If you do Craft shows, or sell in a shop.....

Hazel_SCMarch 19, 2004

how have the soap & other handmade/homemade products been doing?

I do local craft shows & am in 1 shop locally, besides having the web site.

Soap/lotions etc orders, retail & wholesale have been doing okay on the web, but locally have really fallen off.

I don't even bother taking lotions etc to shows, same with bath fizzies & bath teas. They just don't sell. The soap is still selling, but sales are off. (Not just on it...everything)

At the shop the soap sells okay, lotion didn't. Bath bombs (fizzies) did, then fell off. I took out bath teas & replaced the fizzies with them. They did okay, but they fell off in sales. Have rotated fizzies back to the shop (after requests) & they aren't moving much.

Just wondered HOW everyone else was doing??

I know all the crafters locally (or a good majority anyway) are complaning about sales being down. Last year I made about 1/3 of what I usually do at shows...........

So what are you finding in YOUR area?

Whats doing good? bad?

what's new?

Curious minds want to know..........

(and I wanna see if anyone's still around....LOL)


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Well HazeL,
I don't have much to compare mine to since I just started doing shows last year, but my sales were good, what is nice is their have been no other soapers at the shows I have done (with the exception of one show).

My soaps, lip balms, lotion bars and body butter sell great. I just added new products and won't have first show until May, so I don't know how they will sell. I added Salt Scrub, Bath Salts, Body Spray, lotion, and a baby line. Baby items always go well, I have baby butter, bottoms up balm, Room Spray, Baby Lotion Bar and Castile Soap, all scented in Lavender Vanilla, LOVE IT

I just got another shop and will start putting my items in next month, they will carry everything I make but not in all the fragrances I have ( I have 30 and I can't keep up with that much in a shop)

This year I am only going to do BIG shows, no more little craft bazarres, they are boring and I want to sell alot more. Two show I do are outside and have over 145,000, then 2 I am trying to get into have over 400,000 ( they are outdoors as well), then there are about 10 shows that fall between those 2 numbers.

At Christmas I made Poinsettas and Holly Leaves dipped in soap, could not keep them, had shops and people calling daily for more. I am going to do the Rose petals this Spring. I have also been trying to do something special for each holiday, St. Pattys did Shamrock soaps and Lotion Bars (they were so cute), then Easter I am doing the 3D Eggs.

I also do Bridal Shows and do the Wedding Favors etc.

OKKKKKKKKK....just a tad long winded here, I don't think this was any help but at least you know what I am up to. LOL


    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 1:11AM
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In our shop, lotions, bath bombs, etc. do not sell. I mean, they don't sell at all. I finally gave away all of the lotion I had made, and do not plan on replacing it except by special order. The soap sells well, but only if it is a new item. I have some old standbys that always sell, and I always keep them and they always sell out almost every weekend, although I only make a two pound batch at a time. They are my kitchen soap, oatmeal soap, gardener's soap, and acne soap. The fragranced soap will sell when I just bring in something new, but after a couple of weeks that will be the end of the sales for it. The whipped shea butter has been a consistant seller all winter- selling it as fast as I get it whipped and to the store. Now that warmer weather is here and the dry, winter conditions are gone, I am wondering if the sales on it will slack off. I have plans to do an after-tanning shea, though, or something along those lines. Last summer I put my lotion base in jars and sold it as Body Butter and it sold real well. LOL. It was exactly the same thing as lotion, which NEVER sold, but in a jar with a different label it sold like hotcakes. I am constantly (it seems) working to produce new stuff or twists on old items, or different packaging or labeling. So, it seems like I am in the same boat as you are, Hazel. My customer base is mostly the people with skin problems looking for affordable alternatives, or people looking for something unique. I very seldom do gift baskets, and I no longer even offer sets because they won't sell. "Seasonal" themed stuff won't sell either (like something designed for Christmas or Easter).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 8:38AM
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We just started the new season here (Florida) - had a great show a few weeks ago -- strong soap sales / salt glow still doing well but falling off a bit --- I think it's becoming too common. Customers don't understand the differences between recipes.... our main competitors sell this really greasy stuff so it's hard to get them to try something different. When they do try it, they love it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 9:16AM
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I make a Body Polishing Butter, which is a very thick salt scrub, don't you hate the commercial brands that you have to dip you finger into 2" of oil to get to the salt. YUKKKKK. I love mine, just go it refined, have just introduced it to a few customers and will begin selling in May at local shops and my shows. I will be doing demos at a new shop for their grand Opening and also at all my shows. People love to try things don't they. I have been adding a ton of items to my line but have to stop and concentrate on getting everything ready for upcoming season

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 12:39AM
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Glad to hear it's not just me.

