You have learnt how to make soap and probably been making it for friends and family as birthday and Christmas gifts and now you are passionate about using and making soap so much you want to build a successful business around this passion - how and where do you start.
Building a successful product doesn't just happen, it needs careful stategic planning and huge decision making from you. You really need to stick to certain rules, take it one step at a time, search inside of yourself and be realistic.
Below are a few steps that can really help you to build a successful product.
What soap are you going to make
This might seem like a strange question to think about because soap is soap isn't it? However, it is much more complex than that and you firstly have to think about this from lots of different angles :
* What do you want your soap to be used for - what will its purpose be?
* Will it have a particular function i.e. great for hair and body, mildly exfoliating?
* What problems will this bar of soap solve?
* Who will be mainly using this bar?
* What does it contain that makes it so special?
* Why do I need to buy this bar of soap?
What soaps are other people selling
Look around craft fairs, farmers market, boutique shops, craft shops etc. and see what handmade, artisan soaps are around. I'm not telling you to 'steal' their ideas but it can be part of your market research to look at different packaging designs, smells, and types of soap that are out there already. Which ones do you love and which ones make you want to pick them up and smell them and most importantly make you want to buy.
Look online at some of the top selling soaps and write down why you think they are selling well. What does the packaging say to you, have they got a fantastic logo, do they use a particular font.
What ingredients will you decide upon
If you have already been making soap you will already know that oils/butters vary in price from reasonable to very expensive, so choosing wisely can make a huge difference in making a profit or loss.
If you are making a moisturising bar of soap ideal for dry, aging skin you must make a list of all oils/butters that contain these properties and know why you choose each different one. If you are making a shampoo bar make sure the oils/butters you use are suitable for hair. Learn everything you can about each oil/butter you have chosen so if a potential customer asks a question about your soap you can answer with confidence and pride. It shows you have become an authority and go to person when people need help choosing a bar. Always have a good reason for using every ingredient in your soaps.
Why will I buy your soap
There are many small businesses making and selling soaps so what would make me buy your soap rather than one of the others. In a soap shop selling many different makes, what would draw my eye to your soap - is it the packaging, the price, the design, the smell, the ingredients, the shape, the colour, does it solve a problem for me, does it speak for itself, does it send me message, can I rely on it, is it vegan friendly, packaging free, can I trust the product?
Who are you aiming to reach with your product
Define your customer - who are you going to help? In my Business Workshop I teach people a really simple excersise to help them with this :
When walking down your local high street you see a crowd of people looking at a huge billboard. As you get closer you notice the advert is all about your products and your business. Look at all the people standing there - who are they.
Sit down with pen and paper and describe your potential customers. Are they old or young, married or single, have children, do they work, if so where do they work, what is their financial status, where do they holiday, do they eat out or like take-aways, are they sports minded, do they like the arts, what music do they like .............
By using this excersise you will find the ideal customer for you and you can target them directly. This will also give you some insight into what your soap will look like when ready to sell.
Price your product correctly
Never be tempted to pluck a figure out of the air and go with that - its a sure way to fail miserably. Work out your figures accurately, don't include just the ingredient prices, add your time and extras like labels, paper, postage etc.
Get your price right from the first bar you sell and work out wholesale and retail prices correctly as this will determine a successful business or a failure.
If you are having trouble with this I can help you on the One to One Business Councelling workshop
Test your product
Now is the point that you can test your product. If you are still unsure about something like packaging or labels this is the point you can get your 'testers' to evaluate your product for you. Design yourself a simple questionnaire form that you can hand out to anyone testing your product and ask them to return them to you (without adding their name) when they have tried them out. This way you can get an honest answer from everyone - if you ask your friends or family to be honest and tell you to your face what their opinion was, most people will hate to upset you or tell you the whole truth as they will not want to hurt your feelings.
This will help you to see which design or product will work better and why and could potentially save you money.
Keep your product range small
When starting out please, please keep your range small. Find out what sells, what is popular and what doesn't sell well. Be honest with yourself and be guided by your customers - just because you love making a particular soap it doesn't neccessarily make it a huge seller! Stop making anything that doesnt sell well and concentrate on anything that is a success. As your business grows you can add more products to your range.
Make sure you are happy with colours, design, fonts, images etc. and every element of your business works for you and defines who you are and gets your message out there.
Make sure your labels are perfect - spacing is even and centred. Take particular care to attach your labels, they must be centred and straight every single time on every single product - this is the first thing your potential customer will see.
Developing and building your product is about having your dream, vision and idea and slowly making it a reality. Use the advice above and start building your successful business.
Turn your dream into a reality.
If you need more help with this please contact me.
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