Selling to stores....help?

Discussion in 'Soap Making' started by DostThouHaveMilk, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Sheryl

    Sheryl New Member

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    :groan duh. okay.


    So if you sell your soap for $1.00 per oz, is that considered retail or wholesale? And if it's retail, how much an oz wholesale?

    Geesh, this is so hard for me to understand.

    Sheryl
     
  2. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

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  3. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    The $1 an oz is standard retail pricing. The Lowest you should go for wholesale if you are $1 and oz retail is 50 cents an oz, but I'm thinking I might up that.

    Christy, so if you let them mix and match, what if you don't have all of something they want? Do you make it up right quick and still charge the same? Lots don't matter so much for soap as they do for lotions. It takes a fair bit to whip together one jar of lotion and label it (even if I masterbatch and scent as I go) due to the massive cleaning and sanitation procedures involved. so I figure I need them to buy 6 2 oz jars to make it worth my wholesale price. Like I said before I might just not wholesale lotions all together anyway...

    That soapersworkshop thing is a lot of figuring! I've seen it before, but I wonder if in my current world how figuring it all out that way would really work. I think in the beginning when you are just skating by, buying stuff in smaller quantities to make products as fast as you are selling then it is hard and you are often making nothing or next to nothing when you account for your time. I'm sitting on the fence right now. Somewhere between the getting 5 gallon buckets of oils and the getting drums phase. Once I get to drums the costs will be significantly lowered, my inventory kept at a regular consistent level and then my time can really be paid. I'm working on having a consistent inventory so if someone orders lotions I don't have to hurry and make them and get them out, I can just pull them off the shelf in most cases and send them. Then the time factor is more streamlined and also having supplies in bulk on hand is making a big difference. I'm finally flying by the seat of my pants less, which is good.

    Bethany

    Bethany
     
  4. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Not Chirsty....you aren't ready for wholesale if you do not have stock. I see alot of websites of 3 week lead time from order till shipping, that means they are soaping when they get orders. You can't do retail stores like that, they expect their order now. You also don't have to offer all your soaps to stores...you can do limited brochures for your stores. Your stores have nothing to do with your retail business and vice versa. Vicki
     
  5. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    What Vicki said :D I have stock. So Far I have never had to soap to fill an order. But If I did, it wouldn't matter because that would mean I need that soap made anyway. Also like Vicki said, I don't have all 30 of my fragrances at each location.

    As for the lotion I have stock for that too. I have things set now so that I am making 5 gal lotion and 3 gallons of cream every 6 weeks. I package most of it and save some back in case I run out of a fragrance. This way I always have fresh product on the shelves.

    Christy
     
  6. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    I have stock, finally, but am just getting there, it's taken awhile to figure things out. Right now I am reworking my wholesale brochure. Offering only my best sellers - maybe up to 10 different soaps. 5 different lotions. then the bath bombs....oh man, those I can't decide what to put on! The sales have been decent on EVERY fragrance under the sun, but for a few that didn't do well, so choosing which ones I will consistently have in stock is hard. Ithink I will try to have them match some soaps and lotions and call it good.

    I finally figured out on the retail side to have "stock" lotions and soaps so I always have those on hand. Then there are "scent to order" lotions which I charge extra for. I do this with my LS too. On my website I offer seasonal fragranced soaps, or one time "while supplies last" soaps to see if they sell well, etc. I was trying to keep my fragrances down to just 10-12 which is IMPOSSIBLE!!! there's always something new to try and because I am really focusing on my online sales it is hit and miss to what sells right now. you really have to make the bar look good since we don't have scratch and sniff screens. For instance I have a bar that was uncolored (discolors this pinkish color) called soap by the sea. Sells like crazy at the market when they can smell it, online no. so I've swirled it with blue and am interested to see how the sales online do now. Also all the EO soaps hardly sell at the market but are my top sellers online. They are pretty but in person most people prefer the fragrances of my FO soaps - online they have no comparison so they go for the more "natural" thing.

    I'm teaching a couple of classes this spring. Some of my husbands co-workers were telling him it's not good to reveal all my "trade secrets" (there are very few that are secret - I've learned most of them online!!!). he told them, "there's a lot more to the soap business than making soap" Isn't that the truth!!!

    Bethany
     
  7. So how many bars do you need to have "In Stock?"
    I am finally figuring what scents to always carry, which ones are not working, etc. etc.
    Keep in mind I've only been soaping one year now. I soaped for the first time in November of 2006....
     
  8. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Enough so that if every store you wholesale to, called on the same day and ordered their regular order, that you could fill all your boxes the next day and still have left over soap for private website or farmers markets or however you sell your soap, sales.

    It's hard with stores because you don't get much of a break after Christmas, they restock starting the 15th of January....and I all but ran out of 2 of my scents! I have to soap right now to do stores and Valentines in Feburary....then Mothers Day. But you could also get so far ahead of the game that you can't take on a new store that calls, then you can give them my number :) Vicki
     
  9. KUrby

    KUrby Guest

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    OR>>>>>> give them MY NAME!!!!! :biggrin :biggrin :biggrin
    Karen
     
  10. KUrby

    KUrby Guest

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    Ok got one for you. If it were your first time to approach a store to hopefully get some sales. What would you take with you? What scent? or should you take multiple bars in case they want to buy johnny on the spot?
    do you give each store a different scent to try or do all 1 scent?
    I am starting to get my stock built up to hit the stores.
    Also, What all kinds of store do you guys hit up? Salons and spas of course, but where else should one try.
    Then on stocking your scents, Since you have NO clientel, how much on one type of scent should you have on hand when starting this?
    Karen
     
  11. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    You should have a line....bet your knew I was going to say that ;) A line and a speal :)

    A floral, an earthy scent, food, citrus, essential oil, perfume dupe fragrance oil, vegan and Oatmeal Goatmilk and Honey is a given. In a 36 bar batch to my health food store today 10 of the bars were OGH.

