You’ve discovered you have a talent for creating luxurious handcrafted soaps. Your family and friends rave about them. They keep telling you, “You should sell these soaps!” You realize you know plenty about making soaps, but absolutely nothing about selling them. Turning your home craft into a business is not as difficult as it may seem. Once you have decided to put your soaps on the retail market, there are several things you can do that will increase the likelihood of generating sales and turning your creations into an income-producing business.
Decide on a name for your soaps. Brainstorm with your family and friends, if needed, to come up with a name that represents the image you want to convey. Once you’ve picked a name for your soap business, search the Internet to make sure the name is not already being used by another company. Create a logo or design incorporating your business name and use the design for your labels, business cards and flyers.
Purchase the domain name of your business. Many companies offer inexpensive yearly rates. Set up a web site to showcase your soaps. In the beginning, you may want to utilize one of the sites that offer free web pages or hosting accounts. Open an account, if you do not already have one, with an internet payment-processing company so that you can receive online payments for your handcrafted soaps. Set up your web pages with pictures of your soaps and payment links. If you are not comfortable setting up your own web page, enlist a computer-savvy friend to help. They may even take some of your wonderful soaps as payment!
Flea markets are a great place to start selling your handcrafted soaps. The booth or table charges are usually relatively minimal. Most flea markets allow day renters, meaning you don’t have to worry about long-term lease agreements. Flea markets can give your soaps a lot of exposure and opportunities for sales. Farmer’s markets work in much the same way as flea markets, although not all will allow non-food items such as soaps. Have business cards on hand, either professionally made or printed from your computer, to hand out. Be sure to put your web site address on the card so customers can visit your site and order soaps online.
If you are on good terms with your local convenience store, they may allow you to leave a small display of soaps there. Many convenience stores are independently owned, leaving the owner to decide what items their store will carry. Be prepared to leave your soaps on a consignment basis, as few convenience stores will pay upfront for an unproven product.
Privately owned gift shops can be a wonderful way for your handcrafted soaps to reach the upscale market. The downside is that the higher-end gift shops may take a substantial portion of your sales in consignment fees.
Small, upscale hotels and bed-and-breakfasts are great places to give your soaps a market presence. Offer to provide a batch of your soaps for the guestrooms. Take soaps with you to show off. If you’re lucky, you can sell your soaps out-right to the hotel. Otherwise, try offering a batch of soaps at a steep discount or even at no cost. If the hotel guests like your soaps, they can use the contact information on your label to order more from your website.
Shoot for the Stars
Make gift baskets of your finest handcrafted soaps and send them to celebrities. Your local newscasters are a great place to start. Include a flyer or brochure about your soaps, explaining why your soaps are so special. Newscasters network with many people, and if your target newscaster is pleased with your soaps, word will get out and you’ll see orders coming in.
Don’t expect to sell a lot of soaps in the beginning. As with any product, it can take time for people to learn about your soaps and to find where to buy them. The more people that know about your soaps, the more orders you can expect. Just remember what it is about your soaps that make them unique, and keep working to educate the public about your handcrafted soaps.