OPENING A SOAPMAKING RETAIL SHOP Part 1

OPENING A RETAIL SHOP  ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET

thedream

Day DREAMING about a BUSINESS? START HERE ——>

Most businesses run out of money the first year, you can prevent this from happening. I am sharing some easy to implement ideas to saving money during your first years in business. Get the word out without paying a dime, learn about unconventional ideas that lead to more sales and customers.  Over the next few weeks I will be sharing my blueprint for success on a shoestring budget!

Businesses are as different from each other as they are to the personalities of their owners.  The are… after all… our babies.  From the business idea, conception, growth, to established and finally the exit.  You can view your business like growing child into adulthood and then the exit out of business– (infant, toddler, teenager, adult hood, maturity and finally the exit).

If you have dreamed of having a retail bath and body retail shop this is for you. So today, I am going to try and help you decipher the why, what and how.  But mostly how I got started.

My early career started in direct sales with a well known company who sold bath and body products through retail mall store fronts.  They had a separate “At Home” division in which I brought their products to the living rooms of a few of my closest friends and family.  I fell right into their branding, followed their program to the “T” and I was successful.

I did pretty good all the way up till the time they closed their “At Home” division.  Then, I was left with a  customer base needing a product and hoping my idea of handmade soap would transfer into sales with them. Starting off in direct sales gave me a firm foundation to launch my new business.

I began making several batches of soap with my husband learning how to make it, brand and build a new company selling it.  It took me a while before I felt comfortable with my product manufacturing while learning the ups and downs of wholesale and consignments but I continued to persevere.

After my first year in business I needed to get my operation out of my home so I started looking into opening a studio.  I found a location in a small shopping center within a residential area that offered a month to month lease that included all utilities. That way if I could afford to pay for it if the money was not coming in . Without losing my shirt!

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Mossy Creek Soap Studio in Warner Robins Georigia 2010-2012

This was my first studio. Rent was cheap, it was month-month and it included all utilities. But was NOT in a busy area.

I had high hopes of all my former customers and folks coming to purchase my products— Just didn’t happened they way I expected it to. Through the school of hard knocks and the blinding cricket noise I heard everyday my business was opened I figured out that I was going to need to have more than one revenue stream to keep my business doors open because my in house sales would not be paying the bills every month.

When I began including different revenue streams and it was then I noticed a difference. Which included maintaining a website, an ETSY shop and adding more wholesale accounts along with in house classes. It was then my business began to financial stand on it’s own without any contributions from my personal funds. Then things finally started coming together.

My methods of getting and staying in business are unconventional; so although these things worked for me;  you will STILL  have to do the foot work to find out what works for you;  in your own backyard.

 

STAY TUNED for next installment of this series for TIP #1

 

Here are some links to help you get started!

Retail.About.Com

Small Business Admin

And if you want to start your SOAPMAKING BUSINESS our next class is Sept 20-21!  SOAPMAKING BUSINESS WORKSHOP

BEER and WINE SOAPMAKING CLASS JULY 26TH

Texas Beer Soap Co

Join Theresa Mendez of the Texas Beer Soap co, in a BEER SOAP CLASS JULY 26th

Beer and Wine Soapmaking 211–Learn how to make Beer soap–Sign up today to save your spot!
Theresa Mendez is coming in to teach all the way from TEXAS!! She is the entrepreneur behind, Ava Bayba Soaps and Texas Beer Soap Co. as seen in Draft Magazine, and presently works with 6 breweries, as well as, providing quality essential oils via her FB Group: Theresa’s Essential Oils.

Time: 10a-1pm 3 hours                                                Price $125.00

Teacher: Theresa Mendez, Ava Bayba Soaps and Texas Beer Soap Co

Looking for more excitement and uniqueness for your soapy needs? Come learn how to use alternative liquids to reignite the passion in your soap creations. Learn how to source locally to establish “farm to market” prestige and the “keep it local” loyalty. Be entertained and challenged with BEER/WINE soapmaking.

  • Step by step directions with hands on learning
  • Find out how to source your ingredients from local breweries in Georgia
  • Discover the marketing potential by adding Beer/Wine Soap to your lineup for the Holidays
  • Learn what essential oils/fragrances compliment your Beer/Wine soap and how to incorporate them

Small class sizes to give you one on one attention.  You will go home with a soapmaking handout and recipes to help you make soap at home.

SIGN UP HERE! BEER SOAP CLASS

Theresa Mendez is the entrepreneur behind, Ava Bayba Soaps and Texas Beer Soap Co. as seen in Draft Magazine, and presently works with 6 breweries, as well as, providing quality essential oils via her FB Group: Theresa’s Essential Oils.  An Occupational Therapist turned bath & body creator, so the idea of functionality is a must in the art of blending. It just can’t be “Pretty”  She loves the creative art of blending essential oils to not only smell good but to make you feel good. She is soon to be enrolled in Aromatherapy classes.

She has taught Essential Oils classes during Amanda Griffin’s Bootcamp in Austin and The Lone Star Soap & Toiletries Conference. She does private blending and offers blending classes in her home studio. Theresa also serves on the board of the Lovin Soap Project and occasionally writes for the Soap Collaborative.  She is the wife of George, Mother to Juliet, Cameron & Tyler; and Mimi to Ava.  She grew up in Tifton, Ga and presently lives in the DFW area of Texas.

Pink Grapefruit Body Sugar Cubes

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Recently, we hosted  a girls night out for a bunch of women at the studio.  We had a blast!!

They brought in some wine, a cake and gifts to say farewell to one of their own.  I can honestly say that these ladies were a hoot to hang out with.  I taught them how to make their own sugar scrubs and lip balms.  After class I had some sugar scrub left over so I thought I would try my hands at making solid sugar cubes. I love a good scrub but I was missing the soapy part.  This recipe includes the soap and sugar all in one!  ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5oz Natural Goats Milk White Soap Base
  • 2oz. Cocoa Butter
  • 2oz Shea Butter
  • 16oz. White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  • ¼ tsp Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • ¼ tsp White Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • ½ tsp of Blue Poppy Seed
  • Pinch of pink mica

EQUIPMENT:

  • (2) Microwave safe glass measuring cups
  • Mixing/measuring spoons
  • Small Silicone Tray Mold
  • Scale
  • Knife

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Weigh and then chop goats milk soap base into 1 inch cubes, place in microwave safe container cover with plastic wrap.
  2. In separate container, melt cocoa butter and then add shea butter, let cocoa butter melt shea butter. Add Avocado Oil with a pinch of mica and essential oils mix well.
  3. Microwave soap base until melted 1 min, stir and continue in short increments until completely melted.
  4. Add melted soap into oils mixture, quickly stir in sugar.
  5. Pack into silicone tray mold then place in the refrigerator until solidified.
  6. After solidified, pop out of mold, Cut into Cubes— enjoy!

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Using Directional Lighting in Soap Photography

For those of you that know me or at least follow me know I love photography.  After spending countless hours in search of good lightening I finally spent the money on a good lighting kit from B&H Photo.  I thought I would share with you what I think! So below are the two lighting kits I purchased.

Impact Two-Light Shooting Tent Kit – 18 x 18″ and a Impact Mini-Boom One-Light Floodlight Kit

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First I want to say how well packed it was when it arrived.  The bulbs were in their containers and then wrapped in bubble wrap. I love bhphotovideo.com.  Class act for sure.  This particular light kit was very easy to put together.  Basically screwing the ceramic housing on the stands and attaching the reflectors.

After trying to take the photos with all the lights on at the same time and noticing that my photos were a little washed out. I tried the directional lighting technique, turned off  all the lights except for one.  What amazes me most is that I took this same shot by a window (painstaking I might add and limited to the time of day) and now I can simulate daylight.  So now I don’t have to worried about what time I need to photograph my soaps or whether it’s cloudy outside or not.

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Stay tuned to the next post when I try out the photo tent for white background photography to use in your online store.

