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First market success!

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spenny92

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I attended my first market today. We have just gotten through Winter here in NZ, so the area where I live is still pretty quiet. Luckily, it was a beautiful day and that seemed to help draw a few people out to market. There were around 18 stalls, with one other well established soaper. I drew the short straw with my stall as I was out of the main 'strip' and on a corner - people didn't walk past me, so they had to see me from afar and make a deliberate beeline for my stall if they wanted to have a look. Bit of a pain, but it's not permanent. I had lots of really lovely comments about how professional my display looked, which gave me a much-needed boost as I was shaking with nerves when setting up!

I made just over 50 times my stall fee, which is far more than I had anticipated. My body butters and lotion bars sold better than they have been doing online. A man actually bought 20 bars of soap - he said he was very dirty hah! I'll share some photos of my display in the next post.

I also just wanted to preface this post with a bit of information. I am well aware that, in most people's opinions, I am selling too early. I've been soaping for 4 months. I make 5-6 batches a day, and have been using near enough the recipe from the beginning so it has had thorough testing by myself and others. I may not know how they will be in a years time, but I have done enough research and taken preventative measures to try and ward off DOS or fading scents. I started selling online last month and have had over 50 orders, with a good dozen or so repeat orders/customers. I was also approached by a store in another city who wanted to stock my soap - I didn't think I was ready for that, but we started with a small order and they have now made 3 large orders (over 120 soaps) in as many weeks. I also have another local wholesale account, and one consignment account. I just wanted to say that to try and shed some insight on why I am selling at a market, and that I am aware it is considered 'too early', but that is my decision. :) I love my products, and so do my customers!







 

sudsy_kiwi

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That's awesome, congratulations :clap: And your display is really well done, I like it.
 

rparrny

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Congrads! Your display is very professional...I love your labels...very minimalist and clean in keeping with why people choose handmade soaps and the brown wrapping around white cigar bands looks sharp. I love all the natural baskets, wood, grass mats and burlap...but I would ditch the white sheet covering the table for something that compliments the rest of your display {{political correctness is not one of my strong suits, sorry}} I also love the chalk/blackboard labels.
Some of the most successful people in their industry got that way by breaking all the rules...4 months is barely enough time to see a soap cure but if your like most of us you started with a recipe that was well established. For those that sell soap (and I'm not one of them), I feel they are more concerned with the quality of handcrafted soap that is out there lest the reputation of a few bad soaps ruin their market. Your attention to detail gives me the impression that you will not be in that category.
Enjoy your success but stay humble...and remember it is the smaller companies that make the product special. If you have your product out everywhere it won't be such a draw to some of the businesses that are ordering from you.

Okay...I'll shut up now...
 

spenny92

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Thank you for your feedback. I really hope that my post didn't come across as bragging, or anything of the sort - believe me, I am very humble and feel so, so lucky to have had just a little success in a short period of time. I wasn't expecting it at all! I only have my products in 3 stores, in 3 very different locations - that wasn't something that I went after, either. I intended to sell online slowly, on a very small scale! :shock:

Re: the quality of handmade soap, I'm very aware that if I were to put a bad product out there, it would not only affect my business, but the business of handmade soap as a whole. I formulated my own recipe from the start, tested and tweaked it as need be, before seeking feedback from others. I've tried other handmade soaps, and am happy that my soap is up to par quality-wise. I think that having repeat customers is a great testament to that.

Thanks again for your feedback - I'm looking into other ideas for a table cloth, I ran short of time before this market (I also work full-time) and ended up using a flat bed sheet - does the job, but it wouldn't have been my ideal choice!
 

cmzaha

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I am glad you experienced success at your first market. Yes, ditch the white sheet, other than that your display looks good. But I just cannot help myself and have to mention that in a year or two you will most likely find your first soapies are not the greatest that can be made or that you are making by then. I have a new soapmaker in my market that sells a dead sea salt soap, first oil olive. I just casually asked about the lather and she tells me it lathers fantastic. A salt bar with olive as its 1st oil, especially one with dead sea salt, is not going to lather. She is also a new soapmaker and thinks hers are the greatest.
 

