Sunday, June 29, 2014

The New UESS Brand Logo, by Theresa & Timothy Minor

Urban Essence Salon & Spa has been around for over 11 years. And in those 11 years our handcrafted luxury bath & body product line has evolved to meet our customer’s needs. We have made few changes to our look and thought that now would be the perfect time to have a brand logo that truly represented our sense of style. We also wanted to make sure that our new brand logo reflected our existing color palette. It is very important to us that when our customers see our new brand logo they see the quality and care that we put into each product we make.


The original UESS brand logo
While in the process of crafting our new brand logo we kept coming back to our original logo for inspiration. There were a lot of people that like this logo and suggested that we stick with what we had. And of course we liked it as well, however, it was definitely time for an upgrade! From the very beginning, we have always used this brand logo on our product packaging, website, and all print materials. This brand logo is recognized by many customers and we wanted to make sure that when we designed our new brand logo that it would continue with the colors that are familiar to our customers.


The interim UESS brand logo
Then maybe about two years ago we started using this brand logo. At the time this brand logo seemed fresh, clean and clear. It was different and stood out. However, it just did not allow Urban Essence Salon & Spa to stand out and be recognized. In our eyes it still lacked that 3 dimensional feel that we were looking for. While this brand logo did make it to our website and some print materials it never made it to our packaging and labels. We can't tell you how hard we worked at trying to make this brand logo become the standard.



The New UESS Brand Logo
Finally, we have arrived at our New Brand Logo! After countless hours of trying to come up with a logo on our own; and our friends and family offering us help and support. We came to the conclusion that it was time to hire a graphic designer. Finding a good graphic designer was not easy! Our new brand logo is the result of Timothy and me working with Heather one of the graphic designers at CJ Graphics  This logo is clear has style and it encompasses the color palette that represents Urban Essence Salon & Spa. Heather worked with us every step of the way. The very best part about developing our new brand logo is that she asked us questions about our company, our products and how we planned to use our logo. We worked virtually over the computer with her which made it feel like we were right there beside her. With Heather's guidance the process was smooth and effortless. The font, color and style was actually chosen by Timothy and me instead of the designer coming up with what they thought we might want.

Over the next few weeks look for our new brand logo on our entire product line, print materials, website and more! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.



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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Connecting with Customers, By Theresa & Timorhy Minor

For over 5 years we have participated in various outdoor markets, farmers markets and craft shows. We have traveled from the Philadelphia area to as far north as Connecticut and as far south as North Carolina. The greatest thing about being a vendor at various events is that we get to meet so many interesting people from the promoters of the events to the loyal customers! One of those regular customers is Robin Mastrippolito

At 10:00am every Saturday in West Chester, PA its "Market Day" at the Artisan Exchange. The Artisan Exchanged is the only indoor market of it's kind in the area. One of the wonderful things about being a vendor at the Artisan Exchange is the people that we meet. The people are friendly, well informed, artistic and most of all very supportive of the vendors. Robin has been coming to the Artisan Exchange since the market opened. She is a customer who takes her time wandering through the market to check out each and every vendor. 


Robin Mastrippolito
As makers of handcrafted luxury bath & body products we value our customers. And our customers play a huge part in our business. In many ways our customers played a role in the development of the various fragrances that we currently offer. Its customers like Robin that offers us encouragement and support. She visits us almost every weekend to buy our Gourmet Luxury Soap and she also gives us the most tastiest cupcakes and the icing is to die for!  Her cupcakes are 100% made from scratch.

Its always a pleasure connecting with people and hearing their stories. The vendors and customers have become a part of our working family. Loyal patrons like Robin Mastrippolitois is one of  the reasons we truly enjoy participating in markets and craft shows. We get to meet our customers face to face and give them the experience of our Handcrafted Luxury Bath & Body Products. This experience invigorates the human senses of touch, smell and sight. Be sure to check out our retail locations and our calendar of events for where you can meet us and purchase our products. And of course our products can always be purchased on our website.


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Monday, June 2, 2014

Penns Wood Winery By Theresa & Timothy Minor

This season we will be at various events in Philadelphia, Delaware and Chester Counties. A few weeks ago we showcased our handcrafted bath & body products at the Penns Wood Winery Music Festival. The music festival is an event you would not want to miss. Its a great way to enjoy music and wine all while relaxing on the lawn overlooking their 30 acre vineyard. They offer over 15 wine selections within the white, red and rose wine categories.Take a look at this spectacular view!


We also participated at their 3rd Run the Vineyards event.  This event was filled with runners of all levels. They run through the vineyard and a 1/2 mile wooded trail. After the 5K run, everyone enjoyed great live music, wine tasting, food and craft vendors, awards, and spectacular views. Here's a photo of our canopy with our Handcrafted Luxury Bath & Body products display.


