The idea of a perfect product is the very idea that makes most of us freeze in our tracks and leave projects unfinished. If you start with idea that first iteration of any project is going to be shipped while only 80% perfected you have overcome the the biggest obstacle to getting started. This will alway be your biggest challenge when starting out.
Improvements can and will always come as you continue through the manufacturing process with an improvement mindset. Not only will this process get you started it will also help you get a better finished product. The idea of continuous improvement should be part of one’s daily thought process. Not only with your product which will be finalized at some point, but more importantly your processes
One of the biggest mistakes newbie soap makers make is trying keep every potential customer happy. Every weekend there will be a potential customer that asks for a soap that you do not make. You will be tempted to make this soap during the week. Then you never see that prospect again and your stuck with a soap no one else wants.
Keep a pad with you during sales weekends and track all requests. Once an item appears three times on your list, then, and only then do some extra surveying of customers to gauge demand for that item. Try and get some pre-orders before you make it. The promote it on your table or in your store. With-in a couple of weeks you should have your answer. Remember, be slow to add items, but once added promote them heavily to determine future demand. Good Luck!!
If you have only one customer, are you really self employed? If you have 100 customers would you be more comfortable if one of those customers changed vendors than if you had just ten customers.
The biggest issue with large customers is they want you to change your business to suit them. Then you find that doesn’t work for the rest of your customers and now you have essentially created two(or more) businesses to suit your largest customer. Be very wary of doing too much custom work, as custom customers expect custom work at commodity pricing. Pictured above is a beautiful Dead Sea Mud soap loaf that we have requests for different custom looks and recipes all of the time. So far we have resisted and it continues to be a top seller for us.
Is this self serving? You bet. Bath and body products make amazing gift baskets. Give something that is different from every other Easter Gift Set out there. Bath bombs, bath salts, soaps and lotion make quality gifts that will be remembered well after Easter and can help grow awareness of your everyday offerings.
Quality, quality, quality will always make the difference. Use the finest items you can find direct from the manufacturer. Also look for end run items at your local dollar store or from merchandise liquidators. Good Luck.
Find a recipe that works and stick with it. That is my advice to beginners making handmade soap. Too many times I will get questions about the technical aspects of soap making and different combinations of soap making oils. Once you get a recipe that works well and gets the traction you need with repeat customers stop adjusting your recipe and devote your extra time to marketing.
The following recipe is slightly super-fatted and is an easy 3 oil recipe that easy to obtain ingredients. I first saw this recipe here.
8 oz. Coconut Oil
14 oz. Olive Oil
11 oz. Palm Oil
4.8 oz. Lye
11.2 oz. Distilled Water
You can add 2 ounces of fragrance oil as a starting point for scented soap.
If you cannot find palm oil locally substitute vegetable shortening. I guarantee you will get addicted to soap making once you try it.
One of the most accomplished business leaders of last 100 years is Peter Drucker. And one of his most famous axioms is “that which is measured improves”. Most small business owners know this instinctively. This little tip can be the difference between a successful business and a losing proposition. The next question then becomes, what should I measure? This follow up question is the most important question that will super charge your results and allow you to pull away from the crowd. Because of time restraints the average entrepreneur cannot measure unlimited aspects of their business. Some criteria must be presented by which the decision is made about what are the best and most accurate and productive measurements to make. A very effective hack, is to start with a group of five to eight metrics to be measured only initially and find the one or two metrics that most effectively allow you to be focused, and measure the growth of your business. These metrics could include users, visitors, inquiries etc. Find your measured metric and find your success.