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Soap is too pretty to use / good enough to eat

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lucysky

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Hi! I started selling my artisan soaps at craft fairs. I've got a lot of attention coz it's not common where I'm from. People who stop and admire my stuff say it's good enough to eat (i make chocolate scented cupcakes) or they say it's too pretty to use (my lavender drop swirl soaps). I do get sales though, especially for gift giving, but on non peak mos I feel like less people buy it because they find it too fancy decide they don't want to use it as a daily soap. I add strawberry embeds etc on my soaps. Has this happened to you? How do you deal with it? Do i stop swirling to make more sales?
 

jcandleattic

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Yes, this happens all the time. You can either make plainer soaps (but I'd still make the fancy ones as well, just know your market) or you can come up with catchy answers.
Mine are simple, and it work quite often.
When I hear them say that my soaps are "too pretty to use", I say either "well, I can always make more" or what really gets them to buy more often than not, I say "tell ya what, buy 2 for a discounted price and you can display one, and use the other one!" I will discount them 5% if they do this. Works almost every time. But I have found you have to do it in a way that does not seem tacky, unprofessional, or pushy.
I also let them know that after time, if on display their scent can fade, but will most likely come back when in use.
 

lucysky

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I'm known for my fancy stuff so i guess I'll make a classic range to compliment it. Makes me wonder what would classify as a less fancy soap? Would a 2 tone mica swirl top with a single color body still be too pretty to use? Love your witty comebacks. I should practice that. Thanks for the tip.
 

not_ally

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As a soapmaker something has to be really remarkable looking for me *not* to use it, I think pretty much all the experienced soapers here make beautiful soaps.

I will say that if I bought some of the soaps on Newbie's "browsing soap pics" thread I might be hard pressed to see them melt away. I think when people at farmer's markets see swirly cp soaps it is kind of the equivalent of one of us thinking of using/"despoiling" one of the crazy beautiful ones on that thread. So I guess I get it at some level, although I don't like hearing it.

Handmade soap is very common here in LA, at the farmer's markets, up scale grocery stores, lots of places, so luckily for sellers (I think) people are not so wary about buying it for use.
 
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cmzaha

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I still find even here in LA they prefer a simple cut soap in uniform sizes. Swirls and color do not make as much difference, since most buy for scent, color second. I gave up on fancy soap and different molds several yrs ago, they just would not sell well. I do have decorative, cupcakes, lego type men soaps etc for m&p and they only sell well at my booth during the holidays. Lego type soapies and cupcakes (m&p) buy me a lot of strawberries at the market, so they are useful. Embeds do nothing for my sales and botanical's sprinkled on top will at times kill the sale of the soap. A lot of people do not like dried herbs, flower buds etc going down the drain or do not want to bath in a tub that looks like it has floating grass in it. Try making and offering both so you can get a good feel for your market
 

Saponista

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For me personally, it's more about functionality than pretiness. The cupcakes and stuff look nice as gifts but are not a good shape to actually use. A pretty square bar, no matter how pretty would still get used in my house as it is functional and easy to hold on to.
 

not_ally

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I am one of those soapers who actually hates funny shaped soaps, and foodie-looking soaps. I think that was the only Great Cakes contest where I had absolutely no interest in checking out the entries. Like Saponista, I just find bar soaps easy to use, and somehow pleasing in their simplicity.
 

jenneelk

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Yeah im the same.. I finally tried making a layered soap cake and just don't like the look or to use it. I find myself dodging it and couldn't get the interest to sell it either. Lol so it sits at the top of my bins and likely will forever. Very pretty and apple rose scent but just not 'soap' enough for me.
I like colors but very traditional cut shapes (rectangle and a square maybe) and not too fancy beyond glitter.
 

lucysky

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Glad to hear your opinions bout it. Helps a lot. I guess I'll save my cupcakes for holidays. I also prefer soap bars in the shower. Guess I'll have to mix up my range to see how people will react to it. I think I'll categorize them as artisan (fancy), & classic or oldfashion and probably wrap them in fancy paper instead. I just love color, but seems like a have to tone it down a notch. I also have been working on a liquid soap version, hope that helps steer away the "too pretty" comments. Never knew "too pretty" would affect sales. Haha
 

jenneelk

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Do you only sell at the markets? Not online? I think it just depends on your area or clientel. Hate to see you stop making them but I know my customers like both... lots of color and some 'naked'. But none ever seemed to take to different shapes and such.. yet Etsy is full of them ( I don't sell there but peruse sometimes. :)
Maybe still take some but try a few times with some more natural looking soap shapes and colors and see how that goes?
 

