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Newbie selling to early

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Jeanea

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I remember when I first came to this forum. The information I've learned is priceless. The best lesson, DON'T SELL SOAP UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN SOAPING FOR AT LEAST A YEAR. I just saw a video on YouTube. This guy made 100% olive oil soap for the first time. At first I'm like, ok he did an ok job until he said it would be ready to use after six weeks and that he would be listing his soap in etsy for sale at that time.

I feel for anyone buying his products. I'm also offended. I've been working hard learning about soap so I can sell one day. Creating recipes and scent blends and here this guy comes right out of the gate.

Sorry I had to vent. I hate unprofessionalism.
 

lsg

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We have already had a thread discussing the same topic. The thread was closed because of some of the comments. This thread will remain open as long as the comments are civil and use appropriate language and no names are mentioned.
 

Aline

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I hear you. I don't make CP soap yet but I worked on my Body Butter formula for a year before selling. It took me that long to design the labels too! LOL
 

Jeanea

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I posted a comment urging him not to do it. I feel you Aline. I've been making body butters for two years and still don't sell. Those who watch his videos will know he's new, not so sure about etsy shoppers. Butters are one thing, soap can be a monster if you ask me....lol
 

FGOriold

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Just for clarification - did he say it was his first time making soap or his first time making a 100% olive oil soap? There is a big difference there. He could have been soaping for years before making a 100% olive oil soap formulation.
 
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Jeanea

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No he said this was his first soap. He has a few videos, he's definitely new to soaping. Using fo and color for the first time.
 

Obsidian

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At least he is curing it for 6 weeks and not selling it immediately.While it won't be a great castile, as least it will have a cure. If its not a good soap, he won't have repeat customers.
 

jenneelk

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While I def. don't think it's good to be selling soaps right out of the gate like that (you have to be able to test before you sell)!... I also don't think people should have to be considered 'doing wrong' by selling before a year or before so and so. kwim?
I've been 'crafting' and making herbal and natural product for years and selling for about 2.5. Soaps I only started a year ago but didn't wait that long before selling. Making the jump to soaps wasn't too hard afterall but no one would know that if I didn't mention my background. They could automatically think I was doing wrong. kwim?
Some people learn differently, have other knowledge, are ADHD and constantly researching to learn faster, take copious notes, etc. and are likely fine to sell before a year. (By the way I fit every one of those.. haha!)
Just don't think there should be a hard fast rule for selling. :)
My soaps have all had plenty of time to be tested before selling, except my castile, but I know my recipes are good. I've made some 100+ batches by now and invested a lot of time and money in making sure things are good to go. LOL!
 
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pamielynn

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I think the majority of us just worry about careless soapmakers making the rest of us look bad. I just had a woman a market this past weekend give me the "I used somebody else's handmade soap and it stung my skin and made me itchy". I had to talk her down and force her to take a sample. She called me yesterday for an order. Which, while great for me, makes it just a bit harder to do our jobs and honestly, I think that's part of the judgement for those who may be "selling too soon." But I could be wrong. :)
 

CanaDawn

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I feel for anyone buying his products. I'm also offended. I've been working hard learning about soap so I can sell one day. Creating recipes and scent blends and here this guy comes right out of the gate.

Sorry I had to vent. I hate unprofessionalism.
While I agree that selling soap should be done only after a degree of familiarity with the methods and outcomes is attained, I find it odd to be offended by his choice.

As someone else said, if his soap is awful, he'll be out of the business shortly, and as he is one of many many many people selling handmade soap, of varying quality, that's a whole lot of offence to take on someone else's behalf.

I'm slowly, slowly, learning that when someone is so far from realistic about their abilities and knowledge, sometimes it is best for my personal state of mind to pull the pin on my personal outraged sensibilities and set them free to succeed or fail without my bearing witness. Because that's all it is, really...you can be as upset as you will be, but there is nothing you can do beyond an attempt to educate (either him or your own customers), and you are merely bearing witness to someone else's choices. You aren't required to do so, and it's a lot of energy down the drain that would be better used on things you can affect.

