Is it impolite to apply to a farmer's market that already has a soap seller?

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Kosmerta

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Where I live we have a small historic farmers market that offers 30 vendor spots. I've been keeping an eye on it for the last year and a half and for the first time since I've started making soap, they are now accepting applications for 4 spots that have opened up this year. I checked the current vendor list, and there is one already established soap seller, her business is described as "Natural and organic soap, candles, essential oils, and body products."

I don't advertise my soaps from the "natural and organic" angle, as they all contain mica and FO's, my predominate selling trait is that I use a high-oleic, high-superfat recipe to create gentle soap for sensitive skin. I don't want to move onto someone else's "turf" who was there first, is a 30 vendor market large enough for 2 soap sellers? Should I just pass and keep looking for another?
 

Misschief

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At it's fullest, our market has approximately 50 vendors, some indoors and some outdoors. This is my fourth year as a vendor there. Over the years, they've been very gracious; they've allowed one M&P soap vendor one time. Apparently, she did not do well and has never been back. Last year, they allowed a soap company (one that has its own b&m storefront) from another town nearby. That vendor also sells at other markets throughout the Okanagan Valley and beyond. The people manning the booth are not the soap makers, just employees. They were there three times last year. It's too early to say whether they'll be back this year or not but I'm pretty sure they've applied; non-food vendors have only just been allowed back at the markets and our organizers decided to start small and gradually work up to full numbers outdoors.

All this is to say, apply. You might not get in but the organizers might think there's enough room for some competition, especially if you're at opposite ends of the market. As my husband often says, if you don't ask, you don't get. Heck, on any given market day at our market, you can find up to six jewellry vendors and she always has more on the back up list just waiting to get in.
 

jcandleattic

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IMO it would only be impolite if you were selling the same exact types of soap, same type of packaging, same marketing, same prices etc.,, Since you don't, no, not impolite or rude. Apply and sell, just hopefully even with completely different soap they don't put you right next to each other.
 

amd

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How much traffic does the market get? If it's high traffic, then I wouldn't be worried at all - especially if as the others have already stated that your soaps are very distinctly different. If there's not a lot of traffic - mostly people who always come to that market, then you might find that it is not worth your time. Those who come and want to buy handmade soap will likely buy from the person they have always bought from.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I use a high-oleic, high-superfat recipe to create gentle soap for sensitive skin.
You need a "hook" to compete. If your soap doesn't contain any animal fat or wax or milk, etc. it can be labeled it as "VEGAN" or "CASTILE". The latter in particular has the perception among customers that it is "special" and may be drawn to your soap by that fact alone.

BTW, It does NOT have to be 100% olive oil to be a castile soap. Think of Kirk's Castile (coconut oil) or Dr. Bronners Baby Mild Castile LS (Ingredients: Water, Organic Coconut Oil,* Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil,* Organic Olive Oil,* Lavandin Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol)

I don't want to move onto someone else's "turf" who was there first, is a 30 vendor market large enough for 2 soap sellers?
It is not up to you to decide for either of those issues. The market manager will do that. Apply and leave the decision to them. GOOD LUCK!
 
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