Selling soap without a fragrance

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Todd Ziegler, Feb 13, 2020.

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  1. Feb 13, 2020 #1

    Todd Ziegler

    Todd Ziegler

    Todd Ziegler

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    If you are selling soap, how important is it to include fragrance in the soap? It seems like it is the most expensive ingredient per ounce and can be the most problematic, if not frustrating part of CP soap making. It seems like a good bar of soap would sell itself or is fragrance what attracts a potential buyer first? I don't want to eliminate fragrance all together but if I can I would like to use less in the beginning. I wasn't sure where to post this question, so I'm sorry if this is the wrong spot.
     
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  2. Feb 13, 2020 #2

    shunt2011

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    99% of soap I sell is scented. I carry a couple unscented but they don't sell anywhere near what fragrance does.
     
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  3. Feb 13, 2020 #3

    Todd Ziegler

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    I had an idea that fragrance was probably a great seller. I haven't developed a marketing plan yet. The only thing I have right now is a name and a very narrow idea. I am going to limit my oils to 5 but that doesn't include additives. Then I am going to call my soap line "No. Five Soaps" just a working idea. I am going with less is more idea. Will it work... I don't know? Right now I am using popular FO scents, ones that remind people of their childhood.
     
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  4. Feb 13, 2020 #4

    dixiedragon

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    As a buyer, I'm in it for the scent lol. I think a lot of us get into the hobby b/c of our enjoyment of scents. I have only sold at a few small craft shows, but I have toyed with the idea of making small batches with special additives but no FOs. I do think you need something to draw people in besides it being "just soap". We know why our plain soap is better than, say, a bar of .99 Dial or Ivory. But our customers don't. I also think that when people buy a hand-crafted item like this, they want it to be some sort of "luxury" item. Luxury could mean no added scent, but mean it includes milk, oats, aloe or some other "Special" ingredient.
     
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  5. Feb 13, 2020 #5

    Todd Ziegler

    Todd Ziegler

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    I am definitely trying to keep it simple but I do understand the importance of "luxury". It is very difficult to explain to a customer the difference between what you have made and what they are buying at the store, especially if it is not scented or without color. I have ran across this problem with my foaming soap and beeswax products. However for now I am going to continue to keep it fresh and simple. I still would like to hear about anyone's experiences and ideas.
     
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  6. Feb 13, 2020 #6

    Carly B

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    If you watch when someone is shopping for soap, the first thing they do is put it up to their nose. It's generally the fragrance that "sells" the soap, I think. Years ago I was on a bath and body products forum and I did a survey of the folks on the forum. I asked "What is most important to you when you buy a soap" and I listed appearance, fragrance, skin benefits, and a couple more I can't remember now. Fragrance got more than 90% of the vote.

    I don't sell (maybe someday), but unless someone requests something unscented, it's the fragrance that people go for.
     
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  7. Feb 14, 2020 #7

    dibbles

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    I agree that fragrance is important. My sister now has to keep to unscented, so I make those for her but she longs for the Lemon Verbena days when she could use fragranced products. I don't sell, but if I did I would have scented soaps for sure, and maybe one specialty unscented milk bar or one with a mix of butters.
     
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  8. Feb 14, 2020 #8

    TheGecko

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    Without question, EOs and FOs are the most expensive part of soap making, but whether it’s a woman or a man shopping for artisan soap, the first thing they do when they pick up a bar of soap is to smell it.

    I had one man looking for an unscented soap, so I handed him a bar of my Bare Naked GMS and he smelled it and said it was scented. I told him that what he was smelling was the organic cocoa butter, he bought three bars.
     
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  9. Feb 14, 2020 #9

    jcandleattic

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    It really is going to depend on your market and target consumer base.
    Like most here, I can't GIVE an unscented soap away, they sit on my table for years, before I finally give up and donate them. However, I have a soaper friend that caters to the "purest" crowd and she has a hard time selling scented soaps.
    Once you know who you are selling to, it gets easier to know what type of soaps to make.
     
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  10. Feb 14, 2020 #10

    Todd Ziegler

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    So far my base has been mainly men because that is who I work with and even they like the scented soaps even with my "grease monkey" soap, they asked about a scent. My goal with this question was to see if others had luck with unscented soap. I am still going to do some unscented soaps but I am going to use them for people with sensitive skin or have problems with certain smells.
     