Every single business that is not otherwise constrained (legal requirements of competancy, certification, etc) lives or dies on its own merit. One hopes that individuals, when they know better, will do better, but life's just one great big bell curve, and it needs a few people on the far left to balance.

It's the same in every single endeavor. We all get to decide our role in the bell. :)

I think the majority of us just worry about careless soapmakers making the rest of us look bad. I just had a woman a market this past weekend give me the "I used somebody else's handmade soap and it stung my skin and made me itchy". I had to talk her down and force her to take a sample. She called me yesterday for an order. Which, while great for me, makes it just a bit harder to do our jobs and honestly, I think that's part of the judgement for those who may be "selling too soon." But I could be wrong. :)
But you can't control for individual's reactions to ingredients. She might just as easily have reacted to something in your soap, even if it contained nothing but the finest ingredients and was produced superbly - if your skin hates strawberries (for a random example), a top-quality strawberry soap is still going to be an unhappy experience.

IMO, part of your job as a soap seller IS to educate people on the value and quality of your own product, and to correct misunderstandings or misinformation with what you know. What she gave you is called an opportunity, and you rose to it and got an order.
 

Hazel

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While I def. don't think it's good to be selling soaps right out of the gate like that (you have to be able to test before you sell)!... I also don't think people should have to be considered 'doing wrong' by selling before a year or before so and so. kwim?

Just don't think there should be a hard fast rule for selling.
but I know my recipes are good. I've made some 100+ batches by now and invested a lot of time and money in making sure things are good to go. LOL!
I'm still in my agreeable mood so I'll agree you. :lol: I don't think a year is necessary for someone who does the research, understands the processes and has made numerous batches. Those are the qualifiers - research, knowledge and lots of practical experience. Plus the determination to make a high quality soap. I've even encouraged a few members who haven't made soap for a year to start to sell. However, they all learned about the processes, tested, experimented, made numerous batches and formulated wonderful soap.

However, you've identified the problem and what we try to discourage - making your first batch or several batches and then selling. It's also as pamielynn mentioned about careless soapmakers making the people who've worked hard to make a great product look bad and makes it more difficult for them to sell. (BTW, pamielynn - you are such a sweet person. I wouldn't have used the word "careless" but I'm not nice like you.)

Unfortunately, there are many people who think soapmaking is an easy and fast way to make money. They don't want to take the time to learn so they come on the forum to be spoon fed information by knowledgeable members. There is also a specific pattern in posts with people who behave this way. It takes awhile to appear but eventually it becomes apparent and is noticed. (Uh...the links to stores are really a tip off.) It's very noticeable to me which members are the ones using other members and picking their brains. I shouldn't say it's noticeable just to me since other admins/mods and few members have noticed previously and currently when someone is coming on just to scoop up info without doing any work.

I've seen it over and over where someone made a batch or three and within a few weeks was selling the soap. I've seen two people selling their first batches within a week of making them. So, not only are they selling their very first batches but the soap wasn't even cured.

I noticed awhile back someone had posted an Etsy link in her sig line (there was another link - I think it was for a blog). I wondered about the store because I knew she hadn't been making soap very long - 2 or 3 months. I started to check and found out she had opened her Etsy store 5 days after she joined the forum. When she joined, she stated she had never made soap and had just ordered supplies. She's not the only one. I've seen this happen quite a few times. Never made soap. Just bought supplies. Made a batch or a few batches. Opened a store and started selling. To be more accurate about some people - opened a store and then made soap. :roll:

I'm glad I was told to wait a year to start selling. I would have humiliated myself and ruined my business if I had started to sell within my first year of soapmaking. I was making soap but my soap wasn't as good as it later became. It's amazing how a few tweaks and oil substitutions can improve a recipe but it took me awhile to get to that point. eta: A few tweaks and oils substitutions took months and I don't know how many batches to accomplish what I wanted to achieve. I used up a lot of supplies doing it and this was only for one recipe. I'm not sure how long it's taken for some of my other recipes. I can say positively on my latest that I've been tweaking and changing oils in it for 9 months. I made the latest version 4 days ago and I've one more version to do for comparison. Then they still have to cure. I may find out after all is completed that one of the early versions is the best. I may even find out the first is the one but I won't know for a few more weeks. I should mention that I'm super particular about texture, lather, color and scent in my soaps probably to the point where most people would think I'm insane.

