Frustration at other businesses

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spenny92

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Admin, feel free to move if this isn't in the appropriate section.

I'm feeling so frustrated with some soap businesses at the moment - I need to rant and for someone to tell me to keep my mouth zipped! I'm a member of a small FB group for NZ Soapmakers - there's less than 50 of us in the group, so it's a nice place to chat and we're not very competitive as we're spread out wide and far, so lots of info-sharing etc.

One woman has a soap business and recently posted about how all she sells is 100% CO soap which her customers love. That's fine, I also love some coconut soap! Then she said she sells it 3 days after its poured because it's hard enough. I piped up to say that regardless of hardness, it really does need a proper cure to be at its best. She replied that she has been in this business for 8 years and must be doing something right as she has great reviews of her products. I'm a relatively new soaper, so I feel awful trying to correct her but even I know that 3 days just isn't a long enough cure for any soap - especially when you're selling!!

Another woman likes to really push hard with the 'all natural' approach. She does HP, sells after a week and only uses EOs. Her Facebook page is crawling with rants about how bad chemicals are, and how her products are 100% natural, good for you etc. I would never market my soap as natural because you wouldn't pluck it from a tree or find it randomly in the woods, you know? I know natural isn't regulated and is meaningless, but customers just lap it up. It just frustrates me that she is always talking down FOs and 'nasty' chemicals - I think she may have forgotten that sodium hydroxide is probably the most important ingredient in her soap, and I wouldn't call that natural...

I'm just frustrated because I love being a part of the group - it's super handy for local suppliers, best prices on things etc, but I am having a really hard time biting my tongue when I see bad info being passed around! I am just so glad that I became a member of this forum before I joined ANY soapy Facebook group. I may be selling 'too early', but these examples just go to show that even if you've been making/selling for years, you can still get it very wrong...

How do you all deal with seeing this? Sorry if this whole post is a bit negative and ranty, I just needed somewhere to post where I didn't have to bite my proverbial tongue...
 

amd

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I would (gently) disagree where needed, but you can't ram info down people's throats. Selling is a gentle art. I would make a suggestion to the seller to keep one bar out of her batch and do her own comparison of soap at a week, at a month, at two months...etc. For the benefit of the FB group, of course. When I did my first HP batch, I thought a week was great for a cure, but I kept a couple bars to compare at different intervals... I changed my own mind and will never buy into the "ready to use" again. The older my soap gets the more I fall in love with it. If she really cares about her soap, she'll do the comparison. If she doesn't care about her soap and just wants the money... well, you can't sit on her to make her see the error of her ways.

And sometimes people are just stubborn as all get out and won't listen to anyone. Like me and my dollar store bowls. I love my dollar store bowls they work for me and I don't have problems. Others on this forum disagree and say they aren't safe. I will continue to use my bowls until I do have a problem (which may never happen). On the other side of that, I have $100 worth of other useless stuff that the great and mighty Oz (aka the internet) told me that I should have for soap making. I'm not trying to bash any disagreement on the forum, this is just the example that some times you can tell people good information, but they just aren't going to listen because what they're doing now is working.

My first week on this forum, there was a lot of drama, but I stuck through it and I've learned so much. If your FB group meets a need for you and you can gently disagree and let things drop when needed, then stay. (And then come here where we are always willing to learn from each other and be wrong if needed.)
 

Susie

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Any time you get a group of more than two people together, you are going to have disagreements. You will probably have disagreements with just the two people, also. It is part of the human condition, I'm afraid. And we tend to have some sort of contretemps every few months, usually with one of the "hot-button" issues.

You need to feel free enough on any site you are a part of to speak your opinion. Courteously, as kindly as possible, staying within the bonds of propriety, not using ad-hominem attacks, but yet get heard. Not everyone has to agree with everyone else. You should be able to courteously agree to disagree.
 

Relle

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Spenny as you said ' I may be selling 'too early'.

We tried to tell you this some time ago, you didn't listen to us and you still went ahead, so it's like the pot calling the kettle black as far as I'm concerned. Now you know what it's like from our end trying to get our messages across, only to find the person you are talking to doesn't really want to listen, 8 yrs soaping or not. We don't waste time with these people anymore.

So I think what you are talking about in this other group about 3 day cures, HP selling after a week, marketing natural soap etc. is the same thing. It all comes down to people will do what they want.
 

spenny92

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Seriously? This is not the same thing. Clearly, I know what I'm doing as I am correcting other 'experienced' soapers misinformation. I currently have a great small business, do absolutely everything by the book and am very happy with the response to my product. I haven't done anything wrong or preached any information that would need to be corrected by anyone here - so this is a different situation entirely. You guys may have recommended not to 'sell too early', but I am confident that everyone is ready at different stages - clearly, even a year+ of soaping doesn't automatically make everyone 'ready' to sell.

I'll continue to browse this forum, but I am tiring of the 'selling too early' remarks making their way into every single thing that I say. This thread was about huge no-no's that other, very experienced soapers were making - not me.
 

