"We" or "I" on labels?

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Kari Howie

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I vote for we. What if you do get a helper 6 months from now?
I can’t see that ever happening, especially since I get no support from my family.
I vote for we. What if you do get a helper 6 months from now?
I suppose that’s a remote possibility. My husband certainly isn’t interested. However I did meet a young gal at church who wants me to teach her how to make soap. I’m not expecting that to blossom into anything however.

Wait.... on labels? Nope.... nothing regarding me or I. However, I have a brochure that I include with my products. In it, I refer to both I and we. Labels, however, have the name of the product, the weight, the ingredients and whatever I am supposed to put on the labels but no "blurb". Labels are for the facts, not the explanations.
I was using guidance from Marie Gale with inspiration from the label on a bottle of Guinness Stout that lyrically extolled it’s virtues.

I would use neither "I" nor "We" to describe how the soap is made. Try using "The soap" as the subject.
I haven't read Marie Gale's excellent book but I have done a lot of editing over the years. When writing "blurbs" the less said the better. Aim at getting the message across in 2-3 well-written sentences or even phrases, if that suits your style and message.

PS: If you think you can handle a brutal carnage of your prose, Kari, feel free to post what you wrote here and let me (and others) have at it! heh, heh. :D
I’ll work on it some more then I’ll submit it for vivisection.
 
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TheGecko

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I was using guidance from Marie Gale with inspiration from the label on a bottle of Guinness Stout that lyrically extolled it’s virtues.
I looked up her website and searched for 'conversational' since I thought you were talking about your company, not the actual label for your products. As such, I agree 110% with @Misschief. Save the 'conversational' for advertising/marketing, but keep your labels simple and factual; especially in light of how many folks these days have allergies and sensitivities to certain ingredients.
 

amd

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When I do write ups about my soaps, I use "I" or "Sherry", depending on how personal I feel like being. More than likely if I ever get a helper, I'll still be doing all the making, the helper will be doing sales, marketing, shows and whatnot.
 

Lin19687

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If this is going to be on your soap label........... don't bother, most never will really read it or care.

If it is on your Website, then use 'I' if you want to talk about YOUR Biz.

focus on what you want for the Biz and if you are going to sell sell. Get a website and work on it from there.
You will change it a dozen times ;)
 

shunt2011

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I too use I when describing my business. We implies there are more than one of you making the products.
 

Marilyn Norgart

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the helper will be doing sales, marketing, shows and whatnot.
the dishes--don't forget the dishes :)

I agree with Misschief as there is only so much room on the labels for info that should be on there. But I was taught in my college classes to not use "I" too much. Maybe use your business name instead of "I"
 

DeeAnna

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"I vote for we. What if you do get a helper 6 months from now?..."

If Kari eventually gets a helper, she may still choose to talk about HER business with "I" or she might decide to use "we". Sometimes helpers are simply helpers with little or no input on business or creative decisions. Sometimes they become partners with a more equal say.

But at this point, it doesn't really matter -- that's something that might happen or it might not. I don't know that anyone starts a business knowing where it will end up, and it's perfectly fine to grow, change, and adapt.
 

Kari Howie

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Here is the first draft of my soap description using conversational wording (see pages 128-129 of Marie Gale's book.) My goal was to create a profile of the ingredients I commonly use that, based on the wording, the consumer can see may not be the entire list of all ingredients. All this so I can order a single label rather than a bazillion different labels for each type of soap.

"The handcrafted soap you are holding is made on a little horse farm named Hestland Gård in the heart of North Carolina’s coastal plain. It contains saponified oils such as palm, coconut, olive, or rice bran and is enriched with specialty oils such as babbassu, shea, mango, or cocoa butters. A variety of micas, clays, oxides or herbs are used to create the delightful designs. Whether au naturel or lusciously scented with pure fragrance and essential oils, Hestland Gård's boutique soaps make the mundane shower or bath feel special and spa-like.
 

Lefty

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I've struggled with this when it comes to social media posts. I'm the only one working in my business, but for some reason, I tend to lean toward using "we" when posting because I tend to think it makes the business sound more professional. Maybe I'm considering myself and "the business entity" as two separate things working together, and that's how I justify the "we." ;)

How do others approach social media posting...we or I?
 

Misschief

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I've struggled with this when it comes to social media posts. I'm the only one working in my business, but for some reason, I tend to lean toward using "we" when posting because I tend to think it makes the business sound more professional. Maybe I'm considering myself and "the business entity" as two separate things working together, and that's how I justify the "we." ;)

How do others approach social media posting...we or I?
I keep mine impersonal; for instance, here's a recent Facebook description of my Charcoal Castile soap:
"Another batch of Charcoal Castile soap. This has been a popular soap and it will be ready just in time for the autumn markets. Charcoal soap is said to be effective for break out prone skin and because it's castile, it's very gentle. It's fragranced with lavender essential oil, a very gentle oil, good for all skin types. And it's vegan friendly!"
 