Okay, I rambled a bit. But we want to ensure a good standard for all soap/B&B makers and the people who just want to make a fast buck gives the handmade market a bad reputation. Because of their greed, they ruin the market for the people who were willing to invest the time and money into developing excellent products and building a business. These are the members which the "one year" waiting period is intended.
 
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Dorymae

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I noticed awhile back someone had posted an Etsy link in her sig line (there was another link - I think it was for a blog). I wondered about the store because I knew she hadn't been making soap very long - 2 or 3 months. I started to check and found out she had opened her Etsy store 5 days after she joined the forum. When she joined, she stated she had never made soap and had just ordered supplies. She's not the only one. I've seen this happen quite a few times. Never made soap. Just bought supplies. Made a batch or a few batches. Opened a store and started selling. To be more accurate about some people - opened a store and then made soap. :roll:

The problem as I see it is we can not know if someone is selling their own soap or if they are using a company and buying handmade loaves, cutting them and selling them while they are trying to learn themselves.

I agree no one should sell to the public that doesn't have a working knowledge of the product they are producing, but we don't always know if they are producing it or not.

I look at it this way, if I like something....say a car, or any item really and I have a bad experience with one, am I going to stop buying that kind of item? No. I won't buy that item from the same place again, but it won't deter me from buying it. (Unless it was my very first time ever trying it, then I might be skeptical.)

So let them sell it. If it stinks they are no competition, and if they survive, well then maybe they had more knowledge than I thought they did.

Either way it's their liability not mine. All we can do is mind how we behave and take charge of our actions. Others will do as they like. I'm a big believer in what comes around, goes around.
 

Hazel

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The problem as I see it is we can not know if someone is selling their own soap or if they are using a company and buying handmade loaves, cutting them and selling them while they are trying to learn themselves.
No problem here. I can tell the difference.

Even if I couldn't tell, all I have to do is read her questions and then look at her site and blog.

One reason I get upset by people saying on the forum they're not selling but really are is that they think we're too stupid to figure it out. Although, I will say I'm often slow to pick up on it. It's duplicitous and it demonstrates disrespect and contempt towards other individuals.

However, I liked what CanaDawn stated earlier. I'm paraphrasing but all I can do is try to help the person learn and understand the importance of waiting to sell until she (or he) has quality product. If I can't, then I'm just wasting time which would be better spent on more productive endeavors. Believe me, I'm a lot mellower about things than I used to be.
 

Bex1982

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I worry mostly about safety and hope that these newb sellers know how to test their soap.
Although I really believe someone should have quite a bit of practice before selling, if this newb person is at least selling safe soap there is not much I could say about it. If you sold your first homemade cheese and it was safe to eat, I guess it would be ok, but what kind of business plan is that? Where’s your lineup? Where’s your stock etc.
I've seen a lot of crappy soap out there and maybe his is just another one to add. Maybe it's the best soap ever and he'll become the new famous soap maker lol.
It actually makes us look better. Our products are well thought out, we know what we are talking about when customers ast questions. We should be proud of ourselves and not waste time on silly people, if anything be happy that they are probably making you look more professional.
 

