Category Archives: Updates

What’s going on with Dark Heart?

I was going to post this as an update, but I thought a blog post would provide more room to write, and be shareable across our social media so more of our fans will see the post.

Personally, this year, though it has only been four months so far, has been both unbelievably busy and wonderful. We finally moved out of our apartment and into a house after looking for 6+ months and having things fall through. We had originally planned to move a little further south, so I put in applications for jobs there. When we finally found our current house, we had decided to stay in the same town. Before we moved, one of the companies I applied for called me for an interview and I started working for them. The only problem was the 1 ½ drive there and back, and the fact that since we stayed in the same town, I was still working my 1st job.

Between trying to work two jobs, move everything in, clean up the apartment so we could turn in the keys, and getting the new house set so we could at least live in it, I was seriously spreading myself too thin. The time I had to work on stock, packing orders, and shipping seriously decreased. Instead of completely closing the shop, since Storenvy doesn’t have a vacation mode, it only says the store isn’t there, I changed most of the items to preorder and tried to change the TAT (turn around time) to something I felt was a closer estimate.

Last week I finally decided to put in my notice at the second job and pursue cosmetology. I gave it my best shot, but in the end it can’t compare to Dark Heart and how much I love makeup. I have to work those two weeks, and then we’ll be back on track. Orders will be caught up, contest prizes will be sent, stock will be updated, and new products will be added to the store. I’ve missed everyone so much, and I can’t wait to get back to DHD and the makeup community.

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Where’s my favorite Dark Heart product?!

Wondering where the rest of our product line is? Have no worry! They haven’t bit the big one. I’m just trying to make sure that plenty of stock is made so that orders can be filled in a timely manner. No one wants to wait around forever for something they’re excited for. Thanks for understanding while Dark Heart grows more efficient.

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Here’s an update on what I’m doing, and what the story is on some of your favorite products:

Stocking Products:

  • Liquid Shines: Now stocking (In stock in 1 week)
  • Face Primer: This is next on my list to stock (In stock in 1-2 weeks)
  • Lip sticks: Order tubes & make stock
  • Lip Gloss: Reformulate gloss base & make stock
  • Mascaras: Need to make stock
  • Eye Light Gel Liners: Reformulate shades containing blue pigment & make stock
  • Themed Collections: Need to make stock

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New Releases:

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Too Late for Love: A Valentine Collection

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While I was unable to release the Dark Heart Valentine collection in time due to health reasons, the new collection will still be available. This year’s collection features two sparkly shadows and our first two matte shades that we’ve ever released.

When I made the V-day collection I had HIM’s song St Valentine playing in my head. In case you’re not familiar it, this is the chorus:

“Hey baby let me be your Valentine, St. Valentine…
Suck the sorrow out of you and try to keep the lie alive.
Like St. Valentine”

I decided to theme the whole collection based on some of my favorite HIM songs, two being themed towards lighter, uncomplicated types of love while the other two are darker in theme and color.

  • St. Valentine – A matte pink with a very subtle twist of lavender
  • In Joy and Sorrow – A shimmery beige-gold
  • Heartkiller – A deep matte brown
  • Wicked Game – A shimmery copper-brown

A few special editions of this collection came with two of our nail polish prototypes. They may return when we’re able to work on the polish line exclusively.

With FlashWithout

Swatches are by Ashley of ~Randomly Me~. The left is with flash and the right is without.

Where to buy:

This collection will be available primarily through Ebay’s Giving Works charity listings. I’ve wanted to donate and be involved with charities for a while now but I get so busy its hard to keep track of the funding. I want to make sure things are legitimately going to the charities they should be. By listing with Giving Works, they take care of all that and all I’ll have to do is set up the item and ship it once its sold.

I thought limiting this collection to charity would be a great way to support some good causes and make it even more special. Some sets will also be sponsored by some of your favorite artists.

The first set is sponsored by Katie Alves. You might know her from her amazing makeup scenes like the following:

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You can find her sponsored collection listing here, where 60% of the final price goes to the Humane Society: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Too-Late-For-Love-A-HIM-Inspired-Handmade-Cosmetic-Collection/171034209432?ssPageName=WDVW&rd=1&ih=007&category=36865&cmd=ViewItem

Q: Where is Dark Heart?