Also glad to see a few folks still around.

Anybody have any new scents or anything interesting?
I used to do the lavender vanilla soap, it sold well initially, but once the novelty wore off, so did sales.

I never did any of the salt scrubs, ot the shea butters, I do have a lip & body balm base that I got from Bitter Creek, but never have done anything with it..........

How do you whip the shea butter? just a regular mixer? do you scent it?
and are your garderners, kitchen, acne & oatmeal soaps CP or M&P? would you share what you use in them? I never really did get into adding much to my soaps...just plain glycerin. I DID do a lemongrass scent with loofa, but only for a short time.

I've thought about trying the CP soap again, or even doing the HP.

Trying to decide what I want to do with the business. There's some personal stuff going on, as well as possibly helping out 2 friends with business ventures....in 2 differnt states... LOL!
So not sure where/what I want to do with the business.
Locally it's not great...web site was doing good, but I just had it redesigned, & things have kinda slowed down--but don't know if that's seasonal or what. Gotta look at last years info. I just started getting some more wholesale inquries, so it may just have been seasonal.

Because of the 2 friends/2 business's I don't know which or how many craft shows to sign up for.......cuz i can't do soap & be in multiple places.....at least with the jewelry I've added I CAN do that on the run....

Anyway, glad to see there are still folks here.....


    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 2:51AM
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Elle: Refining the salt glow recipe was a challenge alright! I really like ours too -- not too greasy; not too coarse. Skin feels 10 years younger! We use popsicle sticks to stir the salt for demos. Cheap and easy so we don't "double dip" when doing demos. We add a wooden ice cream spoon (Walmart craft section) to the jar for sales and remind everyone to STIR before using. The oil naturally rises to the top (think oil & vinegar). Yours doesn't separate after a while?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 7:58AM
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I'll be happy to post my recipes that I use for those soaps. They are all Melt and Pour soaps. I will post them in separate posts, though, that way of there is any questions about them it will be easier to keep track of. I will post them in a little while- it will soon be time to get everyone up for school and that will occupy my time for the next hour. What is this "salt glow" that you all are talking about? I am unfamiliar with it. Exactly what is it supposed to do? I have seen salt scrubs, looked at some (and some sugar scrubs, too) in Bath and Body Works the other day. I didn't like the looks of them- there was about 2" of oil floating on top of the stuff and I thought "yuck". It did not look appealing to me at all. For my whipped shea butter, I just soften the shea butter in the microwave until it is real squooshy but not really melted, just very soft. I then use my hand mixer and whip the tar out of it. You have to keep stopping and letting it sit for a while because as it cools it "sets up", and you have to keep whipping it every now and then to keep it the consistency you want. A lot of people add a dab of sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil or something like that to theirs, but I don't. I keep mine 100% shea butter. I also use the unrefined shea butter, although I do keep both unrefined and refined on hand and in stock but the customers prefer the unrefined because it heals problem skin a lot better.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 8:28AM
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THanks for posting the recipies...they look interesting.
Where is a good source of shea butter? Don't need alot, just wanted to try out some of the soap & see how I like it.
Might do good in the shop I'm in......since no shows (after next weekend) till fall.

After this craft show I'll have a little time to play......


    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 8:04PM
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Hazel, I get my Shea Butter (both the refined and the unrefined) from Brambleberry. I would recommend starting with the refined shea butter, unless you want to try both. I sell about equal amounts of both. The unrefined has much better healing properties, but some people just don't like the look and the smell of it (although the smell does not stay on your skin). The unrefined is much more expensive (you would think the refined would be since it goes through much more processing- can't figure that one out).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 10:27PM
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Okay after seeing these recipies, you KNOW I had to go order stuff.........
I have coffee grounds drying on the stove........

It's an addiction.........