Dorymae

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Exactly. Why worry or fret about something you have absolutely no control over. Sure there will always be people out to make a quick buck, there will always be people who lie and cheat. Always has been always will be. There is nothing you can do about that, all we can control is ourselves.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Why should it be okay to feel offended at what he is doing? Because the people who do buy his soaps will think "wow, that soap is bad!". How many of them will think that ALL handmade soaps are like that? They use his 6-week old Castile and feel like they have been bathing in olive oil and will be likely to think that ALL Castile is like that. That is not good for the rest of us at all - sure, he won't get repeat business, but a lot of those people just won't buy hand made ever again and will say to their friends that hand made is not that great at all.

As for how long people should wait - when will you know when the soaps that you make are safe after a reasonable amount of time? You start off, end up tweeking and tweeking. Maybe 6 months in you have a recipe that you would look to sell. But then you have to see how it is after at least 6 months (you keep them in stock, customer buys them but doesn't use it right away...............) which then puts you at a year from when you started. It's not hard and fast, of course - some people would need longer, some not so long.

I do have an Etsy shop - it's a place holder. I am starting the ball rolling on selling in the EU - but only because it takes a long time to get the paper work sorted, in which time I am also working on my soaps etc.

One thing that does get me is when I see some forum users who sell but have no idea about soaping - they only post to ask for help changing a recipe with clearly no idea about oils at all, and then they pop off and only come back when they want more help. While I have no issues helping hobbyist (which is what I am at the mo!) learn and don't care one jot if they only ask questions (it's what a forum is for!) - I do not agree with helping a commercial concern in this way when they should know their trade before making it their trade. You'll not often see my post in those threads.
 

pamielynn

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But you can't control for individual's reactions to ingredients. She might just as easily have reacted to something in your soap, even if it contained nothing but the finest ingredients and was produced superbly - if your skin hates strawberries (for a random example), a top-quality strawberry soap is still going to be an unhappy experience.

IMO, part of your job as a soap seller IS to educate people on the value and quality of your own product, and to correct misunderstandings or misinformation with what you know. What she gave you is called an opportunity, and you rose to it and got an order.
Of course you are right about reactions - but in my particular case, a woman from last fall who was openly hostile about handmade soap, got soap from a soaper in the next town who sells at their FM; I know her products. Talking with folks who have bought her soap DOES give me an opportunity but it's a lot harder to convince THEM to try again, than it is to educate people who have just never tried handmade soap.

There are no hard and fast rules about anything, in my view of life (except red lights - always stop for red lights :) ) I completely understand why anyone in any field gets upset when someone sees your success and decides they can do it too and so they jump in from knowing nothing to selling inferior product; we tend to feel that we love our product and they're just doing it for a quick buck. It's human nature to be upset and judgmental. I admit to getting pretty judgmental when a woman set up next to me at my weekly market and was shocked and amazed that I knew how to infuse herbs into oil. I guess because she thought she was the only one who knew how to do it - and she does it so she can pour it into MP soap and call it organic.

Every situation in life is an opportunity, and getting all bent doesn't solve the problem, but we're all human and judgmental is one of our emotions. I believe that places like this forum are the place to express those emotions and have a good rant just to get it out, so that we don't carry that emotion over into working lives. Or maybe it's just my excuse for being mean. I don't know - I've not finished my coffee yet.
 

navigator9

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The problem is that when you are new to something, you don't know how much you don't know, until you get further down the road and look back and realize, wow, what was I thinking? Hopefully, you haven't hurt anyone along the way. When you're in a forum like this one, and more experienced soapers are saying you need a good bit of experience under your belt before you start selling, hopefully you would take their advice. But human nature being what it is, there will always be those who think they know better. It's hard to watch someone who thinks they can make fast money at what you've worked for years at developing. True, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it, but that doesn't make it an easy pill to swallow, especially when someone seems determined to be reckless and can only see dollar signs and not the potential for danger.
 

juliab86

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The problem is that when you are new to something, you don't know how much you don't know, until you get further down the road and look back and realize, wow, what was I thinking?.
I know that I've had this experience. Took me over a year of tweaking recipes to come up with a few I think are sellable. Still not selling, but in the middle of researching what I need to do to sell. Who knows, may wait another year to sell.
 
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