New Happenings in the Studio!

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We welcomed in 2014 with a new kitchen in our studio. We are so excited for the possiblities in 2014 and all the new classes we will be offering.  We are blessed to have so many fans, students and customers who have supported our business, that we have finished our remodel ahead of the 3year plan! THANK YOU!  The new pictures will be coming soon– if you want to like our facebook page to be the first to find out about the addition and new classes you can so here:  https://www.facebook.com/soapmaking.classes

In December we extended our arms around Perry Middle School with Soapmaking Classes– a full day 7th and 8th grade students were able to learn how soap is made! See more in this link to our local paper: http://hhjonline.com/soap-means-science-lesson-for-perry-middle-school-kids-p3868-117.htm

Thank you once again for all your support and feeling blessed in the New Year already!

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Crowd Fund your business today!

Crowd Fund your business today!

CROWD FUND A NEW BUSINESS OR ONE YOU ALREADY OWN! Send this link to your family and friends– Tag them so they know what you want for christmas *** A NEW BUSINESS ***

You can gift your special someone with a new business! Why not purchase a gift certificate for that special someone who is interested in starting their own business but cannot find the all the funds to do so? Help them out! You can get family members involved– start up your own crowd funding!

http://www.mossycreeksoap.com/index.php?p=gift_certificate

5 Top Mistakes When Working With Color In Soapmaking

1. SELECTING TOO MANY DARK COLORS- I go back to my photography composition and rule of thirds skills on this one. It’s important to create balance, a good balance of light and dark.

2. NEGLECTING TO TEST YOUR COLORS BEFORE YOU SWIRL THEM- This one is important because if you know what the outcome is going to be then designing the outcome will be easier. Swirling a batch of soap is not a good time to find out your beautiful blue turned pink on you.

3. IGNORING YOUR SCENT COLOR FAMILY- All scents smell like a color. If for example you make an ocean/air/ozone soap—you immediately think blue. Now is not the time to make it a pretty dark brown color with a gold swirl. It will throw your customers off. People gravitate toward color and the ones that like blue scents may not like brown which may signify sweet. (which would be the brown/gold swirl one)

4. USING A FRAGRANCE THAT IS NOT CLEAR TO START WITH- The color of your fragrance or essential oil could change the colors you are expecting. For example, if you use a fragrance that was a dark yellow and you are adding a pretty blue color, you may end up with a green version of it instead of the pretty blue you started with. If the fragrance contains vanilla it will darken over time no matter how much white you apply.

5. FORGETTING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTRAST- You need a good color wheel to find that magical opposite color. Opposites attract and stand out—good ones anyway. To purchase a good color wheel see more here: COLOR WHEEL

Hope this helps a little, we will be posting more tips and tricks for using color very soon— stay tuned!

Need Custom Posters?


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I’m getting ready for one of my biggest selling seasons yet! Or at least I hope so. This year I am giving my booth a boost!  Sharing my love for photography and soap, I printed my photos on large glossy posters that I will display as my back drop for my booth at the Mistletoe Market on November 16 & 17, 2014.

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I found a custom poster retailer online  http://www.shortrunposters.com  that printed these babies up for me!

They did a fabulous job and I wanted to share it with you.

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Upload your photographs onto their online page, choose what features you want and they ship them out to you.  To have a poster printed that is an 18″ x 24″ you will need to be sure your uploaded photo is at least 2700 x 3600 in size.  Their handy uploader guide will tell you if your photo is not at the best resolution and let you view it before you purchase.

I hope you will find them helpful as well!  I can personally say they were very professional when I called to ask questions.

EVERYTHING else was EASY!!

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Student Created Mica Glycerin Swirl

Student Created Glycerin Mica Swirl

Sign up for the next advanced soapmaking design class: http://www.mossycreeksoap.com/soapmaking-classes/advanced-soapmaking-design/

This is a perfect way to use the mica glycerin swirl. It has a beachy look about it. If you want to learn more about this kind of swirl sign up for the next Advanced Soapmaking Design in the studio!