On June 14th we will also be participating in this year's Brandywine Food & Wine Festival! The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail is showcasing the best of what the Brandywine Valley and surrounding Philadelphia countryside has to offer. Myrick Conservation Center, 12pm - 6pm, 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester, PA (for questions on the day of the festival, please contact  610-637-7790 ) For more information, contact: Brandywine Valley Wine Trail - www.bvwinetrail.com - 610-444-3842.

For more information about our upcoming events, please visit our calendar of events page. Click here for retail locations carrying our handcrafted luxury bath & body products.



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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Market, By Theresa & Timothy Minor

The news is out! Timothy and I are so very pleased to announce that as of Saturday April 26th you can now find our Gourmet Luxury Soap at The Great Pumpkin Market in West Chester, PA. They are currently carrying our Cinnamon, Lavender & Herb, Lemongrass, Ocean Mist, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Sunflower& Calendula, Orange Blossom and Just Oatmeal Gourmet Luxury Soaps.


The Great Pumpkin Market is a neighborhood Health Food and Supplement store proudly serving West Chester for 38 years and counting! They carry organically produced food, with an emphasis on local, organic and raw dairy products, bulk dry goods, local honey, and natural body care and cleaning products. They also have a large selection of vitamins, herbs, and teas!




If you interested in seeing our products in your local market please contact us 215-315-3184
The Great Pumpkin Market is located at 607 East Market Street, West Chester, PA 19328
Store Hours are:
Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
phone 610-696-0741

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weavers Way Demo Day, By Theresa & Timothy Minor

This past month has been extremely busy for us here at UESS. With the outdoor market season upon us, we have been in our studio working very diligently on producing our products for this season. We are testing out some new packaging, testing new vegetable oils and working on new formulas for our hair care line. So I guess you can say that we have been hard at work!

On Friday, April 11th, 2014, we participated in our first demonstration at Weavers Way Coop in Chestnut Hill.  Did you know that Weavers Way Coop Next Door is now carrying our Hand & Body Lotion, Gourmet Luxury SoapBath & Shower Gel, and Whipped Body Butter? They currently, offer Lemon, Lavender, Sandalwood, Rain, Chocolate, and Herbal Garden & Comfrey Root fragrances. During the demo we had the great opportunity to meet many customers and interact with the Weaver Way staff. To the right is a photo of Timothy and I standing by our table display.

One of the many things that sets UESS apart from other businesses is that a few years ago, Timothy came up with the great idea to bring warm water with us whenever we do any kind of show. Something so simply as warm water has allowed us to offer our customers more than just the tantalizing aromas of our products, it has also allowed us to truly give our customers the experience of using our products that require water!

The customers are given the opportunity to not only smell the products, but more importantly, they have a chance to actually try it before they buy it! On this day we were sampling our Foaming Butter Scrub and Gourmet Luxury Soap. Our Foaming Butter Scrub is made with European fine sea salts, Shea butter and our own formulated liquid soap. The liquid soap is what makes this scrub extra special! First we apply the Foaming Butter Scrub in the palm of the customer's hand and allow them to exfoliate their hands for about a minute or so. Then we apply just enough water to get the foaming action of the liquid soap going. After that it's time to rinse.

Okay, let me just say this....You should see some of the reactions that we have gotten over the years once we start to rinse the customer's hands. The surprise look on their faces once they realize that the water is warm, is priceless!

Weavers Way Next Door has been carrying our line of Bath & Body products since February 2014. They are located in the heart the Chestnut Hill at 8426 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. They are open every day 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. And they can be reached by telephone at 215-866-9150, ext.220.
Please be sure to visit them soon! Want to try our products? Check out our Calendar of Events to visit us live! Every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.you can find us at the Artisan Exchange located at 208 Carter Drive, West Chester, PA  19382.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The three main ingredients in our Gourmet Luxury Soap: By Theresa & Timothy Minor

Our goal at UESS is to educate our customers. We want you to have real and correct information. We will be reviewing some of the main oils/butters that we use in our Gourmet Luxury Soap. Shea Butter, Olive Oil and Coconut Oil. This week we are going to discuss the benefits of these fatty acids as it relates to soapmaking.

Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Shea Butter is extracted from fruit of the Karite tree which is native to the savannahs of western and central Africa. Shea Butter is rich in vitamins A and E, and it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Shea Butter is a triglyceride (fat) derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid. We use Shea Butter in many of our handcrafted products because of the multiple benefits that it provides for skincare. The benefits of using Shea butter include, but are not limited to, nourishing dry skin, minimizing blemishes, combatting wrinkles, and stretch mark prevention during pregnancy. It is also widely used by people suffering from Eczema, Dermatitis and Psoriasis.

Image courtesy of bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Olive Oil, like many other oils, is an oil that is highly favorable. Olive oil is mainly used for cooking, however, it has many other uses as well.
Today you can find Olive oil in cosmetics and hair care products. You can find two grades of Olive oil in UESS products, Pure and Pomace Olive OilsOlive Oil has a high level of unsaponifiables, meaning it contains components that will not turn into soap when combined with lye.This is extremely important because the unsaponifiables help to achieve high levels of moisture. The benefits of Olive oil include, but are not limited to, moisture for extremely dry skin, helps to maintain soft and smooth skin, and contains antioxidants and Vitamin E which helps the skin to regenerate and  increases the elasticity of the skin.  

Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Coconut Oil is obtained from Copra, which is dried coconut meat. Coconut Oil provides wonderful lathering and moisturizing properties to soap. In soapmaking Coconut oil is an anomaly and it helps achieve huge bubbles. The benefits of Coconut oil include but are not limited to its ability to penetrate deep into the skin and it also helps to condition, moisturize, and softens the skin. In addition, it can also help shrink wrinkles, sooth bug bites,and protect your skin against sun damage. It has also been used to help keep tans longer. 

At UESS we are committed to using vegetable-based oils and butters. In addition, to these three fatty acids we discussed today, we also used Mango butter, Rice Bran oil, and Grape Seed oil in many of our signature handcrafted luxury bath & body products. Our goal is to help refresh, renew, and replenish your skin.
 
Please feel free to comment or post any questions you may have.


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Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Who What When Why of Urban Essence Salon & Spa - Our journey into the Bath & Body Products industry, By Theresa & Timothy Minor

Theresa making soap
When we started our company 11 years ago our intention was to have a full service Salon & Spa. During that time  in 2003, there were a few things that was going on in our life. Our sisters started their journey into parenthood, and with that, we had new additions to our family. Along with the births of our nieces & nephews came eczema a skin aliment that was not familiar to our family. Simultaneously, while we were setting up our business, we discovered that opening a Salon & Spa was not going to be easy. We needed to raise capital and I came up with the idea to sell baskets with lotion, soap and body spray. Me being the person that I am, I wanted those products to bear our name. I did an extensive search on the internet and found several companies that did private labeling. We ended up having a full line of bath & body products and at the time, I was very happy with the private label company that we were using. I  always had an interest in making handmade items, so conversations I had with the private label owner peaked my interest. I never thought  I would be interested in this sort of thing. My interests were in Information Technology not bath & body products and definitely not making it! At this time, the handmade bath & body industry was not new, there were only a small number of people making products. Handmade product makers did not like to share their list of suppliers, and it was by accident that I discovered the supplier that my candle maker was using. 

Theresa pouring fragrance in the soap pot

Meanwhile, while all of this was going on, I had already setup our business and the name Urban Essence Salon & Spa was set. Remember we were opening a Salon & Spa not a Bath & Body shop. After about 2 years of buying our products from the private label company, the owner started a family of her own and decided to sell her business. I was devastated and felt like someone put the brakes on our business because at this time we started to build a base of customers and we were far away from opening a Salon & Spa. I was very disappointed to say the least! I started to do extensive research on the internet to find companies that sold base products. More importantly, I was looking for a company that sold base products that was similar to what we were already using. Then one day I found the exact company that our private label company was buying their bases from. I thought to myself, "all this time she was not even making the products, she was just adding fragrance and color and re-packaging." I could do that. right? After about 6 months the owner of the private label company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in buying her supplies along with her recipes and list of suppliers. After we purchased everything we needed to get started, I then had to get started on making our label and packaging looked just like the one we were already using. So by 2005 we were on our way to making our products using bases for everything and our soap was made with a glycerin base which was good but not great! I, like most people, was scared of the cold process method of making soap. More importantly, it was the lye I was afraid of.

Timothy making soap
I was still researching and continued to learn about making our products. All the while, my husband Timothy realized early on that we had little control over the ingredients that were actually in the products we were selling. He kept saying to me "you need to make everything!" Then I came across a class that was being offered in Washington, DC on cold process soap making. Who could pass up a road trip with a purpose, so I registered for the class. It was a Saturday morning that Timothy and I hopped into the car and drove to DC from Philadelphia so that I could take the class. Timothy waited for me patiently in the car for over 6 hours while I attend the class. Remember, at this time there was little to no YouTube videos and Blogs on making soap. I had the process figured out, I just about bought every book I could find on making cold process soap. I just needed to see the process performed! From that day on we stopped using glycerin bases for soap and started making our own cold process soap.

Cutting soap
So by the end of 2007, we were no longer using bases for any of our products. As we started to gain more and more recognition, we realized that we wanted to offer our customers quality products that contained an equal amount of the highlighted ingredients. Over time we have developed several new recipes for not only our Gourmet Luxury Soap but also for our Whipped Body Butter, Bath Teas, Bath Bonbons, Bath Salts, Hand & Body Lotion, Bath & Shower Gel, Sugar Scrub, Foaming Butter Scrub, Herbal Wheat & Oat Shampoo, Herbal Wheat & Oat Conditioner, and many other products that we currently carry. This has allowed us to be able to offer our customers customized products to fit their individual needs. It's nice to be in control. Right? Our goal at Urban Essence Salon & Spa is to create recipes for our products that do more than cleanse and moisturize, we want it the invoke a great personal and lasting EXPERIENCE!

Please feel free to comment or post any questions you may have.



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