I'm sure these will be interesting to put in the shop I'm in....at least it will be something new. (That's what I keep telling myself)


    Bookmark   March 28, 2004 at 8:24PM
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I hope they will go over real well. If nothing else, they will be new and people will probably try them just because they are new. The Kitchen Soap and the whipped shea have been consistant sellers for us. This week I am going to make my poison ivy soap (made with jewelweed and pine tar- smells terrible but really gets rid of the poison ivy) and I am formulating a plan in my mind for "summer shea". I read on another forum to make whipped shea but add some suntan oil to it for a great fragrance and to make it a summer tanning product. I think I will give it a try. Although I don't use suntan oil, I must admit that I love the smell of it. I don't own any suntan oil- all I have is sunblock and it is fragrance free so I will have to buy some suntan oil. Be sure and let me know how your new soap sells. How are your scented beads doing?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2004 at 11:10PM
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If you email me I will let you know where you can purchasae Suntan Oil fragrance.

Regarding the Salt Scrubs, yes, body polishing butter and salt glow are variations of that product, I have not used Jennifer's Salt Glow (sounds wonderful though) but I can tell you I made the polishing butter after much disappointment over the 2" of oil in most scrubs. Mine is very thick, very little seperation and people who normally do not like the scrubs love mine.

I will post the recipe soon, have to pull it out.

Hazel, I get my shea butter at Almost Heaven Candle & Soap Stuff ( the least expensive I have found and inexpensive shipping)

I just made Fresh Cut Grass CP soap with poppy seeds, I love the grass FO I finally found, others did not appeal to me at all.

Getting pretty addicted to the CP soapmaking (on 7th batch) but still making my glycerin's, I have over 25 fragrances in the clear & goat milk glycerin now.

I am starting to freak out because of the Cicadas, they are due to arrive in May and I have a huge 3 day show in May (outdoors) YUKKKKKKK


    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 12:19PM
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I am going to email you for the Suntan Oil fragrance supplier. I have often thought about trying to make some CP soap, but I am so afraid I will mess it up- it makes me nervous to think about working directly with the lye. If I can find a real simple, organic recipe I may give it a try yet.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 1:15PM
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Thanks for the info about Almost Heaven....I'll have to check them out if I get more.

CP isn't nearly as scary as you think it is. Just get a glass juice bottle to pour your water & lye in, & leave it sit in the sink while it does it's thing (cap off).
Only thing you have to be really strict with is amounts. If it says xx oz of oil, xx oz water & lye they really mean xx amount. if you are over or under by much, it can (& does) affect the final product.
And stirring till trace gets boring but it's not really bad....would I want to do 6 batches a day--NO WAY!

question about the shea butter. I'm going to try the soap recipes you have listed--hopefully next week after this last spring craft show this weekend. I have a few ingedients (like clay) I'm still waiting for.

But if I decide to whip the rest of this shea butter, do I just whip it like I would butter for a cake recipe? Just dump in a bowl? and beat till?? when?
Does it need a preservitive in it? How long does it last?

I also got some flavoring oil & some tubes to play with the lip balm base I have. (Figured if I was gonna play, might as well do it all....) And some stevia powder (on order) to sweeten it--guess most of the lip balm flavors are unsweetened, so it's not gonna taste like the stuff you buy premade.........we'll see what happens.......

off to finish some jewelry. (As for the scented beads...only done a few pieces with scented beads-bracelets. Haven't sold any yet, but also haven't had great attendance at the shows either. This show should be a better clue what they think.....about 250,000 attend this show over 3 days)


    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 8:49PM
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I whip my shea butter just like you would whip butter for a recipe; I put the shea butter in the microwave and heat it long enough to soften it but not melt it (although it will not hurt it to melt completely or for a little of it to melt). Then I just whip it with my hand mixer. It takes a while to whip because after I have it whipped to a state that looks good, I let it sit for a little while and then go back and check it, and usually have to whip it some more. Seems like the shea has a tendency to keep setting it as it keeps cooling. No preservative is needed since there is no water in the product, and it has a shelf life of about a year (I read that- I have never had mine long enough to know). I package mine in 2 ounce plastic jars. It doesn't look like a lot, but a little shea goes a long way on your hands or body. You can also add some oil to your shea while you are whipping it if you want to, like almond oil, grapeseed oil, oilive oil, etc. I don't add any extra oils because I want mine to be 100% shea. Adding extra oil just makes it a little creamier.
What does "trace" mean (in talking about the CP soap)? I see people refering to "trace" but I have never understood what it is.
I might order a few of your scented bead products from you sometime soon to see if they sell. Maybe I will be surprised and they will sell like hotcakes.
If you have time, will you post your CP recipe and method here? I may just give it a try.
My lip "butter" is selling well- I am surprised. I used a ready-made lip balm base but added a little bit of shea butter to it. I also added a few drops of Stevia (liquid) and some peppermint extract for a little flavor. It has a very subtle flavor. I don't know whether it is selling because it is a lip "butter" instead of a balm (mine are in little pots), but at least it is selling. My lip balm, on the other hand, isn't selling, although it is the same thing basically as the "butter". I think it is the name. LOL.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 8:25AM
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First, I was intimidated by CP at first because I was afraid i would not know what trace looked like. Well, it is very easy to see. Once you add the lye water to the oils and start stirring you will see the mixture start thickening, as you stir you will see track marks in the soap, you can actually drizzle some of the soap over the mixture and you will see "traces", with the recipe I am going to give you this will happen in about 4 minutes if you use a stick mixer, (if mixing by hand could take hours). I recommend the stick mixer, I did by hand the 1st time but got very disconcerned with the stirring. This recipe is not organic but you can probably purchase the items organically.

