Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Soap Spew

When I first got into reviewing handcrafted soaps for this blog, I went searching on the internet to find soap makers. I remember thinking that it was more desirable to me to find people who just made soap exclusively.


In a simplistic way, I felt that a soap maker who just made soap was a true soap artist. Master. Dedicated expert. I don't know why I had some preconceived notion that people who sold their handmade soap somehow degraded their product when they started to sell bath and body products. Like the products were an after thought.

Let's think about this. I have my own company, Product Body. We make and sell bath and body products. Of course, here I am having done it the opposite way. I started with bath and body and now I make soap, love making soap, am totally addicted to making soap, and now I sell my soap. Except it's not an after thought and so I eat my BIG FAT words and have stopped judging others. If you want to sell your products, sell whatever products you make.

Who am I to judge?

It's hard to balance product offerings, no doubt. If you offer only a few things, people want more items, if you offer too many things, people get confused and don't understand what to choose. If you offer one thing and are the best you can be and rock the world with that one thing? Well...I would have said 2 years ago that you should go with that because you stand out, but in this economy, if that one thing doesn't appeal to enough people, you are finished, unless you are independently wealthy, and in that case, I'd stick to it. (that was a really nice run-on sentence, dontcha think?)

I have no words of wisdom here, unfortunately, just soap spew...thoughts on "paper" so it gets out of my head and into yours.

You have to go with your gut and what works for the wallet. Sometimes, your business might begin to change directions in ways you didn't think it would go, and you must decide to either dig your heels in and keep it where it is or move with it. Tough decisions may be ahead.

Fortune for the day.



Amy W said...

I started with the soap, and then added the "other stuff". Partly because I had joined a bunch of yahoo groups when I first got started and people were very generous in sharing their recipes for that other stuff, and partly because my customers would say things like, "do you make such & such?", and partly because once you have the materials for soap, it only takes a few more to make lotion, or lip balm etc. (Now THAT was a run-on!) I still prefer to make soap. Did you see my Watermelon soap??

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,
Honestly I believe it depends on the individual. Because one only makes soap does not mean they are a master. For me just making soap would drive me mad, I need more. After hundreds of thousands of bars it is the same old, same old. Once you find perfection in soap at one's own level you find happiness. You then have the problem will people pay for perfection and your time, fine if it is a hobby, if you are wholesale it's a different ball game and all about volume and supply. With bath and body there are so many variables and you can eventually semi or fully automate the process if need be, the competition is fierce and you are in a different arena. I love the challenge. I would never have the customer base I have unless I did both, I must say the bath and body is growing as I am known as mainly a soapmaker of pretty soap. Things are finally coming together how I want them, we are expanding production once again, the last dedicated workshop only lasted me 3years and it's way bigger than what I live in. This time it should be enough room for the next 5 years business growth. A big step and lots of work and money, but I love the challenge of it all. Just have to keep juggling and keep all the balls in the air at

Matt Grimmitt said...

hmmm, tough call. I find I have an addiction to all products..but as for producting them myself..all of 'em...bit too much for the old brain to handle. I think do what feels good (obvs.) but keep it simple. Do one thing really really well...and do a few other bits to compliment them...that's my plan on paper anyhow.

FuturePrimitive said...

ooops! Matt me...Tiggy at FuturePrimitive. He was signed in to his blogger account..silly me didn't realise.

Joanna said...

Folks, I hear you. I judge no more. I SEE the light.


Anonymous said...

I believe change is what keeps us (and our businesses) alive and growing. May you always learn and grow and have a wonderful, thriving business! Hugs!

Body Natural Soap said...

I started making soap for my son. He has an allergy to most all detergents which cause his allergy to flair. I found it so fun I kept making more and trying new things. Next thing you knew is I had so much soap and a small family started giving it away and then ended up with requests and sales.

As for the other products I enjoy making lotion and lip balm but it is not nearly as creative as soap for me.