spenny92

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I am glad you experienced success at your first market. Yes, ditch the white sheet, other than that your display looks good. But I just cannot help myself and have to mention that in a year or two you will most likely find your first soapies are not the greatest that can be made or that you are making by then. I have a new soapmaker in my market that sells a dead sea salt soap, first oil olive. I just casually asked about the lather and she tells me it lathers fantastic. A salt bar with olive as its 1st oil, especially one with dead sea salt, is not going to lather. She is also a new soapmaker and thinks hers are the greatest.
Thanks Carolyn. I don't think my soaps are the 'greatest' - that's a huge statement for anyone to make. I do think that my soaps have lovely, dense lather and leave my skin feeling great. I know I'll be continually improving - I don't think we ever really stop learning in this craft, and I don't see that as a negative thing.
 

sudsy_kiwi

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I'm just wondering what brown paper you are using for wrapping? Is it just standard brown paper that you'd wrap presents in? (I think some people refer to it as Kraft paper)

The reason I ask is that I made my first move into market selling a few weeks ago, and my soaps and massage bars were wrapped in that brown paper. I've since noticed that on some of the bars that didn't sell there are now what looks like grease marks around the edges.

Just so you don't think I'm trying to pinch your idea, here's a pic of my display. It's nowhere near as good as yours, it was sort of a last-minute decision to do the market (found out the table fee was only $6 for a 2hr market and couldn't turn it down lol) so I kinda threw some things together. Looooots of work still to do lol, but I was definitely bitten by the market bug...it was so much fun, and I loved seeing people enjoying my products.

DSCF1805.jpg
 

Muskette

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50 times your booth fee? That's fantastic! I make an average of 12 times my booth fee at my weekly market and I thought that was good, lol! Congratulations!
 

HoiPoloi

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Awww, that looks so cute!! Love it!!! I have been playing around with soap for a few years, just here and there but have been getting more serious about it as of late. 'Cause what do you do with all this soap??? LOL!! I will be doing my first Crafty show in December so we'll see how it goes. It would be nice to make a bit of cash to help support my habit, after all. Great job! Hopefully I get my act together to do such a nice display!!!
 

Deedles

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Congratulations! Your set up looks very professional....except for the whit sheet. :wink: Setting up a booth with any craft is alot of hard work. Good luck!
 

SplendorSoaps

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Congratulations! Hopefully it's the first successful show of many to come. Your booth setup looks great - I'd totally stop by for a sniff if I was shopping!
 

spenny92

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I'm just wondering what brown paper you are using for wrapping? Is it just standard brown paper that you'd wrap presents in? (I think some people refer to it as Kraft paper)

The reason I ask is that I made my first move into market selling a few weeks ago, and my soaps and massage bars were wrapped in that brown paper. I've since noticed that on some of the bars that didn't sell there are now what looks like grease marks around the edges.

Just so you don't think I'm trying to pinch your idea, here's a pic of my display. It's nowhere near as good as yours, it was sort of a last-minute decision to do the market (found out the table fee was only $6 for a 2hr market and couldn't turn it down lol) so I kinda threw some things together. Looooots of work still to do lol, but I was definitely bitten by the market bug...it was so much fun, and I loved seeing people enjoying my products.
I think your display looks lovely - especially for a last minute job! I'm sure your next one will be even better.

Re: the brown paper, I just use rolls of brown mailing wrap paper. It's been humid recently, and I have noticed a few bars have marks on the bottom - I'm not sure if it's something sweating out, or if it was from the scrap wood that my partner used to make the 'shelves' in my display. I'm leaning towards blaming the wood, as I hadn't noticed it before I had them sat on the wood. We stapled plastic wrap and hessian fabric to the wood to try and fix that.

50 times your booth fee? That's fantastic! I make an average of 12 times my booth fee at my weekly market and I thought that was good, lol! Congratulations!
Thank you! It's totally relative to the booth fee, though. This was a small market and we're still in winter here, so my booth fee was only $10. :)

Congratulations! Your set up looks very professional....except for the whit sheet. :wink: Setting up a booth with any craft is alot of hard work. Good luck!
Thank you! What do you think would look better than the white sheet? I know something brown would fit the 'theme' better, but I don't really want everything to blend in, iykwim?
 

Susie

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I would use either that pink or that blue that is in your banner. See if you can find a poly blend that is not wrinkle prone, though.
 

Spice

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cmzaha

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Fitted tablecloths look the best. I purchase mine from www.tableclothsfactory.com. They are a little wide for my tables but I just line up the edges on the outside of my tables and let the excess hang over the back side. (away from the customers). I have some I have used for 5 yrs and just now replacing them, not because of falling apart but the black is fading to much after so much time in the sun
 
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