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Handmade Soap And Candle Business Advice - Boost Sales With These Easy Products

Aug 18, 2007
Wouldn't you like to add some easy extra profit onto your soap and candle business? If you act on the advice in this article, you can regularly turn $6 soap purchases into $30 transactions.

There are specific items that you should add onto your existing soap or candle line, even if you're just a hobby seller. They take little time, money, and skill to make, but have high value to your customers. Your regulars will be delighted to find that you offer these items in their favorite scents - the scents they keep coming back for - and the products will almost sell themselves. (You still have to do a little work, but not much.)

These products sell! Here's how I know...

For over two years, I was a sales rep for a bath and body boutique. We had a target amount of $30 per transaction; whenever a customer came into the store, we did our best to get her sale amount up to $30 or more. We didn't succeed every time, but our weekly "average daily transactions" usually hit the mark.

Our most popular products were bath bombs and both glycerin and cold processed soap bars. When someone came in to buy a bath bombs or bar of soap, expecting to only spend $4 - $8, we were instructed to point out any other products in the same fragrances. With only this gentle suggestion, a full 25% of customers bought additional scrubs, lotions, or massage bars.

They had come in expecting to spend less than $10, and they ended up spending $30 or more and being totally happy about it. No manipulation, hard selling, or obnoxious pitching was necessary; just asking "Did you see that we had this or that?" was enough.

More points of entry into your line of toiletries.

Our line was designed to have easy up-sells (those extra items you tack on at the last minute) and multiple points of entry to get and keep customers. Each product had different "use up" rates. You should do the same thing as well; you can have one-use items that introduce customers to the line, two-week products, and monthly products. You can try sample sizes to up-sell; perhaps customers don't want the full tub of scrub with their bar of soap, but they might want a 3-day trial size for a few dollars.

Best products.

These are products that were best-sellers for us. Whip up some small batches and test their desirability with your regular customers. Not all of them may be hits, but one or two will be. Make sure to only use the most popular scents in your line; don't create any new fragrances. Why mess with success?

1) Lotion or body cream. Many people already may have lotion, but a thick, luxurious body cream in a tub is an entirely different experience. Don't do a whipped butter; in my experience, people love the idea but find them way too greasy for practical use.

2) Single-use bath salt envelopes or bath bombs, especially ones that produce bubbles and foam. Bath salts and fizzies hardly cost anything to make; they just take a bit of practice.

3) Oil-based body scrub, like the first Origins scrub. Pure oils, sugar, and salt is unbeatable for a skin exfoliating experience. The simple 3-ingredient formula is still used in fancy spas. Be sure to use a shrinkwrap band to reduce container leakage.

4) Spritzers and body mists, with or without alcohol. If you don't want to use alcohol, put them in opaque containers and say "Shake Well Before Use." Burt's Bees and Aura Cacia do it with their herbal mists, and so can you. Brushed aluminum works well because of its high-quality natural look.

The "secret" of using bases.

If you don't know how to make lotion, don't worry. There is no need to learn how to make it from scratch. Instead, you can choose from the many high-quality lotion and cream bases available for just this purpose. Simply add your fragrances to the lotion base, and you have a nearly instant high-quality product.

Is it cheating to use bases?

If you're a CP soapmaker, you are probably attached to the idea of craftsmanship or being an artisan. It feels romantic to do things the pioneer way, but you're in business, not art. In my experience, customers don't care how much time or love you put into the products. All they care about is getting a high-quality product in the scent they adore.

Using bases is a form of leverage; you are leveraging other people's high-quality work. It's no different than if you hired a friend to make the bases for you while you do the scenting, bottling, and selling. The bases usually come from small farms and crafters who are as dedicated as you are to making great personal care products. If you're in business, your main concern should be providing customers with what they want at a profit.

Tell people about your products.

Once you have made your first batches, contact all your regulars and tell them! Don't wait for them to contact you. Look up all their emails and let them know that you're now offering more products to fall in love with. Not all of them will buy, of course. Some of your products may flop, but this is an easy, low-risk test. You'll be out a little time and money, but you have a good chance of gaining a big profit booster.

Better yet, pre-sell your customers by asking them what products they'd like to see next. Then, you can make them and be sure of your sales!
About the Author
Katherine Durkes has written 3 ebooks on how to make bath & body, perfume, and home fragrance products. She runs a website, a newsletter, and a Yahoo Group for aspiring craft business owners. Visit http://www.excellentlivingguide.com for more creative bath and beauty projects.
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