Selling Your Soap at Craft Shows and Fairs
When you start falling in love with soap making, you're going to find yourself making lots and lots of soap. More soap than you need for an entire year. Next thing you know, you start giving out soap to all your family and friends until they too have more soap bars than they need for a year or until they start giving soap away too. Then you start donating soap to charity. Then one day you receive a small gift from one of your co-workers. You open it and find a soap bar. One of yours. Now, when that happens, it's about time you started selling your soap.
Every business has to start somewhere. Most crafts businesses start out small. One of the most common ways to start selling your soap is by setting up your own booth at a local crafts fair or show. This is where you can initiate the marketing for your product as well as establish your roots in the soap making business. Here are tips you should remember when selling in fairs and shows:
Bring enough bars to sell.
But not too much that you'll end up bringing most of them back home. As a budding entrepreneur, taking home too many of your products has a tendency to make you feel you didn't make enough sales, which in turn has a chance to demotivate you. You need to stay positive and motivated. But what if you run out of soap bars to sell? It just means one thing: customers are starting to like your product. As a workaround, instead of running home to whip up another batch, try asking for their address, phone number or email address (something to add to your customer listing later) and TAKE THEIR ORDERS.
Be friendly to fellow crafters and soap makers, even though they are competition.
From them you can ask information about upcoming craft fairs and shows. Also you can observe how they sell or market their products and eventually apply them to your business as well.
Take the time to decorate your booth to attract people's attention.
Place your best foot forward. Make sure it's clean and orderly. Arrange your products for display and make sure that their prices or labels are clear. Make sure your best products are "highlighted" or are easier to see.
Be ready to give them away. Remember those cute little soap bars you see in hotels (the ones you're always dying to take home with you)? Try making cute little soaps like those to be used as samples. When someone buys from you, use it as an opportunity to advertise another one of your soaps by giving him or her a sample of it.
Start small but give your customers choices.
Try to keep the number of bars you sell within a certain range - around 10 to 15 per kind of soap. Selling a lot of one soap type may give customers the impression that the ingredients in those products have been marginalized, which you need to avoid.
Be ready to answer your customer's questions.
Sometimes you'll get questions about what ingredients you used. Answer them honestly and at the same time tell them that all those information can be found on the labels. This is also a good way of turning their attention to the OTHER prints on the label: your contact information, website and phone number.
Create a customer listing.
Ask for their home address, email address or phone number. With this mailing list, you can send your customers brochures, catalogues or updates about your products in the future. You can also take the time to show them your contact information on the label of your soap bar and to tell them that you accept orders.
Create a brochure or catalogue for your soaps or product line.
You can give these to customers who buy from you. That way, they'll know what to look forward to or what else they can choose from. For customers, choices are eye candy. This is also another way for you to showcase your talent as a soap maker.
Price your soap bars right.
Consider all the materials you used in making that particular kind of soap. Don't just consider the materials you used in creating your soap. Also take into account the time and effort you spent in making them.
Be prepared to accept any kind of payment other than cold cash.
I'm talking about credit cards. Most people nowadays use credit cards to make purchases. You don't want to miss out on a sale simply because you can't process credit cards. Also note that those who use credit cards are those who buy a LOT. Thus, get yourself merchant credit and bring your credit card machine.
Last but not the least, have fun.
Most people tend to lose themselves in the business. You might get drawn away from doing what you really love - creating art. Also, don't get demotivated simply because you didn't get the number of sales you expected to. Look at your situation in a constructive way. If you go out of your way to accept customer comments and suggestions, finding out what caused poor sales would not be hard. Besides, there's always another fair or show to look forward to.