lucysky

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Do you only sell at the markets? Not online? I think it just depends on your area or clientel. Hate to see you stop making them but I know my customers like both... lots of color and some 'naked'. But none ever seemed to take to different shapes and such.. yet Etsy is full of them ( I don't sell there but peruse sometimes. :)
Maybe still take some but try a few times with some more natural looking soap shapes and colors and see how that goes?
I only sell at craft fairs. I don't think i can stop myself fr making fancy soap. I will Try to test some of my fancy soap smell into a more simpler bar. Hopefully i get more sales.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I only sell at craft fairs. I don't think i can stop myself fr making fancy soap. I will Try to test some of my fancy soap smell into a more simpler bar. Hopefully i get more sales.
I think this can be a major problem - people want to sell soap, but soap that they want to make. A soaper might make a soap that they adore, but no one buys it, whereas the soaper hates making the GMOH but it sells out before the oils are melted! It's one of the things people often overlook when deciding to sell.
 

dixiedragon

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I'm a gifter, not a seller - but yes, it's happened to me! So when I gift, I give some perfect bars and some slightly misshapen bars. I hope that if I give them some less pretty bars they'll use those, fall in love, and move onto the pretty bars!
 

shunt2011

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I too prefer regular rectangular bars. I sell at Farmer's Markets and do other shows as well. I have no problems selling my colorful swirly soaps. As others have said they usually buy by scent first then colors. However, I do have several customers who utilize my soap for other purposes (car freshners, linens, undies....etc.) I don't care what they use them for as they keep buying them. As for cupcake soaps, I do make them as they sell well at a couple of my venues. I don't sell them at my Farmer's Markets though.
 

galaxyMLP

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I found that "pretty" or special fancy bars drew people in (like cupcake soaps) although those didn't sell. It was a good conversation piece. Ultimately people bought the regular looking soaps, which is fine by me.

I would say, if they truly dont sell, but still draw people in, make them as "display" peices and add them to your booth decor. If someone asks tell them they are in fact soap and are for sale. However, if they dont sell, you are not at a huge loss.

I know that for the holidays I will be making very small batches of fancy shaped soaps but will largely have regular bars. I feel this way I can maximize sales while drawing people in!
 

lucysky

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I think this can be a major problem - people want to sell soap, but soap that they want to make. A soaper might make a soap that they adore, but no one buys it, whereas the soaper hates making the GMOH but it sells out before the oils are melted! It's one of the things people often overlook when deciding to sell.
Great point! Back to the drawing room I go
 

lucysky

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I too prefer regular rectangular bars. I sell at Farmer's Markets and do other shows as well. I have no problems selling my colorful swirly soaps. As others have said they usually buy by scent first then colors. However, I do have several customers who utilize my soap for other purposes (car freshners, linens, undies....etc.) I don't care what they use them for as they keep buying them. As for cupcake soaps, I do make them as they sell well at a couple of my venues. I don't sell them at my Farmer's Markets though.
Some of my customers also use it as air fresheners. Hehe
 

lucysky

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I found that "pretty" or special fancy bars drew people in (like cupcake soaps) although those didn't sell. It was a good conversation piece. Ultimately people bought the regular looking soaps, which is fine by me.

I would say, if they truly dont sell, but still draw people in, make them as "display" peices and add them to your booth decor. If someone asks tell them they are in fact soap and are for sale. However, if they dont sell, you are not at a huge loss.

I know that for the holidays I will be making very small batches of fancy shaped soaps but will largely have regular bars. I feel this way I can maximize sales while drawing people in!
I get a lot of kid customers bec of my cupcake display, but they end up buying my soap bars. Holidays are a diff story they were very loved. Hehe
 

biarine

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If I will buy a soap I preferred one colour that signified the scent like lavender colour for lavender scented soap or just plain without colour but had a good scent.
 

CTAnton

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Hi all! Just wanted to share a recent experience. I made a poison ivy soap with jewelweed and used molds from China that are concave in the middle of a usually sized bar.These molds weren't cheap but a beautiful quality. When I distributed these to my testers...aka friends...they loved the shape...they complained that a normal sized bar like you produce from a log mold was hard to hold...go figure...
 
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