I bet you thought Hildegard is a new postulant!

Actually Hildegard is our new packaging system in the soap department!

As our Cloister Shoppe has grown and we were surprised with "Christmas in July" we realized we needed to investigate better ways of packaging our soaps. Not only did we need to be more efficient we were concerned with the possibility of repetitive motion injuries. And frankly, Sr. Mary Catharine was really tired of the sound of the heat gun running all day long!

Not knowing even what we were looking for we contacted other companies, particularly private label soap manufacturers and packaging companies for some ideas. Most had equipment way beyond what we needed and way beyond our the budget we would have...if we even had one!

Finally, thanks to the patient  listening and expert advice of Marci of Propac we purchased an L-bar- shrink tunnel system. It arrived on September 17th, feast of St. Hildegard. DSC_5583 DSC_5584 The first few weeks were a little frustrating as we became "friends" (as in LIKE ME) with the system. As is often the case with learning a new system we had to put aside our old way of doing things in order to become efficient in the new one. Sort of like the spiritual life, don't you think?

Now, several hundred bars of soap later we're almost pros!

Our new packaging also has some great benefits for our customers!

First, as we package the soap a tiny wheel rotates to perforate the plastic. We dubbed it the "Catherine wheel" after St. Catherine of Alexandria! What's so great about those infinitesimal holes? It means that now you can smell the soap through the packaging! We've caught a few sisters doing just that, by the way! Second, we now use polyolefin not PVC shrink film. It's got some great advantages such as it is a lot easier to UNWRAP the soap! And some people will love that it is good for the environment as PVC releases small quantities of hydrogen Chloride into the air which polyolefin doesn't. We're proud to say we can now say the word POLYOLEFIN fast!

Probably most companies wouldn't think twice about going into new equipment as we have! They wouldn't have named their sealer and shrink tunnel after the saint of the day, either! But in the monastery we are grateful everyday for each gift the Lord gives us and we tend to find new challenges not only an opportunity to grow but fun, too!

Go to The Cloister Shoppe to check out our products!