Here is a very easy and mild CP recipe:

38 oz veg. shortening
24 oz Olive Oil
24 oz Coconut Oil
12 oz lye
32 oz distilled water
3-4 oz EO or 2 oz FO
1/4 oz herbs (optional)

Items needed:
2 plastic pitchers
2 candy thermometers
1 stainless steel pot
freezer paper
rubber gloves
2 wooden spoons
scale that weighs in ounces and pounds
old blanket
piece of cardboard that fits into mold so lay on soap as not to create soda ash

Wearing goggles and rubber gloves weigh out 12 oz of lye into a plastic pitcher, in another plastic pitcher weigh out 32 oz of distilled water. Slowly pour the lye into the water stirring as you add. The mixture will be very hot, stick a thermometer in and start on the oil phase.

In a stainless pot add weighed veg shortening and coconut oil, let melt, as soon a mixture melts remove from heat, add olive oil. Add a 2nd thermometer to the oil mixture, let both (lye and oil) mixtures cool to between 90 - 100 degrees.

While waiting for mixtures to cool you can prepare your mold by greasing and lining with freezer paper. Also get your additives ready.

Both mixtures will need to be at exactly same temp before incorporating. If one cools faster than the other put the warmer on in a cold water bath until it reaches the correct temp. Once both are at the same temp slowly pour the lye water into the oil. If using a stick blender you will see the mix thicken and then you will see "tracks" or "trace" in the soap, this is when you will add you FO, EO, additives or color. You can also superfat with 2 oz of Shea butter or Avacodo butter at this time. Use your stick blender to stir again until trace then pour in prepared molds. You can lay a piece of freezer paper directly on soap then place the card board or a lid on the container. Wrap in a blanket, leave in blankets for 18 hours, then uncover and let sit another 12 hours. After 12 hours remove soap from mold and cut into bars. This makes (1) 4LB block or (2) 2LBS loafs, I get 20 bars from this recipe (you can get 24 depending on your mold.

***Clean up tip: I let the mixture in the pot and blender sit and begin to set up so it is more of a soap mixture when I clean than oily.**
~~If you are nervous about making just make sure you have everything ready before you begin and read the directions several times before attempting. I have to say as nervous as I was all of my soaps have turned out great, not one messed up batch~~

Good Luck
By the way Susan, ordered the Coffee FO today for the Kitchen Soap

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 11:39PM
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I don't make any of this stuff, butthought i would put in my 2 cents about what i buy. For me, it may sound weird but it is about the label. I will buy if i am attracted to the label and how it is packaged. If it looks country,homespun etc.. i will likely buy it. For example last craft show. one lady had soaps wrapped in clear wrap and a little tiny label on it that said what scent it was. i didn't even look at her booth. the next lady had her soaps with a really cute kraft label and a homespun tie around the center. They also had a little sprig of pepperberry or whatever that stuff is called. they were gorgeous. She also had some soaps with a cute washcloth underneath and wrapped with jute. Cute.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 11:30AM
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I agree, PolarPrincess. It is the packaging that attracts people to the product. I personally buy most products because the packaging and/or display initially attracted me. I, too, would pass up something with just a little label on it- no matter how good the product may be, it just wouldn't catch my eye. And, I have to admit, packaging is a real chore for me because I am not very talented, I have difficulty coming up with packaging ideas, and if you put too much money into packaging, it makes the cost of the product too high. I struggle with packaging. Sigh.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 2:35PM
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