Friday, October 25, 2013

My Favourite Scents in Soap: Part 1, Essential Oils

All essential oils are amazing, however when it comes to cold process soap, some perform better than others. My criteria for EOs in soap is that they hold their scent well, don't accelerate trace, and are reasonably inexpensive to buy. These are my "must have" essential oils for a soapmaker's arsenal!

Orange 10fold
Rose Geranium
Tea Tree
Ylang Ylang

These are some of my favourite blends:

Hippie Blend
2 parts patchouli
1 part lemongrass
1 part orange 10fold

Ocean Blend
2 parts lavender
2 parts rosemary
1 part lemongrass
1 part peppermint

Forest Blend
2 parts lavender
1 part cedar wood
1 part lime
1 part rosemary

Minty Blend 1
1 part peppermint
1 part eucalyptus

Minty Blend 2
2 parts lavender
1 part peppermint
1 part spearmint

Spiritual Blend
3 parts frankincense
3 parts mandarin
1 part lemongrass
1 part patchouli
1 part orange 10fold

Bliss Blend
3 parts rose geranium
3 parts cedarwood
2 parts patchouli
2 parts mandarin
1 part ylang ylang

Eau De Cologne Blend
2 parts petitgrain
2 parts lavender
1 part orange 10fold

Clear Complexion Blend
1 part lavender
1 part tea tree

Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend in soap? Pop it in the comments below!

Friday, October 18, 2013

10 Tips to Selling Soap on Etsy

I first opened my Etsy shop in 2008, expecting (as you do) that as soon as I opened my virtual doors, the sales would start coming in thick and fast. I mean, who wouldn't want to buy my soap? Right? Wrong!!

It took me two weeks to sell just one bar ... then another week to sell another bar .... and so on. It was a very slow process, one that (for me anyway) involved alot of patience and persistence. Five years later, and I have learned some things along the way that I thought would come in handy for first-time soap sellers.
Unwind Lavender & Mint Soap - the first soap I ever sold on Etsy
1). Photos, photos, photos. When you're shopping online, photos are everything. Customers can't pick up your product, they can't touch it or smell it, so good photos are crucial. Make them clear and use natural lighting if possible. Include one artistic shot as the main photo (this will increase your chances of getting on the front page as well as drawing in customers to click on your listing), and one realistic shot so that people can see exactly what they're getting. Gabbie from Simply Soap shares her amazing photo tips here.
Beautiful soap photo by Blushie

2). Spend time writing your description. Along with photos, your description will go a long way to selling your product. What does the soap smell like? What are the fragrance notes? Is the soap all natural? Are there any features such as extra moisturising, a rich lather, or mildness? What inspired you to make this soap? Sell the features of your soap. It's also a good idea to include a full ingredients list.

3). Fill your shop. The more listings you have, the more you will sell. Aim to have at least one full page of listings, but two or three is even better. Customers want to feel like they have a good range of choice, and it makes your shop look more professional.

4). Customer care. Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated. Respond within 24 hours to emails or convos, get orders posted within a timely fashion, and always be courteous. Go out of your way to look after your customers - small things like refunding excess postage, or notifying them if there will be a delay in getting their order out, will go a long way to building a good reputation and will encourage repeat business.

5). Always have new products. In addition to your regular soaps, always have something new to try. This keeps your shop fresh and exciting. This is probably the easiest and most enjoyable advice to follow, as in my experience soapmakers love to experiment with new products!

6). Use social media. Promote your shop through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or a blog. Post photos of your soaps in progress, new products or listings, ideas, sales or giveaways ... anything! Your customers will love to see the person behind the business and what goes on "behind the scenes". Always remember to include a link back to your Etsy shop.
Photos of your soaps in progress give people a glimpse into your handmade process
7). Have a unique selling point. What is special about your soap? Are they all-natural? Scent free? Aesthetically beautiful? Having a unique selling point for your soap will make you stand out from the hundreds of other soap vendors on Etsy.

8). Spend time on your About page.  Talk about yourself, your business, and what inspires you. Include good quality photos of yourself, your workspace and your process. Etsy have some more detailed tips on the About page here.

I love this about page by Vice & Velvet
9). Use tags. These will help people to find your products when they search Etsy. Some good general soap ones are: soap, handmade, homemade, cold process, natural, bath, vegan, bar. It's also a good idea to tag the colour, fragrance, essential oils, or any other unique features of the soap.

10). Be patient, and be persistent. Becoming a successful seller on Etsy takes time. Don't be put off if no-one buys your products straight away. If you have great soaps, people will want to buy them, they just need to discover you first!