First boutique! How much soap and other items to bring? Other advice?

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It’s my first boutique! Excited and hopeful and unsure….. December 8 - took the day off work already! 5p-10p, with access to set up as early as 1030a, and ready for sales by 4:30p. Of course, I won’t set out product until I’m there in the afternoon to stay for the event.

Big church “Ladies Christmas Connect Dinner and Boutique” that a friend referred me for. I applied and was accepted.
It’s a dinner with a guest speaker, and boutique. They say ~320 ladies attend, they don’t allow more than 2 vendors with the same product line. I asked but haven’t gotten how many total vendors, but my friends that have attended say it’s super busy, fun, and a great time for the vendors and attendees.

I’m bringing;
Soap - GM is my base - several scents and designs; mechanics/garage/grime; small lard bars I label facial soaps; a vegan palm free color and scent free coconut milk.
Lotion bars - 3 scents
Sugar body scrubs - 3 scents
Lip scrub & lip serum packaged as a set - 2 flavors
Some gift baskets pre-packaged as sets with one of each

The big question is quantity- good new is if I over produce, it’s the holidays and I have lots of gifts for friends and family, so I’m not terribly worried about that. I would love all of the groups wisdom and recommendations on anything that will help me with my first adventure.

I did already get a nice stretchy black tablecloth for the 8ft table they provide, and will bring clips to pin up the back to hide my extra inventory.

TIA 🌸
 
With that many in attendance, I agree - bring as much as you can!

You mentioned lip scrub and lip serum; I recommend lip balms, as well. If you have time to make them, conditioner bars are usually good sellers, too (easier to sell than shampoo bars for those who have never tried them).

If possible, get a free card reader (Square, Stripel, etc.) and download the Venmo and PayPal apps so you can accept payments using your cell phone. I think it was @MelissaG who created a really cool sign with the scan-able QR codes for ease of payment, too.
 
I believe @DeeAnna (and maybe @lsg?) have kindly shared their lip balm recipes here on SMF. I think it was DeeAnna’s recipe that I have tried and tweaked, and it’s pretty popular with my users.

I’ve also tried some samples from a few forum members here, and all were really nice! I believe it comes down to whether one prefers a more occlusive “stiffer” balm, or more glide-y. People have definite opinions about that. ;) The glide level does change with the ambient temperature, too.
 
Thanks @Misschief and @AliOop - guess who will be making soap this weekend?
Do I have to go to work today? 😂

Perfect timing - I just received my lip balm tubes and the filler thing. Now to find a nice, trusty recipe…. I don’t see one on DIY, but Humblebee & Me has a lot of options. Any guidance? 🥰
This one is a popular one with my customers. Marie puts it in pots but I put it in tubes. As a matter of fact, I have one at my desk, one in my bathroom, one in my purse..... it's one of my personal faves.

https://www.humblebeeandme.com/moisturizing-overnight-lip-mask/
 
A while back I noticed a few vendors where I was selling only took Zelle, Venmo or cash. I asked them if it affected their sales and they said it didn't, so I quit Square and Paypal altogether because they take a hunk of whatever you bring in. Just a thought. Also, if you have help, take lots of product, but if you are doing this by yourself, make sure you can handle it all, especially if you have to erect a tent and add lights. I always make sure I take plenty of business cards because sometimes people don't buy, but if they take your card they might call afterwards. Also, if you have free samples, that always helps. Sometimes I cut up soaps and put them in baggies with my business card. If you have lotion bars, I put some on a plate and cut off tiny pieces so people can try them before they buy (without having to share using the lotion bar). I also have a sample lotion and body butter that people can try. Good luck!
 
I did a master gardener convention once with hours similar to yours. I had more customers than I could manage for an hour and then nothing as the dinner and speaker part of the program was going on. A few after the program because someone was impressed with another's purchases. Definitely be there and ready to sell at 4:30. Make sure you think your table looks good, that you are set up to work in a hurry and take enough merchandise that you feel good about your booth. You won't sell to every person and 324 people although nice will mean 30 sales if 10% purchase. Don't take so much merchandise that you won't know what to do with it at the end of the show if not sold. Most important for a first show is to have fun. Enjoy talking to customers. You will learn a lot.