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A: On Vacation! After our big Black November sale (and I mean big! It did way better than expected and took me quite a while to catch back up), I got pretty burned out and decided I needed a break.

Rest assured it’s not permanent. Although I had some health concerns lately and wasn’t sure I would be able to reopen, I’m improving and ready to start working on DHD again. At this time I don’t have a set reopening date. I have a time frame that I’d like to meet, but there are products and other things I want to do before I get bogged down with orders. I have a little time now, so I want to complete some things before returning.

In the meantime, while we’re working on tons of new Dark Heart goodies you can stay updated on our Facebook Fanpage here: https://www.facebook.com/darkheartdesigns. Myself and the other girls that help me tend to answer there pretty regularly so please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you my lovelies!

Gel Blush Update

As you may recall, I asked a few of you that received free Eyelixir samples to throw them away due a natural preservative I originally used in the formula. It has come to my attention that this preservative was also in the initial free samples of gel blush. While I would prefer not to use chemicals in my products, in some instances, such as any formulation containing water as an ingredient, a broad spectrum preservative is required. While the samples were free, I will happily replace them if you contact me, and I apologize that I wasn’t able to catch this before it became a problem. I’m going to hold new products for longer testing periods, and due to the nature of modifying formulas, I’m going to start using batch numbers on my products from now on so that it will be easier to pinpoint which products may be problematic. Thank you all, and if you share any status, please let it be this one. I would rather everyone know of my mistake and be safe, than attempt to cover it up to save face. Thank you for your continued support, and anyone who received a sample has my sincerest apologies, and a promise to replace/refund anything that is less than satisfactory and/or safe.

Dark Heart is Back!

It’s been a long while, but I’m finally back on my feet enough to make things better. I’m sorry to everyone that was upset and/or disappointed during the Heartsy sale, for any reason. I now aim to use that experience, and never, ever make the same mistake again. Here’s how I’m going to change that.

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Ordering:

We will no longer take “orders”. If the items are not already made, labeled, and sealed, they will not be in the shop. You will not have to wait for anything to be prepared for you order, unless it is a custom order. For those arrangements, we will not accept payment until the order is completed, and ready to send (if it is a large or special order, we may ask for partial payment to replace supplies, should you decide to cancel your order before completion).

 

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Turn around time & shipping:

In order to stay on top of orders, and have a reasonable amount of time between the date of your order, and the date of its shipment, we’re implementing a new policy. From now on, any order that is placed will ship within four business days of it’s purchase date. If your order does not ship within four days, you will receive a full refund, and you order will still be shipped within a reasonable time.  The only time that this policy will not be in effect, is during events that are beyond our control, such as natural disasters, a death in the family, or a health problem that is severe enough to stop me from being able to run my business. In any of theses instances, I will do whatever I can to close the shop before, or directly after they occur.

 

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Customer Service:

I will still be handling some customer service communication, such as how to order, when an item will be back in stock, if a custom item or order can be made, etc. All other communications will be answered by our new customer service rep so that all conversations will remain professional.

 

Shop

 

In other news, we’ve finally opened the new shop! We’re working on stocking all of our items for order, so that they may be shipped out right away. Please take a moment to check it out, and let me know what you think: http://darkheartdesigns.storenvy.com

Dark Heart & Heartsy: Where it all went wrong…

First off, I would like to thank Ana of Lipsticks and Lightsabers for bringing some of the issues to my attention, so I can respond to them.

Now, down to business. First off, I am sincerely sorry, beyond words, for the amount of time that everyone has had to wait to receive their orders from the Heartsy deal. I feel terrible that you have all had to wait, and that, for most of you, this is the first experience you’ll have with my shop. I want to take a moment to explain how all this mess happened.

 

Duh Moment #1:

 

Etsy

 

My company is not a very big one, even by indie standards. My shop opened in March of 2010, and I’ve had 199 sales from that date, until now. Here’s where the duh part starts. 199 sales from March of 2010 until August of 2011 divides out to about 11 orders a month. I can handle that number with no problem, but, I didn’t think to work out these numbers before I signed up for the sale. I’ve learned my lesson on what I can, and can’t handle, and I apologize to everyone that I had to learn the hard way.

