Sorry I took so long to reply! I haven't checked in with Indie Business as much as I'd like, but I love the ideas and inspiration here. I'm usually on our companies email lately, rather then the design email. I hope you DO get a chance to give the Little Penguins Online products a try...you and your girls are the reason they were created. I'll send you little samples of the ones you don't get, and you can play! Nice to hear from you:)
Ever since I started focusing on online sales, I have been working hard on photography since that is what has to sell the piece. Silver can be reflective and sometimes you don't even see the reflection until you are editing the film and then you see the camera or the silver looks green and you realize you have a green shirt on. The light box I have has a zippered piece that can be put over the front and you can close the zipper such that only the camera lens sticks through. The fabric is white so it helps with reflection.
I think the hardest are pieces that have both light and dark beads and also transparent beads - they do not want to photography well on anything! I just keep at it and over time get better and better. If you have any specific photos you are not happy with, I can look at them and see if I can offer any advice. There is also a wealth of advice online and in the Etsy forums if you look there - search on photos or photography.
I just processed your application for Apprentice membership in the Indie Beauty Network! Welcome! I hope you enjoy the benefits of membership, including Indie Beauty University and all of the 30-Minute Beauty Breaks, Power Hours and coaching available at our private networking site!!
Please stay in touch with me to let me know how you are doing, and keep me posted on your progress as you move through the classes.
I think Essential Wholesale does has a service where they will produce/manufacture your own formulations. However their minimums when I looked into it were just to high for my needs and the upfront cost was to great for my tiny budding company!
Essential Wholesale is great for custom blending or even their stock creams and lotion bases are great also. They also have developed a challenge tested natural preservative for a number of their lotions and creams. Hope this helps!