Sales is less about quality and more about connections and networking. Quality is important for REPEAT sales, but you have to make that FIRST sale
I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I will also add that finding your niche and creating a brand identity that hits on all fronts, across all platforms. It isn’t enough to have a great product - you have to have great packaging, great message, consistent branding, have a web, print, social media, and word of mouth program that drives your brand home.
- Soap website that clearly identifies your brand ( sexy, feminine, sweet, old fashioned, etc)
- Facebook, YouTube, twitter, instagram, Pinterest, etc with consistent and regular messaging aligned with website
- Flyers, business cards, discount coupons, etc with consistent and regular messaging aligned with website
- encourage online reviews of your product across all web platforms
- create a Soap Club to encourage repeat business
- encourage referrals by offering discounts
- partner with wholesale accounts that closely align with your brand identity. If you don’t want to sell cheap soap -don’t sell to Walmart. If you want to sell $5 soap - sell at craft fairs. If you want to sell $8 soap - sell at high end Farmers Markets and exclusive boutiques and home decor stores.
You need to have a target customer in mind. You cannot make it in any new business by simply creating a product and hoping people will buy it. Create a fictitious customer and give her/him a name. With every purchase of materials ( or website, etc) you make / decide if that’s what your customer would want or need. If your customer is:
Sally, 35 years old, 3 kids, works part time at Williams Sonoma, likes to bake, belongs to PTA, starting a recycleing program in her town.
Sally probably likes:
Products that are gentle on earth
Likes higher end products
Is a foodie
So what will be some things that you can bake into your product design that aligns with Sally?
Simpler Design - not too frilly
Simple and expensive ingredients
Food additives in soap (coffee - oatmeal - etc)
Now your marketing message is all of those things above. If it doesn’t align to your core customer - don’t make the product. Don’t advertise “lowest price” if you don’t want that customer. Don’t do fancy swirls and high top soaps if you don’t want that kind of a fussy customer. Keep your messaging in line with your product - shout it from every platform available - regularly and consistently - provide great customer service....those are the things it takes to be successful. And of course have a great product.
Sitting at a craft fair and saying hello to people passing by is not a business model. Creating all different types/styles of soaps and hoping someone buys them is not a business model.
Creating a collection of products that align with your core customer and never deviating from it is what will bring you business - your core customer will refer you to like minded people who will love your product. Creating a consistent brand message and hammering it home across all channels along with a great product will begin to create a business that can be self-sustaining and viable.
The notion that the soap market/field is overpopulated is nonsense. If your product isn’t selling it is because of:
4. Brand identity (or lack of it)
5. Not connecting with your core customer
Price is NOT a consideration as to whether something is successful or not. Reaching a customer that will pay the price for your product IS important. If you are selling your soaps at a craft show and your core customer doesn’t shop at craft shows- how do you expect to sell any soap? Why are you trying to sell your soap there? Also - do you think The Walmart customer wants a $10 bar of soap? Of course not. And Walmart knows this and as such - they don’t stock/sell high end soaps.
Where is your customer buying? Online? Whole Foods? Boutique Shops? Find a way to reach your target customer. And guess what? Once you target the boutique shop, Whole Foods, etc - the competition isn’t nearly as crowded because that customer doesn’t like too many choices - they believe their brand loyalty to that retailer has weeded out the types of things your core customer doesn’t like. Make sense??
Edited to add:
If you think your customer will only purchase 10 bars of soap from you in a year - then build gift boxes and baskets with your products for them to give as gifts. It’s builds your brand and customer base and best of all - the paying customer is doing the work for you. They give the gift box to their friend (potential customer) (maybe for $50 and doubling what your customer spends in a year) and giving you another potential customer to repeat the process.
Sorry for the long rant - I believe now, more than ever, you can be successful with your own handcrafted soaps. There are so many s venues available to the entrepreneur that weren’t available 10 years ago. If you think and try to build a business with an antiquated and outdated business model, you deserve to fail.