 

The Heartsy mess:

 

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I’ve attached the original email from Heartsy to this post, to explain why I foolishly offered so many vouchers from my shop. If you’ll notice in the paragraph numbered 1, the Heartsy representative explains how many vouchers are usually offered, and that I’m highly unlikely to sell all my vouchers. Given this statement, and the fact that my goal of going on Heartsy is to draw more exposure for my shop, I decide I need to offer more than 75, just to get that exposure. Due to the statement from the representative that few sellers sell out, I get the impression that it’s safe to offer 150 vouchers. I finalize everything with Heartsy, and my offer is ready to go live.

 

Now this is where it really gets messy:

 

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This is an excerpt from an email that Heartsy sent me on how to set up vouchers. I follow the instructions, and my deal starts. After receiving 9 pages of orders (pages, not orders. Each page averages about 6-10 orders), I received another email from Heartsy, stating that they didn’t realize my shop was an Artfire shop, not an Etsy shop, although in previous emails, they made statements that suggest that had looked at my shop. In the middle of my deal, with orders rolling in left and right, I’m told to change the entire checkout process. I responded to the email, as I’ve had no problem with orders so far, and this is a reply from the Heartsy rep:

 

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After this, I change my checkout from manually approving the order, to having customers use coupon codes. Half of the time the coupon codes don’t work, and I still have to manually approve, and fix orders. During this time, I’m also answering emails from confused customers, as everything has changed. In the middle of taking care of this, I realize I can no longer track the Heartsy vouchers because half of my orders have voucher numbers, and the rest use a coupon codes. The paperwork side of my deal becomes an absolute clusterf*ck that takes me two weeks to somewhat sort through the mess, as much as I possibly can.

Why didn’t I worry about the amount of orders I was getting during this time? I love filling orders, and I still didn’t realize how out of hand it was going to be. I was actually excited, and thought I was doing something good.

 

Filling orders:

 

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After I managed to sort all of the paperwork out, I was also ordering the supplies to fill all of the orders. When they finally arrived, I started filling orders. I get through about two pages, and realize I’m in way over my head. With my discounted deal, my orders average to 3 jars per order, although there are more that have 4. This is approximately 300 jars. I’ve been filling, packing, and shipping orders as fast as I can, with the few hours I have to spend after work everyday, and usually all weekend. I really feel like I’m not getting through the orders at all, and I know everyone is waiting for them.

 

The Gel Liners:

 

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The gel liners were made during the time that I was waiting for supplies to fill the orders. I listed them in between filling orders, when my hands were hurting me, and I needed a break. I apologize if this appeared to take time away from anyone’s order. I promise you, it did not.

 

Why I didn’t close the shop:

 

I realize now, that I probably should have done this anyway, but at the time I was getting no orders, besides Heartsy voucher orders. I changed a statement in my shop to reflect the extended ship time, as I still wanted to be able to get the Heartsy orders on my list, so I knew what I had to fill, and ship off. I apologize if this gave anyone the impression that I was taking orders outside of the vouchers, and shipping them first. Both of my shops remained open, but any orders that were placed are in line after the Heartsy orders.

 

My final statement:

 

I realize that I have handled my Heartsy deal poorly. To everyone that was effected, I am extremely sorry. I apologize for any wait that you may have had to endure, for any distress or anger you may have towards me, or my company, or anything else that you feel I may have done wrong, or handled poorly. I hope you can forgive me, as I sincerely did not mean to disappoint anyone. I have learned very much from this sale, and I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me, and my company, and I hope you’ll accept my apology. Thank you for your business, your patience, your advice, and your help through this deal. I’m hoping to have the last of it finished very soon, and I hope I haven’t disappointed you all too much, because I know without my customers, I have nothing. Thank, and I’m sorry again.

-Tina

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How do you make your own make up?

