how to sell soap - selling soap to the public

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Ways To Sell Your Soap

So, you've ordered your loaves of soap, cut them into bars, labeled with with your company name - now what?  Now comes the time when you have to get out there and start selling your soaps.  The very first thing is to start with people you know.  If your day job has a relaxed work atmosphere, pass out your new business cards with a soap sample.  To make a soap sample, take one bar of soap and cut it into at least six pieces.  Slide the soap sample down into a small ziplock bag (found in craft and hobby stores) along with your business card.  We have some customers that order an extra loaf of their favorite soap solely for cutting up into samples.  I know from personal experience that the soap samples I have given out in our store over the years almost always resulted in the customer coming back for whole bars.  And, since we usually run a special price in the store when you buy 3 soaps, they usually bought three, sometimes six bars.  You may also include a business-card-sized piece of paper talking about the benefits of using handmade soap.  Or, perhaps a coupon with sample and business card.  Tell the potential customer to just TRY your soap sample - to take it home and use it for three straight days (without using their old products) and they'll feel a difference in the way their skin feels.

MARKETS

Okay, we've covered sampling.  Now onto WHERE to sell your soap.  When you're first starting out, word of mouth is the very best sales tool.  But there are other ways to reach new customers, people that you don't already know.  Festivals and flea markets are a great way to do this.  Usually, the booth rental is affordable and you can get your face (and your product) out in front of the public.  Besides your soaps, make sure to take plenty of business cards with you.  Give them not only to the customers that purchased soap, but also to the ones that seemed interested but didn't make a purchase.  See our DISPLAYING YOUR SOAP page for ideas on how to set up your flea market or fair table. (we plan to make a video this spring, showing you how to set up a easy display table for markets)

When you do a festival or flea market, be sure to take plenty of product.  I always pass up the table that look anemic.  Twenty bars of soap on a table can send mixed messages to the potential customer, the first being that you are not a serious supply for them.  Poor stock may make them think, "This is just a hobby for them.  If I like this soap, I bet they won't be back next month and I can't get more.  I'll just try the lady a few booths down.  She's here every month and has plenty."  See what I mean?  You never know what potential customers are thinking when they look at your table.  Make sure it gives off a good first impression.

Post your soap prices on your table or in a stand up picture frame.  Sometimes, customers are too shy to ask the prices, thinking they may not be able to afford them and walk away.  If you have any specials such for 3-for-price or buy-three-get-one-free, post that too.

Don't forget all the little things you need when selling at a craft fair or flea market -

  • cash box
  • plenty of change, lots of ones
  • business cards
  • inks pens, notepad
  • paper bags for customer purchases
  • calculator

By all means, stand up when a customer approaches your table.  There's nothing more unprofessional than a seller that just sits there behind their table, heaven forbid they just read a book with customers at the table!  Unless you have a health conditions that prevents it, just sitting there send the signal to the customer, something like this "Buy something. Don't buy something.  I don't care.  I can't even be bothered to get off my lazy behind and help you."  Doesn't sound like a very nice sales pitch, now does it?

Most of these types of events last all day.  Remember to pack lunch, several small snacks and drinks if the venue allows you to.  Some events also have food vendors.  But, try not to bring a lunch with a very strong odor.  The scent of your soaps usually makes the sale so don't ruin the experience with the strong whiff of onion bagels behind your table.

Just remember to be friendly and be yourself.  And keep in mind that sales usually increase over time, especially if you continue to go to the same market every month, preferably in the exact same spot.  Customers will begin to look for you and many times bring friends with them later on.

BED AND BREAKFASTS

Have any bed and breakfasts in your area?  They usually love to offer their visitors handmade soap.  To create b&b sized bars of soap, cut the loaf in half long-ways first.  You now have two, long and narrow loaves of soap.  Now, begin cutting these thinner loaves into thin bars. 1/2 inch thick makes a good "hotel size" bar of soap.  With the two loaves you've made out of one regular sized loaf, cutting the bars 1/2 inch thick should give you about sixty bars of soap.  Pricing is up to you.  Charge what you feel the market will bear. Double what you paid for the loaf is a good starting price.

STORES AND BOUTIQUES

pay close attention to your pricing if you are going to sell wholesale to stores and boutiques.  Don't give such a huge discount that you are only making a quarter off of each bar of soap.  You'll get bored and tire of that profit margin pretty quickly.  If you really want to get your products into other stores be sure to ADJUST YOUR PRICES FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.  In other words, don't sell your soap for $4.00 a bar at the flea market and tell the boutique on the square in town that the retail price is $7.00 a bar.  Price your bars so that you can take 30 - 40% off of the retail price and still make what you feel you need to make per bar.  Don't forget to include the cost of your labeling when figuring up your pricing.

BY THE SLICE

Some of our customers who buy soap loaves don't cut them into bars at all.  They keep the loaves in solid form and sell them at markets by the slice.  Most often, pricing is somewhere around $1.00 - $1.50 per ounce.  To sell using this method, purchase a digital scale so that you can weigh the soap right in front of the customer.  You may want to pre-slice a few different sizes, weigh them and have them on display so that customers can see what an ounce, a two ounce and even a five ounce slice looks like.  Over time, you'll immediately know where to cut to get pretty close to the weight to customer wants.

SELL ON YOUR WEBSITE

The title is pretty self-explanatory.  Wanting to sell your soaps on your own website?  See our page on BUILDING A WEBSITE FOR YOUR SOAP BUSINESS.

I hope this article on the different ways to sell your soap has inspired you to try a few that you haven't thought of.  You may have even thought of a few new ways.  Good luck with sales.

Gregory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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