Susie

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The point Relle made was valid. You do something we feel is not wise, regardless of what it is, you have the right to do it, and we have the right to comment on it. People are still going to do what they want to do, but others still get the right to say something when we see it. If you don't want criticism, you need to not say anything. However, if you don't say anything, you will never see other points of view you may learn from. You need to be open to what others say without taking it personally, and becoming defensive. Otherwise, you simply are the pot calling the kettle black with your rant above.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Tiring of it or not, it's the consensus of the Modmin team and also held by a great number of members, so it will come up.

They are in that way all related, as AMD put it - if it's working, why will they listen to you? People are buying their soap, so why would they cure longer? People are buying your soap, so why should you wait before selling? AMD's bowls are working, so why should they change?

Until they start to find sales drying up as their reputation suffers, until you have a situation that you do not have the experience to handle, until AMD's bowls break - no amount of discussion will work, because in each case, from the point of view of the person in question, there is nothing that needs to change.
 

golden_seal

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You can only express your thoughts and move on, just like you would in real life. You can't force them to change. In this instance you're only stressing yourself out. They don't seem to mind what they're doing. Just focus on your own business and where you would like to be and how you want to educate your customers. You can't always worry about what everyone else is doing, unless you like stress that is.
 
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spenny92

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Never mind, then. I hoped that I would be able to safely rant on this forum, but obviously not. Funny how I've seen plenty of like-minded posts like my original post, where everyone agrees with the frustration - but because I have been open with the fact that I am selling in my previous posts, I am somehow jumped on and my original point is completely missed. You just cannot pool every single soap seller into the same group and generalise everyone - I feel that is what happens with the 'selling too early' debate. Like I proved in my OP, you can make and sell for 8 years and still be clueless!

I'll go back to quietly browsing now.
 

Susie

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Yep, and you can make and sell for just a few months, and be equally clueless. Clueless knows no boundaries.
 

IrishLass

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Spenny- this Stickie may be of help as to why the subject of selling lye-based soap too early elicits the responses that it does on the forum: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=56833

Truly, none of us is trying to be a killjoy over this issue. The subject of selling too soon is actually a hot-button issue on just about every soaping forum of which I've ever been a member, and the reasons are not so much personal-related as they are product-related, so please don't take it personal.

What I'm trying to say is that lye-based soap can be a very quirky substance indeed and can turn on you when you least expect it. A soap that seems great 3 to 4 months or more out of the mold can all of a sudden turn wonky or Dossy overnight. Every one of us long-term soapers can attest to that, and so when we read about someone new to the craft selling within 4 months or so from making their first batch, it's hard to remain silent, much in the same way that it would be hard for a parent to remain silent when they see their texting child about to walk into oncoming traffic without looking up from their phone. They can't see but what's right in front of them at the moment (their phone screen) to be able to see what's beyond.

True, a person can make gobs and gobs of soap in a few months time and really get the process down and make awesome soap that people love, but do they know how well their soap will stand up over 6 months to a year when exposed to different conditions? That's where the rubber really meets the road. With some products that might not be so much of an an issue, but the quirky nature of lye based soap is such that it can become huge issue. Huge enough to even make or break a business.

So, no matter how many times the subject of selling too early comes up, don't be surprised if it doesn't go unanswered in some way by those who have gone before and have picked themselves up from the pitfalls.


IrishLass :)
 

golden_seal

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That's a good post, IrishLass! I've been using glass for the lye mixture for years and never had one explode. I didn't even think of that happening! I guess I'll be using stainless steel from now on
 

lionprincess00

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That's a good post, IrishLass! I've been using glass for the lye mixture for years and never had one explode. I didn't even think of that happening! I guess I'll be using stainless steel from now on
I got a medium stainless steel bowl from Wal-Mart for lye, and a larger one for directly heating onto the stove for oils. Price wasn't bad.
 

Krystalbee

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That's a good post, IrishLass! I've been using glass for the lye mixture for years and never had one explode. I didn't even think of that happening! I guess I'll be using stainless steel from now on
I also started out with a pyrex pitcher for my lye water solution. I now use a stainless steel milk frothing pitcher that I found on amazon for like 15$. While I love it, it gets super hot, so I know always put it in an ice bath.
 

IrishLass

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Those look awesome Susie! I've recently been looking for something just like that! Thank you for sharing!


IrishLass :)
 

gigisiguenza

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Those look awesome Susie! I've recently been looking for something just like that! Thank you for sharing!


IrishLass :)
I use "bain marie" SS containers from a restaurant supply store that are used on steam tables or salad bars. The large one cost $11, and the small one cost $8 (I think). They are wonderful:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013S1M8HK/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
I've looked at those too. They look incredibly easy to work with and clean, and I happen to have a local source that might be able to hook me up with some second hand ones for cheapo If not, I also have a restaurant supply place in the local area that I could hit up.
 
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