Image Credit: istockphoto.com

I’m often asked how I make my own make up. The answer is simple. It’s like making cookies or a cake from scratch. You purchase the ingredients, you formulate a recipe, you make it, and you try it out. Then you tweak it god knows how many times, and finally come up with a finished product that you’re satisfied with. That’s just the very basics. Add into that hours upon hours of research, testing different ingredients, and the failures when it doesn’t go right. Then you have to find containers, make labels, open a shop, make promotional materials, and hit the streets and the social networks with it. I’m currently in the stage of getting my product out there and to do that I’ve sent out tons of free samples. In all it’s probably cost me about $500 out of my own pocket to get started. Now the metaphorical ball is just barely starting to roll and my business is picking up.

I have no problem giving out information on how I make the products. I do, however, have a problem with giving out my supplier information and detailed descriptions of how I make my products. I have spent countless hours reading information on formulating, running a business, selling products, blogging, and tons of other things in an attempt to learn myself. With all the time and money I’ve invested in my business, I think it a rite of passage for anyone who wants to start their own. I do understand I will have competition no matter what I do. I just don’t want to give out information that could put someone in direct competition with my business. It has taken a lot for me to get where I am and I would appreciate it if people would, respectfully, not as me those questions as I can’t answer them.

There’s still more to hand making cosmetics. You need a sanitary location, (I have a room specifically for my business), lots of gloves, and the intelligence to realize you’re making something that people will use on their bodies and it needs to be free from any contamination. I take great pride in my work and I sincerely enjoy my customers. I hope that will show as my business continues to grow.

Pretty Packaging!

Everyone loves getting mail. Especially beautiful, well packaged mail. Most cosmetics come in pretty, fancy boxes which are then sent in lovely, decorated mailers. I won’t lie. I, too, am a sucker for pretty things. My MAC brush set that I was given for Christmas came in a tasteful box that I loved. However, one of my favorites has to be Amy’s packaging for her new line, Sugarpill. The boxes these products come in are miniature works of art. Unfortunately, I have no use for the empty box and it would look a little strange if I stuck it on my wall. Therefore, it ends up in the trash. How can you throw something like this away?

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. What good is all the beautiful packaging if it ends up in your junk drawer or the trash? It eventually ends up adding to those huge, unsightly landfills that pop up all over the place. I love giving my customers nice things but I can’t justify contributing to the amount of unrecycled trash we just dig a hole and bury. I want my company to be more environmentally aware and conservative. I’ve taken to cutting down on the amount of paper products I use. I would rather write things out by hand, giving my products a personal touch, then slapping more paper on it for the landfill. I want to take the time to personalize every order, so that my customers know that they mean something to me. They’re not just dollar signs and I can let them know this, and save my planet at the same time.
I urge you all to recycle everything you can. If not for yourself, then for the people of tomorrow. Your friends, family, children. Everyone who will be effected by the actions that we take today. http://earth911.com is an excellent place to find information about recycling, including local centers. You may be just one person, but one person can change the world, a little at a time!

What’s in your make up?

On the whole, I know more people who wear make up than people who don’t. Even a few guys. With that being said, I think more of us should question the things we put on our face. Our skin is our biggest organ. Logically we need to be careful what we expose it to. When I started making eye shadows, I started doing a lot of ingredient research. It made me realize how much unnecessary junk we end up smearing on our face.Parabens, dibutyl phthalates, etc. Most of that is those lovely carcinogens that masquerade in the form of preservatives. So the question is, how much of your health are you willing to sacrifice to be pretty?

Since everyone is becoming more aware of what their using, chemicals don’t have to be an issue anymore. A considerable amount of companies are starting to phase out those ingredients. All we need to is a basic knowledge of what to stay away from, and how to research the ingredients we’re not familiar with.One way to do this is by searching ingredients on the cosmetics database. I’d advise comparing these ingredient results with a google search. Some items on the database have data gaps, and if it really is a dangerous ingredient, you’re pretty likely to find it mentioned elsewhere.

 There are quite a few companies that make safe products. Morgana Minerals, Burt’s Bees, Fyrinnae, and my company, Dark Heart Designs, all offer products that are free from parabens and safe to use. I hope after reading this you’ll take your health into your own hands and be more aware of the things you’re using.