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  11. Feb 14, 2020 #11

    Obsidian

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    I don't sell but I do occasionally have family and friends ask for custom soaps. One of my biggest sellers in this case in a unscented, uncolored soap for my son in law and his dad.
    They both have sensitive skin and love that they can get a good unscented soap for a good price (I just have them cover cost)

    I also have a aunt who likes salt bars, she could care less about the scent. Once a year I pack a big box of multiple scented bars and send it to her.

    So yes, there is a market for unscented even if it isn't big. If you start doing markets, having a few naked soaps is always a good idea.
     
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  12. Feb 15, 2020 #12

    lucycat

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    Same here. I sell about 1-2% unscented. I make a basic goat milk soap without scent/color. It almost always sells to regular customers who also purchase fragranced soap. I sell at craft fair and those customers definitely want scent. People who are allergic/sensitive to scent won't come near my tables. I think figuring out how to find your customers will be the hard part.
     
  13. Feb 15, 2020 #13

    Todd Ziegler

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    Those who I thought (guys lol) wouldn't care about scents are the ones go crazy over my lemon verbena foaming hand soap lol. I am going to do a 75/25 ratio but I am going to market the unscented heavily.
     
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  14. Feb 15, 2020 #14

    cmzaha

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    I am another one that has no luck with unscented soap. Although I always have one unscented at my booth a year later I will still have a few from my 14 bar batch. As for men, I find they are the customers that like my strongest scented soaps. This was true even during the 7 years I was selling at 5-6 markets per week, in different areas so different customer bases. But in all my markets I have always sold to more men than women. Where I can possibly see un-scented being popular would be in an area with a lot of preppers, which we do not have in abundance in So Cal.
     
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  15. Feb 15, 2020 #15

    Mobjack Bay

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    I have encountered the full spectrum when it comes to scent preferences. My family loves strong scents, while many of my friends like lighter to barely perceptible EO scents or even unscented soap as long as it feels good when they use it. Due to skin conditions, I’ve had a few friends ask me for soap that is very gentle and unscented. I don’t think smelling a soap indicates a preference for scented soap. To me it means the person wants to know what the soap smells like just as much as they want to know what it looks like. Although I avoided scented anything for most of my life, I seem to have adapted somewhat since I started making scented soaps. I think I have developed scent “blindness” to some degree, but I still avoid B+B stores, candle stores and the perfume counters of department stores.
     
  16. Feb 15, 2020 #16

    Todd Ziegler

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    I have a lot of preppers that I work with and in the area, so I am hoping to reach that market. I found a mold that creates little 1" X 1" X 1" bars and they are the perfect size to fit in your hand and small enough to not take up much room in a bag. Those will be the majority of my unscented bars.

    I am the same way. I just hate going into Walmart at Christmas time because it smells like cinnamon and pine and it's overwhelming. I prefer gentle to no scent and if I have to use a scent for myself, I prefer fruity/citrus scents.

    I am making a moons & stars watermelon soap today, with a very nice watermelon fragrance that is not over powering. If you don't know what moons & stars watermelon is then you are under 40 years old lol!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2020
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  17. Feb 15, 2020 #17

    TheGecko

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    Yes, men like scent too. For 'trade' soap, I use Eucalyptus and Spearmint which seems to go over well along with a solid navy or dark green with a bit of pumice. My BIL uses it in his shop, but for his bath he loves my Chocolate Espresso. Hubby prefers fruit scents...my Cantaloupe is his favorite (so far). Oldest son has requested something 'old guard'...he's an attorney in Virginia and so I am thinking bourbon and tobacco.
     
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  18. Feb 15, 2020 #18

    Todd Ziegler

    Todd Ziegler

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    I haven't tried any scents outside of fruit and some kind of coconut. I'm sure I will at some point but I may just let the market (customers) decide which direction I should go. BTW don't swirl yellow and green if you don't want blue. My moons & stars watermelon is going to have a little blue in it but maybe it will be a happy accident lol.
     
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  19. Feb 17, 2020 #19

    Lin19687

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    I made 2 Oopps soaps this time last year that I forgot the FO in it
    One was With Color but no scent, I sold one- and she said it was for someone else and just for the color. There were no others even close to that color.

    Second was a Salt bar that moved too fast and I for got the FO darn it. But being a Salt bar I did sell 3 ... And that was because I only had a few scents for salt and this particular customer buys like 12 at a time. I think she got all 3
     
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  20. Feb 17, 2020 #20

    Todd Ziegler

    Todd Ziegler

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    I have forgotten to add FO a few times myself. In the beginning I was nervous and moved to quickly with the soap and forgot them. I only move as fast as the soap does now and I do a better job of going through my steps that I have laid out for the soap I am making.
     

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