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Incrtalent

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Has anyone out there ever had customer request product testers or samples? I've had a few retailers lately who are asking me to provide samples of lotions, soaps, etc. I want to make my customers happy, but the products/bottles, etc., cost me money to produce, and if everyone starts asking for samples/testers, then it could get very costly. Anyone know how to handle this?

Thanks-
Lisa
 

justcrafty

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Lisa, When I was selling my products I made up small sample amounts of all the different products I was selling. I had several different sizes and did groups of my products. I sold alot of lotion base, lip balm and whipped butters. I listed on my site and they could choose what they wanted. With soap is is helpful to buy small molds and pour from your soap batter and use those for samples. Candy molds work great. This is common practice as they are looking for the best they can find and what will work for them. This also helps you in a great way because word of mouth means everything. If your products are really good your sales will increase. Price them so they are affordable but so you are still making a small profit. My samples ran from 6.50 through 15.00. :) Judy
 

breathenatural

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I provide samples for the stores that carry my products and when at shows.

I use the ends of my soaps (that I am not going to use anyway) to cut a good size chunk and and I put them in small bags with a label on them including my business info. I give these away at shows and take handfuls into the stores to offer.

I have testers that I provide for my lip balms, body and hand salves. I use small popscicle-like sticks for people to take a scoop, and have a "trash" there for them to deposit it, so that a new stick is always being used.

I do not provide samples for shower gels/bubbble baths etc...but if I have made bath salts and have extra, I will give them away with orders as a sample.

Of course all this is considered a write-off for tax purposes.

Jill
 
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breathenatural said:
I provide samples for the stores that carry my products and when at shows.

I use the ends of my soaps (that I am not going to use anyway) to cut a good size chunk and and I put them in small bags with a label on them including my business info. I give these away at shows and take handfuls into the stores to offer.

I have testers that I provide for my lip balms, body and hand salves. I use small popscicle-like sticks for people to take a scoop, and have a "trash" there for them to deposit it, so that a new stick is always being used.

I do not provide samples for shower gels/bubbble baths etc...but if I have made bath salts and have extra, I will give them away with orders as a sample.

Of course all this is considered a write-off for tax purposes.

Jill

EXCELLENT ADVICE

one point with the small soaps. This is what I do. I when I make a batch of soap and I know my mold fits XXX ounces of oils, i'll increase that number to make more. Then I fill my mold and use the remainder in smller individual sized molds that I will use as customer samples. So I don't have to make up a special batch just for those samples. Killing two birds with one stone.
 

justcrafty

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Lisa , there comes a time in this type of business you have to weigh what is better for you. I had a large business and with bottles and product going out the door it was better for me to charge for my samples. When you are trying to get a new account it is a great idea to take them some of your products to try to see if they want to carry. I closed my business three years ago do to health problems. Everything has increased in price so much since then and if you find this is cutting into your profit then I would charge something for your samples. :) Judy
 

Tabitha

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I figure X amout of samples monthly as part of my overhead & charge my retail prices accordingly to cover this expense.

You always end up w/ tid bits left over though & those tidbits make the best samples. If you are filling 8oz bottles w/ lotion & your get down to the bottom of the bowl to find you only have 2oz left, that is (4) 1/2oz samples basically left over waste product. Your only cost is the bottle which is minimal & if it scored you a full price sale down the road the .09cent bottle was well worth your investment. It really could come out of your advertising fund.
 

Lane

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I give away samples like there is no tomorrow. If someone tries something and decide they can't live without it, you now have a customer for life. If they had never sampled they would never know how great your products are! Of course, I have been burned before (samples do not always = sales) and I make my samples out of my "end bars" so that I'm really not losing anything.

Either way, a sample set should be considered a GOOD investment for your business.
 

NameThatCandy

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I am esthetician, when I had my skin care studio, I alway asked for samples from the skin care companies. I would say 99.9% of companies sent me all the FREE samples. If the companies refused to send me samples, I wouldn't sell their products or used it on my clients. Since they are tons of companies will send you samples.

I think free samples is important, it will help you to get more clients in long run. And like others said, you can always write-off tax purpose. U will definely make more $$ than loss $.
 

Incrtalent

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Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. Yes, we do give out free samples, as it is a great way to help sell our product. Becuase I do M & P, there aren't any ends to trim, really. We make our samples up in slab trays (1-2 oz sized soaps) and put them raffia-tied cello bags, giving these out to merchants and other potential customers. What the retailers seem to be asking for, however, are full-sized products that they can use as testers. This would mean 8 oz lotions, 8 oz butters, that type of thing, that I'm giving out for free. And those that are buying shrink-wrapped gift crates want free full-sized bars of soap so the customers can smell the soaps. I, of course, understand why they want them; but that does get pricey. I can put out the small sample-size lotions for the customers to use as testers, right? And perhaps I could use sample-sized soaps in bags instead of full-sized. What do you think?
 
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Hmmmmmmm good question........

If they want full size testers for their customers, then maybe they need to purchase those items. I know when I go into stores I don't expect testers of the lotions and creams. Nor do I expect testers of soaps to smell them either.

However I can see putting a bottle of lotion out in a pump bottle for customers to try. (you don't even need to fill it up full because it's a tester.) But I can't see how putting a jar of body butter out being a good thing. People with dirty hands dipping into it. Seems like that would be a germ factory to me. Even with sticks out for them to use, can you guarantee that everyone would use them? Or that no one would double dip? So that aspect of safety is important to consider.


As for having a bar of soap for customers to smell of each scent. Well, that's a good question. How important is that exactly? Or do they want the free bars for their own personal use in the name of 'their customers'?

If they feel that strongly about having bars to smell what's wrong with your small 1-2 ounce bars for them to smell. But the other question is that it's melt and pour and will be exposed to the air. How will that affect the soap, and will that turn off customers. Will the scent hold up when exposed to the air? It just might not be possible either.


edited to add : How about adding a binder with a page with info about your products ect, AS WELL AS a written description of each scent.
 

Krickett

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1-2 oz. for a sample would that be equal to say an ice cube size piece of soap? I am curious about this now. I mean how much more ingredients would you have to add to a batch to say pour 2 ice trays of soap for samples? It would total out to be what? Maybe a couple of cups of soap to fill the trays? Hmmm---ideas---ideas LOL


Krickett
 

Tabitha

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Fill an ice cube tray w/ water, pour that water into a measuring cup & you will know how much it holds.
 
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