October 24th, 2008 Soapcrafters in
The Trials and Tribulations of Selling
Let’s start with shower gel, shampoo and lotion...
Labeling was one of my biggest challenges when I first started. I made these really cute labels that got trashed after one shower or a couple of times using the lotion. I found great label paper, but I couldn’t find any that was waterproof AND made for an inkjet printer. I checked into customized labels but I couldn’t afford to order 200 labels at a time for each of the products I make. I also wanted the flexibility to change labels as I improved a product or to be able to personalize labels for people who wanted them for gifts (i.e. Mandy’s Raspberries N’ Cream Shower Gel). I am about to share the results of a 6 month, frustrating search. ( Drum roll please :-0 ) Lamination sheets were the answer to my troubles. They sell it at office supply stores and Wal-Mart. Personally I prefer the stuff at Wal-Mart. They are 81/2 by 11 sheets and come 10 to a package. It’s thicker and much less expensive. I just print off my labels, cut them out put a lamination sheet over them, and cut them out leaving about an 1/8th of an inch over hang to protect the label really well.For my little business it has been a great solution.
Carrie, who is a customer in Louisiana, told me awhile ago about xyron machines. I am seriously thinking of getting one of those. She highly recommended it. She said it laminates on one side and uses adhesive lamination film. That means you can use plain paper and still get your label to stick well. She just raved about hers. I know you can get smaller versions of them at Wal-Mart, but she got hers off e-bay and it has the capacity to send through an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, so you can send several labels at a time instead of just one at a time with the smaller ones.
It might not be very practical to label that way for a bigger business, so if you have had the success to be at that stage, or are planning to be, you might want to check into having your labels made.Trish in Florida sent me an e-mail last week with what sounds like a really good deal. Here’s what she had to say: there are great labels you can make yourself on computer from Vista Print. I make the address labels with the name of the scent(under name) and a corresponding label. With the Ocean Lotion and Soap I chose a small water scene and Put Ocean Soap as the name on the label, under addresses I put the description of the scent. The labels look professional, are waterproof and work really well with water and oils (no smudge) They have over 200 labels you can choose from, for ingredients I found a really nice gold colored label and customized it in burgundy to match my color scheme. This is a great way to make professional, personalized to my company labels without having to put out tons of money on plate fees, designer fees and the cost of hot stamped labels( I do use hotstamping for my MDCrafter labels though). You can order 140 for 7.99 and they turned out great. The design process is so easy as you can do it yourself and see what the label will look like before you submit it. I am sure there are other label companies out there besides Vista Print, but I have been really happy with the professional look in the end. Another thing, you can upload your logos and create your own labels for an extra 99 cents per 144.Might be worth checking out!
As far as packaging goes…. There are lots of really beautiful glass bottles out there but I stay away from them with shower gel, shampoo and lotion. Glass in the shower and a glass lotion bottle slipping out of someone’s hand is just not a risk I want to take.I love the white lotion bottles we have. They are easier to squeeze than clear bottles and work well no matter what label I use. Also, my shower gel and shampoo have great oils in them but they make a white layer in the product. But when I put it in the white bottles, you can’t tell.For lotion, I use white lotion bottles and a lotion pump. For samples, I fill a 1/2 oz jar. It’s a great size! Perfect for the purse and just enough to give people a good idea of how good the lotion really is.For regular massage oil I really like using 8oz clear bottles with a pumpThe oil looks pretty in the bottles and the color doesn’t conflict with any labels I have. (I label this the same way I label the other bottles.) I always put a pump on the bottles because a slippery hand trying to squeeze a slippery bottle isn’t fun. For that same reason, I stay away from glass bottles with massage oil. For Edible Warming Gel our 2oz clear bottles are the best!It’s not something people use a lot of so a larger bottle would be too much for this. They also are the perfect size for anniversary or honey moon baskets and grab bags for wedding showers.
Now on to bubble bath and bath salts
For bubble bath, I’m not as nervous using a pretty glass bottle. Most people don’t keep it in the shower and don’t pour it into the tub when their hands are wet. You can find great glass bottles inexpensively, at yard sales, dollar stores and thrift stores. Use your imagination! Old wine bottles and pop bottles can make your bubble bath really unique. Most craft stores sell the corks to go in them too. Those bottles that they use in bars that have the pour spout thingie (don’t ya just love my technical terms) on them are great too.As far as plastic bottles go, I have seen baby bottles used for kid’s bubble bath or at baby showers for a door prize.Clear bottles with a cute label can really showcase your bubble bath as well.
There are many possibilities with bath salts as well.The old tins that people used to put on their kitchen counter that say “salt, sugar, flour” are really cute. I see those all the time at yard sales. You can get them cheap, and use the one that says salt for you’re your bath salts, and find a use for the others in the set. Dollar stores and thrift stores have wonderful tins, bail jars, and other unique bottles and jars that work well for bath salts. You can tie a label and a scoop on to the jar with raffia, ribbon, or twine and have a great look.Fabric bags are a great way to package salts for one time use. Put scented salts with flowers like lavender, rose petals and calendula in an organza or tulle (pronounced tool) bag for a gorgeous look that is amazingly easy.Muslin bags are way to package them that give you a more rustic, country or earthy look. They look great in a soap crate.
Finally, here are some ideas for bath teas and facial steams
Old tins are wonderful for an old fashioned look, while glass jars show off the beauty of the herbs.If I use a glass jar, I tie muslin bags on the outside with a label and directions for use.You can also fill those heat sealed tea bags with your mixture and then package several of them in a crate or a basket.
For facial steams you can package them in a nice glass jar or tin as well.Another fun idea is to put the herb mixture in a plastic bag and then put it inside a teapot. That way they have something to heat the water in as part of the package.Complete the look by attaching a hand made label with directions for use. It looks really nice when made with handmade paper.