    I take in a vegan and a goatmilk, and since my vegan is also my essential oil bar, I take a popular FO in the GM. I give them the bars to try, along with a brochure, which spells out everything and tells them about wholesale. I say "I really like to have my buyers using my product, because if you love it, and you will, you will sell more for both of us". I carry 4 bars of each of my scents in my truck in flat rate boxes under my truck seats for impulse orders and have a simple Nubian Soap reciept to fill out and give them, since everything is printed off my computer I don't have receipt books.

    Never ever ever tell them this is my first time. I make my stores think I am Proctor and Gamble :) Vicki
     
  12. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    :yeahthat
    Take what I have to say with a grain of salt as I am fairly new to wholesale ...One thing that I think is hard to guess is "how much?" I mean, I could take on 3 new stores tomorrow, then I would NOT have enough stock since I also have online sales and in may will do farmer's market again too. so there's a constant re-adjustment. When I first started with the exception of soap (but sometimes that too!) I was making product as I sold it. Then I tried to have 2 dozen bars of each fragrance. Now it is four dozen (my wholesale accounts don't place REALLY big orders) and that is enough to cover my stores and my site. I try to have 2 dozen of each fragrance of lotion in the 2 oz size and the 8 oz size I make as I sell, which is not very often. (I have 3 pounds of lotion on hand unscented for this purpose - I make lotion every two weeks)

    I have only 3 wholesale accounts that are active right now. 2 of those three came to me. The other I brought in samples of my products (all of them - that was stupid!) and they carry soaps and lotions now. I chose gifty type shops to market my soap to. I went around with cute little boxes of nice looking samples and left them for the staff to oooo and aaaah over, then called back if I wasn't able to immediately talk to the manager that day. getting one store out of the 4 I stopped at that day was pretty good I think, and not typical.

    If I had to do it again...I would just bring in my top three best selling soaps (like vicki said) and let them choose what they would like to try and give them my wholesale price sheet, answer any questions. Then do a follow up call later.

    I had what I thought was going to be the store of stores - I huge food coop here. They seemed very interested. I spent DAYS putting everything together, came with this massive wholesale sheet listing everything I make, fragrances, etc. Brought a jar or bottle of everything. It took three minutes, three minutes and I was out of there. And then they turned out to be the flakiest of flakes anyway! I think she knew with all that product on my wholesale sheet it would have been way over my head.

    Now I have scaled it all way back. And even today I scaled it back further to just bar soap and Shea butter. That's it. SIMPLE. And I took a lot of the advice from Vicki and Christy here and I am breathing a sigh of relief about the whole thing. I'm still wholesaling lotion to the current stores who carry it, but I don't want new lotion customers. It's just too much work. Maybe later, but now now.

    And no, never tell them you are new! I say, "Fake it till you make it!!!"

    Bethany
     
  13. KUrby

    KUrby Guest

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    :rofl :rofl Protor and Gamble!! geezo Vicki!! LOL
    Thanks for your input Bethany, good advice too.
    I am kinda chicken right now, but I am getting there. I have to work on my line and my speal! :blush2
    I have to get my storage racks from Vicki so I can make more soap. I have no room to cure soap!
    vicki are you going soon to get racks, I can bring hayyyyyyyyy.. ;)
    K
     
  14. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Shoot if you will bring hay I will just sell you up to 6 of mine and get myself new ones when I can get to Houston! And I know LeeAnn would take hay also if you have more for sale! Gotta wait until this rain is over though!

    Was getting my taxes together today so I have a reciept for you, they are $13.98 each. Vicki
     
  15. KUrby

    KUrby Guest

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    No extra hay for anyone else. I am on the line with fillin you up. I just hope we get more rain for this year's crop.
    K
     
  16. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    Vicki,
    Do you use the bread racks for curing? That's what I want to use, I was wondering where you got your hook up for them?
    Bethany
     
  17. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    No mine are automatic dishwashing racks for commercial glasses and flatware. They are 3x3 and self rack on top of each other. I am 14 high and they are super strong. Each tray holds 40 of my big soaps. Go to Acemart.com and look at them. No more moving soap to racks and then off of them one freakin bar at a time! Vicki
     
  18. Nigilover

    Nigilover New Member

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    This has been such a great thread--- thank you everyone. It's nice to be able to compare what I've been doing to how all you big time soapers are doing it. I only do soap at this point, but so many have asked about lotion--- those seem more challenging with bigger investments required, just haven't been ready to try them. Maybe I should do a small batch and see what I think--is it as fun as soap?
     
  19. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    No, lotion is nowhere near as fun as soap. I think that it why I hate it so much, well the first reason is the anal cleaning I have to do to make it, but the second reason is that I can't make pretty swirlies and such. Once you have formulated your recipe and tested it, the creative nature of it stops. I do like to try new fragrances or blends, but that is it. I'm a total party pooper, I know :/

    Vicki - that is an awesome idea with the d/w racks! I can't move my soaps while curing too much cause they fall over, I guess I can lie them flat instead of up on thier sides, which is what I do now to conserve space on my cure rack, which only will hold about 250 bars at a time - not enough!!!

    Bethany
     
  20. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Just one of the many ideas I likely stole form someone else and then saw them when at the resturant supply house getting chef aprons to wear when I soap, and thought it was mine :) Vicki