Plain Jane Soap

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I have done both - a plain white soap with no fragrance, and a single color soap with fragrance. I stopped offering the unscented soap a few years ago - the peeps who like my soap and can't do scents know that they can (and do) order a custom batch from me. I ran the single color scented soaps for a year and then cleared them out of my lineup - people didn't want them, they wanted the pretty soaps.

My two cents: the people who are using them for decoration are not your target market. Don't change what you're doing for them, go out and find the people who will use the pretty soap and come back for more. You're not everyone's cup of tea. This was a hard line for me to draw, but when I started doing it two years ago I saw my business actually increase - to the point that 3 months in 2020 I made more selling soap than I did at my FT job.

Ok, YES. I have a girl that bought a loaf of soaps, mostly for xmas gifts, but the "extra bar" that was included in her purchase is sitting in her bathroom. I recreated this soap, mainly because it was so pretty, and she bought the whole loaf so I had no more to offer to other customers.

When I found out that this bar was sitting in her bathroom, I told her that I made more, so "please use your soap". She won't use it!!

I did recently sell her a salt bar though. She promises to use it. I told her how special it is and how it took almost year to get into her hands. I particularly love this bar. It is what I use in the shower almost every day. I'm kinda using up my stock LOL.

The salt bars that are sitting in a shop that I sold to aren't selling (I check on them a lot lol). I think when I talk to ppl about them, that's when they sell better. The charcoal bars sell without my intervention though, I guess cause it's a "thing" with charcoal anything. But the pretty deco bars in the shops sell well.
 
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The salt bars that are sitting in a shop that I sold to aren't selling (I check on them a lot lol).
There's a local boutique here in my town that has a ridiculous following (I don't get it, most of her business is online, she's only physically open 6 days a month, and the clothes are fugly imo) but she makes enough money that she donates 3% of all her sales to a charity each month, and those donations rack upwards of $1500, so she makes a ton of money every month. Anyways, she offers random things like an unusual candy, scrubs, soaps, etc. each month. One month she had a salt bar offered, and said she had 300 bars in stock and then ranted and raved about how awesome it is... and the soaps were $15 each. By the time I saw the post and (out of curiousity) went to order it the next day, she was sold out. You need to get the shop owner talking about the product. It's crazy how people (women) will buy if someone they know and trust endorses something. I've seen it myself at shows. My scrubs sell ridiculously well at the peddlers market (where I am not present, it's basically rented booth space where I can stock product and once a month I get my sales check). Two weeks ago at a market event, a young lady (late teens very early 20's tops) saw my sign across the room, dragged her two friends with her and said "OMG I love your scrubs." Then turned to her friends and convinced them to each buy one. One of the young ladies came back the next day to get one for her mom. Because of one person endorsing the scrub, I was able to sell 3 more units. Now imagine how many people that shop owner knows - do they do a newsletter for their customers? Have they included your soap in their newsletter? Do your customers know they can get that soap there? I do wholesale soaps for two breweries and my customers know that's my soap, and when they buy from the breweries they're supporting me. [side note, I used to have 3 brewery wholesale accounts but one dropped me because the soap didn't sell. I told them it was their fault it didn't sell, I never saw it on their merch website, in any of their social media, or their newsletters. The two successful breweries selling my soap talk about it ALL.THE.TIME.] So my point... no matter how weird something is, it needs to be talked about in order to sell. That's why I don't work with accounts that don't support their products.
 

Zany_in_CO

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For those of you that sell, do you also make plain soap? (no designs etc)
Yes. I'm retired now but I made plain soap for wholesale customers for 10 years. The only "colorful" soap I ever made was a layered rainbow for Gay Pride day.
So after gently polling all these people that bought soaps from me, I am getting that they have never even used my soap. That equates to me as no repeat customers...it is no longer a renewable product.
Consider that a lightbulb moment. :thumbs:
My big selling point is how few ingredients are in the soap, and I stopped adding sodium lactate because people think it is a chemical additive. My soaps do not suffer, actually I think they do just fine without it.
Good thinking. In my experience, the best soaps have few ingredients and the best profit margin.
But now I am realizing that all of these people are not using the soap at all. It's too pretty they keep telling me. It's a decoration.
So true! And a very common response to making pretty soap. They turn into "dust catchers". LOL I've been there, done that with my transparent soaps early in my career.
That's what really got me started: the artisan aspect of soapmaking.
Think about offering one "artisan" soap along with your basic inventory just to feed your creative spirit. You could do that on a seasonal basis that customers look forward to.
I dunno. Am I thinking in the right direction?
Absolutely spot on. My wholesale customers did a few different recipes and fragrances. There's a lot to be said for providing a product that is consistent from year to year. Customers depend on that. You not only do repeat business from year to year but you can't beat "word of mouth" advertising for building your customer base. Some of those customers may reach out to you after you retire. That's what happened to me. I now make soap by request for a few customers and sell it by the batch of 7- 8 bars. It keeps me involved in the process and it's fun!
 

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