Millie

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Here is the first draft of my soap description using conversational wording (see pages 128-129 of Marie Gale's book.)

"The handcrafted soap you are holding is made on a little horse farm named Hestland Gård in the heart of North Carolina’s coastal plain. It contains saponified oils such as palm, coconut, olive, or rice bran and is enriched with specialty oils such as babbassu, shea, mango, or cocoa butters. A variety of micas, clays, oxides or herbs are used to create the delightful designs. Whether au naturel or lusciously scented with pure fragrance and essential oils, Hestland Gård's boutique soaps make the mundane shower or bath feel special and spa-like.
I think it's perfect! That would make me want to buy your soap, to experience a little piece of Hestland Gard. And then I looked up the name "Hestland Gard" online (because it is beautiful and intriguing) and found your website, which is gorgeous. Well done!
 

TheGecko

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I've struggled with this when it comes to social media posts. I'm the only one working in my business, but for some reason, I tend to lean toward using "we" when posting because I tend to think it makes the business sound more professional. Maybe I'm considering myself and "the business entity" as two separate things working together, and that's how I justify the "we." ;)

How do others approach social media posting...we or I?
Depends on what I am posting about. Largely I use 'we' because even though I am the only one actually making the soap, I could not do it without the support and help I get from my family so they are as much as part of the business as I am. I do on occasion share amusing tales of soap making successes and disasters...it reminds folks that we are more than a faceless company, that soap making is work and we care very much about the quality of the products we sell.

On the website...it's pretty much all about the soap and the ingredients. I do have an "About Us" page that talks about how the company started, the reason behind the name, where we are at and where we are going. It's ongoing.
 

SoapySuds

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Or go without pronouns and talk about the soap:

This soap is made by seasoned hands. Peppered by long hours and finished with some sea salt. Choice oils, such as olive, cacao, and emu were specifically chosen for the wonderful properties they bring. Don’t be afraid to buy an acre of this soap. It cleans you.

So instead of ‘I’ or ‘we’ or ‘they’ the pronoun becomes you and is understated because the conversation is directed towards the reader. It’s not about you, it’s about your customer.
 

Lefty

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I keep mine impersonal; for instance, here's a recent Facebook description of my Charcoal Castile soap:
"Another batch of Charcoal Castile soap. This has been a popular soap and it will be ready just in time for the autumn markets. Charcoal soap is said to be effective for break out prone skin and because it's castile, it's very gentle. It's fragranced with lavender essential oil, a very gentle oil, good for all skin types. And it's vegan friendly!"
This is great, I didn't even think to take the pronouns out all together. Thank you!

Depends on what I am posting about. Largely I use 'we' because even though I am the only one actually making the soap, I could not do it without the support and help I get from my family so they are as much as part of the business as I am. I do on occasion share amusing tales of soap making successes and disasters...it reminds folks that we are more than a faceless company, that soap making is work and we care very much about the quality of the products we sell.

On the website...it's pretty much all about the soap and the ingredients. I do have an "About Us" page that talks about how the company started, the reason behind the name, where we are at and where we are going. It's ongoing.
Agreed! I'm trying to find a balance of looking professional on social media, but also wanting to bring in some of the personal, and showing more of the process, etc. I think it definitely helps when people know a bit about the person making the products!
 
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TheGecko

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Here is the first draft of my soap description using conversational wording (see pages 128-129 of Marie Gale's book.) My goal was to create a profile of the ingredients I commonly use that, based on the wording, the consumer can see may not be the entire list of all ingredients. All this so I can order a single label rather than a bazillion different labels for each type of soap.

"The handcrafted soap you are holding is made on a little horse farm named Hestland Gård in the heart of North Carolina’s coastal plain. It contains saponified oils such as palm, coconut, olive, or rice bran and is enriched with specialty oils such as babassu, shea, mango, or cocoa butters. A variety of micas, clays, oxides or herbs are used to create the delightful designs. Whether au naturel or lusciously scented with pure fragrance and essential oils, Hestland Gård's boutique soaps make the mundane shower or bath feel special and spa-like.
Babassu is only spelt with one "b". With that said, I understand where you are coming from in that it is cheaper to purchase one lot of 5000 labels that it is to purchase 50 lots of 100 labels and gives you lots of wiggle room to change up your recipe by providing a general list of ingredients that you use.

I haven't read her book, last updated in 2015, but I did find the below on her website and dated July 1, 2018 (https://www.mariegale.com/if-one-then-all/):

Under False and Misleading: If you say “Ingredients: ____ ” so the consumer thinks it’s a standard ingredient list and everything is in descending order of predominance, but you re-order the list so your 1% of shea butter is a the top of the list making it look like it’s mostly shea butter… that would be false or misleading.

