extend the party time, in that case.
  • Parents are welcome to stay and join in the fun or head to the nearest coffee shop of their choosing (there are several good ones just blocks away!)
  • 20-30 minutes are included for food, cake, presents, etc, as determined by the organizing family
  • Outside food/drink is permitted at no additional fee
  • Organizing family may arrive up to 45 minutes before the party to set-up, if desired
  • Kids leave with their creations in hand! No goody bags needed!

Our studio calendar gives you a good idea of available times/dates; we require approximately one hour between events.

Interested in more details? We'd love to connect with you! Fill out our inquiry form on our Birthday Parties page and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.