Supplies, Displays, Signs and Advertising Your New Business
Welcome to the FINAL Part of the series- Opening a Soapmaking Retail Shop Business.
Currently, I reside in a fairly small community of about 150,000 so I had to be very creative in my marketing and development of my company. I found out pretty quick that my county WAS NOT a “big city” minded community and the things that worked for others in larger cities WAS NOT going to work for me. I had to conduct a lot of market research in my community which meant that I had to be face to face with customers in order to get a bigger picture of what was going to work with them. Since my husband is former Military I did not have the luxury of being a local and that still poses a challenge for me today. But I was determined to succeed. With the CLOSE help of my representative from the LOCAL SBA (small business admin) office. The SBA office helped me in many ways but main one; was the launch of my business outside my home office. Today we are discussing the details that help your business take OFF! How do you get the word out without having to spend a lot of money? What about setting up your shop?
- LOW COST ADVERTISING- This is always a trial and error. Some areas work well for flyers and print mailings. See if you can afford a small ad in your local magazine? This works well if it will be displayed for long periods of time. You could invite your local news station/news reporter to sit in while you make soap for some FREE advertising. Maybe they will print or air their visit with you?
- COMMUNITY RELATIONS- I occasionally offer demos to my local community, churches, schools, a demo on how I make soap. I keep it very simple so they can see the process—I really talk it up about all the natural ingredients, botanicals and explain why it’s better to use real soap.. yada yada yada. Then I offer a coupon for them to visit me for 10% off and a FREE gift with purchase. Word of mouth works well, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Start a loyalty/referral program to help things move along.
- SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING- Yes, now you can have the cool kid’s page that says you have a local business. Enter your local business on google and other search engines, add pictures, hours and a coupon. Don’t bother with promoting your Facebook posts but be sure to add lots of pictures of your shop, the process, products specials…etc. Tweet it and Instagram it as well. If you are handy with video, add one to YouTube, do a walk through—show your personality and people will connect with you. They will want to come in to see what all the fuss is about!
- INVENTORY- This could eat up a lot of profit unless you are making your own like us! Right? Be prepared to stock items you can make on the fly. Soap can still be planned out in advance but stock some bath bombs, bath teas, handmade perfumes, liquid soap, make some ready to buy gift baskets to keep those shelves full. Everything looks better if the shelves are full.
- DISPLAYS, SIGNS- These are all things that add to the expense in the beginning. Signs, Furniture, Displays… Depending on what your Landlord requires you could be spending upwards to $5000 for a light up sign. I got lucky the shopping center I started out at only required a small sign above my door- cost me only about $300 installed. But I would have to leave it in place once I left the premises. Budget for decorations this could eat up a lot of money. Paint goes a long way, keep it minimal and shop local for second-hand bargains. I found my first table at goodwill for $30.00!
- OUTSOURCING: How much is your time worth? At some point you will need to decide that “xzy” is really too time consuming and your attention could be applied more effectively in another area. Then you will need to look at outsourcing. By finding out early in your business where your strengths are and where passion lies will help you manage your time more efficiently. For example: A website. This is one area that is very time consuming if you do not have any knowledge of web building. I would use my funds here to outsource a company create a PROFESSIONAL looking website to bring in new business. If you are tech savvy you can save a lot of money but it’s still time consuming. How is your time worth?
If you want to own and run a retail shop but do not want to make your own products. Save your time and money buying supplies by outsourcing them from your suppliers. (wholesale our soap) You can always order from us- Visit our local studio in Perry Georgia. Buy what you need instead of all the equipment needed to make them. Today you can purchase just about anything; lotions & creams, liquid soap to graphic design for your labels.
Links for you to view:
RETAIL DISPLAY SUPPLIES-