Soap Making – How to Sell Your Soap At A Craft Show
So many Soap School Members have asked me what to do about getting their soap out there, where do you go once you have soap inventory.
This is a huge topic, so I will do several segments on how to sell your soap.
The first step that I took, which was 15 years ago, was to hit the craft shows.
Not a lot has changed since then, and it’s a pretty traditional method to getting yourself out there.
The best thing about selling your soap at a craft show, is that the money exchange is instant. You don’t have to advertise and you don’t have to spend a lot of time convincing your customer to buy.
They either buy or move on. The face to face contact is pretty minimal, unless they spend forever at your booth asking 1000 questions about your ingredients and your soap making manufacturing methods.
These time suckers are usually other soap makers feeling out their competition. You usually recognize them right away. They scrutinize your labels and your ingredients but never buy from you. Your biggest clue that they are a soap maker is when they whip out their iphone to take a picture of your product. Not very subtle.
Now that you have decided to go the craft show route, you are going to scope some of the shows out. Usually in the summer, you are pretty limited to farmers markets and special fairs.
Try to check out as many of the shows that you can. Make a call to the organizer and find out if there is space for another soaper in the show. I would not go into a farmers market type show if there are 3 soap makers already. This depends on the attendance though.
If the organizers say yes there is room, find out how many soap makers are in the show or farmers market. If they say there are plenty, but there is always room for more, then walk away. You are not doing yourself or the other soapers a favor by going into this show. The organizer is clearly after the money and not the success of the vendors.
The best types of shows to get involved in are the ones that jury your product. If they just don’t seem to mind what you bring, then you are setting yourself up for a dumpy garage sale setting. Walk away.
Now on to the marketing of your products at the show.
I want to tell you a little story about the very first show I did. I was a Brownie Leader in 1997, when I began soap making. The leaders in our area held a little craft show to raise money for each of our units.
I thought this would be a good time to show off my new soap making hobby. I wrapped up my soap, labelled them and tried to work in the theme of Girl Guides (I found a hand mold and called the soap “Lend a Hand”soap) . It was fun and I made quite a bit of money for our unit.
One of the people who stopped by our little craft show of 20 vendors happen to be the person in charge of doing all of the ordering and purchasing for the Vancouver International Airport.
She asked me if I was interested in supplying my soap to the Airport. Over 60,000 people go through that airport every day. This was crazy and of course I said yes.
I didn’t waste any time, I began the process of starting a business the very next day.
My point is…..
Always be prepared when you are at the show. You never know who will be attending. Keep a wholesale list, make up some business cards, make sure you have proper labelling on your products etc.
We will talk about labelling in another post.
Your entire purpose for being at the show should not necessarily be to sell a lot of your products, but for the exposure. This is the key. Be ready for opportunities. Don’t think about the short term ( the show) , think about the attendees, and think about the re sales.
I sold a bottle of natural shampoo to a lady at a show, she contacted me every 2 weeks for 5 years and came to my home to buy a bottle of shampoo. Her family wouldn’t use anything else. She moved away, but bought several bottles before she left.
This is the first part of marketing your soap.
I will expand on the craft show information in the next blog.
There is a lot of information I would like to share with you on this topic.
I would love to hear what you have to say so far.