Blog

Introducing Make + Take Studio at Frigg's Mercantile!

vertical-logo-1.png

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!

Shampoo Bars Madness

shampoobars.jpg

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!

2000x2000-2.png

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!

lotion_350.jpg

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.

Mid-April Update

April News at Frigg's

IMG_4766.jpg

Wow! They say time flies when you are having fun, and that couldn't be more true about our first month open! We are beyond thrilled by the response of our community and are so grateful to everyone who has walked through our doors to shop, chat, and learn something new!

Because we've had so much happen in the last few weeks, it seemed a giant update was in order! So here is the news as we know it, in no particular order:

Lunch Break Drop-Ins

Announcing a simple concept at Frigg's: each week, we will feature a different lunch break project that you can do in less than an hour! These project days will rotate between Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with projects such as lip balms, candles, fermentation, lotions, and so on.

We'll have the studio set up with everything for the designated project on the specific day, just pop by between 1130 and 130 and we'll guide you through the rest. We've (mostly) got our projects lined up for May. You can check out the calendar here! Most projects range in the $10-$15 range; all are beginner-level and, of course, tons of fun!

Cheesemaking with Urban Cheesecraft

We are delighted to partner with the fantastic Claudia Lucero from Urban Cheesecraft! Not only will we carry Urban Cheesecraft's DIY Cheese Kits (they are AWESOME!) and Claudia's book One Hour Cheese in the shop, but we are also working on a schedule for her to provide her stellar cheesemaking workshops in the Frigg's studio. Details coming soon regarding specific dates!

Kids' Mini-Camps Schedule and Birthday Parties

We have been having a blast with kiddos in the Frigg's studio these past few weeks! Because of the success of our Spring Break Mini-Camps, we're planning to offer slightly extended versions throughout the summer! These are great options for parents who might not want a week-long camp (or don't want to pay for one!) but need a few hours here and there to get some work done or just stare at a wall without anyone talking to them. We'll be posting specific dates by the end of April. These Mini-Camps will be limited to six participants and will require sign-up 24 hours ahead of time, but will be essentially on a drop-in basis.

We've been getting lots of requests for kids' birthday parties and are so excited to share the studio with Portland-area families! Our parties are an awesome way for school-age children to get some hands-on experience with our kid-friendly projects. We'll get our birthday party page underway here shortly, but in the meantime you can get a good idea of how it all works by visiting our general events info page.

Mother's Day Bonanza on May 12

We're hosting a 4-hr gift-a-thon for Mother's Day on Saturday, May 12 in the Frigg's studio. This works two ways: 1) it's a fun outing for moms (or mother-daughter duos!) to enjoy as a pre-Mother's Day treat or 2) it's a fantastic opportunity to make a handmade - yet professional - gift for mom/yourself. 'll be whipping up bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and lotions, with the options for a few add-on items, if desired. We will also supply all the wrapping and supplies to make your gift extra special. More information is available here (payment link coming soon). $30 covers cited three projects and all supplies, pre-payment serves as RSVP and is highly recommended.

Cheese Press Library is Live

One of our goals is to make homesteading adventures accessible to everyone. Making your own cheese can be a money-saving option, but the initial equipment requirements can sometimes be a hurdle. For beginning or advanced cheesemakers, investing in a cheese press can be a significant investment, and we're delighted to offer the economical option of simply renting the press. If you're just starting out, it's a great way to test the waters, and if you are an experienced cheesemaker, renting a press can save you money and kitchen space! All our rentable presses come with molds. If you fall in love with your press and want to get a new one, we'll take the price of the rental off your purchase! More details are available on our cheese press rentals page.

Whatever brings you through our doors, we're delighted to meet you! As always, reach out with any questions you may have about these updates or anything else: hello@friggsmercantile.com or 503.974.7414.

Lightning Luxurious Lotion

Lavender Lotion (Whipped Up in a Jiffy)

It's been a busy couple of weeks as the shop comes together. Though we're still making and creating every day, most activity centers around big-scale projects like countertops and shelving units. As the shop-building process rolled on, I found myself needing something smaller scale and more familiar to sooth my soul. The obvious solution: lotion.

Bottled lavender lotion

Lotion is a great project for your maker fix. It's quick, easy, and the gratification is nearly immediate. No sitting around and waiting to unmold something a day or three later, or to ferment for a number of weeks, or to cure who knows what for who knows how long. Nope. Make your lotion, give it a test drive, and you're good.