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September 30th, 2005
Marketing

I listed a few of my super cute body butters on eBay, figuring that it would be an interesting experiment. There is quite a collection of handmade lotion and soap on eBay so it was worth trying. No one bit, however. Bummer.

I have some things listed on Etsy too, including the aforementioned body butter. I’m so pleased with the packaging, I figured it was irresistable. Apparently, only I can’t resist it. It’s plenty resistable to others.

Anyway, I need to think of some more ways to market. I think that’s the biggest challenge of any small business – how do you reach more people, without expending a lot of budget? I don’t have much budget to expend, after all…

Posted by Claire at 10:11 AM | Soap Habit | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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September 24th, 2005
Soap Babbling

It was a so-so day at the market today. I did have some regular customers come down, which is always cool… especially when they tell me my soap is the only kind they will use and they buy it 12 bars at a time. That’s nice.

Anyway, I’ve been mulling over making an orange soap with a black swirl and calling it Alma Mater – because I went to OSU and all, and their colors are orange and black. It’s not that I have a lot of school spirit (I’ve never been much on school spirit) but I figure it’s a good market as a fall/early winter soap. I just need a scent, something that screams “Autumn! Fresh! Football games and leaves!” or something like that. Right now something oak-y or pine-y I suppose would work. I need to get it figured out fast, though, because I’m running out of fall…

I also figure I can do a soap I’ve been calling Cactus Spice (the perfumer named the scent Feliz Navidad) in green and red (it’s dark green right now) and call it Feliz Navidad as well.

I’m also looking for THE PERFECT vanilla spice. I went to The Body Shop with DH a few Saturdays ago, well, it was a trip to the mall actually, and we stopped at TBS because I have to spy on all the big bath and body stores. Anyway, TBS has this killer vanilla spice that I MUST HAVE NOW. So I’m still on the lookout for that from my scent suppliers.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. I’m dreadfully low on stock, having been in a total funk for most of last week and not getting much done. This coming week I’ll need to crack down and start getting some soap made. Come down and see me at the market, say hi…

Posted by Claire at 07:35 PM | Soap Habit | Comments (2) | Tweet This Post

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September 9th, 2005
State Fair

I never did post my State Fair roundup, did I… Hurricane interruptions, etc…

Anyway, my six days at the Oregon State Fair were fabulous. They were also really tiring. This year the Oregon Country Fair was asked to bring some of their coolness to the Oregon State Fair. It was quite a match – the OCF is reknowned for great arts and crafts, great food, a nutty atmosphere… very lefty, very embrace-your-inner-hippie. And before anyone yells at me for that last phrase, I totally dig the OCF and go each year if I can. The OSF, on the other hand, is a very traditional state fair – you have your ag barns, your 4H, your hall filled with quilts and baking and canning and photography… and let’s not forget the carnival and fried food and petting zoo! (Why anyone pays for the mostly goat-filled petting zoo when they can pet ‘em for free in the ag barn is beyond me… but I was a farm kid, what can I say…).

But it was a good match, nonetheless. We brought our fine arts and crafts and our REALLY good food and our (albeit toned down) nutty atmosphere, and the good people of Oregon came down and said Hi. I had SO MUCH FUN talking to all the people who stopped at my booth. The PSM crowd has a lot of tourists; the State Fair was almost entirely Oregonians. We are so friendly, let me tell ya – everyone said hi, asked how I was doing, wanted to chat. I loved every minute of it… well, except for that one group of bratty teenagers…

Anyway. Sales were good. My mom and dad lent me my siblings for the weekend, who also seemed to enjoy themselves, and their tent trailer, so we camped over the weekend. My neighbors were fabulous, I bartered for some really great loot, and came home feeling so upbeat about it all. It was like summer camp for grownups, Market camp if you would. And the food… OCF food is every bit as good as PSM food and I ate well. The food vendors always spoil the craft vendors, and this was no exception.

In short, I told the organizer that if they do it again next year, I’d love to come back – for all 11 days even. I told her that as a vendor I loved it, and would love to see it become a regular thing. If you missed it, hopefully they’ll do it again next year and you can come on down. It was really a nice bit of both the nutty Country Fair and the traditional State Fair. And I love ‘em both.

Posted by Claire at 10:06 PM | Days Go By, Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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August 16th, 2005
Ha Ha

So I did have some good things to write about. One, my wholesale business has picked up… which for me means, two wholesale orders in one week (and I only have two wholesale customers total, so this is big news!). The second cool thing is that a good friend of mine wants to be a sort of customer service agent/rep for me. I’m very excited about this, because it means SHE gets to deal with the “very difficult” wholesale customer instead of me. Since she is the one who got me into that store to begin with, this is fine with me. I was ready to let the lady go (she’s difficult, did I mention that?) but with my friend on board, I’ll continue to supply her…

I ordered two more molds (they are big and expensive), thereby increasing my production from 16 lbs. a day to 24 lbs. a day. My eventual goal is 48 lbs. a day, the capacity I think I can handle on my own, before I have to hire an employee… I can easily see myself hiring someone very part time to do some paperwork stuff for me sooner, but that’s still quite wishful thinking on my part.

In non-soap news, eBay removed three of the listings I’d reported a few days ago (from the photo thief). Unfortunately, they were from auctions already closed, but she has two auctions still live (that were reported more recently than the first few) that will undoubtedly be pulled as well, hopefully before they close. I shouldn’t be so gleeful about this, but I am. No one steals from me, ignores me, and gets away with it.

Posted by Claire at 06:38 PM | Days Go By, Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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July 24th, 2005
Da Market

I had an entertaining day at the market yesterday. I had two repeat customers show up, both of whom informed me that they only use my soap. Last Saturday I also had a customer say the same thing. That is really cool! Of course, I only use my soap too… so I know exactly what they mean.

Then there was the rude lady who demanded to know how long my soap bars last. I was trying to say something like “Well it depends on how many people are using it and how often it gets used.” I mean, if four people are sharing a shower and each bathes every day, the bar isn’t going to last as long as two people, with one who bathes every other day. So I can’t exactly say “this bar will last for two months” or whatever. This clearly did not satisfy her. Nancy suggested I just pull something out of my behind for customers like that – “Yes, this will last you for two months!” since they probably still aren’t going to buy.

I finished reading an interesting book yesterday. It is called The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. After DH reads it I’ll post a review, since I have lots of things to say about it. He reads my blog though, so I don’t want to spoil it for him…

Anyway, lots of market fun was had yesterday. Next week my little brother and sister are coming to mind my booth while I mind Nancy’s booth (they are right next to each other, more like one big booth) which should be lots of fun.

Posted by Claire at 09:15 AM | Page Turners, Soap Habit | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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