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!


  1. Hi! Great article! Would you recommend having liability insurance when selling bath products on etsy? I'm not sure what the site stipulations are, but I have heard it's not a bad idea. Any info would be great!

    1. Liability insurance is definitely a good idea when you're selling soap or skincare products. It can be pricey though, I would recommend going through an insurance broker to get the best deal.

  2. Such great points! This is a definite must read for any soaper. =)

  3. Those points are great. #9 is really clever. I didn't even think about tagging fragrances... I also think that some of these tips apply to blogging, especially #1,9 and 10. Thank you for sharing these!

  4. Thanks for the tips! I've just started and are experiencing the same thing you did when you started. I'm going to focus on Tip # 5!!!