Holiday themed soap

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The_Phoenix

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Last year I made three different Christmas themed soaps. Only one of them sold and the other two barely sold. Because the designs were aligned with a holiday, once Christmas was over, I was stuck with soap that I could no longer market. Looking back, I could have had a flash sale on those soaps to attempt to unload my inventory, but I’d rather not do that.

Today I am making my first Halloween-themed soap. I’m not sure I want to make more than one batch. I also want to make my Christmas and New Year’s soaps soon because I start a new job in a week and am not sure what my motivation and energy will be to make soap. For Christmas, I have two designs on mind. I also bought some funky bath bomb molds for both holidays and think that may be a more successful sell for the holidays.

For those of you who are more seasoned soap makers, do you run into issues with selling holiday themed soaps over the years? What do you do with the soap after the holidays? Have you stopped making holiday themed soaps?

Any input would be appreciated.
 
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I had the same issue and decided to make more generic holiday soaps: blue+ silver+white, forest green+silver+white, and red+silver+white. I believe it's the red+green combo, and maybe red+gold as well, that limit soaps to "Christmas" rather than "winter."

I'm doing the same with "fall" soaps instead of Halloween/Thanksgiving. Lots of folks seem to do well with specific Halloween soaps, but I'm not one of them.
 

The_Phoenix

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I had the same issue and decided to make more generic holiday soaps: blue+ silver+white, forest green+silver+white, and red+silver+white. I believe it's the red+green combo, and maybe red+gold as well, that limit soaps to "Christmas" rather than "winter."

I'm doing the same with "fall" soaps instead of Halloween/Thanksgiving. Lots of folks seem to do well with specific Halloween soaps, but I'm not one of them.
I think that’s what I’ll do. I was going to make a soap with green and red confetti but, like you pointed out, the window of time where this design would be relevant is short.

I’m going to work out a snowfall soap. That’s at least a bigger window of time and is much more seasonal than “holiday.”

I was going to make a Christmas tree soap using a modified feather hanger swirl design but I think I’ll use the same technique to make a fir tree design…with white confetti on the sides to look like snow. And use a balsam FO I bought and am excited to use in a soap.
 

Tara_H

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Not as a producer, but if I think about the consumer side, what I would personally be looking for (in case it's useful)...
I probably wouldn't buy a full sized Christmas (or other specific day) soap, but I'd be much more likely to want cute guest sized soaps to make things special if I had guests visiting.
Similar for Hallowe'en, but I'd also want them to be more generally autumny since it's less of a holiday for entertaining guests so I'd want to use them for a longer time.
If I visualise the kind that are often for sale around here for holidays, it makes me think of the kind of very cheap soap that leaves you dry and itchy, so I'd be very drawn to a soap that seemed a bit more gentle or luxury as well as being seasonal.
In a similar vein, I'd probably be attracted to a soap that was seasonally coloured but not garish, both because it makes me subconsciously feel it's better quality, and because I wouldn't feel like it's wasted if it's not used up quickly over the appropriate holiday.

Hmm, I'm feeling kind of inspired to design some for myself now 🤣
 
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For those of you who are more seasoned soap makers, do you run into issues with selling holiday themed soaps over the years?
Have you stopped making holiday themed soaps?
I'm lumping these two questions together because I can't answer one without answering the other. When I first started selling soap (6 years ago) I made seasonal soaps for every holiday... that didn't sell more than 1 or 2 bars. After the first year I stopped doing seasonal soaps. What I did was created a soap of the month club and created monthly themed soaps. This helped me control how much I made and planning for those soaps. I stopped the soap club at the end of 2019 as membership had dropped significantly and as my business grew I couldn't manage such a small demographic of my customers. I was still getting requests for seasonal soaps, so I decided I would make a batch of a winter/Christmas themed soap and see how it goes. I made 18 bars - 9 of those were purchased by a gal who runs an Airbnb - and the other 9 were mine to sell. I sold 6 - but I should note that I did not do any holiday shows due to Covid so those sales were strictly from me promoting them on my social media. I was very happy with selling 6 of the 9, and I think if I had done holiday shows all 9 would have sold.

What do you do with the soap after the holidays?
I had 3 bars left, so I donated them to my church. They set them out as a free will donation for youth programs and collected $30 for the soaps. [I did it this way because Covid was preventing the kids from doing their regular fundraisers, so I wanted to help in a small way.] I wrote off COG as a donation on my taxes. It was a win for both of us. The bars I made in my first year were clearanced for a limited time, what didn't sell was also donated or given away as a freebie to customers ordering over x dollars. Knowing what I know now about my shelf life and how to store soap well, if I had excessive amounts of overstock left I would simply pack away and bring out for the next year's season. If I only have a few bars left, I would re-evaluate the amount made for the next year. My theory is that if I make less the next year, I can promote it more as "limited edition" and encourage sales among those who are inclined to buy.

That said, I am planning to do at least one holiday show this year so will repeat the soap I did last year at 18 bars. I plan to do a second winter/Christmas themed soap in a smaller batch (9 bars) to see how those go, and a limited fall soap (pumpkin beer, because I have it on the brain). But I'm still not going to make soaps for every freaking holiday, just when I know I have a higher target market presence at shows. In my case fall and holiday shows, when people are more inclined to buy novelty items for gifting.
 

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