Since this is a holiday boutique, your best sales will probably be for gifts. A new user of my product usually purchases a small amount and if they like will purchase more the next time I see them. For gifts they may need 3-5. My focus wouldn't be on ingredients as much as looks. Everyone wants a gift to look nice. Most people need either teacher gifts, Secret Santas, stocking stuffers, office gifts; all small-priced items that are difficult to find. Our products are perfect plus they may need 2 or 10. Single bars are good for this, but they need to be packaged as a gift. A lotion bar/lip balm is also nice. I use simple cello sacks and red/green ribbon bow to package. I arrange a few around boxes tiered to mimic a tree. Have more packaging if they sell. I package a couple of 3-packs so that image is available for a bit nicer gift. More expensive packages/baskets have not been good sellers for me. Your table needs to have some soap/product unwrapped for customers to smell since people won't buy sight/smell unseen. Still, you want customers to see your table as potential for gifts when they walk up.

I would add a red/green table runner to the black cover and any ribbon/paper/boxes needed to make sure they have a Christmas look. If you need display boxes, cover with Xmas wrapping paper either with tape or spray adhesive.
 
I did a trial run at my set up - still a few things to adjust… note, this isn’t the tablecloth I’m using and this is my kitchen table, but the length is correct.
All suggestions are welcome, 10 days away.
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Very nice! Here are my thoughts…
The soap rack and the stand to the left look great - the more vertical the better. If you can elevate the items on the far left, I would recommend it. Right now the sign sort of blocks them. Same with the items on the far right.
I would go over the print on the price signs with paint marker again - they are a little faint. Here’s what I do for my price signs. The less people have to figure things out, the better.
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Consider getting some battery powered fairy lights to drape around the table. Not flickering. I do that at all my winter indoor markets.
Do you have a sign or banner? If you did, i would safety pin it to your tablecloth. If not I think they are a good investment. I see your company name but it’s small. Maybe for a future event.
Good luck!
 
The table looks nice. How/where will you take payment and package? I would give myself a designated spot to stand, package, and take payment. It might need to be at the end of the table or behind the table but I like for a customer to be able to place their purchase items somewhere. Personally, I like signs behind the product. I want the customer to be picking up the testers and not knocking over the sign. I agree on putting the end items on a riser (Christmas box). If your table is only 30" tall the more items that you have raised to 36" height the less the customer (and you) has to bend down to see them. I would definitely put the cupcakes on a box riser. They are cute and just look like a gift. I would want to highlight them. I think the tablecloth is nice; I would use it.
 
I would go over the print on the price signs with paint marker again - they are a little faint. Here’s what I do for my price signs. The less people have to figure things out, the better.
Thank you! I did a paint over on my signs and did a shout out to friends and family for risers! I appreciate all your feedback. 🥰

The table looks nice. How/where will you take payment and package? I would give myself a designated spot to stand, package, and take payment. It might need to be at the end of the table or behind the table but I like for a customer to be able to place their purchase items somewhere. Personally, I like signs behind the product. I want the customer to be picking up the testers and not knocking over the sign. I agree on putting the end items on a riser (Christmas box). If your table is only 30" tall the more items that you have raised to 36" height the less the customer (and you) has to bend down to see them. I would definitely put the cupcakes on a box riser. They are cute and just look like a gift. I would want to highlight them. I think the tablecloth is nice; I would use it.
Thanks so much! Very helpful. I appreciate your feedback. 🥰
 
Oh gosh, yes! I’ve been meaning to post about it! First off, to all our friends that do markets - hats off to you - that is a LOT of work, energy and effort to do! All the set up before and pack up after, plus all the talking and interaction - and I’m a talker and extrovert! Wowwie!
I was the first table inside the room, so I had the opportunity to say hello and pull people to my table. I had lots of soap sniffers, but to my surprise, my soap was not the big sell item. Even in gift packs with a lotion bar. What did sell the most was sugar scrubs, lotion bars and lip scrub/lip serum sets. The sugar scrub and lotion bars samples so people could sniff them woo’d them in. The lip serum sample I used to put some on the backs of everyone’s hands with a “oh my gosh, feel that on your winter dry skin” and “this is a great stocking stuffer” was a hit.
Fun story, the next day a friends daughter had a birthday party, and she sent me a picture of a gift she was given - it was from my booth! Heheheheee - what are the odds?!?
I learned a lot - I love my tablecloth, and I was so glad I had an extra to cover my totes I used to block the side of the table so everyone didn’t see the back area, and it gave me a space for my extra inventory at an easy reach. I need to figure out something to make the side of my soap display interesting.
It was fun to do some trades of good with other vendors, too!
After all my expenses, I made more than I had hoped for; and I have a nice amount left for gifting to all my friends and family.
Here’s 2 pics of my display - I used everyone’s feedback - added a lip balm in tubes, made my signs more readable, made a QR code payment sign, was ready for cash with lots of small bills, had some peppermint candies and holiday decor, put signs behind products, and had samples for sniffing.
IMG_5051.jpeg
IMG_2012.jpeg
 