On the other hand, if you tell what’s in your soap in a “conversational manner” so the consumer doesn’t think that it’s an “official ingredient declaration” you have a little more wiggle room. When you say something along the lines of, “We make our soaps with a unique blend of seven plant-based oils, including olive, macadamia nut and jojoba” … the customer can instantly see that this is not an official “ingredient declaration,” and understands that there are other ingredients in the soap.


My issue is with the last line that I have underlined. It would be great if that were so, but too many consumers don't understand the difference between an "official ingredient declaration" and a "conversational". And while she may have promoted the "conversational" in her book, under Best Practice in the article she says:

While you are not required to put an ingredient declaration on your soap, best practice would suggest that it’s a good idea, for several reasons:
  • Consumers have come to expect an ingredient declaration on the products they put on their bodies, not having the ingredients may be a red flag to them.
  • Savvy shoppers are familiar with ingredients (or at least think they are) and look to the ingredients declaration to help determine the quality of the product.
  • People with specific allergies (especially nut allergies) may immediately pass on any bath & body product (including soap) that doesn’t have a complete ingredient declaration.
I use an "official ingredient declaration" myself. I pretty much use the same recipe for the majority of my regular and Goat Milk Soaps I just have a Master Template for each so all I need to add is any color, scent or other additive which is highlighted so I don't forget and then it's a simple matter to print however many I need (I have a color LaserJet). I am currently printing my front labels (another template), but eventually will have a preprinted ones where I only need to put in the name of the product and write in the weight.

I save my 'wiggle room" for my Ingredients List on my website. Since I don't want my soap to fall under stricter 'cosmetic' rules, I make no claims on my labels other than it is 'soap'. But on my Ingredients List, I can talk about the benefits of those ingredients.
 

Kari Howie

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When I do write ups about my soaps, I use "I" or "Sherry", depending on how personal I feel like being. More than likely if I ever get a helper, I'll still be doing all the making, the helper will be doing sales, marketing, shows and whatnot.
Babassu is only spelt with one "b". With that said, I understand where you are coming from in that it is cheaper to purchase one lot of 5000 labels that it is to purchase 50 lots of 100 labels and gives you lots of wiggle room to change up your recipe by providing a general list of ingredients that you use.

I haven't read her book, last updated in 2015, but I did find the below on her website and dated July 1, 2018 (https://www.mariegale.com/if-one-then-all/):

Under False and Misleading: If you say “Ingredients: ____ ” so the consumer thinks it’s a standard ingredient list and everything is in descending order of predominance, but you re-order the list so your 1% of shea butter is a the top of the list making it look like it’s mostly shea butter… that would be false or misleading.

On the other hand, if you tell what’s in your soap in a “conversational manner” so the consumer doesn’t think that it’s an “official ingredient declaration” you have a little more wiggle room. When you say something along the lines of, “We make our soaps with a unique blend of seven plant-based oils, including olive, macadamia nut and jojoba” … the customer can instantly see that this is not an official “ingredient declaration,” and understands that there are other ingredients in the soap.


My issue is with the last line that I have underlined. It would be great if that were so, but too many consumers don't understand the difference between an "official ingredient declaration" and a "conversational". And while she may have promoted the "conversational" in her book, under Best Practice in the article she says:

While you are not required to put an ingredient declaration on your soap, best practice would suggest that it’s a good idea, for several reasons:
  • Consumers have come to expect an ingredient declaration on the products they put on their bodies, not having the ingredients may be a red flag to them.
  • Savvy shoppers are familiar with ingredients (or at least think they are) and look to the ingredients declaration to help determine the quality of the product.
  • People with specific allergies (especially nut allergies) may immediately pass on any bath & body product (including soap) that doesn’t have a complete ingredient declaration.
I use an "official ingredient declaration" myself. I pretty much use the same recipe for the majority of my regular and Goat Milk Soaps I just have a Master Template for each so all I need to add is any color, scent or other additive which is highlighted so I don't forget and then it's a simple matter to print however many I need (I have a color LaserJet). I am currently printing my front labels (another template), but eventually will have a preprinted ones where I only need to put in the name of the product and write in the weight.

I save my 'wiggle room" for my Ingredients List on my website. Since I don't want my soap to fall under stricter 'cosmetic' rules, I make no claims on my labels other than it is 'soap'. But on my Ingredients List, I can talk about the benefits of those ingredients.
Thanks, Gecko, for taking the time to provide such in depth analysis and advice. It is so helpful. I don’t have a color copier, but I could make a simple ingredient declaration in black typeface. I had been thinking I would order labels hence the attempt at one size fits all. Printing them myself seems easier and cheaper. Thank you again! Everyone here has been great.
 
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