All posts by soapguy

Why Do Your Biggest Customers Hurt so Bad?

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.

Easter Gifts Than Don’t Make You Fat

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.

Super Easy Handmade Soap Recipe

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.

Good Luck!


Focus on This Metric for Guaranteed Success.

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.

Ridiculous Frugal Entrepreneur, Still Gives it Away

Ridiculous, absolutely not. Even if you website is,   you can  do promotional giveaways to grow your audience and engender real emotional connections with your fans. Every business can benefit from well thought out giveaways. Most small businesses have more requests for charity donations than they have resources to fulfill. The key is to make these relationships work for both parties.

Almost all charities are looking for additional fund raising opportunities. This where a small business can step in and help. Offering a fund raising program to charities soliciting your donation can in many ways determine the seriousness of the solicitation. If your offer is dismissed out of hand you may reconsider the donation(not always). Bath and body products make great fund raising items as our society becomes more health conscious . Research what other small businesses are offering and tailor your offer to fit your line of products.


Marketing Your Dreams, Handmade Soap and More!!

Pat Williams wrote this amazing book, Marketing Your Dreams, about the life and inspiration of Bill Veeck Before the current crop of marketing mavens there was the unlikely story of Bill Veeck. He was the managing director of three different major league baseball teams. He used his marketing ingenuity to draw attention to his product in creative and clever ways. Using his model of incongruity you may promote your own handmade products with similar success.

My favorite story is the drawing he had to give away Eskimo Pies. Instead of giving away 1000 pies to the first 1000 entrants to the park he would give away 1000 to one lucky ticket holder and watch the mayhem begin. What would they do with ice cream. They were presented their prize on the field and now had to figure out what to do with all of the boxes. Inevitably they would start giving the ice cream away before it all melted. What a memorable event for all those attending. Seth Godin might even call it remarkable. Make your soap business just as remarkable.

Three Hardest Soap Making Business Issues

Great video by Curtis Stone about his take on what the three hardest issues for running a small urban farm. These are some of the same issues I have been harping about for several years. I believe that they are not particular to any small business by you will find they are common for most of us choosing the entrepreneurial path.


1. Marketing your small business

Spend 50% of your working day implementing your marketing strategy. You can out-source this but it is expensive for start-ups that are cash strapped. I recommend Dan Thies for long term sustainable solutions

2. Accounting for your small business.

Hire a book-keeper.

3. Staffing your small business.

Use a payroll service.

Free Soap, Cookies and Cars

We have been recommending to all of our soap re-sellers to give away soap samples for years now. I was reading an article about a baker/businessman from France who wanted to expand his cookie business into the US. One of his strategies was to give away over one million cookies as samples on the streets of NYC to create a buzz about his products. The launch was a huge success.


This got me thinking, how large an item would you give away to get free publicity for your cause or business endeavor. I Googled the specific term “free car” in quotes and got back over one million results. The idea of giving away valuable products to grow your business is a powerful part of any marketing strategy. Especially for an item like soap, where a tactile, visceral response can garner your business an immediate and then repeat customer.

Good Deeds and Handmade Soap

Stinson’s Carberry Soap Company  founder Margot Stinson sells her soap at DesignNook. This wonderful consignment shop is an answer to the main problem facing all crafting start-ups. Where do I sell my crafts?


Spaces are divided into individual sales areas where you can rent a space for as little as $160.00 per month. Although this ideas being implemented in Toronto, the idea is solid and could be done in most towns. One way to keep costs down is to have artisans scheduled to mind the store at different times to eliminate the labor costs. A strong general manger will be needed to streamline procedures and adjudicate vendor disputes which are bound to arise. DesignNook is the brain child of Colleen Imrie and includes three different stores on the same block. More here: