First holiday selling soap...

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CTAnton

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...and my first rant.This thread is coming about in some ways from the knowledge that Carolyn's daughter is having to move on from her soap making business due to competition and DIY sites....
I've made mostly MP soaps for the holiday...peeps and eggs..all with SFIC bases shipped freight across the country to improve my profit margin.I wholesale to one shop and 2 of my friends have them in their shops. All have been well received and quite novel at least to this area.Just a little merchandising tip...I gave a bunch of them to the gals at the post office to decorate with; customers are told where they can buy them.
The last couple of days I've spent playing with the numbers as they say...breaking down what my costs are and applying all the various formulas presented on this forum as to what to charge . I've also checked out the local competition, mostly a CP goat milk soaper that has this area so sewn up it astounds me. I totally understand her marketing strategy...one general soap formula amended with different colors and scents with none of the artistry displayed here by so many. Packaging is a cigar band which in some in venues, with flocks of chickens 100 feet away , albeit outside, sort of doesn't rock my boat. Locally I've only seen 1 glycerin soap line being carried, very plain jane ; basically a 3 ounce square of soap shrink wrapped .
So where am I going with this? Simply this is at times a daunting business adventure. Thank goodness I love making soap. I live in a what I call a high rent district but there is a lot of resistance to anything over 5 dollars a bar retail. By the time I pay my business expenses there's not much left over . I'm checking my expectations currently and pulling back dramatically. Product recognition and loyalty is going to take years to develop. It's NOT the case, simplistic as it may seem, that if you make it they will buy it.
So there's my rant . Again, thank goodness I love making soap. But as I like to say, reality has reared its ugly head and I'm reassessing my expectations.
I do want to thank you all for all the information provided so freely; in this political year where as a nation we find ourselves moving from the school playground to the circus, this forum has renewed my faith in my fellow man.
 

Susie

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When I got the, "You must sell your soap, you'll get rich!" line from so many family members, I assessed my area's farmer's markets and flea markets. There were too many people making soap (and not selling it well) for me to think to break into it. It was very disappointing. However, the booth costs plus the time and gas it took to get that soap to the market would have made my soap over $6 a bar. Which was $1 more than the lowest competition. I don't know how they were making any money, except for the ones with other products for sale.
 

shunt2011

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I know I'm not going to get rich doing this. However it's very therapeutic and enjoyable for me so I continue to do it. I do make some money which helps. But I can't quit my day job.
 

LisaAnne

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Making soap makes me very happy, it's a healthy obsession. If one day I am lucky enough to be able to cover costs I would feel very successful. Until then, I will make soap for the pure joy of it. Sorry about your disappointment.
 

Stacyspy

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I sell on a small scale, and in order to make any profit, I only do the smaller shows and one farmers' market, because they are less booth rental, and closer to home. I also have 2 small commercial accounts that help defray cost. It helps that I'm in a rural area, and there aren't a ton of soapers.
I also use specialty oils, powders, and EO's sparingly, as I can't really charge more per bar of soap, even if I market it as a "specialty soap".
 

cmzaha

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I also love making soap and will keep on, but I also sell crochet shawls, hats and scarfs along with my hubby's golf art pieces. Friday I was really excited to see 3 of the soapmakers missing from my main market. I know, if it was one of you sorry :evil: Yeah! Sorry to tell them, this is truly my market and they will not outlast me, plus their rent is now $60 per night... Looks like there is only one left that must think she will push me out. Nope not happening, this keeps the hubby and I going with extra money. Almost all my groceries and supplies come from my box money for the week. We have incentives for return customers and they never leave the booth without a gift, which can be anywhere from a lotion sample to a crochet face scrubby. I do not make soaps with low quality and do not have premium or regular soaps. If they do not pass my scrutiny they do not get sold. The only different priced soaps are some geared to facial bars, they are actually same price but an oz smaller, which makes up for the extra additives. It is hard hard work to survive this but we love it. The other advantage of doing weekly markets is free veggies from my farmer friends and free food from a fantastic Greek food vendor in our market. A few strategically placed bars of soap go a long way in the market with building vendor relationships. I love the "Barter" system. Just finished up pouring some lego type soaps for a vendor's boy that loves them and they get me all the strawberries I want!

My daughter has not quit completely just taking some time off and we will still have our site up. This week she is pouring butterfly and fairy m&p soaps for her booth

I want to wish everyone a good selling year with the holiday season approaching. My first Spring Holiday show is coming up but I think I am passing on it this year after 5 yrs. During Christmas she had 6 soap sellers and one of my soaper friends has been faithfully in that market for over 15 yrs. She sold 2 bars one of the days and she told me they were from a couple I sent out to her. Just emailed to see if she is going to attend the Spring show, probably not.
 

CTAnton

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Thanks all for your responses....the saying misery loves company comes to mind....but truly, I love doing this...everyone who has tried my soap has been amazed at it's longevity and how it washes off so completely....I think the element I'm neglecting to factor in is time to build customer loyalty as well as targeting my products to higher end establishments...I guess I'm not going to be soap maker to the masses..LOL...nor will I ever aspire to a Irish Spring dupe...
 

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