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Kiti Williams

Crazy Crafter and Neighborhood Nut!
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For sure, quilting kept my sanity in Alaska. Twenty one of those years we lived without commercial electricity or running water, did almost all of my quilting on a treadle machine with a dog mushers' headlamp for extra light. We sort of consider the early years our "wilderness experience". As we aged we no longer played in the snow as much, so winters really got to us.

There are things I miss about Alaska but winter is not one of them. I can hardly tolerate the winters in Idaho, so know we made the right decision with moving.

I also do free motion quilting but only for my own projects, gifts or charity works. Just getting back in the groove after not having my sewing room available for 10 months. It's pure joy again!

I own a treadle sewing machine as well. I love big bright colors in my quilts
 

AAShillito

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@Cat&Oak the Square website that @Professor Bernardo mentioned is the same one I use. They are the ones who can give you a free online store, not as fancy as a paid one, but it does for me for now (for the stamps, pull screens, etc.). They also have a POS system (it is just their app) that I used to do my credit card transactions in that show with my phone. However, I just learned they also have the option to record cash purchases, they do not collect fees on those, but it will allow you to checkout a cash sale and record it. Anyway, I will be trying that out as my POS next year, should be faster than handwriting all those receipts!
I used a square reader for my craft bazaar but everyone paid in cash and didn't ask for receipts. So I used it as an inventory tracker. It'll also make reports for you so you can use those for accounting. Just get it all ready a week before and practice with it incase someone wants to pay with a card
 
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I used a square reader for my craft bazaar but everyone paid in cash and didn't ask for receipts. So I used it as an inventory tracker. It'll also make reports for you so you can use those for accounting. Just get it all ready a week before and practice with it incase someone wants to pay with a card
I love my Square!
 
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In So Cal, some cities require city permits to sell at farmer markets and some do not, you have to check with each city you are going to sell in. The market managers will know if you need a city permit or not. I sold my soaps for $7 each and was going to raise to $8 right before covid hit and I retired. I had absolutely no issues selling min 5 oz bars for $7 ea. I holiday market return customers who purchased large amounts received a better deal. Every return customer received a goodie as did most new customers before leaving my booth. I still miss attending markets and socializing with customers and my vendor friends.
Thank you Appreciate you taking the time to answer my question's. I'll check and see. Hugs 🤗💫✨
 
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One other consideration, I’m sorry if someone said this already, I read through the thread and didn’t see it - is to try to find one or two wholesale customers. I have a museum store I sell to, and this fall it was a struggle to keep up with their demand. Actually, this was how my business got off the ground. I charge less than I do at markets, but it’s pretty nice to just hand over some soap and get a check. I also have had a few commissions for wedding favors and for a friend who owns a massage studio. I had soap on Etsy briefly but with the museum store I couldn’t really scale up enough to keep soap on the site. So - perhaps there are ways to scale back, dabble, get paid for your efforts, and keep soapmaking a pleasure and not a stress inducer. I looked into the soap maker who charges for her expertise (I’m sorry I don’t know her name) and her services just were not a fit for me. I am selling at two small markets, one in my tiny town (just two winter events) and another small indoor farmer’s market. My sales are not huge but I do enjoy hearing people’s feedback, even if some of it is baffling to me. 😊 And I did have one return customer who had purchased one bar the week before, and came back the next Saturday to rave about it and buy more soap for gifts. Really made my day.
I’m rambling - but I guess I would just advise finding what feels comfortable and brings you joy. There are a zillion soap makers out there - which is fine! Lots of people want soap!
☮❤🧼
 
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Cat&Oak

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One other consideration, I’m sorry if someone said this already, I read through the thread and didn’t see it - is to try to find one or two wholesale customers. I have a museum store I sell to, and this fall it was a struggle to keep up with their demand. Actually, this was how my business got off the ground. I charge less than I do at markets, but it’s pretty nice to just hand over some soap and get a check. I also have had a few commissions for wedding favors and for a friend who owns a massage studio. I had soap on Etsy briefly but with the museum store I couldn’t really scale up enough to keep soap on the site. So - perhaps there are ways to scale back, dabble, get paid for your efforts, and keep soapmaking a pleasure and not a stress inducer. I looked into the soap maker who charges for her expertise (I’m sorry I don’t know her name) and her services just were not a fit for me. I am selling at two small markets, one in my tiny town (just two winter events) and another small indoor farmer’s market. My sales are not huge but I do enjoy hearing people’s feedback, even if some of it is baffling to me. 😊 And I did have one return customer who had purchased one bar the week before, and came back the next Saturday to rave about it and buy more soap for gifts. Really made my day.
I’m rambling - but I guess I would just advise finding what feels comfortable and brings you joy. There are a zillion soap makers out there - which is fine! Lots of people want soap!
☮❤🧼
Thank you Vicki I appreciate you sharing your experience and point of view. All great ideas while I step back. Failure isn't a bad thing contrary to what society says. It's a chance to learn ❤
 

The_Phoenix

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I’ve given some thought to closing my business. Most of my business comes from website sales, which is not as robust this holiday season as it was last year. The biggest roadblock to increasing sales is people’s reliance on liquid body wash.

I stopped posting on IG because I found that the bulk of my followers were other soap makers. I get a lot more traction on my personal and business Facebook page. But I’m increasingly less and less interested in spend more time than necessary on social media in general.

I, too, expanded my product line. It helped some but not enough to motivate me to include more products. But really, at the end of the day, it comes down to money.

I don’t do markets. I work full time and value my weekends. Taking even more time away from my family holds zero appeal to me. And the cost of setting up at a market is ridiculous. And the markets here are saturated. I don’t sell “all natural” or “vegan” or “palm free.”

I did have a wholesale client but she’s going through a divorce and may be closing her hair salon.

I’m giving it one more year. There is a local brewery that I’ve been meaning to approach to see if they have an interest in beer soap.

I wouldn’t feel to terrible about shutting your doors as a business running ANY small business is a challenge. Give yourself credit for trying and believing in yourself and your product. Taking risks is part of our individual journey.
 

Cat&Oak

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I’ve given some thought to closing

Taking risks is part of our individual journey.

Thank you @The_Phoenix for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I found the same thing with IG and the thought of doing markets with the added expenses was unappealing as well. I actually feel better and more self confident from shutting it down. What a relief! It just wasn't for me. 😉
 

MelissaG

Owner and Creator at Silver Branch Soapworks
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I've been loving it. And my sales and popularity are increasing. If it isn't for you anymore, you will know it's time.
 

Cat&Oak

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I've been loving it. And my sales and popularity are increasing. If it isn't for you anymore, you will know it's time.
I'm glad your business is doing well but putting a little plug about how great your business is and how popular you are in a thread where I chose to close mine down is a little tacky.
 

MelissaG

Owner and Creator at Silver Branch Soapworks
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I'm glad your business is doing well but putting a little plug about how great your business is and how popular you are in a thread where I chose to close mine down is a little tacky.
I didn't. I was just saying that not everyone is the same. You chose to close yours. It's up to you. Others are finding having their own business good for them. But you are welcome to take offense if you choose to do so.
 
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I didn't. I was just saying that not everyone is the same. You chose to close yours. It's up to you. Others are finding having their own business good for them. But you are welcome to take offense if you choose to do so.

You may not have intended it that way, but it read badly.

Hope
 

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