Oh gosh, yes! I’ve been meaning to post about it! First off, to all our friends that do markets - hats off to you - that is a LOT of work, energy and effort to do! All the set up before and pack up after, plus all the talking and interaction - and I’m a talker and extrovert! Wowwie!
I was the first table inside the room, so I had the opportunity to say hello and pull people to my table. I had lots of soap sniffers, but to my surprise, my soap was not the big sell item. Even in gift packs with a lotion bar. What did sell the most was sugar scrubs, lotion bars and lip scrub/lip serum sets. The sugar scrub and lotion bars samples so people could sniff them woo’d them in. The lip serum sample I used to put some on the backs of everyone’s hands with a “oh my gosh, feel that on your winter dry skin” and “this is a great stocking stuffer” was a hit.
Fun story, the next day a friends daughter had a birthday party, and she sent me a picture of a gift she was given - it was from my booth! Heheheheee - what are the odds?!?
I learned a lot - I love my tablecloth, and I was so glad I had an extra to cover my totes I used to block the side of the table so everyone didn’t see the back area, and it gave me a space for my extra inventory at an easy reach. I need to figure out something to make the side of my soap display interesting.
It was fun to do some trades of good with other vendors, too!
After all my expenses, I made more than I had hoped for; and I have a nice amount left for gifting to all my friends and family.
Here’s 2 pics of my display - I used everyone’s feedback - added a lip balm in tubes, made my signs more readable, made a QR code payment sign, was ready for cash with lots of small bills, had some peppermint candies and holiday decor, put signs behind products, and had samples for sniffing.
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View attachment 75668
Awesome! Congratulations on your success! And good luck with any future boutiques you do!
I attempted a couple of craft fairs with a crafty girlfriend ~ I did my beaded jewelry and she did her handmade purses, and we coordinated a handful of sets to help pull it together, but we were clearly out of our league. That takes a certain mindset above and beyond just being crafty, and I am not the boutique kind of girl ~ so I just make my jewelry as gifts 😁
 
@dmcgee5034 Your table set-up looks great! Soap was the slowest seller at our boutique, as well, with lip balms doing just ok.

However, lotions and scrubs were sold out and backordered. People were also bemoaning that this year I didn't bring lip scrubs, lotion bars, or solid lotion sticks, i.e., lotion bars in mini twist-up deo containers. Unfortunately, by the time all the ingredients and containers arrived, I was out of time and energy to make anything more. Honestly, it is the labeling of everything that wears me out!
 
Honestly, it is the labeling of everything that wears me out!
So true! Not only labeling, but also the many other tasks that are necessary to make it all happen: sourcing and purchasing supplies, record-keeping, social media posting, and on and on. The actual making of all our goodies sometimes seems like just a small part of what we do!

Congratulations @dmcgee5034 for pulling off a very professional first market!
 
I'm slowly catching up on many missed threads due to traveling to so many Craft Fairs this year. I can say, I sold a lot of soap but the surprise for us this year was the lotions! I had to remake lotions 3 times, make chap sticks for every new craft fair (labeling & sealing those little tubes.... yuck!) and lotion bar tubes...... hard to keep in stock but somehow I did it. Oh! And the Dog Shampoos & Sprays, I ran out. Glad the season is over. Now, maybe I can keep up with the soap list!

My hat goes off to everyone out there helping to Keep the World Clean!

Merry Christmas the everyone!
 

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I'm slowly catching up on many missed threads due to traveling to so many Craft Fairs this year. I can say, I sold a lot of soap but the surprise for us this year was the lotions! I had to remake lotions 3 times, make chap sticks for every new craft fair (labeling & sealing those little tubes.... yuck!) and lotion bar tubes...... hard to keep in stock but somehow I did it. Oh! And the Dog Shampoos & Sprays, I ran out. Glad the season is over. Now, maybe I can keep up with the soap list!

My hat goes off to everyone out there helping to Keep the World Clean!

Merry Christmas the everyone!
Sounds like we had similar experiences with the lotion bars in tubes. They are definitely a big hit around here!

Merry Christmas to you, too! 🎄
 

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